“Strong Women Don’t Cry” and other crap you’ve been told…
Recently, I saw a meme (attributed to a famous speaker) that said, “Strong women know how to keep their life in order. Even with tears in her eyes, she still manages to say, ‘I’m OK’ with a smile.” That. Is. So. Much. Bullshit.
Friends, that is NOT what I believe truly strong women do. Granted, I recognize that there are exceptions to every circumstance, and it’s important to note that I am not encouraging you to be a continuous blubbering mass of tears nor cry at inappropriate moments; however…. I believe that TRULY strong, emotionally intelligent women don’t ‘fake’ it. They know when to speak their minds when things aren’t right, have learned how to ask others for help and recognize that their tears (or the desire to cry) signals something far deeper that needs their attention.
Why do we cry, anyway? Happiness, fear, anger, and grief (or sadness) are just some of the reasons. Sometimes, we might feel like crying and not even know why. I’ll write more about crying at work in another blog… yet let’s move beyond the actual act of crying and talk about what I perceive to be the deeper issue here — the act of ‘faking’ that everything is ok.
Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognize and express how we feel. The fact that women HAVE a lot of emotions doesn’t make us emotionally intelligent. I believe that having strong emotional intelligence gives us personal power and provides us an opportunity to overcome our primitive ‘lizard brain’. Research has shown that emotional intelligence actually impacts us positivity in many ways:
- Physically — reduces stress, lowers blood pressure
- Mentally — gives us the power to understand and respond in positive and effective ways to the emotions that we feel
- Socially — improves our interpersonal skills and gives us the ability to understand others’ behavior more fully
If you want to be a strong woman, I would encourage you to recognize that asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness; in fact, it shows that you are able to identify that you in fact NEED help. I believe it’s important to have a trusted ‘inner circle’ to whom you reveal your needs; however, if you’ll think about it, true strength is the ability to know when you need help, and having the power to overcome your fears to ask for it.
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