"The opposite of weak isn't strong, it's community." —Sarah Mastin Deats

We all have moments when we feel lost, alone, pathetic, scared and weak. I could continue this list but you get the idea. Some of us have them in fleeting moments, others have “seasons” and some can spend what feels like a lifetime in this dark space of just existing. I’ve hit points where all I can think about is how weak and pathetic I feel — that I once was this strong and courageous person but then somehow that was erased and replaced with weakness and confusion.

That’s when it’s hit me. I may feel weak but that doesn’t mean my strength is actually gone. I’m just not able to find it when the storm of weakness rolls in. Have you ever had a moment in the middle of the night when you went to the kitchen to get a drink all by yourself? Then as you head back to bed you suddenly feel total terror that someone is hiding in the dark to get you? Happens to me all the time. It’s not that anyone is actually there in the dark, my fear comes from the fact that I’m in the quiet darkness by myself.

This is the same with that storm of weakness or that season of yuck. We can’t find our hiding strength because we are walking the dark hallway alone. I don’t get scared in the quiet, dark hallway if my husband or even my dog is with me. Community is the opposite of weak. Through both giving and receiving the support and connection with others the weakness, fear, lost, alone or pathetic feelings can’t exist.

There is just no room for them when we are surrounded by others, consistently reaching out, being open/real and most importantly giving back to others who are struggling. We hear this all the time. “There is strength in numbers.” “Two heads are better than one.” “It takes a village to raise a child.” Community is our strength. Feeling weak? Reach out to your supports. The opposite of weak isn’t strong, it’s community!

Sarah Deats

Sarah Deats is a Behavioral Health Technician at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer.