Cultivating Strength – Abandoning Weakness

It has been almost a year since my last post and boy… has it been an interesting year.

I want to write out a few things about Strength and Weakness; ironing it out from the jumbled mess in my mind. Hopefully you can relate to this, or maybe it will resonate with you in someway; maybe even serve as a swift kick in the ass to go do something about your own life. Maybe you are going down a similar path as I and you’ve found the same thing to be true, there really isn’t anything new under the sun.

I want to speak about the “holistic” view, for lack of a better term, of strength and weakness. At any given moment, you are making a choice to cultivate strength and abandon weakness, or cultivate weakness and abandon strength.

You cannot be neutral. Your mind, your body, your spirit and your emotions are either worked and strengthened or they begin to atrophy and rot. There is no middle ground where you can build up to a certain spot and then just coast the rest of your life. Your mind dulls without challenge, as does your spirit. You body wastes away without certain stimuli. Your emotions take on a life of their own if they are not exercised and harnessed appropriately, you become subject to them instead of the other way around.

I must confront my weaknesses. If they cannot be made into strengths, I must abandon them. I must kill them, starve them out and replace them with strengths.

So must you.

…I fucking hate weakness in my life. I abhor it.

Over this last year, I have been bitch-slapped hard by certain circumstances and events that have come up in my life. Things I do not wish to talk about here and now, on this particular forum. Through this epic bitch-slap, I have had the opportunity to confront a metric shit-ton of my weaknesses. Many of which, I believe, caused or aided in the majority of the events.

A month into the “events”, my birthday came and went. I realized that I couldn’t fight, barter, beg, advocate, discuss, dialogue or construct a logical argument strong enough to change the situation. It is what it is. The only thing I could do was to work on myself, improve myself, make an impact on those things I have direct control over: my life. On that day, I made a personal goal of becoming the best possible version of myself by my next birthday. I have made much progress. I have learned a lot about myself, my body, my thoughts, my weaknesses, my strengths, my capabilities and shortcomings. I have learned a lot about relationships. I am definitely a “better” version. And I continue to evolve into something better.

One of the things that I learned, the thing that has been bubbling up in me lately is that I fucking hate weakness in my life. I abhor it.

Subsequently, I hate weakness in other people.

Weakness is what hinders us from becoming the best versions of ourselves possible.

Beneath the finger pointing at our spouse, what is it that keeps you from truly connecting and coming to a synergistic understanding and appreciation of the other person? Weakness.

Beneath the excuses of why we don’t have time, beneath hiding behind an ailment or two, what keeps us from committing to working out? Weakness.

What keeps us living in the glory days of high school or college or our first career when in the here and now, in the context of the majority of your and everyone else’s lives it doesn’t fucking matter anymore? Weakness.

Behind the hesitancy to sit down and read a real book that will challenge you and help you grow, what is it that causes you to stop after three pages and never come back to it? Weakness.

What keeps you from sitting down in some quiet spot and reflecting on the day and what you are trying to accomplish, or meditating, or communing with your Higher Power/God? Weakness.

You get the idea.

Putting my fingers to the keyboard and writing this is helping me cultivate strength and abandon weakness. How so? Well, because I realized that there are many times that I care entirely too much about what people could potentially say. I have been methodically confronting this. Cultivating the thicker skin to not give as much of a fuck anymore. If you make a comment you make a comment. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.

When you push yourself physically and you accomplish something you have never done before it will spill over into the arenas of the mental, emotional and even the spiritual… And nobody can take that from you.

I had the opportunity to travel recently and learn from a really good teacher about how to effectively use my pistol from concealment. A weak area in my life. It was a good thing. I now have tools to help me eradicate this weakness. What I didn’t expect was how this event brought up feelings, thoughts and other darkness I had been dealing with over this last year. I think, by way of an event six hours from my “natural habitat” which challenged mentally and physically for two days in the blazing sun and exposed my weakness in one area,  it helped open the door for even further self examination and reflection about other areas. Something that I welcomed with open arms.

We need these kinds of door-opening experiences in our lives. I need them.

