This week’s theme is inspired by this post over at Heroes not Zombies. Doc poses the question of how these things – strength and assertiveness – play out in our lives, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I left my yoga people with this idea this morning, so I’ll be reflecting on it here this week.
I think that a big part of what makes these qualities positive is our ability to moderate them. So many people don’t know how to use their strength for good, so instead they use it to lord power over other people. Most often, that leads to abuse, and I’ve seen it happen over and over again; the big kids who get what they want in schools, the moms and dads who threaten their children, the boss who makes sure the employees know who’s boss.
What is strength really for, though? Is it simply a means of controlling our environment (and the people in it) or is it a means of improving that environment, not only for ourselves but for everyone else, too? The people I admire for their strength are the people who use it as a force for good. I look up to the people who have enough strength of conviction to stand up for what they believe. I love the kids who use their strength (whether it’s sheer physical size or the power of their positions) to protect the kid who gets picked on in the lunch room. I respect the people who use the powers of their offices to effect real and meaningful (and beneficial) change (and I abhor the people who use those powers to get only what’s good for them, but I’ll muse more about that later…)
I think, too, that an important key to being a “strong” person is the understanding of what, exactly, one’s strengths really are. I truly think that we as a society need to give up on the idea that we can “have it all.” Knowing that you wouldn’t be able to do something well and having the wherewithal to ask for help is, in my humble opinion, a far stronger act of honesty than trying something you know you aren’t up for and botching the job. I admire people who ask for help , or who don’t get themselves into positions they can’t – or don’t want to – handle in the first place.
That being said, I also think that we tend to focus far more on our weaknesses than we do on our strengths, and I think that’s entirely backwards. Each of us brings wonder into the world, and I am certain that if we celebrated that more than we curse our shortcomings (whether real or perceived), the world would be a much better place.