“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
What part of you is the strongest? The Inner? The Outer? Which helps you to face what appears to be the impossible?
All the children of my nephews and niece are active in sports: soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and anything else that catches their eyes. I’m so happy for them because physical activity was absent from most of my childhood due to many illnesses and a heart murmur. When I began to play a little baseball, it was a huge challenge.
We Win When We Don’t give Up
I suspect most sports participants know what Arnold means about struggles and hardships. It isn’t always easy to become good enough to be on a team, especially a professional one. It requires years of dedication, losing many times, and struggling to overcome our weaknesses. It isn’t the physical strength that always makes us the winners. We win when we don’t give up.
This is certainly one of those times when we are experiencing many struggles: how to survive without a job and income, how to work and stay safe from the virus, how to keep the right distance when we shop for food even when others don’t do so. It’s a long list and dealing with all these challenges may depress us and make us want to stop trying to take care of ourselves.
But as Arnold reminds us, when we decide not to surrender, we struggle to go on and find our strength and that is what sustains us through this pandemic and the major challenges of life. The only winner we need to be in this situation is the one that goes on making our lives the best we can under the circumstances, letting our struggles feed us with resolve.
How To Deal With Our Challenges
So how do we do this? I think Francis of Assisi has some good advice. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Now, just doing what’s necessary can be challenging because so many stores are closed and even food markets don’t always have what we need. This week, two of the vegetables we get every week were so bad they weren’t worth taking home, but they were the only ones the grocery could get. To stay healthy, we need to eat vegetables every day, so if the fresh aren’t available, we’ll have to eat the canned or frozen ones.
If we have a problem with our backs and need acupuncture or massage, we’re taking a risk even if we find a practioner who will do the work. Otherwise, we pull out the heating pad or massager at home. If we need to see a doctor, it will probably be a telehealth connection, definitely not the normal experience.
When what we usually do can’t be done, we have to consider what is possible and perhaps be more creative like some of the people who are creating vegetable gardens in their yards. It’s more challenging for those who aren’t urban farmers or who live in a high-rise although some apartments do have gardens on the building’s roof.
In some instances, it simply isn’t possible to get what we want or need, so obtaining the impossible isn’t always about doing. Just accepting the reality can make us stronger, and not letting disappointment become depression that takes over our lives.
We Must Rely On Inner Strength
The strength that will sustain us through difficult times lies within us. When we face a disappointment, it is wise to take a deep breath, meditate, find the stillness within, and remind ourselves that essentially we are fine. In that stillness we find the light within that allows us to accept the situation or that presents a solution that has not occurred to us.
Years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatique Syndrome and told I had to stop eating gluten and dairy, that seemed impossible. There was virtually no prepared food like that and anything baked had to be made from scratch. Despite the challenge, that diet became my norm. Because I chose to do what was difficult, that decision resulted in good health.
Many necessary changes in life are not easy, but when we find we can make those changes, other changes seem more possible. We simply need to embrace the seemingly impossible and refuse to surrender. Therein lies our strength.
© 2020 Georganne Spruce