I've learned through my own painful experiences that those times where I was hard, I was "strong" and stoic, a bad ass who didn't take any shit from anyone I was little more than a lost, confused and wounded person running away and hiding from everything that I needed to face. In my "strength" I damaged myself, my relationships and my well being in order to protect myself. I was locked up in the walls of everything that I was hiding from and I was being who I now know that I never want to be.
Yes, we have to forge ahead and be strong when life spins madly out of control. But I think that what is really strong is to be soft. Be open. Be vulnerable. Because until we face our world head on and with an open mind and heart, we haven't begun to heal.
I'll leave you with this that says it better than I ever could.