Recently, I heard, “Oh, Julia! You’re so strong! You quit smoking after 30 years, you overcame a lifetime of prescription drug addiction, you quit drinking soda, you lost so much weight, you’ve had so many losses and you’ve let go of so much pain!”
I just smiled.
“I love you, you silly fool, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Look at how incredibly WEAK I was! I smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for over 30 years, I popped pills and lived in a fog to escape from life, I ate my way through 195 pounds of comfort food, and I clung desperately to my bitterness and grief. I was one of the WEAKEST people I ever knew!”
Strength is a choice.
You don’t have to be born strong, or be a rock star, or be someone incredibly noble, and you don’t have to be super extraordinary. All you have to do is decide . . . and try. And it starts with one single, tiny, baby step in the right direction. Sometimes it’s literally putting one foot in front of the other and remembering to breathe while you’re doing it.
You know what? There IS something worse than making a mistake and falling down, and that is not trying at all. Shoot, a little humiliation and a skinned knee aren’t going to stop this old gal! Besides, I’ve learned to wear humiliation pretty well; all it takes is the right shoes and a box of Band-Aids!
So, friends, while you’re out in the world today, if you encounter someone who is a bit too loud, or kind of pushy, or really obnoxious – try to remember that those people are usually the MOST frightened and insecure of all. Try to be patient and not to judge them too harshly. Remember, sometimes being brave and being strong have to be learned and practiced. Maybe we can teach by example through kindness and patience?
And if you’re afraid . . . that’s okay, I’m standing right next to you; just take my hand.