What is strength?

Strength means different things at different times and different things to different people.

Hello dear reader.

The following quote comes from an article in The Mighty written by Mary Lynn Johnson. It really spoke to me when I read it.

“Strength isn’t the opposite of weakness. It’s in a category of its own. Strength is choosing to keep pushing and reaching when everything is in the way of where you want to go. Strength is born out of the imperfect places in our lives that stretch us farther than we ever thought possible. Strength means not giving up, and that means you keep showing up.”

You can read the entire article here.

This quote challenges one of the biggest misconceptions about what it means to be strong…it “isn’t the opposite of weakness.” People tend to see a straight line with weakness on one end and strength on the other, but that’s not the way it goes. Strength and weakness can, and often do, occur at the same time. There are a lot of ways they both come into play. They can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and more. I can be strong mentally and weak physically. I can be strong physically (it happens occasionally 😉) and weak spiritually. There are any number of ways they can happen together.

Strength and weakness are also relative. These days I feel strong physically when I can sweep my floors. Before I got so sick, sweeping the floor was nothing, just one in a miriad of chores I did daily.

Some days it takes all the strength I can muster to take a shower. Other days, that’s nothing.

Strength means “not giving up, and that means you keep showing up.” I try every day to get up, get dressed, and be part of the day. That’s not always possible. But I try again and again and again. I celebrate the days I can do it, and I accept the days I can’t. I don’t give up. I show up.

Strength means different things at different times and different things to different people.

There’s a comment box at the end of this post for comments, suggestions, and/or questions. What does strength mean to you? I’d love to know what you think.

Until next time…

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Friend or Foe?

But I have to admit that if I had a friend who treated me the way my body does, it wouldn’t consider it a good friendship.

Hello dear reader,

Before you read this, I think I should put a ‘disclaimer’ of sorts. I promised you this blog would be honest and always open for discussion. I did not promise I would have all the answers. Those of you wanting a refund can get in line with the rest of the bill collectors. Now that we’ve cleared that up…onward!

I think most women have issues of some kind with their body. We wish we were thinner or curvier, shorter or taller, look younger, or had eyelashes it didn’t take a magnifying glass (or a tube of mascara) to find. Okay, that last one is probably just me, but you get the point. A lot of us try to meet unrealistic expectations.

I’m getting older, and that fact alone has changed my expectations. I’ll never look like I did at 20, or even 40. My body seems to have aged at least 20 years in the last five, which I think just plain sucks!

Appearance is only a piece of it. I can’t do the things I used to do. I raised four kids, kept a (reasonably) clean house, and if I slept more than five hours at night I was useless the next day. These days the kids are grown and live in their own homes, I need help to be able to keep my house even semi-clean, and I usually sleep ten hours a night and need a nap in the afternoon.

I’ve talked before about being gentle, loving, and kind to ourselves…like we would with a friend. But I have to admit that if I had a friend who treated me the way my body does, it wouldn’t consider it a very good friendship. I’m struggling with being loving toward a body that only works about 30% of the time, and hurts 75% of the time (I would say 100%, but there is all that sleeping to consider). What kind of friend is that?

There’s no life lesson in this post, I’m sorry to say. If I figure out an answer, you’ll be the first to know. If you have an answer, I’d be very grateful if you’d share it.

On another note, since I’m asking for advice anyway, I need a new name for this blog. It amazes me how naive I can be about some things, but apparently the word “chronic” is associated with marijuana, so the title is misleading. Who knew? Don’t answer that. So I need a name that makes people think about trying to live with chronic illness/pain, vs simply existing…and not about weed.

Until next time…