Your Inner Strength
With suicide prevention awareness month upon us, it is important to understand our inner strength. What is inner strength? It is more than “sucking it up” and doing what needs to be done. It is also about recognizing and appreciating how far you have made it in this world. Being able to look in the mirror and be proud of who you are. This world is difficult…very difficult. But you have made it this far. And that should be celebrated.
Celebrate the small stuff
it’s important to remember to celebrate the small stuff. Today, I woke up and didn’t want to come to work. I knew I should go, but I was having serious motivation issues. I kept thinking of different excuses I could use to get out of work. But ultimately, I made the commitment to get in my car and drive the hour to the office. Now, this doesn’t mean I was happy about it, but it was a win. I made a wise decision and I should be proud of that.
Here is a list of small things we do in a typical day that we should celebrate:
- Getting out of bed
- Taking a shower
- Eating a healthy meal
- Going to work/school
- Taking deep breaths to relax
- Spending time with a friend or loved one
The list could go on and on, but I think you get my point. We rarely give ourselves credit for everyday successes. Instead, we take them for granted. Some of these things are harder for some people than others, but no matter how hard they may be, they are an important part of our day. So celebrate them.
We’ve come so far
My, oh my, how far we’ve come. Every one of us has been through our own battles. And every one of us has survived. It is no question that we will encounter challenges in our future. Maybe some of you are encountering challenges right now. But think back to the fact that you also encountered challenges in the past and you survived. No obstacle is too great for you to overcome. That mountain may seem too big to climb, but step-by-step, you will get there. Heck, that’s how you got to where you are today: one step at a time, and that’s exactly how you will proceed.
When I woke up this morning, I thought that going to work was too big a mountain to climb. But I took one step and got out of bed. I took another step and took a shower. Then a third step and ate breakfast. And you know what? I took another step and drove to work. Was it easy? No. But did I make it? You bet. When the world seems too tough to take on, remember that you only need to take a single step.
When times get tough
There will come a time when times get tough and it seems impossible to take that one step. Often, it is because we are looking many steps in the future and dreading whatever what we see (for me this morning, it was work). The beauty of taking one step at a time is that you don’t have to put your immediate focus on that daunting task. All you need to focus on is the task at hand. Let’s stick with my example of going to work today. I got out of bed and told myself that I am going to take a shower. What I didn’t do is tell myself I am going to shower, get dressed, eat, and go to work. I only committed to taking a shower…nothing more. If I decided to get back into bed after taking a shower, so be it. But I postponed my next decision until I was done with my current task of showering. By breaking it down into manageable steps, I was able to do them one at a time, and ultimately achieve success (making it to work). And that feeds my inner strength.
Now you may be wondering if I succeed every day using this tactic. The answer is most definitely “no.” There have been countless days where even the smallest steps were too overpowering. And that’s ok. The more I practice, the better I get. And I get plenty of practice.
So the next time you are overwhelmed with something in your near future, remind yourself that progress is nothing more than a series of small steps. Remind yourself of the inner strength you have. You’ve made it through this far. And you are stronger than you think.