I grew up in a country that promotes machismo culture, so a great admiration of strong women developed within me.
Any sign of female submission would instantly tense my muscles. I could not comprehend any allowance of this behavior in someone’s life. Early on in my years, I promised myself that I would never allow a man to dictate, order, or direct my life.
Did I keep that promise? Well, that’s a good question with a complex answer. But, the important part, the lesson, was more about my inner world than men and the external patriarchy.
Through the years, I have focused on being strong. That strength was then defined and solidified by the 90s and early 2000s. I was an observant girl who kept her doubts to herself. Through my teen years, I took pride in doing as I wanted and never letting anyone rule over my decisions—I thought I was free.
In my early 20s, I met my husband. He is a Swedish man, and I saw he had no intention in controlling any part of my existence—a happy soul who emanated freedom of being, and the possibility of a peaceful life. So, I packed up and moved to Sweden to come across a totally different reality.
It was one that forced me to question if my strength was, in fact, strength and if the freedom I took advantage of was genuinely free. Hint: it was not.
As my awareness expanded, I started to see a flaw in my beliefs concerning strength. Suddenly, it became apparent that my strength was more like a toxic, never surrender mentality.
The next piece of wisdom that followed was the understanding that in order to be strong, I needed a battle. I lived with a constant inner struggle that was reflected in my external world. I unknowingly kept creating fights to overcome, so I could prove to myself how strong I was.
I was unaware that I was the only participant; I believed that stopping the fight meant someone else was winning. In truth, I was feeding my ego. I was making myself feel big while the underlying reality was that I felt insignificant.
I couldn’t accept this truth because I didn’t know it existed. I didn’t know my strength was a cover-up for my existential fear of insignificance.
Finally, I realized the freedom I had created for myself was only superficial. I was a prisoner, my beliefs were the cage, and only I could find the key to liberation.
Once I realized the truth, I was liberated from the lie. I had removed a layer of distortion from my perception, and the internal fight finally ceased.
Don’t get me wrong, my problems didn’t just vanish. I still had to bring it down to earth, and reeducate myself on approaching life from this new perspective. My behavior had been in “reaction mode” for so long I needed time for my instincts to change. I needed silence and patience to align my feelings and thoughts to this newly found reality.
Reality depends on perception, perception depends on the level of awareness acquired, and the level of awareness depends on the will to understand life holistically.
In the past, I was living and looking outward. I had an unrecognized need to please my ego because I didn’t know what was underneath. I lived with a continuous need for strength, an endless attempt to fill a broken glass.
Now, I’m looking within. The fight has become a curiosity. The pushback has dissolved into awareness, and the need to please is now the road to self-acceptance.
Strength without wisdom is an external fight that pleases the ego and keeps one in the loop of confusion.
Strength with wisdom respects all stages, levels, and processes on the path to self-recognition, it works based on love, and its proof is experienced through evolution.