We can all see that pretending to be strong just doesn’t work. From our own experience with pretense we’ve learned that, eventually, life calls our bluff and we’re revealed to be unequal to the challenge. And who hasn’t suffered from believing in the pretend strength of others?
Most people want very much to be strong, but they do not seem to be able to find the real strength they yearn for. Instead, they find qualities that pass themselves off as strength, but secretly leave them feeling weak. Here are some examples of false strength:
- Lashing out in anger when frustrated
- Demanding that we are right
- Blaming someone else for causing the problem
- Being loud and intimidating, or cold and critical
- Feeling confident because of any contrived appearance
By contrast, here are some examples of real strength:
- Remaining calm in a crisis
- Never feeling the need to prove ourselves to anyone
- Seeking to solve the problem rather than placing blame
- Enjoying self-command regardless of uncertain circumstances
- Seeing all setbacks as necessary steps to higher success
What a different kind of life would be led by someone who displayed the qualities in the second list as compared to the first. It is possible for any of us to achieve that different kind of life, but only in proportion to our willingness to see the difference between real and false strength. Our growing understanding of the difference is key, for it brings about an inner change that puts us in an entirely new relationship with life.
You will grow weary with your own idea of strength with its accompanying false excitement. You will gladly sacrifice it so that you may experience a higher wisdom that will be strong for you. What relief you will feel in coming into the real self-command of realizing you never had to be strong at all in the way you always thought you did.
(Excerpted from The Intimate Enemy by Guy Finley)