Being Strong Doesn’t Mean You Need to Be Unkind Towards Yourself

Kindness is strength, not weakness

Zita Fontaine
7 min readFeb 13, 2020

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Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” — Henry James

I finally took a much-needed step towards my mental healing and I went to see a therapist. The last few years, I have been through hell and back, holding my head up high, gritting my teeth, pushing myself through everything — there was no other way.

When you have responsibilities, quitting is simply not an option. Going forward is not only necessary but it’s the only way. So, you just go. You suffer, you cry, you hurt — but breaking down is not a choice. One foot after the other. One day at a time. Just one more step. Just one more.

But it’s never-ending. The struggle is real — every day. And even if you look fine from the outside, it can feel tough.

My year didn’t start too well. Looking at it objectively from the outside, it did: new projects, success with writing, happy and healthy kids. The whole pretty picture. I knew it was good, it just didn’t feel good.

Some days I needed an extra-human effort to get out of bed and start the day by sending my kids to school. Sometimes most of my effort went not to break down and cry. Other days I spent hours pep-talking myself to complete my work tasks — hoping I will pull through and no one will notice.

No one did. No one was watching. And the loneliness of it started to kill me slowly.

I was trying to write myself out of it. But the words came out bitter and their darkness made me cry.

I knew I needed help, but it was tough to admit it that my life seemed so put-together, yet I was falling apart at the seams. I painted a picture of myself that was caging me — and I couldn’t meet my own expectations.

“I should be happy, all my kids are healthy and happy.”

“I should be content, I have a great job and I earn a lot of money with it.”

“I should be satisfied, I have time to write — and that goes quite well too.”

“I shouldn’t feel down.”

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail