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How to be Strong

Knowing how to be strong and being strong are two very different things. On a typical day, people can carry on with their lives without requiring much strength. These are the days when everything seems just fine; even though you may occasionally whine at the weather, complain about the traffic jam or about other people’s driving, etc.

Once in a while though, life throws something at you – something emotionally heavy. It is thrown so hard it hits and forces you down to your knees. These events do not happen very often, but the psychological and emotional effect is devastating and may stretch over a long period of time.

You’ll feel as if there’s no hope left in the world; that life itself has no meaning and no purpose. Whatever you try to do, it just doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t feel right to be happy or to smile; it doesn’t feel right to be positive or optimistic. There’s this force within you that just wants to feel depressed and completely give up on the notion of happiness.

The people around you, upon witnessing this, would remind you to draw whatever strength you have sitting within you. “Be Strong” they say, as they pat your back and put their arms around your shoulders. You nod along, even though you feel more inclined to stare at them blankly and ask “But how?”

Regardless of what your troubles are; the end of a relationship, loss of a loved one, failure in an endeavor, or getting trapped in financial turmoil, being strong means summoning your mental strength to carry yourself out of the difficult times and move on with life.

#1 Accept and Let Go

In times like these, your mind is either a great ally, or your worst nightmare. It can help you get out of misery; but it can also cave you in it, thereby entrapping you in a constant state of despair. Do not let your mind succumb to the overwhelming emotions you are experiencing. The first thing you need to do is to accept reality and let go of what you’ve lost.

"Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. -- William James

I have to admit that some facts are too difficult to accept, and certain things are just too disheartening to let go. But if we do not let go, we are forced into one of the most painful phases of life. It is a stage where we sink into denial, hurt, disappointment, frustration, anger and even depression because we choose to hold on to the things that we’ve clearly lost.

Remember 3 things:

• Nothing lasts forever; everything will come to an end at some point. Experiences end. Moods end. Circumstances end. Jobs end. Business projects end. Relationships end. Lives end. There’s no adjectives attached to it; it’s not positive or negative; good or bad, just the undeniable truth.

• You have no control over how it ends. But you can choose what you’re going to do when it ends. Are you going to hold on to the things you’ve lost and pretend that you still have them? I understand it may give you a superficial sense of contentment at first but in the end the truth will still inevitably sink in, and you will still have to accept and let go.

• Do you want to feel hurt, disappointed, frustrated or angry? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s about choosing consciously how you want to feel. If you want to feel angry, no one’s stopping you. If you want to feel frustrated, knock yourselves out. But at least when you make a conscious decision, you know you are responsible for how you feel. When you’re ready, you can make a conscious decision to feel better.

#2 Cry and Move On

It’s okay to cry, being strong does not mean putting up a hard front. Cry your heart out and brood all you want; you need to get it out of your system. However, cry not because the sadness is overwhelming. Cry because you’ve decided to face a reality you hate to admit; cry because you are finally accepting the truth even though it’s painful; cry because you are about to let go even though you don’t want to; and cry because you are moving on despite preferring to stay where you are.

Moving on is the hardest thing to do but it is also the smartest thing to do. Everything that happens is just another chapter in life. When you choose to move on, you’ll start to see things differently; you’ll begin to identify the better and positive things in life.

You’ll start to feel a sense of liberation as if the weight of the world has been removed from your shoulders and your feelings of disappointment, sadness, frustration and anger turns into relief, freedom, motivation and love.

After the heavy storms of tears, we go through what is known as the numbing period. This is a vital stage; it’s an emotional junction: We can either choose to overcome the difficulties (by turning into the next exit) or choose to continue drowning in our sorrows (continue down the road towards depression). Choose to take the next exit.

#3 Overcome difficulties

Take action by choosing to walk away from the despair and begin to live a new life. Don't stand in your own way; if you CHOOSE to overcome all obstacles you face, nothing can stop you.

Whatever difficulties we meet, we overcome them by learning and moving forward, keeping in mind not its bitterness, but its lesson. "Life will give you whatever experience that is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness." -- Eckhart Tolle.

If you need support, don't be afraid to ask for help. You may not realize, but family and close friends are the best sources of strength to help you pull through difficult times. Talk to someone, ask for their help/advice and you’ll see that you are not alone. Strength exists in numbers, remember?

Last but not least, try and figure it out yourself. Dealing with pain, solving problems, getting over situations, etc. are all part of life - YOUR LIFE. Being strong has many things to do with self-reliance.

Nobody can see your problems the way you read them. Nobody can understand the problem they way you experience them. Nobody can connect with the problem they way you feel them. All these sum up to mean: No one can make sense and offer you a solution any better than your own mind can. True strength is gained when you overcome difficulties, not when others overcome difficulties for you.

"We acquire the strength we have overcome." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Closing Notes:

Accept what you cannot change and learn to let go. Everything comes to an end and we are not in control of how it ends and when it ends. It is okay to feel angry or frustrated, but remember that you choose how you want to feel. Cry your heart out if it will make you feel better, but do it because you are choosing to move on. When you are ready, choose to overcome difficulties. Take action and learn as you move along. Never hesitate to seek help, especially from yourself. Be Strong!

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