When I turn on the news, there will be statements made in the lines of ‘The United States Army is strong!” or “the economy is not strong enough to withstand this shock!” or “We will stand strong against this terror.” The English has many different definitions of what the words strength and strong mean. For example:
- the quality or state of being physically strong.
- a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing.
- the number of people comprising a group, typically a team or army.
- exerting great force.
- able to withstand great force or pressure.
- very intense.
Other synonyms of the words – such as might, fortitude, determination, confidence and so on – can resonate with strength and strong dependent on the use of the word. Looking back in my previous post, The Balance Starts With You, the many definitions and paths to peace can lead to a level of uncertainty. Outside of the English language definitions, the words strength and strong can mean a multiple of different things, especially in the lines of faith and especially when we add additional supporting words (i.e. Christian Strong, Muslim Strong, Army Strong). When we discussed The Power of Fear, we looked at how fear can make us stronger than what we are, but what is this strength that we are looking for, ultimately?
In terms of strength in the heart and what makes us stronger to be part of the greater whole of life, this is where I find our paths to peace start to divert into different roads where one may claim the Christian Way is stronger than the Muslim Way, or the Atheist Way is stronger than the Spiritualist Way. What humanity has viewed as strength and weakness has shaped so many cultures in both beauty and in horror through warfare on multiple fronts in all its various and limitless interpretations.
How can strength be defined to where all differences are considered, and yet we all recognize we are all human, beyond hatred and beyond our greed?
Views of Strength
A Mormon may knock on the door of a Catholic family’s home in Ogden, Utah, and are greeted by the head of household. The Mormon is named John and the head of household is named Mary and both have strong faith in Jesus Christ. John finds he is strong and finds he is doing the right thing in preaching the right way through Christ.
Mary finds she is strong and finds she is doing the right thin in maintaining her faith to the Catholic Church. Both politely denounce each others views and ways through Christ and go their separate ways. Both pray for each other behind closed doors, thinking the other is on the wrong path to peace.
Were both John and Mary strong? In the English language, yes they were. Both showed great force and were able to withstand the pressure from either side. In terms of mutual understanding and respect, were both strong? In the English language, no they were not. They did not show great force of understanding.
Is the younger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stronger than the Catholic Church, or vice versa? Or does the path to peace truly depend on which way is stronger? If you find it does, why does it matter which way is stronger? If John finds more peace in the ways of Latter-day Saints and if Mary finds more peace in the ways of the Catholic church, who are we to say which way is stronger if both find equally peaceful ways in life?
In one of my previous posts, All Faiths and the Power of Prayer, we discussed that all faiths and religions of the world, along with psychology, has encouraged the benefits of prayer. Similarly, all faiths and religions of the world have discussed the importance of being strong in their faith; however, the views of strength can be conflicting as we saw with the Latter-day-Saints and Catholic Church example.
With the vast differences in faith, religion, schools of science, and work functions humanity is experiencing today, the definition of strength has become flexible like a rubber band but is no longer as sturdy as a stone. I find strength can be defined differently.
I find strength is more than being Catholic Strong, Muslim Strong, Army Strong. Strength is more than having the confidence for standing up for your faith . Strength is more just being part of something greater than who you are. Strength starts with the person first, then that strength can be added to the greater whole of Life.
In my view, strength is defined as the combination of determination, confidence, and skills within me, how they benefit me, how they can complement and benefit other people in terms of respecting their paths in life, and how powered my connection is with the Higher Power, the Earth, and all Life around me is.
In my previous post, We Are the Connection, The Connection was defined as humanity being connected to the Higher Power, the Earth, and all Life with understanding on how we are all connected. Strength plays a key role in this connection where when we better our connection with the Higher Power, the Earth, and all Life, the stronger we may become.
Being strong/having strength is pivotal in not only in the garden of our hearts, but also in our mind and heart working as a team as we find, build, and maintain our balance and peace. Having strength is pivotal when we pray in our faiths and religions. Having strength allows us to conquer our fears and anxieties. Having strength allows us to respect each other. Having strength means seeing everyone as a human being.
Having strength can make the impossible possible.
Strength Starts With You
Even when strength can be hard to come by when we all struggle to stay strong and pay our debts, throughout the ages all faiths and religions of the world have encouraged finding and growing strength within you. For example:
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Bible, Joshua 1:9
“For, behold, all who say, ‘Our Sustainer is Allah’, and thereafter stand firm [in their faith] – no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.” Quran, Al Ahqaf – 46:13
“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart” Buddha
“When you know who you are; when your mission is clear, and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive.” Chief Seattle, Duwamish Native American Tribe
In today’s world, strength is defined in finding your strengths and opportunities to better your job function or find ways in growing with the company. The more refined strengths you put on your resume – the better your chances may be in landing that dream job. Are you strong in psychoanalysis, speculative investing, thematic analysis? How fast and precise are you with your typing skills? Are you a people person? How can you lead a group of 10 people?
Strength goes beyond what you can do in a job function. When you leave work, staying strong and keeping strength goes beyond hearing customer complaints, interdepartmental conflicts, and deadlines. Staying strong may include keeping your house happy for your children, ensuring your pets are well fed and content with their lives, ensuring your relationships with your family – in how you define your family – are well maintained. Strength, above all else, includes how confident and determined you are to continue your connection with Life, The Higher Power, and the Earth.
I believe humanity and all life on earth is stronger than what the current mindset of the world has us think. For me, I never thought it would be possible to overcome my anxieties and my sorrow; however, I found strength with God/The Higher Power and I find determination and confidence that the Higher Power is with me. In my view, when fear is found in us, so too can strength – no matter what your faith or creed may be.
Be well and be safe and healthy.