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…

Strength

I believe that if you’re looking for strong people you should look for the people who see the worst of it and love you anyway.

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Hello dear reader.
I hear a lot about what a strong person I am. You have a genetic disorder? You are so strong! You’ve had five surgeries on your head? Well you look wonderful! I don’t know how anyone deals with constant pain. You are so strong! How does that make me strong?
If I have a day or two that I get really emotional and cry at the drop of a hat, is that weakness? If I have to cancel on something I promised to do or say “No” to something I really want to do because the pain won’t let me do it, does that make me weak? What if I turn off my phone and escape into a book because if I have to talk to one more doctor about one more new thing that the Chiari has caused I will scream? Does that mean I’m weak?
Personally, I don’t think any of that has anything to do with strength or weakness. I deal with the pain and all the rest of the crap because I don’t have any choice. If you know of another option, I’d dearly love to hear it! I get emotional and cry because I don’t have a choice. I hide in a book as a survival mechanism, so I can spend some time not crying. I turn off the phone to keep from losing what little bit of sanity I have left. That’s not strength or weakness. It’s survival.
I’m no stronger and no weaker than the next person. If you found yourself in the same situation that I’m in (God forbid!) you would do whatever you had to do to get through a day. You would search for anything positive you could grab hold of. You would try your best to enjoy the good days at least 10x more than you hate the bad ones. Mostly, you would handle it in whatever way works best for you.
One last thing….I believe that if you’re looking for strong people you should look for the people who see the worst of it and love you anyway. They watch someone they love going through hell and can’t fix it. They hold your hand and let you cry and keep trying to find a way to make it better. What makes them so strong? They don’t have to go through it.
I don’t have a choice about what I have to deal with, but my husband does. He still comes home to me every day, checks on me if I’m in bed too long, helplessly watches when I’m in horrible pain, and makes me laugh EVERY day. He’s the strong one, not me. Thank you Tim.
Until next time…