Defining and Embracing Strength
‘Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep in saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belied that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning’ Mahatama Ghandi
We are going to take for this instance a connotative not a denotative example of stress.
Denotive; the dictionary definition, most expressed, at the exclusion of everything else. Connotative; implicit, at the broadest level, a feeling, an evocation.
What we are interested in here is the analysis of strength from a connotative perspective. Strength is emotional, as well as physical. It’s the strength to act, to know when to voice and when to be silent.
The elephant is the perfect example of strength. They have all capabilities yet have nothing to prove. They embody grace and calm, they are swift and silent, fast yet elegant, they have incredible memories and are non aggressive. They are uncompromising, they have longevity and strength.
There is a beautiful example of strength that my one of my teachers shared with me. When an elephant walks into a village, all the local dogs come barking. The elephant doesn’t mind in the least, she simply enjoys the dogs being dogs. They are fulfilling their nature, which is to dash about and bark and she simply appreciates that they are enjoying themselves. She could quite easily fell the group with her trunk, but does not, as they are simply being and doing what they should do, it’s a natural order. When as she walks a smaller dog dashes beneath her huge foot, she simply takes pause and waits for it to move. She has all the time in the world. She doesn’t get frustrated at their nature, tense at their barking, or resent their activity. She simply witnesses and enjoys.
We can look to the elephant for inspiration on how we should be. Quiet witnesses of what is, not resenting, simply accepting, and being certain of our own strength and solidarity enough not to get upset by situations outside of ourselves that we can’t control.
‘You have the power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength’ Marcus Aurelius
Image from here