In today’s post, we’ll talk about how you can feel emotionally strong, even when you don’t feel it. 

I’m sure you’ve heard these words several times, “Stay strong!” “You are strong!” “You are stronger than you think!”

I don’t know about you, but when I hear those words, I get this defensive feeling and the only thing I want to do is give up! If I’m not feeling particularly strong, I don’t really want to hear that I am.

When I’m not feeling like being the strong one, here are 4 steps I do to feel positive about myself and feel strong, even when I’m not really feeling like it. You can apply these steps to your own difficult situation and come out on the other end feeling ready to take on anything!

  • Acknowledge the situation
  • Accept the situation
  • Decide what you want
  • Translate your emotions into feelings you want to have

Sounds easy, right?

Easier said than done.

Facing adversity takes practice. I don’t mean go out into the world looking for adversity just because you want to practice. More realistically, this means that with each situation that you’re feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable, you will become more and more prepared to embrace those kinds of situations, which will lead to you feeling stronger and more capable.

The bottom line is, most people don’t like feeling vulnerable. It makes them feel weak, so they react in ways that make them feel worse when it’s all said and done.

Let’s look at a few examples that have happened to me:

First scenario….my son didn’t get a place on the soccer team.

My son is on a high level soccer team, called an Elite team. It’s a very high honor to be a part of the team, therefore very competitive. To be able to be part of that team, there are tryouts which happen normally around spring time. The tryouts are open to everyone, including the players on the current team, so there is this feeling of constant competition. If they are performing well, current players are sent an invitation letter extending an offer, even before the tryouts take place. 

It’s like validation, not only for the kids, but also for the parents. If you’re working hard and showing what you’re capable of, you can forgo the tryouts.

So as you can imagine, during this time of year, everyone’s a little on edge. The kids are feeling the pressure, and the parents are nervous and anxious. 

Of course, the parents all talk about who they think should or should not be on the team.

The parents who receive the letter discuss it. They ask around, asking if who’s received it, who hasn’t, why not, etc etc. My son received the letter the last four years, but this year, he didn’t. As you can imagine, me, the mother of an Elite player for the last 4 years, is upset and confused why we didn’t receive “the letter.” How am I supposed to act during tryouts? What do I say when someone asks about the letter? Who am I choosing to be in this less-than-ideal situation?

This is far from a true adversity situation, but it definitely is an uncomfortable one.

Mainly to my son, who is asked by his teammates if he had received the letter. Of course my first concern is him and his feelings. But if I’m being honest with myself, I was upset and worried also. We want the best for our children, and winning situations are just easier to deal with, right?

Let’s walk through the 4 steps:

  • Acknowledge the Situation

My son didn’t receive a letter, so he is not considered a “high potential” soccer player for the team. 

  • Accept the Situation

I can’t control that decision. If I look closer, he didn’t perform the level expected for the team. What is the alternative?

  • Decide What You Want

I want the best for my child. I want to be the mom who 100% supports his dreams and activities. I will talk to my child openly about the situation, and explore with him what he wants to do.

  • Translate Your Emotions into Feelings You Want to Have

My emotion is anger, but what I want to feel is a super mom. The mom who supports their child no matter what. So this feeling of rejection has to be assessed from the perspective of my son, and I am here to support him go through this situation.

And with this decision, I was feeling strong again, because at the end of the day, what I want to be is a supportive mom.

Another scenario…my husband lost his job after 2 weeks of Covid-19 lockdown. 

After the lockdown was announced in March 2020, my husband lost his job. This was one of the hardest times, as he was the breadwinner, and that shift was going to be rough. With everything that was happening, we didn’t know how long it would be until he found another job and for things to go back to normal.

My emotion was fear. Actually, if I’m being honest, in some moments, it was panic.

But we did the exercise again, and it helped tremendously to bring a sense of hope to the whole situation. We got through it and came out stronger than we ever could have thought.

  • Acknowledge the Situation

We have one income less in our household. This sucks! This is going to significantly impact our daily lives and could lead to some serious issues.

  • Accept the Situation

I can’t control this situation. We have some savings, so we can pay our bills for some time. What is the alternative?

  • Decide What You Want

I want to be Strong. I want to support my family. I want to be a person who brings positivity. I don’t want to add to the stress of the situation by adding my own anxiety on top of everything else.

  • Translate Your Emotions into Feelings You Want to Have

My emotion is fear! Totally freaking out!  But I want to be a wife and mom who is hopeful and someone who brings joy to the family.

I had to take action to be the supportive mom and wife. During this journey, we started a family ritual. Every day I would turn the music on, and we would all start dancing! I’d play all kinds of music, like Bellas and Cheap Thrills. In those moments, our family was together and we were happy. This was something I could control and would bring joy to my family. We’d forget our troubles and just enjoy each other.

Also, my husband and I started working with a mindset planner (High Performance Planner by Brendon Burchard) together for two months straight. It was meant to get us thinking about changing our mindsets, planning out our goals, and how to move through those goals to get to a place that we were comfortable with. We could have powerful conversations and I could be there to support him, and we could decide together the next step. We came up with a system that allowed us both to spend time with family, but he was also able to focus a lot of his attention on looking for other career options, like building his own business as a martial arts coach.

I remember I didn’t want to talk about my husband losing his job. I thought it looked like it was our fault, and I felt shame because of it. But it’s not about how things appear to others, it’s about you and what’s best for your family! It’s about you having the power to decide who you want to be.

I know this is not easy to take in. It’s a lot. The first thing you need to do is take your time acknowledging your situation and coming to the realization that it is ok not to be ok. Being aware of what you feel and your fears are just step one of the journey.

Then, please…choose your attitude, choose to believe you can do something. Choose to STAY STRONG.

I’ll leave you with two quotes from two different authors that I love. They help remind me that it is the attitude that we can control:

  • “Act the way you want to feel.” – Rubin Gretchen, “The Happiness Project” (I highly recommend this one!)
  • “Fake it until you become.” – Amy Cuddy, “Presence” (Another amazing read!)

Have you ever dealt with a difficult situation? How did you handle it? Looking back, what do you think you did right, and what would you change? Share with us!

Let me know what you are doing to find the strength in your life and be the person you want to be, and if you have any other tips that you think others may benefit from!

Stay strong.


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