Wanting more than strength

I have a confession: I never liked the LiveStrong movement.

But how could I ever admit to that? I can hear the follow-up question now: what, do you hate supporting cancer patients?

Of course not. As far as I’m concerned, when you’re sick or suffering, you can do whatever works to make you feel better. But I’m not sure I like the idea that people who succumb to illness were not strong enough. And I never liked Lance Armstrong.

That’s a little more acceptable now that he has fallen from the pedestal he was on for a very long time. Though I try very hard not to form opinions on people I haven’t ever met, that was more of a challenge for someone whose public persona was all about being invincible.

I think that was in part because I have no desire to be that way myself. There are things in my life far more important than strength. I want to be compassionate. I want to be vulnerable. I want to be connected emotionally to my life and my body, and sometimes that hurts.

Strength is good when it allows us to develop these other qualities. But I’m not sure of its purpose as an end in itself. Strength in the service of others is beautiful, but self-centered strength is squandered when it turns inwards and only fortifies itself rather than allowing us to turn ourselves outward.

Maybe that’s why I never liked the idea of celebrating strength. My colored rubber bracelet might read LiveJustly, LiveOutward, LiveLovingly. I don’t want to be invincible. I want to be unburdened by armor so I can be realistic about my limitations and live connected with the people around me.

What does strength mean to you?

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5 Responses to Wanting more than strength

  1. Tanya Marlow says:

    I see we’re kindred spirits!
    I also blogged on similar lines – ‘I am not heroic’ http://tanyamarlow.com/i-am-not-heroic/

    • felicemifa says:

      Love your thoughts on the topic – especially the war language. I’ve asked a similar question about the use of the word “surrender” in our spiritual life. It’s considered a good, liberating thing – and I agree it is, but it is a term that is fraught once you start to unpack it.

  2. Flor says:

    Strength for me means just getting up. I’ve dealt with a depression that kept me in bed and ruined me for months at a time, and that’s without any crippling health issues. I know if I had chronic health problems depression would come at me from all sides (just spending a few days legally blind from a passing health episode made life feel hopeless). So strength is getting up and dealing with the life that I’ve been given instead of being crushed by its challenges.

  3. Pingback: What doesn’t kill you… | Felice mi fa

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