Back in the day, I thought that I knew what it was to be strong. It was being able to dust yourself off and get back on it, it was carrying on no matter what, it was keeping a brave face on and buckling down to it.
When I was recovering from broken bones and a broken spirit from a car crash, my friends and relatives remarked at how strong I was. But being strong involved shutting off to how I felt, and the reality of the situation around me. We are all, and especially boys, taught to be strong. Often this involves being boundaried and emotionless. Especially in the UK, we’re told to wear a ‘stiff upper lip’.
Then, when my life was turned upside down, I tore up the rule book and consciously worked out how I wanted to be, as well as what I wanted to do. In this process, it became apparent that integrity, honesty and openness were really important qualities to me.
So I made a bond with myself to be honest and live life with integrity. Which meant that I had to start to face my emotions. When I started to face my emotions, I realised that the real strength wasn’t in impressing others with how hard I was. But the really toughest thing I could do was in fact to learn to be vulnerable, to be truthful about my feelings. The real strength is in being able to be soft and face your sensitivities, whilst retaining the grit needed to get by in the world.
The Harder Path
I do think, having given both ways of being a good shot, that being vulnerable and honest is way the harder path. Because we don’t have any protective ‘guards’ up, we actually need to be doubly strong, inside and out.
Speaking the truth, being honest about what is and isn’t working for us and honest about how situations and people make you feel, actually requires a ton more strength. Yes, it’s showy and looks amazing when people see a steely person doing amazing things. But isn’t it so much stronger when someone who is vulnerable and in touch with who they are inside is strong and doing amazing things.
So us lot who are living the path of honesty will need even more heroic strength! Today we introduce a new teacher, Vidya, a woman of considerable strength and grit, and founder of Frog Lotus Yoga and retreat venue Suryalila. Her kundalini-inspired breathing practice and strong flow will give you the strength and grit to get through whatever challenges come your way.
This post was written by Movement For Modern Life’s fabulous founder, Kat Farrants.