Quiet Strength

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My favorite television shows include passionate, strong female characters. I enjoy watching the shows because they convey that women can accomplish pretty much anything. And I love that. Oftentimes, the characters barrel into a room during a crisis and boldly tell other people why their cause is important. These women solve problems with their strong convictions and unwavering determination. When I watch these shows, I imagine myself as one of the heroines. I want to solve injustices as quickly as these women, even though I know most problems worth solving take much more than just a passionate speech.

For years, I wished to become someone I would consider courageous. I wanted to be able to convey my convictions by using my words. I hoped that I could get respect by following the formula for strength that I’d seen in television shows. But over the past few weeks, I’ve had a revelation: There is more than one way to be strong, and words alone rarely solve problems. True character is built when we choose goodness over and over again. I do not stride into rooms full of people ready to share my life-changing agenda. But I do have a different kind of strength.

My strength is not particularly bold, and it may not be noticed by the casual observer. But it is still there. Try as I might, I am incapable of looking intimidating–I am just too friendly. However, I have the quiet strength that comes from choosing hope, even when things look beyond repair. I know how to sit next to a friend in tears, understanding that my presence means more any platitudes I could recite. I can bake cookies with trembling hands because I want to show a loved one that I am grateful for their presence in my life. I understand how to listen to a long-winded stranger share his opinions because I know what it is like to need someone to hear me. I have walked through dark places and I’ve made it into the light. These are the things that make me strong. These are the things that allow me to live with happiness, even while dealing with chronic illness.

I don’t think we celebrate quiet strength enough. It is tough to consistently choose love over fear, and it takes strength to live with compassion. I am guilty of not recognizing the courage it takes to live with grace and kindness, but I want to change that. Quiet strength often goes unnoticed because it becomes deeply ingrained into a person’s character– it is part of them. Still, we need to acknowledge those people in our lives who show quiet strength.  They deserve to be celebrated. It is just as noteworthy to make daily sacrifices out of love as it is to show one large act of bravery.

Today, I choose to embrace my quiet strength, and I encourage you to do the same. I let go of the idea that power and strength are the same. I remind myself that I do not need to make powerful speeches in order to change the world around me. I choose to show love. I look for hope when things seem grim. And I am grateful for the women who have shown me the power of quiet strength, because they have impacted my life more than the heroines on television.

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13 thoughts on “Quiet Strength

  1. Reading this the morning after Thanksgiving brought a tear to my eye knowing how hard everyone with chronic illness and pain pushed themselves yesterday. And myself, now recovering from the day… Thank you so much for writing this as a reminder that our small acts do matter. Even though we are not out doing the “amazing” things we remember once doing, the things we do for others still matter very much.
    I tried to reblog this for the past 15 minutes on a few different devices to no avail. However, I shared this post several times. It’s beautiful and so is your blog.
    This post reminds me of the quote:
    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” by Mary Anne Radmacher

    I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving however you were able to celebrate.
    -a body of hope

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    • This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for letting me know how the post helped you. I am so glad!

      That quote by Mary Anne Radmacher is one of my favorites. It has gotten me through some very tough times. I actually considered using it in the post, but I didn’t in the end. Maybe I should have reconsidered it 😉

      I had a great Thanksgiving. I had to force myself to take it easy, and I am glad that I did. I have recovered from Thanksgiving more quickly than if I’d overdone things.

      Like

      • Wow, that’s so interesting that you almost used that quote. Your post brought it to my mind immediately 🙂
        I’m so glad you were able to recover faster after the holidays. Pacing is one of those very difficult things with pain and fighting what we want to do.
        I shared this with my chronic pain friends and it really spoke to them. I thank you again. The “small” thing you did in writing this post really mattered to several people this holiday.
        Blessings to you on your journey.
        ❤ a Body of Hope

        Liked by 1 person

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