Defining Strength

Climbing Angel's Landing in Utah (yes, to the top of the Rock behind me)

Find your strong…

This idea of defining your strength has been following me around since I heard about the woman who ran the Chicago Marathon 39 weeks pregnant. She was able to define her level of strength by completing a full marathon and delivering a healthy baby. Not everyone has that same definition of strength.  Fit Pregnancy posted a great article yesterday about finding inspiration in a pregnant woman who had found her level of fitness in the gym.

While it is easy to define strength based on a individual’s physical ability, I believe it is our emotional strength that truly defines us and allows us to be physically strong.  Last week, Lauren posted about defining emotional strength. She closed her post with a quote that is now permanently etched into a part of me.

I know you think you can’t, but I promise, you can do this.

My strength is personal to me and my journey in life. Your strength has to be the same.

No matter what defines our definition of strength, I think we owe it to ourselves to define what it means to each of us. It feels amazing to push the physical and emotional boundaries we place around ourselves. There is something empowering about running the extra mile that I never thought I could run. When I first started running, I wanted to run from my house to the Edgar Cayce building and back (2 miles). That distance became easy. Then I wanted to run from my house to the Cavalier Hotel and back (5 miles). That too became easy. I tackled a half-marathon. Although it wasn’t easy, it was so rewarding. I wanted more. If I could challenge myself to get to 13.1 miles, why not push further. Why not see what I’m capable of when things get hard? Isn’t that when we find our true character?

We are so much stronger than we think.

Everyone has a limitless source of strength. Just when you think you have nothing left to give, you find a little bit more. Just when you think you can’t handle it anymore, a rainbow appears.

I think one of the reasons I love running so much is that it allows me to go on a life journey in a few miles or a few hours. I can have great runs that turn bad. I can have bad runs that turn great. I can have a run that is dependent on talking myself out of negative self-talk when things get hard. I have to convince myself to keep going. Other days I have to tell myself to stop and take a break.  No matter how good or how bad, I am always smiling at the end of each run. Each run allows me tackle something that will happen to me at any moment in my life.

Life makes it easy to be lazy. Life makes it easy to find comfort in not trying. Although comfort is great, there is a lot of life to experience that comes from pushing beyond what is comfortable. I think we owe it to ourselves to figure out how strong we can be and what we are capable of accomplishing. Even if we aren’t searching for it, life will find ways to test your emotional strength. No matter how hard it gets, we are all strong enough to make it to the finish line with grace.

It has been a refreshing reminder this week to continue to define my definition of strength.

What defines my strength?

My definition of strength stems from a knowledge of my body. If I had to define the year 2011 in my life, it has been a journey of learning to listen to my body – from marathon training, to injuries, to pregnancy, to lots and lots of yoga, to emotional melt-downs. I’m still learning, but I am becoming more in tune with my body every day. In order to do this

  • I have to sweat. Exercise of any form allows me to engage with my body. Running has never been about physical exercise for me. It is 100% my mental therapy.
  • I have to nourish my body. My body can’t  communicate what it needs if it filled with processed foods that prevent my body functioning properly.
  • I need to connect with the people around me. I’m learning to trust more and love better – this can be really hard for me.
  • I need to connect with the world around me.  Nothing feels better than breathing outside! Nothing feels better than climbing a mountain, sleeping under the stars, and waking up with the sun.

All of these items combine to allow me to find my strength in this world, to connect with this world, and to hopefully form a positive energy around myself.

We owe it to ourselves to define our strength. We deserve the happiness that comes along with it.

Reward for reaching the top
And a kiss to celebrate!
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4 thoughts on “Defining Strength

  1. When life gets challenging I always pray that God sharpens me and my character through whatever I am going through. I believe that this is when true strength is built and found. Great post!

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