Being strong comes in many forms. Not only the physical ‘lifting weights’ strength. When you’re only talking about physical strength there are already so many different kinds of strengthts. Think of all the different muscles we have, it’s almost impossible to train every single one of them. It has to endure so many things (such as diseases, long days, stress, bad positions/repititive movements for a long time etc.) and some bodies have different qualities than others. Then we also have mental strength, which also comes in many forms.
I hate it when people compare others, usually comparing themselves as better or stronger. For example, because they run more miles than you (note: I can’t run at all and that’s fine with me) or because they have a ‘higher’ job than you. I hope this comparing, this ranking will become less in this world. And not only humans with humans but also humans with animals. It’s a fact that we’re all different, but that doesn’t mean one life’s worth more than someone else’s.
[Drawing of a red and green circle, the red circle has the text wrong under it and the green circle right. In the red circle is a pair of stairs, with a cactus on the lowest step, then a ladybug, then a goldfish and then on the top of the stairs a human wearing a crown. In the green cirle is a tree with the same specimens on the different branches, all on the same height and the human isn’t wearing a crown anymore].
Strength, or maybe actually weakness is a difficult topic to talk about. I encounter a lot of people who find it weak when you’re disabled or have a disease. Weak that your body can’t do ‘normal’ things and that you ‘accept’ this. Weak that you don’t just ‘try’ it and that you ask for help. I disagree with those people. Darwin called evolution the survival of the fittest. Nowadays, it seems as a survival of the fittest but to an end where nobody survives. We’re all under a lot of pressure to do so many things. Darwin’s survival of the fittest isn’t entirely correct. Not the (physically) strongest individuals survive, but the ones that have the best adaptility. So even in the core of evolution, strength is more about being able to adapt to different situations than to be physically strong.
This doesn’t mean that you’re ‘weak’ when you have trouble with change or uncertainty. That’s something a lot of people have trouble with, including my fellow Hippo and I, but not in entirely the same way. I think it’s more about being able to accept your ‘weaknesses’ and find solutions for them. Of course this is so much easier said than done, but it’s a process and this can take years. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It still means that you’re adapting to what you need, to the things that changed. You’re still continuing to try to figure things out, maybe struggling to find balance in your life and what’s best for you. You can be proud of yourself that you’re trying. Even when you feel like it’s helpless and temporarily seem to give up or think about that. That’s ok. That doesn’t mean you’re weak. Having an illness, whether this is physical or mental, having problems with something, that’s not weak. The people who are so narrow-minded and say it’s weak (without thinking), I think that’s weak. They don’t dare to try imagining what it would be like. A lot of those people I encounter, are trying to lie to themselves that it couldn’t happen to them.
Being unable to ‘win’ from an illness, or even getting that illness isn’t a matter about weak or strong. I always find it difficult, for example with cancer patients. Some survive and some die and I think all of them are very strong. However, I sometimes get this feeling that people think that the ones who died ‘gave up’ or weren’t strong enough. Usually people don’t say this directly, but more by saying how strong it is that someone actually did survive and kept fighting. I think you can’t say that the people who died just stopped fighting. But yes, they are all very strong.
And sometimes, I think things that can be seen as ‘giving up’ are very strong. Sometimes you have to ‘give up’ something (maybe temporarily), because it costs you too much and doesn’t give you much. For example quitting school, because your problems need more attention or you just can’t endure it anymore. There are many other things you could do besides school and work and maybe you could try to do school in a different way (I’ll talk about that some other time).
People might think I gave up a lot of things, but I don’t perceive it that way (of course sometimes I feel bad and do think like that). But those things had to be ‘given up’ and I enjoy life more now. My body and mind can handle things better now. When I kept doing certain sports for example, it was just because I couldn’t adapt to the changes, couldn’t accept it. But now, life’s better. And I didn’t stop sporting and I didn’t stop dreaming (I’ll talk about that some other time too).
Of course, there are so many more examples, but I can’t describe them all here. I just want to share my thoughts that everyone is strong, often in different ways. I hope I didn’t accidentally hurt anyone with this post. This post is too narrow, but I still wanted to share a little about this topic.
We’re all trying to live our lives the way that’s best for us, some struggling more than others, but that has nothing to do with weakness or strength. We all have different goals and these change over time and I think it’s very strong when you can find goals that are achievable for you, that aren’t too high, even though people may think it’s ‘weak’ or ‘easy for them’. And even when you can’t do that just yet, someday you will be able to do that better and I still think you’re strong. You’re trying.
I hope you all don’t have to fight against all these people who have prejudices like this. And when you do, I hope you find a way you can deal with them more easily, because sadly, you can’t always avoid certain people.
I wish everyone a lot of strength and happiness in your journeys.