November 9, 2015
Tough? Or Strong?
One of Merriam Webster’s definitions of “toughness” is “characterized by severity.”
Webster goes on to define “strength” as “capacity for exertion or endurance;” “not easily injured;” “firm.”
That place where one stops and the other begins – being strong but not severe – can be difficult to recognize for some of us. That line asks us to hold to our own integrity and wellbeing, while staying soft, allowing, and staying open to alternate views and options. Some of us can do this naturally, feeling safe and confident within ourselves. Some of us struggle to see the difference; we stumble around, hurting feelings, creating self-protective walls instead of porous boundaries.
Our mind-set – and its expression, words and behavior – can keep communication open or shut it down; it can inspire creativity and expansion, or reinforce isolation and self-protection; the choice is always ours. And we can consciously choose our mind-set ahead of time in all forms of daily living whether we realize it or not.
If we take the time to decide who and how we are to be in the world, our choices get easier and we can stay strong. Do we want to shield and insulate? Or trust and expand? Do we want to encourage the spiritual aliveness of who we are to reach into our world? Or do we want to keep it hidden, separate from all we are and do?
Recognizing the difference between “tough” and “strong” begins with more introspection and the mind-set accessing of our true selves. It’s an important first step to feeling safe in exploring possibilities, allowing momentum and getting comfortable with the unknown. Tough? or Strong? The choice is ours.