One of the most frustrating things to me in this day and age is how many women behave in a way that is just plain wrong… but chalk it up to being a strong, independent, woman. While I believe having a faith can certainly come into play with how a person chooses to treat others, I also believe that no matter one’s faith, race, education (or anything else), there are basics of how to love well and treat others with respect. So, with that, a strong woman is not….
1. Self-reliant. A strong woman knows that she can do things on her own (most of the time) but chooses to reach out for help and support from others. She does not feel that it is a weakness to ask for help to get through a rough patch, for prayer support, or literal physical help when needed. I am the first to admit that it doesn’t come naturally to me to accept help from others. For me, it’s not even about feeling that I need to do it on my own, but more so out of not wanting to “burden” anyone else with my needs/issues. But I’ve learned it’s so necessary to accept help because that’s when you allow others to touch your life by serving you too.
A strong woman knows that she can do things on her own (most of the time) but chooses to reach out for help and support from others.
2. Stingy on praise for others. We must always build each other up! When an idea is expressed, the first impulse should never be to shoot it down or point out flaws. A strong woman is the first to encourage others and help them grow their ideas and dreams in a supportive, loving manner. She doesn’t first think of what’s wrong with it, rather what talents she possesses that might help that other persons’ dreams become a reality with a little help (see #1).
3. Selfish. She knows that no matter what she may be going through, she can still choose to recognize the needs of others. She doesn’t get so fully engulfed by her own issues that she brushes off, or is oblivious to, the needs of others. This is not to say that she can’t be going through anything of her own, or that she can’t ask for help/prayers for herself (again see #1), but she knows that ultimately, serving others’ needs will bring a sense of peace and joy to her own life that cannot be obtained by wallowing in the depths of her own problems all the time.
4. Unforgiving. The ability to forgive another, even without an apology, for the sake of love and relationship takes more strength than any retaliation ever could. A strong woman knows that not all battles need to be won if a relationship is to be had, and accepts that apologizing for hurting someone (intentionally or otherwise) is ultimately more important than proving who was “right” in the situation.
The ability to forgive another, even without an apology, for the sake of love and relationship takes more strength than any retaliation ever could.
5. Unapologetic. In the same way that a strong woman needs to be able to forgive when they’ve been wronged, a strong woman should be the first to apologize when she has caused another person hurt. Whether that hurt was intentional or not (it’s often not!!), she has the strength to apologize sincerely knowing that apologizing speaks to her strong character more than it could ever appear to be weak.
6. Unable to admit flaws and weaknesses. We are all flawed! And sometimes, those flaws have a negative effect on other people. A strong woman has the ability to acknowledge those flaws, apologize when they have affected others (see #5), and work on them. Strength isn’t simply admitting you have issues, but truly having the willingness to work on them for the sake of others and “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life” Proverbs 19:20 (NLT). If all I ever did in art school was listen to the constructive criticism from others, but leave my art projects in the state they were in, then I’d have accomplished nothing! My talent never would have grown and I’d forever be stuck exactly where I was. The same concept applies! It’s not just about listening to others pour into you and wise friends giving you advice but then letting it all go to waste; it’s about doing something with it. That doesn’t mean that you’re expected to transform overnight, but a strong woman is willing to acknowledge her weaknesses, heed the advice of wise friends, and actively strive to work on it daily.
“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life” Proverbs 19:20 (NLT).
7. Loose-lipped. The tongue holds the power to lift others up or to destroy. “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!” James 3: 5 (MSG). A strong woman always thinks before she speaks. Every word she speaks has been thought out in respect to the effect it may have on other people. No one is perfect, and no one could ever entirely manage to control what they say, but like any other skill, with practice, comes progress.
8. Consumed by the desire to win. There is nothing wrong with being a little competitive, and there is especially nothing wrong with being an achiever, but it becomes a problem when the desire to be the best comes before being aware of others. There will be times when thoughts and opinions will differ, for sure. But for a strong woman, the desire to be right, have the winning idea, or achieve a goal never comes before looking out for the feelings of others. That’s not to say that all others must agree with her dreams, ideas, or goals, but it means that she will always have ears open for listening to differing views or opinions rather than completely shutting out any idea that is not her own.
But for a strong woman, the desire to be right, have the winning idea, or achieve a goal never comes before looking out for the feelings of others.
Strength doesn’t come from besting others, never apologizing, or being selfish in the pursuit of dreams and goals. Strength comes from controlling your tongue, asking for help when needed, encouraging others along the way, and being willing to work on yourself to be the best you can be for your own sake, and others’.