Being strong and grounded serves its purpose in trying and challenging times; it allows us to take control and feel our inner power when facing fears.
Sometimes we begin to take on the role of warrior and all that that title encompasses. We can slay dragons when we’re in the throes of our own strength. We can lift cars out of the way to save others from harm. We, as women, are at the same time praised and criticized for being strong. Sometimes our strength can come off as abrasive, controlling or overbearing. It’s worn as a badge of honor that we wear proudly on our chests. I’m strong! Hear me roar!
On the flip side of that, we are soft, feminine and nurturing. We’re caregivers, mothers, daughters and sisters. We encourage, uplift and patiently nurture our little seedlings. We look for the best in others.
Can we balance our strength with vulnerability? Can we soften up on the reins and pull back some—give ourselves some space and breathing room to feel?
Do we give up some power and control in order to let others in, trusting that we will be looked after lovingly?
I continue to work on finding the equilibrium between being a strong warrior and an open, trusting being. The struggle comes when I close myself off from others, not asking for help when I need it. In searching for the answers to these questions, I’ve had to look inward, look closely at my choices and behaviors. I’ve had to make the distinction between ego and true self. At the heart of it, I want to connect to spirit and source—pure love.
I set the intention to be love, for all of my actions to be aligned with love. That caused an inward shift that I felt in every cell in my being. I began to look at all people and things with love and compassion. I began to believe in the power of my intentions and in the truth in all experiences, people and lessons. Living with love in my heart and going back to that one true constant has led me to trust others. I was guarded and protective before, believing that those were the virtues of being strong. Being strong meant immunity to pain, hurt and disappointments.
So, I thought. I wanted to be in control in order to avoid feeling pain or discomfort. Little by little, I began to open up to the possibility that all of the issues in the world were not for me to control. It wasn’t my job to shoulder everyone else’s burdens. I didn’t need to be strong for everyone else. Shouldering the burden served its purpose: to teach me many important lessons.
I recognized that I looked for the praise and approval of others. Others’ admiration fueled my ego and made me feel competent and capable. Others looked at me like a pillar that could handle everything and anything.
I basked in it until I began to feel the wear and tear of it. I was crumbling and the foundation was collapsing. Physically and mentally I felt the drain. The image of the all-mighty, got-it-all-handled super human wasn’t a true reflection of what I felt inside. I felt hurt, angry, melancholy and frustrated at times, but I didn’t give myself permission to work through those feelings. I saw these emotions as weaknesses—as dents and chips in my armor.
I saw flaws and criticized myself for it. It’s taken some time to let go of the judgments and criticisms and to embrace my sensitivity and vulnerabilities. I’m human and I can give myself a break sometimes.
I choose to let others in without fear that they’ll judge me for needing help sometimes. I no longer value that superhuman strength. That’s for super heroes anyway. I’m here to fulfill my true purpose. I embrace and feel gratitude for life’s learning process. I continue to surrender my shield and armor and open up my heart—trusting that the universe has my back.
Karla Rodas has a passion for life and connecting with others. Her intention is to serve others with love, patience and compassion. Inspiring, educating, and leading others in the sacred tradition of yoga, in all of its infinite benefits, mind, body and spirit is one of her true callings. Through yoga and writing, her greatest hope is to help others heal and tap into their own inner beauty, strength and limitless potential. Karla lives in San Diego with her beloved husband Frank and two teenage sons.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel