I was a big believer that life was hard, but I was harder.
I still ‘kind of’ stand by that premise, but with one small exception… luckily for me, that small exception happens to also have a massive effect.
See, because I thought life was hard, I became harder, I was strong, solid, grounded, like a brick wall.
I used to brag about my stability and stoic-ness.
Problem is, I didn’t realise it at the time, but it only takes one loose brick to topple a brick wall.
Strength is not held in rigidity. Strength is not immovable. Being unyielding can actually be a problem.
You have little to no capacity for flexibility when you are that rigid, that strong, that immovable and unyielding.
There is no room for anything other than strength too. When you put effort into being well built, sturdy, robust – it can take everything you’ve got.
I mean, that’s what being strong is right – whether it’s physical or emotional – strength is having power, it’s being fuelled, it’s holding your ground against the odds – that takes a truck load of energy.
Which is why it feels good in many ways – we feel powerful, invincible, like we did good.
However, when we put all our energy and eggs into the strength basket… we are no longer capable of feeling or processing anything else, any other emotion.
That means, no joy, no laughter, no elation, no excitement… we become numb, disengaged from our inner feelings, our inner world as well as our outer world, life.
We become half a person.
Even the Incredible Hulk had Bruce Banner.
You can’t be angry all the time, or cry all the time, just like you can’t be strong all the time – it’s exhausting, it’s untenable!
Real strength is when a tree stands strong in a storm. If it were standing hard and fast, unbendable in a storm, it’s branches would merely snap or its roots ripped right out of the ground.
But trees, especially the big glorious strong life-long ones, now they are flexible. They know how to weather a storm. They know that in events more powerful than they, the best thing to do is nestle your roots into the ground, become more grounded and centred, have strong foundations, flexible branches and go with the flow.
The more you bend with the breeze, the more malleable you are, the stronger you actually become and because you are less rigid in your approach, you are better able to feel all other emotions.
The more you can really go through the full gamut of an experience, it’s highs and lows, its ebb and flow; and still come out the other side, the stronger in fact you are – strong like a Californian Redwood, not just a basic brick wall.
That strength is ‘real’ strength. It’s not Goliath strength, where if you just find the weak point it’s ‘all-over Red Rover’ and the wall of Lego topples.
It’s Grand Canyon River strength. If it hits an obstacle or a blockage, it erodes another path and keeps pushing forward. That malleability can only happen with true strength.
Resilience and resolve and having an internal voice that continues to push through no matter how hard things get is the way to build that inner strength, that hearty, high quality strength.
So don’t avoid the pain, the hurt or the fear and worry. Don’t shut your eyes to the truth.
Don’t close off your heart in fear of it being hurt.
Open that baby up! Let your heart be exposed, let that fleshy vulnerable heart sit unprotected in an open rib cage savouring life, living it in it’s fullest… knowing, that should your heart get hurt; that it will be ok. It doesn’t need to be guarded or preserved behind the walls of a bone fortress, because even if it is laid bare for the world to ‘have at it’, you know how to repair it, you have faith in your ability to rebuild, you know that sometimes life hurts, but you also know that on the other side of that pain is all the other emotions you can now feel fully; joy, elation, surprise, excitement.
So, let life in!!!!
Open your arms, be prepared to take whatever hits may come; because life can be hard at times and you don’t have to be harder, you just have to be amenable to really encountering all the adventures life has in store for you.