This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
Did you ever go through a situation where you told this to yourself? Or maybe you had people tell this to you when things went tough? I believe we all have. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Personally, my strength has been tested many a times. But let me tell you honestly, I wasn’t confident enough if I would survive those bleak days. But I did. I could look beyond self-doubt and reclaim my dignity every single time.
However, my life experiences also made me ask myself what strength is and what we mean when we call someone a ‘strong woman.’ A person who bravely battles cancer is strong and so is someone fighting for a boxing championship although the concept of strength is very different in these two situations.
I decided to reach out to the wonderful Femme Naturelle community to understand their perspective on the subject. Following is the response that I received:
• My definition of a strong woman is… LOVE&RESPECT!
• A positive role model, an independent woman who isn’t afraid to ask for help when needed, a pillar to her family.
• Strong women wear their pain like they do stilettos. No matter how much it hurts all you see is the beauty of it.
• This is great for dialogue, I have so many feelings on what “strong” woman looks like.
• My definition of a strong woman consists of a woman who has enough wealth in her heart to love her family, friends and loved ones back to life.
• A strong woman builds families and community and businesses.
• A strong woman rebuilds the ruins in her life created by life’s harshest circumstances and then teaches others how it’s done.
• A strong woman is a healer. She earns the trust, and respect of those who know her and love her.
• A strong woman will encourage, inspire, and speak truth into the lives she is connected with.
• A strong woman desires God’s highest and best not just for her life…but for the lives of all connected to her.
• A strong woman knows God, and can recognize and acknowledge the God in everyone and everything in her life’s path.
• A strong woman can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, but if she chooses a mate, is not afraid to let him do that for her.
• A strong woman is a light in darkness, she has wisdom, class, and personality.
• A strong woman bares callouses on her soul, and is not afraid to show them to you…in hopes that you’ll not form the same ones.
• A strong woman is not always strong…at times she is weak. Life and its realities face her too.
• She is not afraid to ask for help, she is not afraid to say no…because she knows there is power in her voice.
• A strong woman reaches and gives back, because she is always mindful from whence she came.
• A strong woman is always in the process of growing, and evolving, and is made stronger daily, weekly, monthly, yearly by those who support, encourage, and love her back.
• A strong woman is one who knows herself, is competent, intellectual, spiritual, kind, loving and willing to make the effort to protect and oversee the well-being of her husband, children, family and friends.
• A strong woman….falls….gets back up….brushes herself off….fixes her hair and adjusts her clothes….keeps her head up….and walks like nothing has happened….cause she knows she’s not walking alone. ….God has got her back. He never said the road was easy…. but he did say he wouldn’t leave.
• A strong woman is fearless and honest to herself for she knows her strengths but knows she cannot walk alone. A strong woman has bad days, can be weak at times but always reinvents her attitude to see a better day.
• A strong woman is a woman who wakes up everyone and before her feet hits the ground she throws the trials & tribulations of others on her back and stands tall while leaving her woes still on the bed to be addressed later when she comes back to rest. When all the odds are against her, she reigns supreme. A strong woman is an educated woman…not just intellectually but also spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.
• A woman who’s capable of getting the job done no matter what the circumstances.
• Failing. Getting up. Recognizing mistakes makes us stronger. Lessons learned.
Recognizing and respecting there’s good and bad in all of us. Loving oneself. Respect others!! Embrace the fact no matter what’s going on in our world as long as we have life we have hope. I had a realization when reading all these wonderful responses— each one of them is right. There is no one meaning that is better than another. We all have a different thought in our mind about what it means to be a ‘strong woman.’ However, if I had to sum it up in a few words, I would define it as humility, imperfection, resilience, and tenacity.
I believe that strength is something that you earn by fighting the challenges that life hurls at you. It is a badge, a sort of distinction; not something that is handed down to you automatically. It is our duty to handle every difficult situation to the best of our abilities. Remember, the most important point here is the fact that you are comfortable with your decisions. Do not seek for approvals. Do not wait for someone else to vouch for you. Just do whatever you have to, to move forward with your life in a healthy manner. After all, it is your life and no one understands it the way you do.
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