A person who practices compassion and forgiveness has great inner strength, whereas aggression is usually a sign of weakness. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
Anyone who has been in the school yard knows of this, even if they never thought of it in this manner. This is a fairly common truth in life, which probably everyone has seen in their lifetime.
The people who are the most vicious, the most mean, the most aggressive, they are usually the ones with a serious weakness. They are usually afraid of something, and taking it out on others.
The weakness could be of character, it could be a lack of confidence, or a form of learning trouble, leading them to act out. At least that’s what I have found with all the bullies from my school years whom I have been able to find on the net.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have the truly strong people. Their strength and confidence come from within and are the opposite of the bully. They are able to be compassionate and forgive others precisely because of this strength.
Why is inner strength important?
There is a lot of ground between the bullies of the world and the strong, forgiving and compassionate people. Most of us live in that great area between the two, at least nearly everyone I know does. How about you, where on that scale do you live?
Inner strength seems to be the scale on which the bullies and the compassionate types are at the opposite ends. Those with more of it are at the end I want to be closer to, rather than farther from. However, that requires me to increase my inner strength.
Without inner strength, we turn to outer strength, to bullying, to aggression and intimidation. Does that give you enough of a reason to understand that inner strength is something important? The only trick is figuring out how to improve it, right?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Like skill or muscle group, strengthening your inner self will be an activity of repetition. As far as I know, there is no “one and done” method for this. It will need to become a habit, like many other things in your life.
I took a few moments to come up with some ideas on building inner strength which have worked for me in the past. Anyone who wants to contribute other ideas are welcome to add them to the comments section below. In the mean time, let’s get started, shall we?
Building inner strength, for me, was accomplished through a series of steps over time. They included believing in myself, achieving goals, or accomplishments, taking small steps towards these ends, as nothing ever seems to move fast enough.
To have inner strength, one must have some belief in themselves. We must feel we are worthy. We must feel like we matter, that we make a difference. Some do that through aggression, but that’s not a good foundation on which to build, is it?
Instead, consider that you exist for a reason. What might that reason be? I don’t want to hear “to be an example of what not to do” – we all have those days. Those who treat you badly are trying to shake the strength they see in you. They see it, you need to see it as well.
Another part of developing inner strength is to reinforce your beliefs with concrete examples. That would require you to recognize your accomplishments and how you have shown your strength in the past. Please, don’t ignore or downplay your efforts.
And you can build on that by continuing to make and achieve goals. Each one reinforces your beliefs, and you can see how great your strength actually is. Don’t set unrealistic goals, and be sure to take a moment to take a quick victory lap, even if it’s just in your head.
One last thing to remember, small steps are attainable. Big steps often lead to disappointment and frustration. Small steps help build your confidence and your strength. Big ones, they can easily do the opposite, so be careful with our goals and your plans for attaining them.
I have had two additional thoughts as I wrote these paragraphs. They are to remember to practice forgiveness and compassion, as well as to shun the opportunities for aggression and anger. Every chance we get, we can try to take a small step. They will add up, and they can become a habit.
Each action we take will move us a little along the axis, each will either build or destroy our inner strength. I will be paying a little closer attention to my thoughts and actions. I hope that you will as well.
- What I learned about forgiveness from the school clerk who stopped the Georgia school shooting (sehensucht2013.wordpress.com)
- Displaced compassion (grumpyelder.com)
- My Child is a Cyberbully, What Do I Do? (webroot.com)
- Antoinette Tuff’s weapon of the spirit: How compassion stopped a gunman (washingtonpost.com)