This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.
Good morning, lovely you!
I am in a pretty fantastic mood this morning. Not only am I sipping an absolutely delicious cup of tea that is the perfect temperature but my little ZuZu is lying next to me in a patch of sun. AND, it looks like our country is finally going to open up and we can slowly but surely get back to normal life.
I know most of us have been going crazy and feeling stress and anxiety for the past month or more. But we are coming out of it now, and while some of us have taken a financial hit, most of us have weathered the storm and are ok.
And that leads me into the topic I want to talk about today, which is inner strength.
Is inner strength someone we have inside us already and we simply need to find it during times of crisis, or is inner strength something we cultivate BECAUSE of crisis? I am reminded of that old saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
As someone who survived stage 4 melanoma and was given only months to live, I can tell you that saying is 1000% true. Now, I had to have had some strength to shun traditional medicine (chemo) and find my own path to healing. But I think even that strength I can connect to having lost my beloved father months before and getting through that whole horrible ordeal.
I think the very fact that we use the word “strength” suggests that our mental and spiritual strength are not unlike physical strength. To build muscle and become physically stronger, we must first break the muscle down in order to build it back up – better than it was before. That is how strength training works. You don’t get stronger without pushing your muscles to the point where the protein fibers break down so they can build back up.
It’s much the same with calluses. Our skin, when overburdened, becomes stronger. But it can’t get stronger unless it has been exposed to hard work.
I have known many people throughout this life of mine. The ones that faced very few, if any, challenges in their early life always had a much more difficult time it seemed facing challenges, like health challenges, later in life. While the people I’ve known who had rocky childhoods and traumatic young adulthoods seemed to have developed humor and resiliency that allowed them to face future challenges head on.
So, I don’t think inner strength is something innate; something that some of us are born with and others aren’t. I think it is the result of hard work, whether we wished for that hard work or not.
Now the good news is, you don’t necessarily HAVE to have faced extraordinary, hard, painful, awful, traumatizing experiences to build inner strength. It can be cultivated provided you DO THE WORK.
Here are some ways you can begin to cultivate more inner strength, so the next time you are faced with any kind of crisis, you can do so with grace and courage:
Become More Mindful
Being strong means using every resource available to us. There is no higher resource than God. Spend more time practicing meditation so you can become more present and aware in the moment.
Be More Observant
Once you start to live in the moment more, use your power of observation. Don’t judge anything in that moment, simply observe everything you can. Often solutions to problems are right in front of us, we simply aren’t aware of them. Be more observant and accept the help that is all around you. Strength doesn’t require you go it alone, strength gives you the ability to see help and accept it.
Respond Instead of React
Inner strength allows us to respond to a situation without emotionally reacting to it. When we are in “fight or flight” mode, blood is directed away from our brain and we cannot make sound, logical decisions. When you cultivate inner strength, you give yourself the ability to calmly react to stressful situations.
Bring Compassion to the Situation
What does it mean to be able to bring compassion to an intense situation? It means bringing kindness, patience, understanding and forgiveness to the scene of the crime. It means ultimately thinking of others instead of only yourself.
Now, how many of us would have got through this lockdown more easily had we developed inner strength? None of us are perfect, but we are all responsible for our own personal development.
Let’s all take a lesson from Covid-19 and commit to working on developing more inner strength so we can deal with stressful situations and each other with more grace and compassion in the future.
Prue’s quote of the day: ”