This month, my writings will focus around the theme of Strength, in honour of my newest (and first permanent!) course: An Email Course for Inner Strength.
I invite you to reconsider strength as a concept, but also as you relate to it in your everyday life. Do you consider yourself to be a strong, weak or neither – or does it depend on the situation? What if I tell you that, you have an immense amount of inner strength? This month, we’ll explore how you can find it.
Strength is an anchor within ourselves.
Strength is not on the outside. No one can be strong for you. (Though they can inspire you to be strong yourself.) And it’s not something some people are born with but others aren’t. Each and every single one of us has strength within us. I spoke about this more at length in last week’s post, which you can read here.
If we all have strength within us, how come we don’t all act strong all the time?
Because we need to connect with our inner strength in order to have access to it. (Being disconnected from it makes us feel weak.)
It’s like this: imagine there’s this amazing room in your house. It’s comfortable, beautifully decorated just the way you like it and fully-equipped with anything you need for your favourite activities. But in front of the doorway, you have a whole bunch of junk. Come to think of it, the entire path to the room itself is blocked off.
The fact that there’s a bunch of junk in front of the doorway doesn’t mean the room doesn’t exist.
It just means you need to make space.
And make sure more junk doesn’t pile up.
Now every house gets messy once in awhile, but eventually, we need to acknowledge the mess and clear it. Otherwise, it’s almost as if the room didn’t exist at all.
This is why the first theme we cover in an email course for Inner Strength is: making space, clearing clutter and reducing noise. Because if there’s space, there’s strength.
Here’s an example of the biggest item that was standing in the doorway of my strength:
For years, I distracted myself from my own source of strength by noise. Most of that noise, was of my own creation. I was living in a new country, felt overwhelmed and anxiety, was extremely self-critical and all this rolled into one translated into paralysis…
Some people choose to numb with drugs, alcohol, sugar – you name it. I numbed my unpleasant feelings with TV. Why live my own life when I can watch other people live theirs? (Or actually, watch other people acting out the lives of fictional characters, telling stories which unfold and fit neatly within the span of a 20-45 min episode.)
And guess what? Watching these stories unfold and these fictional people move on with their lives didn’t really make things any easier. It just gave me something to pass the time.
Clearing clutter + Untangling noise
I knew this wasn’t the best habit in the world, but I didn’t realize to what extent it affected me.
I couldn’t sort anything out if I was constantly craving to know how Alicia Florrick fares in bond court (The Good Wife). It was hard to focus on my feelings over Piper’s after marathoning the second season she spends in jail (Orange is the New Black). I felt heart-broken after my favourite character was shot in a drive-by (The Wire) and wasn’t sure how to untangle my excitement from Leonard’s when him and Penny got back together (Big Bang Theory). Or even the more general but incessant noise of trying to figure out how to squeeze another episode into my day.
My head was full of noise that didn’t need to be there but I’d put it there. Before long, the implications of marathoning a season were clearly visible. A kernel of truth popped up in my crowded mind:
I want to watch TV, but after I do, I feel like total and utter shit.
Maybe…if I don’t want to feel like total and utter shit, I could watch less TV (or none at all)!
So I stopped for awhile, set boundaries, narrowed down my shows drastically. I may dabble from time to time, but I watch responsibly (and when I find myself getting sucked into something, I notice and I pull myself out far earlier).
Strength begins to emerge from within
And I slowly started to realize that the more I cut down the noise and clutter, the more room I made for my own emotions. These emotions acted like an inner compass; they give feedback. Positive emotions mean keep doing this, negative emotions mean something needs to be adjusted.
There are no random emotions. They are always trying to tell us something.
Listening to those feelings, and the subsequent feedback, requires strength. But when you turn down the useless noise, what you really need to hear suddenly sounds so much louder.
An Email Course for Inner Strength is a 16 day course with guiding videos & daily prompts. The purpose is to gain access to the strength you have inside of you! The first 6 days, we focus on clearing all kinds of noise and clutter, to make space for strength.
For more details and to sign up, click here.