“When you are weak, you are strong.” What does this really mean? For those of us who have invisible disabilities, this is a haunting statement, yet it is one of the most liberating and powerful principles available to us. We want so desperately to look someone in the eye and say, “I’m doing great. How are you?” The reality is that when we are hurting, we are not doing great and we find it difficult, if not impossible, to look at someone in the eye and say, “I’m not doing well at all. Can you help me?” When we find someone who will listen to us and understand how we are struggling, it is a huge boost of strength.
What do I mean by weak? Simply this: The fear of admitting that you are having a very hard time or struggling to the point of not seeing a way out. For example, in the last 2 months I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not feel safe to drive my car due to how I’m doing physically. Telling someone that I can’t take myself where I want to go is very difficult, as it means I have to depend on others. On the one hand, this is a weakness, because I’m afraid to admit to someone else that I need help. On the other hand, it is a source of strength because when I ask for someone else’s help, I’m letting them into my world; when I see that they accept me after knowing this about me, it is a great relief and source of strength. It takes a lot of courage for me to let someone else know my weaknesses. Regardless of their reaction, the courage that I put forth to do this, strengthens me.
Unfortunately, in our culture today, admitting that we are weak, unable, not smart, feeble, or anything other than strong and powerful is frowned upon. Going one step further, it is my belief that we not only frown upon this, but we push people aside who are anything other than positive, strong, full of answers and fully capable of overcoming difficulties. This is true not only for us who live with disabilities, but this attitude exists in our schools, neighborhoods, companies and families.
What does all this mean for you? Admitting that you are weak is OK. Choose an area of your life that you’re having a hard time with. Make a decision to tell someone you trust about this. You will surprise yourself with how this is very liberating and how it will strengthen you.