Last year, I was working out about four times a week before the shit started to unfold. After, I was at the gym every day. I needed the physical challenge to help me. By pushing my body mentally and physically in one area, it helped me deal with the stresses and damages of another area.

I have had a handful of what I would call “spiritual” moments while lifting and training; rewarding for my spirit, mind, emotions and my body. Those who have pushed themselves hard understand what I am trying to convey here. You are lifting the heaviest you ever lifted or pushing yourself farther than you have ever gone and every fiber of your being is screaming out as you do it. Once done, you feel taller. You are euphoric. You think, did I really just do that?

Fuck yes, you did!

The discipline you applied to your body, to make it do what you wanted to do. The discipline you applied to your mind, to shut out the outside world and your fears down to focus on they task at hand. The emotional energy you poured into that lift or that run, to block out the doubts or fears. When you push yourself physically and you accomplish something you have never done before, it will spill over into the arenas of the mental, emotional and even the spiritual. They all came together in a kind of synergy and impact your very soul. You learn more about yourself and what you are capable of.

And nobody, nobody, can take that from you.

Being open, being gentle and being tender are not weaknesses.

Just want to clear something up for the readers automatically thinking this is some “macho alpha-male” circle jerk..

My father, a warrior in his own right, used to tell me as a kid, “There is Strength in being gentle.” Sometimes he would use the world tender. Sometimes the way the sentence was put together was different. You get the idea.

In order to improve your life, in any area, requires an openness, a degree of vulnerability. Some of the most badass, alpha-male people I know humble themselves and seek out and/or hire coaches to equip them with what they need to hit the next level in all areas of their lives.

Being open in a relationship, or confiding in a friend takes a deal of risk, and it takes strength to let your guard down, not give in to fear and cowardice – which are fruits of weakness – and to tell them what is going on in the depths of your being.

I could go on. Hopefully you get the picture there.

Being open, being gentle and being tender are not weaknesses

It’s about viewing those things as they truly are: weaknesses in the structure of your life that need to be dealt with.

Buttercup, you only get one life to live, so let me ask you:

Is the life you are currently living – your mental state, your relationships, your physical state, your emotional life, your spiritual life – are you going to be pleased on the other side of eternity when you look back at this life? (if you are any sort of religious person)

Do you believe that with absolute certainty that if you could do your life over again, you would do everything exactly the same?  (applicable to anyone)

Anyone I have ever talked to wants to change at least one thing in their lives, even the devout among my friends and acquaintances. This should help people realize that there is more potential to your life than where you are currently and what you are doing. You can’t go back, but you can still improve your life.

Some of you might be put off by my use of the word “weakness” in the context of this article. Let me make something clear, this is about improving your life. Constantly improving yourself.

You can call them flaws, chinks in your armor, structural issues or “areas for improvement”, or whatever makes you feel better. But if those terms aren’t really working for you, evidenced by the fact that you are still “dealing” with those “areas”, then why not call them what they are?

A lot of the things that have happened in the last year culminated into that “event” due to my own weaknesses. Many would say and have said to me that, it’s not my “fault”, which I know what they mean and I can agree. Rather, I have used this as an opportunity to further examine and confront my own life. I have found, and have had things revealed to me things that were lacking which definitely helped contribute to bringing things to a head. So, I owned it. I took the responsibility. Might not have been my fault, but guess what, cupcake? It was my fault.

It’s about taking some responsibility and owning your shit. Always being reactive in life, playing the victim, blaming, finger pointing, and navel gazing – these are weak practices for weak individuals. Being proactive, focusing on improving yourself, learning what you can do better, not allowing situations to govern your life on any plane – these are strong practices.

You can point the finger all you want but at the end of the day, you will still have your weaknesses: unchecked, ignored, growing and festering. OR, you can work on them one piece at a time, consistently and constantly, improving yourself daily and at the end of the day, those weaknesses are fewer and fewer. It’s about viewing those things as they truly are:  weaknesses in the structure of your life that need to be dealt with.

