Friday, February 05, 2021

Your Weakness & Vulnerability Is Your Strength

Once in a while, I get some people asking me, "Why do you write such personal things up on your blog and on social media?" Some people, and even some family members are embarrassed by my 'oversharing' of personal struggles with anxiety, depression and grief. I always tell them, "It's my purpose. I am here to help people feel less alone." As God once impressed on me, that I am supposed to "Do it for the One"----do it even if only one person reads what I write, as well as do it for "The One" --- God Himself. Because God is in each and every once of us. So by sharing my weaknesses, God's strength is made even that much stronger, especially for the other person seeking help. If someone lost a parent, I can share my experience and how I still cope through it. If someone suffers with anxiety attacks, I can tell them about my coping skills and hopefully assist them and prevent them going straight into crisis mode. I truly believe that's my purpose here.

It's Okay To Be Vulnerable 

Becoming more vulnerable makes you more relatable. Showing your weaknesses actually makes you stronger. Paul quotes Jesus who said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” It’s ok if we don’t have it ‘all together.’ It shows our humanness. If you prefer keeping your personal issues to yourself, then you probably have another purpose in life. That's okay. But it's also okay to relate to people and let them see the humanness in you. Some people I know are so insecure, they can't let anyone see that a day of weakness. 

I remember a heated argument I had with someone a while back. I remember them saying to me, "You need to take your meds and see a psychiatrist. Check and check. Meanwhile, this person self medicates by drinking a fifth of whiskey every night along with whatever beer to chase it down. During one of his drunken rages, he tore someone apart and never apologized to them or even considered being held accountable for his poor choices and behavior. Without judgment, I said, "There's nothing wrong with seeking professional help or taking the needed medication for whatever you're suffering with." Immediately he went into self-defense mode and said, "I don't need that!" And I reminded him that I was only speaking for myself. It was as if he had forgotten what he said to me. The psychological projection was explosive at that point. He knew he needed help. 

A Strong Person Admits Their Fears and Feelings

"Oh I could never be that open." Why? Isn't there a possibility that someone out there in the world needs your kind of help because it's exactly what they're going through right now? There's still so much stigma when it comes to mental health issues. People don't want to be seen as "crazy" or that they're having a nervous breakdown. Well, maybe if you show them your "weakness" they may see the strength in you by admitting to it---by admitting that you are human. It's like an AA director who has never touched a drink in his/her life. How could they possibly relate to the people in the AA group? They can't. They can do all the studying they want in the Big Book and read up on the Twelve Steps, but they truly can't be of genuine help if they hadn't gone through it themselves. That's why I can't stand 'textbook psychology.' I want someone who has been in the muck of it all---someone who has been there and overcome their struggles, with a few slip and falls here 'n there. That's what makes them real---that's what makes them helpful. 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 

Paul's Thorn and God's Grace …Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sharing your struggles not only makes you approachable, but it even enables you to reach out to those who need your kind of help. Even just sharing your story, your testimony or explain to people the struggles you've gone through will make people feel less alone and alienated. I once listened to someone's testimony and thought to myself, "I can't believe they went through the same thing I did!" I truly thought I was the only one. It gives you a feeling of oneness with those who open up and share their hardships. It's not that 'misery loves company,' but it's more about, 'I need your kind of strength right now.' Because usually, that person has either overcome it, or still trying to get through it. Both are admirable, because it's the goal of getting better, getting healthier in mind and spirit. 

So when you start to hesitate sharing a post, even as small as, "Having a bad day today," --- watch how many people say, "Me too!" Or they'll tell you about their day. You'll also want to tell them how that day turned out to be a beautiful 'tomorrow.'

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” --Psalm 30:5. 

We're Only Here For a Short While 

Get rid of the bitterness, resentments and unforgiveness. When we go back home to see Jesus, none of these trivial problems will matter anymore. Why not get along here on earth, while we're still alive? I love that quote where it says, bitterness is like drinking poison, but expecting the other person to die. The only person we hurt by not forgiving someone is ourselves. The mental anguish and inner anxiety that comes upon us when we are still fuming over what someone did, can and will affect us physically. I know for myself, when I use to harbor resentment, my heart rate would go up for a long while, until it was time to go to sleep. My stomach would be in knots and I wasn't happy. Meanwhile, the person I was angry with, had no clue I was harboring these negative feelings. So they were living their happy lives 'as is' and here I was, suffering from my own internal conflict, playing the same event over and over inside my mind. Never let anyone rent space inside your mind. 

