Out of all of the five things we worry about, our abilities are the hardest to deal with. You can relieve health concerns by practicing healthy living and preparing yourself emotionally and financially for when sickness strikes, our relationships can be aided with re-examination and communication, careers come down to goal-setting and realizing our actual strengths and shortfalls, and money worries have so many tangible solutions, if you just look for and employ them.
But abilities – what we’re able weather – are so abstract and non-malleable, we can sum up a solution within one phrase: If you can, you do; if you can’t, you ask for help.
Strength is a big thing to a lot of women. The lives we’ve lived up until now and how we’ve surpassed the problems we’ve faced can often been seen as direct proof of our ability to handle it. Colic, long-term illness, death, abuse, poverty, infertility, and so on are all major markers in our lives that say to others we made it through this because we were built to, no matter how hard it was.
But what if you haven’t really had to deal with much of that hard-life stuff? What if you’ve been blessed thus far, and the idea of one of those situations causes not only your skin to crawl, but also the resolute opinion that you would break down? What if you’ve already been through so much, one more thing might be all it takes to lose yourself?
You stop thinking.
There’s no way for anyone to truly forecast how they will react to any situation – negative or positive – without previous experience. And even when people do have previous dealings with, for example, the death of a loved one, every single moment differs from the last in some way. So do our reactions and our fortitude.
Will you fold up into a dark closet, shrinking from what lies in front of you? Maybe. That’s okay, because that’s your experience. Will it cost your family in some way for you to do so? Maybe. And that’s their experience.
Here’s where the But comes in…
It’s entirely fine to simply react and do what you can do. Otherwise, to pretend or ‘suck it up’ during a hard time, will ultimately lead to an impending break. But the onus is on you to provide for your family, still.
If that means that you text your Mother-in-Law from the closet and tell her that the kids have no clean underwear, you do.
If dealing with infidelity means that you make it through the day with as many smiles as you can muster, and then every night after your children are asleep, you call your best friend and cry, you do.
If coming to grips with violence means that you visit a counsellor, to learn not to automatically flinch from anyone’s touch – including your children’s – then you do.
It comes down to this: it matters not how strong we are, when the time comes for us to be. It matters who’s there to catch all of us, when we need catching. Keep loved ones close, ask for help when you need it, share your struggles and seek out professional aide when it’s needed.
You don’t have to worry about whether you can handle anything, as long as you know that you have the resources to pick up where you leave off.