It’s tough being the “strong friend”, and not necessarily for the obvious reasons that others may think. Sometimes, it’s tough because you simply don’t know how to handle help when you are the one in need. When I lost my mom in 2019, I had to learn to fully accept that most people don’t check on the strong friend, and I’m good with that. What I had not learned is how to allow myself to be the friend that needed support, hugs, texts, and phone calls.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when your pain causes the tables to turn:
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- It’s okay not to be okay.
One of my amazing friends continues to remind me of this because I always expect myself to be “alright” and “okay” for everyone else’s sake. This time, think of your well-being and be okay with not being okay. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1
- Be honest about your pain.
It is important that you be honest with them and with you. The easiest response will always be “I’m doing alright” or “I’m good”, but I have challenged myself to, in a way, let others know that I am not alright. Often, not admitting that we’re hurting causes us to take on loads that we aren’t quite capable of handling. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
- Let them help you!– I have had to make myself accept gifts, extra hugs, and offers to be there for me… because I need them. I have received journals, flowers, and cards that are currently helping me cope because I see and feel the love behind them. I hate to break it to you my dear ones, but you can’t always be the “strong one”. “We then that are strong are to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1
- It’s alright to cry.
Some folks will tell you (especially for men) that crying is a sign of weakness. Not true! Whether it be fear, anxiety, sadness, the list goes on. Stop holding it in and let God heal you. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17
- One moment at a time.
Sometimes, that “one day at a time” theory is a stretch and you can’t seem to think that far ahead. Don’t beat yourself up because your doses are minimal right now. As I am constantly reminded, “do what you can”. And right now, more than a moment’s worth is too much. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
Healing is a process. I am praying that you do not choose to skip any steps, for they are all necessary.