Monday, March 28, 2011


When I look up the definition of strength the definitions come up in this order.

1. Physical power: the physical power to carry out demanding tasks

2. Emotional toughness: the necessary qualities required to deal with stressful or painful situations

There are many more definitions that follow, but these two and their placements stood out to me.  I have needed a great deal of strength over the last many months and I have come to the conclusion that without having the physical power first, I would not have had the subsequent emotional toughness I needed to complete each task or to get through each trial that has been handed to me as of late.  It was an interesting realization.  In the past I never would have associated myself with any connotation of the word strong, and yet I find myself at times now defining the above two definitions of strength more often than not.

I have never been physically strong, even when I was younger and I played sports, I was not what would be considered "good".  In fact I got the best hustle award EVERY year in soccer.  Hey, if nothing else I was consistent.  I was a team player, and I played with my heart, but I wasn't a strong player.  I haven't really thought much about that until now.  I enjoyed playing, so I played.  I didn't care that I wasn't the best, it was never my goal to be the best.  Maybe it should have been, maybe I would have worked harder and been stronger if it was, but it wasn't.  We had other players that were great and they compensated for my weaknesses.  We subsequently almost never lost.  Maybe I would have felt differently if I had played on a losing team, but I doubt it, winning was great, but again playing was my ultimate goal.

Strength has never been my strong point.

Then there's the emotional strength.  HA!  Hahaha!  I couldn't, no wouldn't have been able to even tell you what that meant before November.  There was not an emotionally strong bone in my body.  I would cry at the drop of a pin, all it took was a sideways glance, a conversation started in the wrong tone of voice, or even less.  I was more like an emotional train wreck, but it was nothing new.  I had been that way my entire life.  Those who knew me either loved me for it or despite it depending on the day.  Looking back I can only wonder how and why, but it is not for me to judge why people put up with my emotional instability, only to be thankful they did so that I had the support to get to this point of reflection.

What I can tell you about strength is that I believe you have to have physical power before you can have emotional toughness.  Now I'm not saying I can go lift 1,000 lbs with my pinkie finger, what I mean is that there is a certain amount of actual physical power needed to be emotionally tough.  It takes a physical toll on your body (at least it does mine) to be at my strongest emotionally, and I am learning that the stronger my physical body is the better I can build my emotional strength.  If I am not as physically drained each time I need to be emotionally tough, the easier I find it to do the next time, and the next and the next.  You see where I'm going with this?

Our physical bodies and our minds are very much connected whether we realize it or not, whether we choose to believe it or not.  Think about the last time you cried, really sobbed, and how much energy it took.  Not only was that an emotional release, but a physical release as well.  Now consider how much physical strength it takes (that you don't even realize) to stay calm when you would rather cry, or scream, or simply give up completely and crawl back in bed.  How much more strength does it take to keep going

So when I say that I AM strong.  That I at times define strength.  I am not full of myself, I am not conceited, and I am not on my high horse.  I have come a very long way from the person I was when Curtis left for BCT, from the person I was before we ever started this journey and I have earned the right to BE strong, to exemplify strength in everything I say and do.  I may do it for my son, I may do it for my husband, but ultimately I do it for me, because if I don't do it for me first I cannot possibly do it for them next.

I will leave you with this to ponder...sometimes it takes the most strength to admit that you are at times weak and need the help of others....never be afraid to ask for help, you are only as strong as your greatest weakness.

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