How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?

~ Charles De Gaulle ~

Are You Strong Enough?

September 29th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 21 secs

You need to be strong.

Being strong. What does that mean to you? Is it about muscles, power, or do you think of it as a force?

Strong” can manifest itself in overcoming foes or, insisting on getting your own way. Such strength is about pushing your self ahead by overriding the will of others. Yet being strong isn’t all brute force. There are gentler ways.

More than muscle and might, being strong can also speak of perseverance and the steadfast determination to keep going, despite the obstacles. Sometimes, being strong means having the grit to simply be firmly gentle, and open yet resolute.

Being willing to show your soft underbelly in a harsh world, takes incredible daring. Particularly, as people can easily misunderstand that kind of decision as weakness or naivety.

For instance, facing the rigors of family spats, hurts, and deep misunderstandings without applying strong-arm tactics takes more strength than lashing out. Though it requires courage to be gentle, for many it’s incomprehensible. How can there be strength in tenderness?

In a world of power plays and ego, strength based on qualities of character doesn’t make sense. Or does it?

Strong people with goodness in their heart have always played their part in history. Together, they have given us much that we value today. People with the guts to continue, despite incredible odds, have made achieved in countless ways. Selfless people like:

  • Marie Curie who, with her husband, pioneered important work in radioactivity in early 20th Century, despite great personal risk
  • Ann Frank – the Dutch teenage Jewish girl, whose writings still touch generations, revealed her strengths, somewhat ironically, by hiding
  • Mother Teresa worked tirelessly to help the destitute in the slums of (Kolcata) Calcutta
  • Jane Franklin – pioneer and visionary of the 19th Century, used privilege to care for the dispossessed.
  • Dian Fossey – did remarkable fieldwork with gorillas against a backdrop of war and personal hazards in Africa
  • Helen Keller – who, born blind and deaf, became a champion for people’s ability
  • Rosa Parks – gentle campaigner for the civil rights movement in the USA, did it by daring
  • Lee Cunxin – of Mao’s Last Dancer fame, became strong by turning his potential into triumph through dedication and passion

Admittedly, this is a pitifully tiny list. There are millions of men and women who have shown that being strong can be a matter of character and fortitude. Some are people you’ve met.

Those who are strong through might do so by applying a blunt instrument that frequently destroys and intimidates to hold sway. But people who are strong through compassion and courage leave a nobler legacy. Misunderstanding notwithstanding, these people ultimately win our admiration.

You might think only the gifted can posses that kind of strength. But don’t believe it. You can even find your own strong base by sticking true to the qualities you dearly believe in. With belief, incredible things become possible for anyone.

Determination to persist in the face of difficulty doesn’t always make the news. It could simply be about getting through another tough day. But whether it gets press or not, the effect of being strong in spirit does contribute to those who know us. Asking if you are strong enough is just rhetorical. Because I believe you are. We just need to keep applying it with all the strength of steadfast persistence we can muster.

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