You don’t know you can do something difficult until you do it, because it’s in the doing that you find your strength.
~Sherri Shepherd, co-host of the View~
We assume that the way we perceive ourselves, abilities and experiences as the way we and they are when the truth is, we see ourselves, abilities and experiences in relation to the mental and emotional state we are in at the time. In her book, Transformational NLP, Cissi Williams writes, “As human beings we can never experience reality as it actually is, since we have to experience it through our five senses and our senses are limited in how much information they can receive”. Williams points out that, “our unconscious mind screens out most of the two million “bits” of information streaming through our senses and nervous system. We don’t react to reality only our perception of it”.
The perception you have of yourself, ability, and life experiences create the story line of your life. These stories are reflected in your self-talk relative to what you believe you are capable of doing and even what you believe is possible in your life. The stories that you tell yourself about opportunities and adversities effect how you respond to each. In order for you to live “strong for life”, you have to be willing to redefine how you see yourself and what you are capable of doing. You will have to rescript your story line in such a way that it strengthens and empowers you. It is essential that you begin to nurture your “strong moments” to live “strong for life”.
When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.
You cannot change your past, regardless of how much you may want to. You have the power to rescript your experiences from a point of view that strengthens and empowers you to express your best self. Regardless of any tendency on your part to dwell on the negative in any situation, if you have an open and willing heart attitude, you can bring about change in this area of your life. Today, you can begin to practice daily actions that will help you transform this tendency. By transforming your thinking and attitude, you will position yourself to rescript the narrative that makes up your storyline. Changing your self-talk to a more empowering perspective of your life experiences enable you to form a stronger identity of who you are, what you are capable of doing, and how it is possible for you to experience more of God’s goodness in your life.
Marcus Buckingham writes in Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, “The secret to living a strong life can be found in your emotional reaction to specific moments in life. Certain moments, in your life create in you strongly positive emotions – let’s call them “strong moments”. He says, “strong moments” are authentic and true – they conjure up within us strongly positive feelings.”
When we fail to pay attention and cradle the “strong moments” in our life, Buckingham asserts, “We can easily allow our lives to be led by other people’s wants. Our life slide in to a harmful life pattern – a self-reinforcing downward spiral that is devastating as it is commonplace”. He argues, “The neglect of [paying attention to] specific moments that strengthen [results in your] life becoming a grab bag of activities and responsibilities. We hope that by doing more we will feel less empty. The more activities we get involved with the less we “feel” what is important to us. We feel less resilient, less fulfilled, less strong.” If we keep up this pace, the very life of our soul will feel as if it is emptying out of us like water in our bathtub drain.
My Aha! Moment
A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes~
Since the death of my mother when I was thirteen-years old, I’ve known the importance of paying attention to and nurturing “strong moments” in my life. In order for me to move beyond the pain I experienced from the loss of my mom, I began to focus on her “strong” attributes. Some of which included, her faith in God, speaking up for what she believed, a commitment to a work ethic that reflected her personal best, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and her resourcefulness which included building a community of friends and acquaintances.
Focusing on these and other strong attributes of my mother diverted my attention from my emotional distress. I decided that because I was made up of my mom’s DNA, I had similar strong attributes. I just hadn’t had many reasons to exhibit them while she was alive. As I grew older, I realized that I had demonstrated them on a number of occasions during my childhood, I just wasn’t that attuned to my inner-wisdom at the time to acknowledge it. I learned what Buckingham suggests, “cradle the strong moments in your life”. I believed that I was strong simply because I was my mother’s daughter. I also believed at the time in the phrase, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. What can I say, I was thirteen.
One thing for sure, when I was able to overcome my mother’s death by shifting my focus, exercising daily and taking actions to embrace the life that I was living, I began to believe in my own strong. I use this experience to remind me of the strength of spirit I demonstrated at such a young age with little life experience when I begin to doubt and lose confidence in my ability to do the “new” thing that my heart calls out for me to do. I keep this and other “strong moments” cradled in secret places in my soul.
Buckingham says, “Cradling isn’t merely holding. Cradling is a careful and creative action which involves the following actions:
1. When you cradle something, you concentrate on it. It means looking at the moment from new angles and delighting in the details that you discover.
2. When you cradle something, you accept it. You feel its weight and allow it to move you.
3. When you cradle something, you nurture it. Your hand isn’t closed like a fist. It is cupped, protective of what it’s holding but also open to the possibility of growth. When you cradle something, you are hopeful.
Developing the habit of cradling “strong moments” in your life exhibits what Buckingham considers, “ a faith that within life’s daily blizzard of moments are some specific moments that can energize you and that you are both perceptive enough to identify them and powerful enough to push your life forward toward [experiencing more of] them”. As you move forward with this simple, yet profound insight as to how you can live strong for life, I am convinced that your best is yet to come.
Makeover My Attitude Challenge: Strong for Life
“Clue-In” Prompt:On a blank sheet of paper, or in your journal, identify “strong moments” in every stage of life you’ve lived. (i.e. childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, midlife, and retirement) What were the personal attributes that you demonstrated in these moments?
“Power Moves” Prompt:
On a blank sheet of paper, draw a line down the center of the paper. Write on top of one section, What’s Working, and on top of the other section, What’s Not Working. Identify an area in your life in which you feel stuck. Identify the personal attributes that you’ve demonstrated in previous “strong moments” that you are currently applying toward this aspect of your life.
Determine if these particular attributes are working or not working in this situation. Assign each attribute to a particular section of the paper. If you are not using all of those mentioned, why not? Is there something different in this situation that would make certain attributes irrelevant? How can you adapt attributes that have worked for you in the past so that they are relevant to your present?
Just because something worked for a long time, doesn’t mean that it will continue to work as it have. You may have to upgrade some efforts and do away with others. Wisdom helps you to determine which applies in your situation.
“Teachable Moment” Prompt:
Share with a family member or friend the concept of “cradling strong moments” and how you plan to do so in your life. Engage in a conversation with them that encourages them to do the same. Your action demonstrates your commitment to becoming the change you want to experience in your life and in the world.
Living strong for life requires a continuous effort to edit the narrative streaming in your mind about your life. You are not better than anyone else, but nor are you less than anyone else. God’s gift of love indicates how valuable you are to him. No one is more deserving of God’s goodness than you. No one has your unique talents that can be used as only you can to make a difference in our world. No one can be you, better than you. You are much stronger than you think. It is in the doing of the very thing that you think you are not strong enough to endure, overcome or do, that the strong in your spirit appears to show you the strength of the divine in you. Own your strong.
It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher