Strength is not courage nor is it the absence of fear. Rather, strength is a willingness to feel weak and still make the decision to move forward with integrity.
There is a softness about strength. It is not found within determination. Instead it is in the knowing that at any moment everything can change. The strongest are able to bend, flow and move with grace like webs on the wind. The weakest are the most fixed. Stable in appearance, but weakened by their lack of flexibility.
What does all this mean? It means that I am strong, because I know myself to be otherwise. I know that anything – everything – changes without warning, and that I can choose to bend or stand firm. My strength is found in my weaknesses: compassion, understanding, sympathy, empathy. Without them, I would be steel. With them, I am the co-creator of my life…allowing the wind to carry me, always knowing that I get to choose how long to make my web.
Today was a challenging day. Tonight was even more difficult. The morning began with a difficult conversation that tested my resolve to stand firm, and the evening ended with an emotional conversation that had me bending and swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane. In the morning, I chose to find strength by allowing more flexibility into a precious decision. In the evening, though my emotions were carrying me this way and that, I chose to find the strength that comes with expressing myself honestly and openly, by stating my needs and creating boundaries.
So, in the end — what is strength?…. We know it when we see it in others, yet we rarely recognize it in ourselves. And therein lies the answer.