What does it mean to be strong?
What does it mean to be strong? If you start browsing for definitions, you might find a lot of quotes about being strong. All these quotes might focus on different elements.
Some people will say strength is all about attacking and being able to defend from attack. Some will emphasize a strength of mind and spirit that allows you to face challenges.
Overcoming difficulties is an important part of strength.
For example, Thomas Carlyle says: “Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” Some will focus more on stamina or the ability to withstand different things.
So, what defines inner strength? With physical strength, there are clear ways to measure it: weight lifting, fighting, and so on. With inner strength, it’s not so easy.
Some people might seem very strong only to crumble under pressure. Others might surprise the people around them with unexpected displays of inner strength in the face of adversity. For example, see Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Strength might not be immediately obvious.
Strength is defined by the ability a person has to face different challenges and obstacles and bounce back successfully. A good definition for inner strength deals with resilience.
What is resilience?
One of the quotes about being strong by Alain de Botton says that: “A good half of the art of living is resilience.” So, what is resilience that can be the core element of strength?
Resilience is the ability to not only bounce back but to improve. Resilient people are those who are able not only to overcome difficulties but to improve thanks to them. For example, a resilient person might take a firing as an opportunity to change fields. They can try to boost their careers, looking for something better than before. Resilience is an important aspect of strength because it empowers people in their daily life. It means that even “bad” things can ultimately make our lives better.
Why are some people more resilient than others?
Another quote about being strong is by Steve Goodier. It reveals that resilience comes from experience: “My scars … remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” One of the factors that make people more resilient is their experience and perseverance in the face of struggles.
We start developing experience in early childhood. If the person learns to deal with their problems in a healthy way and faces problems they are able to cope with, they might become more resilient. But not all types of experience are positive.
Traumatizing experiences that overwhelm the person’s coping abilities might make them less resilient. However, facing some challenges and difficult situations can build up resilience.
Genetics also seem to play a role in resilience. Some people might have a genetic makeup that makes them more easy-going or more open to new experiences. Others may be more prone to anxiety. This affects their resilience.
Some powerful Quotes about being strong
Here are a few of my favorite quotes about being strong:
- “Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” Joyce Meyer
- “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi
- “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” Thomas Carlyle
- “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway
- “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” Hermann Hesse
- “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” J. R. R. Tolkien
- “A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.” Vernon Howard
- “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” Bob Marley
- “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Japanese Proverb
- “Handling an emotional crisis leads to greater wisdom and results in lifetime benefits. Fear of life is really the fear of emotions. It is not the facts that we fear but our feelings about them. Once we have mastery over our feelings, our fear of life diminishes.” David R. Hawkins, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender
Back to resilience…. What other factors shape our resilience?
Among other quotes about being strong, you might find many that emphasize relationships and support. For example, here is a quote by Misty Copeland: “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
Indeed, resilience has a lot to do with social support. People with better support networks may find it easier to overcome situations and learn from them. More people around them means access to more resources, both emotional and material.
Also, social and spiritual factors come into play. Socially, some countries make it easier for people to overcome difficult situations. For example, it’s not the same to fall ill in a country with free healthcare and in a country where it may lead to bankruptcy.
Spiritually, people can also interpret things in different ways. Some have views that allow them to bear things with more ease: for example, seeing it as a test of their faith or will. Others might also find solace in their religious community. Of course, you don’t need a religion to be resilient. Still, a set of views can make it easier for you to overcome difficulties or unfair situations.
Individual factors also play a role. Some people tend to be more optimistic. Some people have higher levels of energy. Overall, a lot of factors play a role in resilience and also strength.
Being strong is in many respects a choice
There are many quotes about being strong that focus on different elements. Some of these quotes about being strong emphasize steadiness and stability, but many focus on flexibility. Being strong often involves being resilient. Strength can be seen in the ability people have to bounce back from difficult situations. In addition, resilient people take something positive from difficult situations.
Many factors can make people more and less resilient. Resilience is a combination of many, many different things. Some of them, like traumatic experiences and genetics, are outside of the individual’s control.
However, it is in our hands to change some things associated with strength and resilience. We can choose a new outlook, going from pessimistic to optimistic. We can choose to build stronger social connections or use our existing support networks. Overall, our strength can also be built through experience.
Being strong is, in many respects, a choice. Although we usually operate on automatic we don’t have to. One need not merely react to a situation Rather, you can step back and make a choice as to how you want to interpret something. You are in the driver’s seat. Attaching meaning to a situation is in your hands.
This realization can empower you like never before. Putting it into practice even more so. It is one thing to read quotes about being strong. It is quite another to put quotes about being strong into practice. What will you choose? Your future awaits…