Finding my strength

Life’s a journey. It took me a long time to work that out. A long time to realise that I wasn’t heading towards a finished product of a house, a family and 2.4 kids that we are all supposed to end up with; a finished product that quite frankly I never wanted and never particularly interested me anyway. We’re all different and what we want in the end is going to be completely different for each and everyone of us.

Instead it’s all about finding our own way through life. Our own journey. Our own adventure. That journey isn’t going to be the same for any two of us, there may be similarities along the way but we are all going to go through different ups and downs, cross over different rivers and climb different mountains and discover different lessons and patterns along the way. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to spot at least one of the patterns that has run through my own journey so far; one that stayed pretty well hidden to me until it slapped me in the face. For me that pattern is based around the value that has been the most important underlying value and attribute for me throughout my life and  often in a way that I wasn’t conscious of.

For me it’s all about strength. That has been my single biggest value, the single thing that I wanted and needed the most and that has dragged me on step by step to where I am now.  I wanted to start this blog to share some of that journey and what I’ve learnt along the way. Who knows, if I can share some of the mistakes that I’ve made and the embarrassments that I’ve walked into over the years then maybe I can save a few of you from going through the same!

I started powerlifting a little over a year ago and as I started to think about how I’d got there I realised that it wasn’t as random or unexpected as it might have been. I’m afraid those of you who know me as a lifter and are here to read about that will be disappointed to some extent. Powerlifting is going to be a big part of this blog but it needs to be so much wider than that. Sure, learning how to lift bigger weights is interesting and great fun but its only one tiny fragment of the story albeit one that I hope stays with me a long way into the future and helps me continue to grow.  I wasn’t powerlifting when I read my first self help book at age 13 to try to learn how to not be so shy and pushed myself to start my first ever spontaneous conversation; I wasn’t powerlifting when I pushed myself to try something new every week for a year to widen my horizons; and I wasn’t powerlifting when 10 year old me was reading ‘Education of a Body Builder’ and trying to replicate some the exercises in my bedroom…… (though maybe the latter was a bit of an indicator that I might eventually find my way to a strength sport) and yet they are all about strength, maybe different types of strength, but strength all the same.

Some of what I think of as strength you might use different words for; bravery, persistence, courage, commitment, motivation, inspiration. But for me it’s all part of the same thing. They all require a level of strength whether it be physical or mental, and even then I don’t believe that the two are mutually exclusive. For me even physical strength is a manifestation of the mental strength that is underneath. The strongest people in the world don’t just wake up like that one day, it takes the application of mental strength day after day after day to get there, to battle past injuries, to prioritise your training, to consistently eat what you need to. Even in those moments when you are competing it doesn’t matter how well developed your muscles are if you don’t believe that you can pick up what’s in front of you. It’s all a process backed my mental strength.

They say that its the strong that survive, and I believe that’s true, but not because they can hit you the hardest or lift the biggest things but because they have learnt to channel every ounce of that inner mental strength into everything that they do into every moment of their lives. I’m a long long way from getting this right all of the time, I’m still learning and frankly so are 99.9999999….% of us.

Maybe just maybe if we come together and share a bit of what we’ve learnt and make ourselves stronger and better together we can survive that bit longer!

We’ll all go through times when we loose sight of things, we run out of steam and that strength fails us but its never truly gone. You can always find it again and that in itself is part of the journey that we’re all on. Depression and anxiety have been part of my life since long before I had any sort of diagnosis or understood what they were and I don’t always win the daily battle with them. I can always tell when I am at my darkest when my mental strength begins to fail me, those days when I can’t give myself that push to get out to training, those days when I can’t hold myself together enough to deal with big crowds of people, those days when I literally cannot get out of bed. But that doesn’t mean I’ve lost, it just means that I have had to learn ways to relocate my strength and edge my way back one step at a time to the road that I want to be on, those goals I have laid out, those amazing people I have met along the way and all of those amazing things in front of me that I haven’t yet discovered.

This post is just the beginning and I honestly can’t wait to see where this journey takes us. It’s going to be a learning process and I’m looking forward to having you all along the way!

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