Complexity of Strength

Where does strength come from?

Undoubtedly you’ve experienced a time in your life when you’ve felt anything but strong. 

I can’t even begin to count the times in my life when I felt defeated, when the weight of the world was heavy, and might I even say at times, unbearable. 

Despite the challenges that each of us has experienced, here we are, stronger for it. Although sometimes I know it doesn’t feel that way.

We might not always recognize it when it shows up when we show up, but often in reflection, we see how we’ve risen. Even if it does take someone to point it out to us. That’s the complexity of strength – sometimes we know when we are demonstrating it and other times not so much. It has the ability to be subtle, showing up in a quiet way. From being patient, restraining our words or actions, to holding space for someone to even letting someone else have the credit or win. There is also the way in which at times we need to borrow strength, leaning on someone to help us through. While other times we lend it and give of it generously.

It is complex. Sometimes in triumphant physical display while other times quietly evolving through personal reflection and work. External and internal thresholds. Resistance coming from our outer world and from within. It takes many forms: emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. None of which are independent of each other. There is a multitude of ways that we can expand ourselves, push our limits, and become stronger. Humans have been testing our boundaries since the beginning. Whether we are deliberate about strengthening exercises or it was a result of an experience we’ve survived, in either case, we are stronger for it.

Through adversity comes character, resilience, and yes, strength. 

We all have our own mountains to climb, but over the last year, collectively, we faced a global pandemic. We felt the isolation as we were encouraged to distance. Each of us experiencing life in a new way and facing our own set of obstacles. But we also saw strength demonstrated in how the community came together, showing support for one another.

Community is a powerful source of strength.

Certainly, we all have access to something within us that can pull us through in the darkest of hours. We find out what we are made of during these tribulations. Often it is in the space of nowhere else to go but up, that we find our power source. When we are tested and our backs are to the wall, it’s then, we find our strength. 

But sometimes the way out is too much to endure alone. It’s in these times that we need to ask for help. And in that, great strength is demonstrated. For too long we’ve denied the strength and courage it takes to ask for help. But no longer. We are evolving and shedding what does not serve us. In other words, we are learning our lessons. We are becoming stronger through authentic, transparent conversation and choosing the path that gets us results. In accepting help, we find our strength.

On our own we are capable, but together we are so much stronger.

The work starts with us. It takes a commitment to put yourself out there and feel the resistance. It’s muscle-building – emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. It asks us to expand, to be willing to embrace the process, to release the fear, or at least move in spite of it. Sometimes we find our strength at unexpected moments, but most of the time it comes with decision and determination. 

Commit to building strength.

Make yourself a priority. You can not give what you don’t have. If you want to be there for others, if you want to be generous, you have to be plentiful. Taking time, actually prioritizing your time, so that you are building yourself up and strengthening your resilience is essential. 

We have a responsibility to one another. We also must be mindful that we have to love and respect ourselves. It all comes down to love. What we love and cherish, we protect and nurture. Love is the reason and the way.

Stacie Anderson

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