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The Recovery Expert
with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.

How to be Strong

When you feel like life is crumbling around you and your resources are shrinking, do you find yourself wishing to be strong, but don’t believe you have the capability to be so? Are you in an abusive relationship, knowing that it’s unhealthy, but you can’t bring yourself to break the cycle, leave, or even stand up for yourself?

Rest assured, there is hope. You can become strong. Here’s how:

  1. Take baby steps.  Make a commitment to yourself to do one small thing that intimidates you. For instance, if you believe you are being emotionally abused by someone, the next time that person makes an abusive statement, make the comment, “I am not going to be disrespected by you,” and walk away.  You don’t have to fight; you don’t have to end the relationship; you just need to do one small action of self-advocacy.
  2. Change your inner dialogue. The main reason you don’t believe you can be strong is because of the voice inside your head telling you that you can’t be strong. Your inner-critic, inner-condemner, inner-saboteur, needs to be eliminated. When you find your inner-naysayer coming to the table, tell it, “You are no longer welcome here.” Instead, focus on inviting your “inner compassionate companion” to the table instead.
  3. Create a list of mantras. Write specific (positive) mantras on note cards and when the going gets rough, pull out a note card and repeat the statements you find most encouraging for the situation. One that I like to use is:  “You can do this. You will do this. You are doing this.”  The point of the mantras is to change out the neuronal “super-highway” of negativity within your brain, replacing it with a new path – one of strength.
  4. Build your A-Team.  Surround yourself with winners – people who love you and have your back. Pick a team, so that when the going gets rough, you have people to turn to to help you find yourself.  Start with a mentor, a person who gives you permission to call for strength and who can be a good role-model for you.  Pick a few other people who have strengths that you want to develop in yourself. Ask these friends for their help. When you find yourself feeling lost, scared, and weak, call on one of them to help you out by providing the “backbone” you need to face your obstacle.
  5. Be willing to fail.  One of the best ways to overcome fear is to eliminate the pressure of perfectionism. It’s okay to try something and then fail at it. Change has to start somewhere. Every time you want to take a risk and step out of your comfort zone, allow yourself the right to do it wrong. If you begin any venture with the knowledge that you may fail, telling yourself that it’s okay if you do, then you will be teaching yourself self-acceptance. Self-acceptance will carry you far on your road to being strong.
  6. Do one physically challenging thing every day.  Try to do something physically hard, like yoga, Pilates, rock climbing…When your body does something physically challenging your mind is being trained to know that you can do hard things; strong things. In essence, you are showing your brain that you are a person who really is strong.

Understand that strength doesn’t come first.  Strength comes after you do something hard while weak.

For abuse recovery coaching information:

How to be Strong

Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Sharie Stines, Psy.D. is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships. Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Southern California ( Lifeline Counseling is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) corporation. Sharie is also an abusive relationship recovery coach -


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APA Reference
Stines, S. (2017). How to be Strong. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from