What make us strong? And how do we develop our strength?
Some say that strength comes through adversity. That a good kick in the teeth will strengthen us. Others suggest that strength comes from tenacity and persistence. That perhaps if we win too easily, we don't develop strength. That if we go through tasks and events without surrender, if we tolerate and cope with the hardships, we become strong. But when we cope or tolerate, we've basically resigned ourselves to living with the problem. Coping and tolerating, while they can be managed with some degree of success, are often less than peaceful.
So I’d like to introduce tenderness and kindness, those qualities that come from our heart rather than our head. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness but developers of strength and resolution. And more importantly, whether the strength you desire is mental or physical, real strength is the strength you develop through the kindness and tenderness you give to yourself.
One of the synonyms in my dictionary for strength is courage, “a state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.” The word courage has its root in the Latin word Cor, which means, “heart.” So I'm suggesting that real strength or courage comes from the heart.
There are many ways you can become more kind to yourself. Here are five of my favorites. Start with the one that interests you the most.
1. Stop complaining. What we focus on tends to repeat. If you're complaining instead of expressing appreciation, you'll likely get more of what you are complaining about.
2. Remove yourself from situations and people that cause you problems. The exhaustion you experience after time with these people or in these situations will sap you of your strength.
3. Let others know how they can please you. Most folks can't read your mind. Speak up. You'll be surprised how often people can accommodate you when they understand. And if they can't, often they are willing to negotiate and tell you want they can, instead, do for you.
4. Go fishing! Well, that's my personal favorite. But you get the idea. Take time for yourself. Do something you love just because.
5. Let your heart lead! Check in with it often.
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as true strength.” St. Francois de Sales