When you’re working towards goals – whether it be the professional or personal kind, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the final project and forget about the tiny progress that you’re making.
Here are three subtle signs that you’ve grown into someone stronger than you used to be:
1. You say no without guilt. It’s not to be mean, or insensitive, or selfish. It’s because sometimes, you cannot be everywhere for everyone in your life. Sometimes, you cannot pick up your siblings, and also get your children to school, and also do your own work, and also listen to your spouses day, and also clean your home, and also….shower. Sometimes you have to say no to the birthday parties, and the vacations, and the nights out. Sometimes you have to say that you cannot be at whatever event is calling for your attention – and now, instead of trying to come up with a reason of why, you simply say, “no”. You say “no”, and you are confident in your reasoning, and you do not feel guilty for putting your own mental sanity at the forefront. You know that whoever you are saying “no” to will understand – and you’re also ok if they don’t – because you know that it’s the right thing for you. That shift, that confidence, that guilt-free response – that’s a sign of strength, that’s a point of growth.
2. You do not constantly get wrapped up in what other people think of you. There’s a mindset that I have seen time and time again in articles and essays – “what other people think of you is none of your business”. It’s a hard thing to internalize in our current society and culture, but true all the same. When you stop concerning yourself with what people think of your work, of your outfits, of how you manage your home or your relationships – it’s liberating. It’s freeing. It’s healthy. Think about how you go about your day – are you constantly trying to figure out what your friends and family and strangers on the internet are saying about you? Or what they’re thinking about you? Or, are you now at a point where you just do your work, and love the way you want, and live in a way that makes you able to put your head down on your pillow at night with a sense of inner peace?
3. You are comfortable in showing your weakness and standing in your vulnerability. Maybe that means you cry without apologizing. Maybe that means you say “I love you” without hesitation. Maybe it means that when someone you know and love hurts your feelings, you’re able to tell them so, and not pretend like it didn’t matter. There’s a huge misconception that being “strong” means that you do not show emotion. That you steel yourself against anything to do with feelings, and you harden your heart, and you glorify being stern and cold. The reality is that the strongest people are able to embrace their weaknesses. They are able to sit with their vulnerability and know that being vulnerable is one of the greatest strengths we have as people – for it’s in that moment we learn, it’s in that moment we grow, it’s in that moment we understand what our hearts and minds are capable of. When was the last time you sat with your emotions? When was the last time you said, “I’m not ok” with transparent honesty? Those tiny moments of acceptance are subtle signs of change and strength.