Resilience, perseverance and tenacity – what all these words have in common is that they offer a sense of deep inner-strength. It’s the power one has to deal with difficult situations; to give their all to an idea or a goal; or to dedicate everything they’ve got in taking care of their family. It’s the strength one has to fight injustices; or to work for humane treatment of humans and animals. It’s the perceived strength one must have to overcome life’s challenges.

Regardless of what form inner-strength takes, the source of it is from within. It’s the inner-capacity to assess a situation, observe our own thoughts and emotions as a response and it’s the ability to respond wisely and compassionately to what we are experiencing. Inner-strength is ultimately the capacity to train our minds and meaningfully harness the immense power of our mind in day-to-day situations.

The process of demonstrating inner-strength
Here is a trajectory that starts off with mindfulness and ends up with inner-strength showing up as compassionate action:

  1. Being mindful

  2. Observing emotions

  3. Responding instead of reacting

  4. Bringing compassion

  5. From there bringing compassionate action

So as you can see, the components of inner-strength show up in a certain kind of process of being.

What you see above is also then, a path to developing inner-strength. The more we practice the above, the stronger we get from within when faced with challenging situations. So this is how the process translates into action steps along a path:

Building our capacity to be mindful
This way we are more in the moment and present to what is going on. This can be developed with either mindfulness and meditation practices.

Building our capacity to observe
When we are present to what’s going on, we can observe our own thoughts and emotions. By staying with those thoughts and emotions, we help take off their edge and as a result keeping those strong emotions in check.

Building our capacity to respond instead of react
When we are able to observe, we are also better able to respond with consideration and forethought instead of impetuously reacting to what’s going on.

Building our capacity to bring compassion to the situation
This means bringing in patience, understanding, forgiveness and loving-kindness to ourselves, the event and those involved.

Building our capacity for compassionate action
From this compassionate attitude, we can generate the inner-strength to take compassionate action.

There you have it, each time we practice along this path, we build our capacity to better deal with the challenges of life until there comes a time where things that use to be immensely stressful and distressing, we now find much more easier manageable to deal with. The irate customer doesn’t bother us as much. The unruly student is much easier to engage with. The nagging wife or husband is no longer a source of stress. The slow colleague doesn’t upset us as much. Instead, in each of these situations we are more gentle and kind, leading from our place with compassion and taking constructive actions to deal with situations.

This is the power of building up our inner-strength through regular practice.

Peace and Love, Jim

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