Where does true strength come from?
I've been wondering about this lately. I have always considered myself to be a very strong person, unyielding in the face of difficulty. However there are times, especially when I'm alone, that I'm not certain how to pull it all together. Insecurity creeps in, fear begins to take over and it takes a lot of self-talk to come off the proverbial ledge. The bright shining star of optimism slowly fades into uneasy feelings of trepidation and lackluster confidence. Some days the strength I need is overflowing and sometimes it's nearly empty.
Is strength something that we're born with or something that we harden to over the years? Is it something you acquire or is it simply complete trust in the Universe that all will be okay? When you think of someone who is strong, do you picture someone who gregariously convinces the entire world that everything is okay or is the strongest person you know the quietest one, easily in touch with their emotions? What constitutes the strength that we admire and aspire to attain?
Whenever I feel unable to forge ahead, I come back to my breath first and foremost. Next, I attempt to quiet the thoughts running rampant in my over-thinking, over-analyzing mind. Things are usually not as they seem, I remind myself. It's time to stop worrying about being hurt and time to start trusting again. And finally, let's not go there right now. Maybe later, but we're just not going there right now. I may write it all down or maybe I get out for a run or yoga class. Movement and connecting with others helps to settle the unsure feelings that arise. Writing helps me to make sense of it all.
A friend recently loaned me a copy of Who Moved My Cheese? If you haven't picked it up, I recommend that you do. It's a quick read, only about 100 pages or so, and it may give you the motivation to find your strength in the face of change. The entire story is a metaphor consisting of four characters that make up different parts of ourselves and how they react when their Cheese (anything you want out of life) is no longer where they expect it to be. The photo to the right illustrates The Handwriting on the Wall, or strategies to help you rethink your reaction to said "moved cheese."
I bring this up only because, maybe it's not the depth of strength you have, but the ability to cope with and manage change that counts. Life is changing all around us all of the time and is in fact the only constant we really ever know. As we get older we change, our relationships change, how we see the world changes, and so on and so forth. Sometimes we are faced with adversity and really, that's change too. When something stressful happens or whenever you feel up against the wall, it's because some moving part of what you're accustomed to has changed and it's up to you to decide what happens next.
If we take this idea to be true, then real strength comes from the ability to recognize, understand and manage change, big or small, in your life. And if that's the case, we can all be as strong as we need to be at any given moment as long as we grounded in this truth.
Where do you find your strength? How do you manage change? Do you like change or do you shy away from it?