By Ash Cunningham
Strength by definition is the state of being physically strong, or an object being able to take great force and not break. To me strength has always meant more than that, obviously there is physical strength, but more importantly there is also mental strength. That sort of strength that gets you through the darkest and toughest times that life can throw at you. We all have it, even if we don’t see it or feel it, it is there. I didn’t think I had it for a long time, but then I realised, in a lot of ways I’m still here because of my own mental strength that I didn’t even recognise was there. The problem is, we all put far too much pressure on ourselves to have both physical and mental strength, don’t get me wrong, both are very good, but if you’re struggling through something, whether it’s a loss or a mental illness struggle, you can’t force your strength. I’ve always been a big believer in your mental welfare needing as much if not more care than your physical welfare, not that it’s not important, but how do you encourage someone to keep fit if they’re not well mentally?
With the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions, which I find normally revolve around eating less or working out more, which are great resolutions if you have the time and patience. However, I think there should be more emphasis on resolutions like finding one thing you did well today, or looking in the mirror and reminding yourself that you are strong enough to get through today. I realise that in an ideal world, we’d all be strong in every aspect of life all the time, and it is possible, but you can’t expect it of yourself all at once and in such unrealistic ways, it takes time to get there. People need to give themselves more realistic expectations of how long it takes and how to get there, like slowly quitting that bad habit that not only makes you stronger physically, but mentally by showing yourself you can do it. We’re all so capable of being strong physically and mentally, we just need to put less pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Strength does not mean perfection, it’s something that is individual to everyone, and cannot be copied or brought on by anyone other than ourselves.