Defining “strength”

If you could define strength – how would you define it?

This is the thought that popped into mind last night as I was drifting off to sleep (or trying to).

Funny how some of the best blog post topics come to mind at the oddest of times.

But back to my question – how would you define strength?

My description varies depending on what I’m applying it to:

Physical strength means:

...being able to hold a plank for a full minute without wavering.

lifting increasingly more weight — and noticing the difference — during my most recent STS session. And the feeling that invoked. Confidence. And yes, a smidge of girl power. 😉

pushing past both physical and mental boundaries to reach new goals (hello freezing cold 5-miler on Thanksgiving and a first-time PR!) and realizing the strength that facing such challenges takes.

holding my niece in her favorite pose when she’s cranky – her facing me with my two hands under her armpits holding her out and up above my body in a slight swaying motion (imagine a person who is scared to death of holding babies – like Joey on Friends – and how he’d hold a baby – as far away from him as possible, no cuddling whatsoever. THIS is my nieces favorite “I’m cranky” pose and it’s killer on the arms after a few minutes of this, lemme tell ya).

But mental strength? Now that is something else entirely – something I totally admire when I see it in others, and more so than when I see physical strength in others.

Mental strength means:

knowing when to say good-bye to a relationship (friend, boyfriend, husband, wife…) and being strong enough to admit it to yourself and gaining the inner strength and confidence needed before making the physical move towards a separation, a divorce, an ended friendship.  I’ve witnessed it not just in my sister (who I admire more than she probably will ever know), but in some of my closest friends, too. And, I’ve had my share of ended friendships. None of that is easy. It takes guts. It takes inner strength. It takes confidence. And yes, balls.

recognizing and being able to separate yourself from negative influences in your life. It could be a job that makes you really unhappy. A financial situation. A distant family member or friend. Being able to take away your focus on the negative things in your life just long enough to realize that God has his next play in your own personal chess game planned and ready to go. It’s having faith, it’s trusting in a higher power (or whatever you happen to believe in) that this too, shall pass.

experiencing a loss – a death in the family, a failed fertility attempt, a lost memory. This is probably what takes the most inner strength, mental strength AND physical strength to move on both mentally and physically. And it takes time. A lot of time. And it hurts.

Why am I saying all of this? I’m not sure. I guess it’s just a good reminder for me – and all of you – that we each have our own version and story of what strength means. And it’s important to embrace it – physically, mentally and yes, spiritually, too.

Sometimes it just takes a good reminder to see it. But it’s there. We all have it.


12 thoughts on “Defining “strength”

    • Thanks friend. After reading your post tonight, it sounds like you could use a boost of mental strength right now. Hang in there my friend, sending your knee lots of hugs. 😉

  1. Soo good sis. And wow, we were kinda on the same wavelength in our posts, in a way, weren’t we? I really love the part about separating yourself from loss. Sometimes it’s what you need to move forward. And go you on the plank. I still hate them.

    • I know. I read yours right after I wrote mine and was struck by that too. As if we should be surprised at this point??

      Re: plank. I didn’t SAY I could do a full 60 seconds without wavering, just that that invokes strength to me. 😉

  2. Really good post, I think strength starts with having a good sense of self and the belief in oneself to be able to overcome challenges and difficulties. The mind is powerful and I think it can really influence how the body acts. I think mental and physical strength are very much interlinked.

  3. I love all of these! I think here lately, after visiting my aunt and seeing come close friends go through tough times, I have to remember that we all have that inner strength….even when we think we don’t. It’s funny because I feel physically stronger than I am mentally most of the time….I think just because I worry so often (about mostly stupid things)! Thank you for this reminder today. We are ALL strong. Go us. 🙂

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