There are an endless supply of definitions for the word ‘strength’ but the one I like, the one I’m going to base this post on, is this:
Strength is the inherent capacity to manifest energy, to endure, and to resist.
To endure. To persevere. To fight through that which threatens to overpower you.
The overpowering force in your life might be depression, anxiety, fear. Fear of loss. Fear of spiders. Fear of failure. It might be stress, another person’s will – or the urge to collapse when you have that one last terrible push-up to do.
But to endure is to succeed. To endure is to grow. To endure is to become stronger.
Strength can only come from finding your limits, and pushing past them. Again and again and again.
Strength will never be purely physical; there are many with incredible strength of body, it does not guarantee that they also possess strength of mind. True strength is shown in those who have been tried and tested and, pardon the metaphor, forged in the flames of struggle and adversity.
Beyond admiring those who were stronger than myself I never really thought much about strength until recently. I assumed that physical strength was beyond me and had the rather terrible tendency to accept my limitations, mental, physical and emotional.
Over the last year I lost a decent amount of weight; the result should have been contentment with my body. It should have made me happy. Skinny is good. Fat is bad…. right?
Some rather intelligent individual reminded me that there is a difference between being ‘scrawny’ and being fit. He brought me an entirely new awareness of what it really means to be strong. And oddly, for me, an intense desire to find my own strength. I’m not sure that anything feels as satisfying as realizing that you can do something today that you couldn’t do yesterday. To feel muscle where once there was nothing more than flesh holding you limply together. To be sweating your butt off in a room full of people and know that six months before you would have been too mortified by the thought to even consider it. To stand your ground even when it’s the very last thing you want to do.
Strength. Even in small doses, even if the difference isn’t noticeable to anyone but yourself – even then, it’s a heady wonderful feeling. I’m still working on exactly what it means, but what I do know is that I want it.
Besides, I have to admit, strength is sexy; whether it’s conviction of character or the ability to carry me with one arm. So overcome. Endure. Stick to your guns (pun intended), whatever they may be, because you can bet that I’m going to stick to mine.