"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back." - Camus
Everywhere you go, people talk about how to get fit and how to make your body stronger. Something we should consider as well is how to make our inner selves stronger. Just as we can work on developing our physical strength by eating healthy foods and doing exercise, it’s equally important that we develop our inner strength.
The only way to make it through the twists and turns that life can throw at you is to have inside of you a well of strength to draw upon.
Here are some ideas of ways to help you build your inner strength.
1. Have a supportive community and find your tribe.
The most basic and instinctive need as humans is our need to belong and be connected to a tribe or a community. It’s one of the first levels on Maslow’s Hierarchy, a psychology theory that organizes our basic needs in our personal development.
We might want to go it alone, but that can make life really difficult. As humans, we have a built-in desire to belong.
You can find community nearly everywhere, whether that is your sorority sisters, your close group of girlfriends, your family, at your gym, church or work. You can even find communities with your interests on Facebook, on forums and on sites like Meetup.com.
Having a community to fall back on is the equivalent of having a back up net to catch you should you fall.
2. Practice saying “No” and pick your battles wisely.
It can be very easy to take on extra commitments and obligations even when we don’t want to or don't have time. Sometimes we just can't help but say, "Yes, I'll do it."
When we take on responsibilities that we don’t have the time or energy to commit to, it can drain our reserves and make it difficult to take care of ourselves.
Saying “yes” to running the fundraiser at your child's school, or picking up an acquaintance at the airport when you really don’t have the time, is like purposely poking a hole in your tank and allowing your energy to leak out.
Not only does saying “no” free up time for yourself, it can be very empowering, and an unlikely source of strength. Pick and choose what things you want to do, and balance them with the things you must do.
By saying no to the things you really don’t want to do, you create a sense of inner strength while freeing up your time and energy to do the things that are going to serve you best.
3. Be thankful.
Life can suck, but if you look around you, you'll find any number of things to be grateful for.
The joy you derive from the world around you is the fuel that'll push you through the hardest of times, so pay attention to what you have and enjoy it for what it's worth.
And when you're having a hard time seeing just what it is you can be thankful for, your tribe can help you take a closer look at the things around you.
And if you're still having trouble, try giving back to your community. At least that way someone else will have something to be thankful for - you.
4. Remember that nothing is permanent.
If you’re in the middle of a period of grief or pain that you can’t control, stand aside and let the moment happen. If you are going through a prolonged period of difficulty, remind yourself that this, too, shall pass.
But there is also no shame is asking for help if you need it. And we all need it sometimes.
If you work on your inner strength you will be able, with the help of your friends, to overcome anything life throws at you.