I have been thinking about the ‘tough cookies’- you know who you are. You are smart, adaptable, able to bounce back, and 'get over' things quickly. You are good at going with the flow, taking care of others, being the rock when stuff gets hard. You have a big heart, and are skilled in tending to the needs of others. And chances are, it feels easier to talk about other people than to really talk about yourself - most of the time when others ask how you are, you reply with 'good' or 'fine-' because there are others who are going through greater hardships, right?
I see your courage- and your strength....and I also see the other parts of you. The parts that often go unrecognized or unexpressed, the parts that get buried. I see the tenderness, the anxiety, the fear. The parts of you that can feel drained by constantly tending to the needs of others, and can also feel lost and alone when it comes to finding and expressing your own needs. I see the part of you that requires space, and time, and attention- but also struggles to accept or acknowledge that these are things you need or want. I see the part of you that is deeply affected, impacted- that feels sadness, grief, anger, hopelessness.
The thing is, at some point, you may need to be allowed to be more than just a tough cookie. You may experience unexpected loss, or realize you are craving more intimacy with others- and realize that you also need to be allowed to be sad, dependent, soft, or scared. So, I want to invite you to take a moment with yourself- to sit, to close your eyes, and breathe into your belly- to check in with your body and notice what is happening in there. You may feel the part of you that says everything is ‘fine’- but if you wait long enough, you may also something else. Even if it is small or subtle, there may be a part of you that is feeling something more. Spend time with these parts of you, if even just for a minute or two, to acknowledge, to feel, to tend. Because these feelings are also a part of you- and by being with them, you can move closer to yourself, closer to you heart, and can let those around you be closer to you.