I am musing this morning. Apologies in advance. I will have a point in the end…eventually.
Strength and Courage….
What’s so special about them, you ask? I asked the same thing yesterday when I saw this quote and it nagged me all night.
I’ve decided that, on their own, I don’t suppose there is much special about strength or courage.
The mere possession of strength of body or mind or will rarely achieves greatness. Sure, you may have a rockin’ physique, an I.Q. enviable to Einstein, or the tenacity of a hungry shark. Good on you! However, unless you have the courage to use your strengths, they remain your locked-away secret–your dormant potential, but not your reality.
(Tragically, I’ve noticed that too many people get stuck possessing great strengths with heaping amounts of self-doubt, and they hide their strengths away from the world. They appear bitter, jealous, insecure, unfulfilled, and unhappy).
When strength and courage exist simultaneously within you, though, they work synergistically, and your potential cannot help but burst forth and shine, improving your life and the lives of all around you. The key is to embody both so that one may continuously influence the other and allow you to live in your true state of being. Sounds blissful, right?
According the Lao Tzu, love has something to do with it.
So what’s love got to do with it? (Great question, Lovelies!)
Love is the matchmaker that unites your strength and your courage. Most of us were born into the perfect strength-courage scenario: We came into life much to the delight of parents who loved us unconditionally. Their love gave us strength as we grew, and because we loved them back we had the courage to test-out our strength in the world.
Unfortunately, most people outgrow this scenario right around the time their strength and courage will be tested the most: adolescence.
As our perspective of the world expands and changes, so do our needs. We start needing the love of others, not just our parents, to sustain our courage. And so we audition others for our support team. We find people to love and who will love us in return, even if only temporarily, so that we can feel safe being ourselves. Isn’t that why high school was so much fun for some and so hellish for others? Some of us are lucky to find our lifetime love, a constant giver and receiver, in our teens; others of us search for a lifetime, moving from person to person until the right one enters our lives.
I am lucky. I am in love with my best friend and have been since I was sixteen years old. (That’s one year more than half my life, Lovelies!). Has our relationship been rom-com Oscar-worthy, filled only with sunshine and fairy dust?
Nor would I want it to be.
What our relationship has been and continues to be is the fulfillment of Lao Tzu’s wise words. By loving each other we give two things: Strength to our partner and courage to ourselves. I am, undoubtedly, the person I am today because of CH’s love and my love for CH.
But I realized something….
My strength and courage don’t just come from loving someone else and accepting someone else’s love.
My strength and courage come, in part, from loving myself and actually accepting my self-love.
Think about it: how much better would you feel if you gave yourself permission to love yourself? All of you. Even your flaws. Isn’t that the kind of love we give to our partners? Isn’t that the kind of love our partners give us? They wouldn’t give up on us, would they? Well, then, don’t you dare give up on yourself!
This is your job today, Lovelies. Love yourselves. And make sure you know it!
You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are strong and courageous.
Go light-up the world!