Often I look up poetry, and even quotes to express my mood or feelings during a time. I post these to my personal Facebook or just read them again and again during that time. It came to me last night to look up something upon the nature of strength within a person. There were two reasons for me to consider this that night. The first was my girlfriend was about to undergo yet another test within her life. That test would require her to find the strength within herself and to lean on the strength of those that love her. The second was that I myself find that I need to continue to be strong and endure the tests that I have been given. Those are meager to her test, but none the less I seek to find unity in passion, compromise with understanding, and trust through honesty. Until I am given those things, I persevere because what other choice do I have.
Felice Leonardo Buscaglia once said, “Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” While I agree with this for the most part. I know that something’s that cruel people do, can infest us with hatred and anger so deep that it can make us ourselves cruel to the offenders. I find that I cannot say that it is wrong to hate that deeply, for there are reasons in life that go beyond forgiveness. Those are the extremes and I will not dwell on them. So I will move on to what I believe to be the case for most.
Since I was in grade school, I have been a student of people. My quiet nature to most seems to make me labelled shy and I would be overall classified as an introvert, which supports that theory. But speak with me and I open up completely. Engage me and I am not the same person as you might surmise. I watched others with a depth of understanding that far exceeded my age then. Now that I am grown, I believe I am much the same, but have a great deal of wisdom from experience behind what I learn.
Most young men, or those that never grow up emotionally; and some women for that matter believe someone is strong if they have the physicality to back it up. Belief that aggression, fighting prowess, machismo, and many other silly factors make them “strong” men. That is a weakness that society has given them in the past and one that has slowly gone away; but is still there in many ways. I hope it is shed one day and that more can see the wisdom behind true strength.
True strength is in one’s character. In their integrity, morals, honor, qualities, treatment to loved ones or others, and in a flexible resolve. I see compassion as strength. I see a gentle hand as strength. I see the ability to accept others opinions, views, beliefs, with an open mind and an open heart as strength. I see the ability to flex without breaking as strength. I see the ability to support those you care about as strength. Finally, I see that doing any of these things, without an immediate benefit to yourself as true and pure strength. So are you strong or do you fail to meet these easy qualities in life?
It is my opinion that I hold many of these qualities, and those that I do not have I work towards constantly. They are things I learned from my family, and through my own retrospection over the years. I find it an important fact that much of this I learned from the strong women of my family. So what does it say that I see far more women with real strength, but many men I have known over the years lack it? I do not throw down on all men, I have meet a good amount that I would rank highly in these areas as well. My friends for the most part rank in these areas after all. I would not align myself to those that are not of the same mind. But as a whole, women surpassed our attempts to be strong by leaps and bounds. Yet many do not see it as such, and that is far more honorable to me.
I thank my Mom for showing me truth, love, and an unshakable strength of character; my Aunt Judy for compassion, love, and a spirit that lifts all within her arms; my dad (step father) for showing me how a man supports his family; to the other in my circle of family and friends who show me many qualities that I admire and honor about them; and to my girlfriend who has shown me that a person can endure the pains of this world, and not back down from living and succeeding, that a heart can see through to a person and accept them even when they can barely accept themselves, and finally that hope exists if one reaches for it.
I love each of you, and I am man enough and strong enough to say it.