I’ve often been complimented on my strength, whether mental or physical, so I find it somewhat perplexing that much of the time I feel vulnerable to my emotions. I fear loss, whether perceived or real.
I thought today that perhaps a strong person is someone who has been able to go through loss, loss of loved ones or expectations by being grounded, rooted in who they are, for that truly is the only way to be impervious to the ever changing conditions of life, sunny and bright or stormy and gray. And then I thought, with that definition, I’m not all that strong.
How do we train ourselves to deal with loss? How do we enjoy life as it comes? How do we stay present in the moment, confident yet humble? How do we become strong?
To my dismay, much of this strength training is done in solitude. I say dismay because I’m pretty bad at being alone. For most of my adult years, I’ve glommed onto others, usually the man I’m dating. Whoever they are or whatever they’re into becomes a part of my identity. So where does that leave me in terms of rootedness? I don’t know. It’s been a long journey getting back to listening to my heart and gut. I’m not even sure I’ve accomplished that fully but I’m getting better.
This is probably why I enjoy so much my long rides and runs. I can shut off all the outer influences and get realigned to what makes me a better person, happy and at peace. In that way, developing mental toughness/fitness is not unlike developing physical fitness. It all starts with a stable and strong core (trunk/roots) with flexible and coordinated extremities (branches).
Ok, ok, enough with the tree metaphors! LOL
Moral: Be flexible without losing your center. Be unstoppable!