Don’t Tell Me I’m Strong

“Don’t tell me I’m strong”, I heard myself say as I sat and talked with a group of people. “I’m not sure why but it really pisses me off”. This became a new topic of discussion as we delved a little deeper because others were identifying and agreeing that they weren’t that thrilled with hearing those words either.

strong, higher power, life, struggles

It sounds dismissive when I hear those words spoken to me when I’m going through difficult times in my life. Almost like I’m not human. I know the words are meant as a compliment when I am on the receiving end but somehow they just don’t sound that way to me.

The trials of life sometimes hit hard and often for some. For others, it may just be one ginormous event. When the hard times come my way, I do what I do and just keep going. I try to deal with the issues and the gamut of feelings that arise when each new situation presents itself. It’s hard as heck and I don’t feel strong. In fact, I feel very weak, and just want to sleep for a long time, like maybe a year or two. Those are the times when I need to put my trust in God the most. He helps me through when I feel desperately alone.

Don’t tell me I’m strong, as if no one else could do what I am doing, or could go through what I am going through. It’s not true.

There are other phrases that rub me the wrong way. For example “I could never do what you are doing”, or “You are a saint”, or “I wish I was as able to handle my struggles like you”.

Don’t tell me I’m strong, for in doing so you sell yourself short, and you make me something I’m not. If you haven’t been where I am, then how do you know what you can handle and how you would deal?

I appreciate your attempts to provide support. I’m pretty sure that is your intent but maybe there’s a better way to convey the message?

That must be tough.

Hang in, my friend.

You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

I’m a pretty good listener if you ever want to talk.

I’m here if you need me.

We can’t really know what someone else is feeling unless they tell us. And if we’ve never walked in their shoes than all we can do is be. Be there for them. Be there with them. Be what they need, when they need.

Don’t tell me I’m strong. Tell me instead that I’m human. Remind me to continue my journey, taking it one day at a time. Tell me you care. Tell me you’ll pray. Tell me I’m not alone.

Just don’t tell me I’m strong.



4 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Me I’m Strong”

  1. Thank you. My child was stillborn nine weeks ago and I’m so f’ing tired of people telling me that “I’m strong.” “You’re so strong” it makes me want to punch them in the face. I mean, it’s definitely better than them not saying anything, I appreciate that they’re trying to be encouraging… but it makes me really angry. I actually had to look and see if anyone else felt the same.

    • Oh Shelly, I am so sorry to hear about your baby. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. I think it’s good that you appreciate their attempts. I’m not sure I could be that gracious. And you are the first person who relates to this. I thought it was just me. Thank you for sharing. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you.

      • Thank you so much for your response Laurie, I just saw it. I was very angry when I wrote that last comment. Every day is still a struggle. It is definitely not just you, I think this is a subject that needs to be talked about. I’ve found that anytime I talk about my pain or bring up my baby people shout “BE STRONG”. To me it’s almost like saying “shut up”. People don’t want to hear about pain. They use that tag line to make themselves feel better, it’s a societal thing. I want to write my own article about it. Thank you again for putting to paper my exact thoughts on the subject. It helped me to not feel alone.


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