Strength – Say Yes to Life

As you may know if you’ve read the blog recently, I’ve come up with five words to use to help give my life some direction.  These words are not goals in themselves, but they are guidelines I can use to help me make decisions and set priorities.  They are identification markers for what I think is important to me.

In the first post about this, I noted that those five words were:  Energy, Strength, Independence, Creativity, and Simplicity.

That is the order in which I think of them, too.  Each word builds on the last.  In my last post, I chatted a little bit about Energy, how I consider it to be the foundation of the house, so to speak. To me the building blocks of that foundation are: proper food, drinking enough water, movement, and getting enough sleep.

So, first a check in on how I’m doing on the whole energy front.  The answer is a resounding… Meh.  I’ve been eating okay (mostly because I have lab work coming up so I have to eat okay to try to keep my numbers in check). I’ve also been drinking water, and moving around. Still,  my energy level has been much lower than it needs to be.

Some of that’s because my blood sugar is still too high.  But mostly it’s because I am not sleeping nearly enough.  I seem to routinely be getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night instead of the 8 or more hours I need. So it’s becoming crystal clear to me just how important it is to get enough sleep if you think you’re going to accomplish anything whatsoever with your day.  Yes, there are other issues at play, but sleep is the biggee.  I definitely need to do better.

But that’s a problem for another blog.  Today I’m going to chat about the second of the five words – Strength.

When  I think about strength, I think of it as the floor of the house balanced on the foundation of Energy.

Strength can mean many things, of course, but in my mind, it is not just physical.  Of course there is a physical component.  I would like to build my physical strength to accomplish some dreams and goals that I have.  And I have to build up my physical strength just to be able to sit or stand at a computer for long periods of time.

But for the most part, I think of strength as more of a mental thing.  Or maybe emotional.  I think of it as perseverance.  Stick-to-it-iveness. Not taking “no” for an answer.  Not confidence, but the strength of will to keep going even if you are crippled by doubt and fear.  Stubbornness, if you will.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

Movement is not just physical, and neither is strength. It’s pushing through the blocks that try to keep you in place.  Using the energy from good food, good sleep, enough water, and the momentum of the movement, and kicking it up a notch. Not letting the barriers of fear and doubt stop you. Trust me, you can’t do that when you’re sleep-deprived.

Determination. Focus.  That’s what I think about when I think of about strength. I guess in a way, it’s courage. The courage to keep going and not turn back.

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

Walt Disney

And that’s where I’m facing my challenges, especially considering this time in the world, and in my life.  I find that I am being asked to re-commit to decisions I thought I had already made many times before. I’m being asked to push through doors and knock down walls my own doubts and fears are erecting.

Basically, I think it is really easy to say “no” to life.  It’s really easy to be afraid and get boxed in, especially when the world is in turmoil. Strength is being able to say “yes” to life. Strength is being brave enough to embrace it, say yes, and jump.  And that willingness to say “yes” is the floor upon which we stand.

Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.

Steve Maraboli

Then how do you build strength? How do you say “yes?”

I suppose the simple answer to that is, you just do it. You just keep moving forward. No matter how slowly or haltingly, you push through. When you’re faced with fears and doubts, you keep saying “yes” to your life and jumping. You continue to persevere. You keep moving in spite of it all.  To put it bluntly, you are goddamn stubborn and refuse to give up or lay down until you’ve given it all you’ve got.

So my action items so far are – proper food, enough sleep, enough water, move the body, stubborn perseverance.

Next up is Independence – the framework of the house.

For what it’s worth: It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.

F. Scott Fitzgerald



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