Grief & Booze

We are going to lose people in our lives. That's just inevitable. I remember when my mom was dying of cancer, I struggled with anticipatory grief. I remember one afternoon, she heard me sobbing in the other room upstairs. I didn't know anyone could hear me. I didn't even think I was being loud. She called me and said, "Debbie, come downstairs and lay next to me." I cried even harder. I couldn't help it. She knew I was grieving over her already. I had to lie to her --- make someone up like, "Oh, it's okay, I'm just having bad pain." I wasn't. I was crying over the mere thought of losing her. Mothers know these things. 

I self-medicated. I didn't want to feel the grief. I wanted the temporary fix of feeling numb, happy, forgetting 'what was' instead of dealing with 'what is.' But once the alcohol wore off, the sadness and anxiety came creeping in like a thief in the night, stealing all my joy for the next day. So, I'd do it again that same night. It was like this torturous and vicious cycle of self-torment, just to get a few hours of numbing happiness---a faux kinda joy.  So now, I save my wine time only on one day of the week with a nice dinner, and no more than one or two drinks. I stopped "self-medicating" and now, I have eight hours of sleep under my belt most nights, and beautiful hangover-free mornings to enjoy my coffee and a beautiful sunrise. Is life prefect? Hell no! But when those problems come barreling down on me, I deal with them much differently, with less stress. When I drank a lot, my heart rate would skyrocket up to 200 bpm, especially if a problem came up. And now, no adrenaline rush---just a sober mind dealing with it in a healthier way. I'm not telling anyone not to drink---I'm suggesting to evaluate how you feel after the alcohol as worn off, and especially how you handle stressful situations while under the influence. Compare it to where you are sober. It's quite an eye-opener. 

Masking Your Pain & Anxiety 

I've been masking my pain and anxiety since I was twelve years old. Yep, I have been drinking since I was twelve, and I didn't quite stop the madness until my mid-forties. (It's never too late right?) I never knew what it was like to deal with life situations sober. I held a lot in and self-medicated my way through life, through alcohol and marijuana. After being hospitalized for marijuana at the age of sixteen -- yes, for good ol' weed -- it made my heart rate go over 200 bpm. I never touched that stuff again. I went through some traumatic events in my younger years, and tried to drown them all out by drinking it away. And now, I'm finally dealing with all of these past issues in my mid-forties. Ok, ok, ok, my late forties. But still, why did I wait so long? It took other traumatic events to make me realize, "Hey, maybe this coping mechanism isn't so healthy after all?" 

Pray It Into Existence 

Every single morning, before my feet hit the floor, I say something positive---a prayer of gratitude to God Himself. "Thank you for letting me rest and wake up this morning. Today is the day the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it!" And that alone, will usually set the tone for the day. A positive affirmation and prayer before even getting out of bed is the most powerful thing you can do to kickstart your day. You thought it, spoke it, and it will manifest. Speak it to God---not "the universe." Listen, believe what you want to believe, but praying to the universe for things to manifest is like praying to the street to bring you to your destination. Who made the street? Humans. Thank the humans who made the street, just as you would thank God for making the universe. 

No doubt, there's going to be unanswered prayers, but for good reason. If it's in God's will, it will be given. But sometimes, we go after things that are not in our best interest. If we were to get everything we wanted, we may end up in a worse-off mindset and place. God protects us and asks us to trust His will. Even Jesus asked His father to take this cup away from Him---to not go through with the dreaded and planned death of his sacrifice. Jesus was so scared, that he sweated out blood. So He knows as a human what it's like to be fearful, and to not get what you wanted. But God knows what was needed. Big difference. 

Even when you find yourself in the worst kind of emotional or physical "life storm" --- thank God for the storm, for it'll make you that much stronger. Resisting it will only cause you pain. Just say, "I trust you God," when you find yourself in the most uncomfortable or painful situation. Watch what happens. I had to learn this the hard way. By trusting Him and accepting 'what is' -- you change the atmosphere around you. You literally kick the devil right in his face. 

Don't ever feel "less than" by your weaknesses. This is the ingredient that gives you strength! 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com for some of her famous recipes!

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