Some of us find it pretty easy to be open and vulnerable about our feelings and others, not so much. Some of us may find it rewarding to be able to pour out our own emotions before other people, and others would probably get their teeth plied out one by one before they would even think about sharing their insecurities. Whether you’re the former or latter, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt utterly defeated and no idea how to deal with the fallout of our own emotions.

It’s been a long while since my last bawling session in the shower, but those moments stick in my mind and I can’t help but be incredibly frustrated whenever I remember how¬†weak I felt then. But then, I am reminded that while it’s okay to cry and scream out my frustrations at whatever first world problem I’m currently dealing with, I will always be able to find the strength to handle what life deigns to throw at me, one way or another. And while the situations below might not be a comprehensive list of everyone’s experiences, at least one of them would still be pretty relatable, at least.

(You tell me you didn’t curse at your ex for dumping you over a text, and I’ll dub you a saint with one of my flower crowns.)

1. The first phone call from home after moving away

It’s been a long day filled with flights or even cross country driving, and you can’t find your ratchet blanket that’s been with you since you were two, and to top it off, the power’s not working at your new place and you don’t have WiFi set up yet, even though the owner had promised he’d do it before you arrived. And your phone’s suddenly ringing with an all-too-familiar number. Do you let loose your wailing to your worried family that’s eager to know you’re safe and sound? Or do you choke back the tears and tell them you’re alright and yes, Mum, I’ve scouted the neighbourhood and I think the cat next door is out to get me, but I’ve got a broom at the ready? Strength is found when we sense a need to protect our loved ones, even in the oddly domestic of ways, so never underestimate yourself; after all, the WiFi will be set up soon enough and it’ll only take a simple call to get the power going.

2. Every single heartbreak

When you think you’ve experienced it once and you’ll be prepared for the next one if and when it comes, that’s when Cupid probably decides to teach you for being too smart for your own good and yank that arrow out of your ex. All jokes aside, it hurts. It’ll hurt when you’re getting dumped. It’ll hurt when you’re the one doing the dumping. It’ll hurt a little less as time passes and wounds heal, but wow, does it take a while. But strength is found in self-preservation, and there will come a time after the initial breakup when you’ll stare at the tissues surrounding your bed and think, “This isn’t me. I’m not about to spend the rest of my days crying over a person, even if they were the best and the worst memories I had combined in a set of complications.”

3. When you forgive an apology that wasn’t given

At first, the bitterness will fester as days pass and you don’t get a single acknowledgement of the other party’s wrongdoing. You’ll wonder if they were being intentionally stupid or if they really didn’t know that they had hurt you with their careless words and backstabbing actions. And slowly you’ll start to realise that you’re never going to get a “Sorry” from them, even when you awkwardly bring it up, only to have the entire situation swept under a carpet of hollow excuses. You can choose to let the bitterness overtake you and no one’ll bat an eye, least of all the person that did this to you in the first place. Or you forgive an apology that wasn’t given in the first place, and allow yourself to let go of the negativity that’s plagued your sleep and waking hours.

4. When you decide to cut out a toxic habit from your life

It could be a mental or physical habit that’s weighed us down. It could be as simple as compulsively putting yourself down, or a destructive fixation that harms you, physically and or mentally. And you’re tired of it. The toxicity is causing you too much pain, and perhaps that pain is spreading out to the people closest to you, and it’s time to stop. Making that decision to let go takes courage, so draw strength from that courage. Draw strength from the knowledge that things will get better, little by little. Know that it’s fine to fail a hundred times, if it takes you a hundred and one to succeed.