You should value yourself highly enough to want to improve.

If you read anything at all about positive and constructive mindsets, you find that people usually possess a combination of two mindsets. Growth & Abundance Mindsets or Fixed & Scarcity Mindsets. Long story short: Growth mindsets view themselves as people who can change, they can learn, adapt, improve, in short they can grow. The Fixed mindset is the opposite, they are set in their ways, can’t learn anything new, adverse to change, unable to adapt or improve. The one with an Abundance Mindset, sees unlimited potential and resources, tools and avenues to help them achieve their goals and dreams. The one with a Scarcity Mindset basically sees limits on everything: resources, tools for growth, etc.

One pair of Mindsets are Strong and on pair of Mindsets are Weak. Which do you have?

Looking for and dealing with these weaknesses shouldn’t come from a place of self-hate and self-loathing. That helps zero out of zero people. Value your relationships highly enough to want to have a better impact! No person is an island unto themselves. Yes, there are many things we can and should be able to do on our own. We should be taking initiative to change and improve our lives instead of waiting for someone with a plan to come and save us from whatever issue we are dealing with. From that state of self-improvement and independence we can be interdependent with others. Bringing and adding value, working together, having synergy where your strengths compliment someone’s weaknesses and vice versa. And ideally, where your weaknesses are improved by the example and strength of someone else. You don’t stay weak, you grow.

You should value yourself highly enough to want to improve. But only you can do that.

What are your weak areas? … Limit the external forces that weaken you.

I have found weaknesses in my role at work. Weaknesses in my approach to living my dreams and goals. Weaknesses in my role as a parent.Weaknesses in my will-power. The list goes on. But I don’t hate myself. I see the weakness, and I acknowledge it. Then I put a target on it, because I’m going to shoot that thing down. As the saying goes, “Win or Learn, I never lose. I may not make it immediately, but I will make it absolutely and definitely.”

Do I see weaknesses in others? Absolutely I do. It’s one of those “plank-eye” things that Jesus talked about. As I see my flaws, weaknesses and the planks in my eye clearer, I being to see the specks and “areas for improvement” in others. The only thing is, I am not out there every day confronting my friends and family about their supposed weaknesses. That’s their deal. I can’t do the work for them, they have to do the work. And if they can’t see it or refuse to do the work, I won’t be able to help them anyway. Their personal stagnation, the atrophy of their mind, body, spirit and emotions is on the, not me. I have my own plank to deal with.

I am all about helping people, that’s the whole interdependent thing. Alone I am strong, but interdependently with other people, we are practically unstoppable. But you have to do the work, too. I can’t do it for you. If you, dear reader, were to come to me and ask for my help, I would love to assist. But, I warn you, you might see a few weaknesses now, but you will definitely not like what you see or have revealed to you down the road and have to confront. No one does. But it is a challenge we should own and be willing to take.

Through my example, and possibly through my repeated Instagram & Facebook posts showing what I am doing, I have had a few people approach me asking what they can do to improve. Some have taken the advice and tough love and are little by little improving their lives. Some have filed their butt-hurt forms and rejected the advice and tough love. Could’ve been a weakness on my part for not using tact in the way I was communicating, or it could’ve been that person being too weak to swallow their pride, look hard into the mirror and face the truth. Maybe a bit of both.

So, more than likely you’ve been identifying weaknesses in your life that you want to improve. What are your weak ares? Write out some goals. You don’t need to go on Facebook and broadcast your goals. I didn’t. Write them down, keep them to yourself and fucking kill those goals!

Limit the external forces that weaken you. Television, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, whatever. That’s one thing I have done. I have been culling my Facebook feeds and Instagram. I want to see things that are motivating, and challenging. I want to see people improving their lives. If not, I might stay friends with you, but you are on the ignore list. Don’t get offended, cupcake, I just don’t want to see your verbal vomit and your infantile bitch sessions.

Now, at 2734 words and counting. Hopefully some of this resonated with you. Take what is useful to you and confront the weaknesses in your life.

Be Strong.

For you.

For your family.

For Life.

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