The Paradox of Strength

Some lessons happen over a lifetime.

Others happen in an instant.

Either way, the paradox of strength is that it develops though pain.

Each misfortune cultivates a renewed appreciation.

Each obstacle fosters a new level of perseverance.

Each sadness teaches a greater depth of compassion.

Each challenge harvests a new field of possibilities.

We must fall down to rise up.

Again, and again and again.

Paradox of Strength

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72 thoughts on “The Paradox of Strength

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  1. True. Things happen gradually. But pain walks with us every time because without the pain, the life is incomplete. If life is the ship then pain is the ocean. Ship can’t be tested on lands, right?

    I love the post. Peace and live well.

    1. Great insights! I love your ocean analogy. “If life is the ship then pain is the ocean.” You are right: Ships cannot be tested on dry land. We have to venture out to experience life – the good, the bad, and everything in between. ๐Ÿšข

      1. Yes, Ma’am.
        Experience is what makes a life wonderful.
        Sometimes, storms will hit the ship very bad.
        No problem. Go back and build a new ship.
        Thanks for the humble reply.

    1. Agreed!

      Monday morning quarterbacking (on life) is always the easiest. Tougher to see the lesson in the midst the the grit, grind, and dirt.

      Which is why mantras are so important during adversity. They wake us up to our innate, hard won gifts. They remind us that we’ve had the ball – all along. That we’re on the precipice of a breakaway. If only we trust our way.

      My mantra in adversity is: “Find the light. Find the lesson”.

      What’s yours?

      1. We like that mantra. Does the ole rule apply when you like someone’s mantra that after using it 3 times and giving credit to the originator you can then claim it…. just kidding. I guess our mantra would be faith and perseverance.

        1. I would add one thing to your finding strength mantra. Faith, perseverance, and lightheartedness. This is the epitome of you. (This is how your blog reads.) โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ

          1. We like that! That is thoughtful of you to share because it is our hope to have the blog convey these attributes. You have such a wonderful gift of wisdom and expression. Your students are blessed to have you as a mentor.

    1. Amen Willie!

      Life is our greatest classroom.

      The hope is to be surrounded by teachers & cheerleaders who support us through our growth & flourishing.

      Good judgement. Bad judgement. And all.

    1. Such a universal experience for us all. Different lessons. Same schoolhouse. Same yellow bus. And we all have a choice each morning to jump on the bus and enjoy the crazy, ridiculous, bumpy ride or shake a fist at it while running behind. All the while becoming more exhausted & depleted. Fight or flight or learn. Such a universal experience for us all. Different lessons. Same schoolhouse….

    1. I have a relative starting a new nursing job next week. About everything you can imagine that could go incorrectly with the HR process has happened to my relative! From HR having 2 profiles; new hire & transfer, required to do new hire paperwork that wasn’t necessary, cannot get access to the Uniform link to order uniforms for new job! So when I saw this post…this is my relative experience right now. My relative has #Perservance, such an important Life Skill!!! Thank you for sharing! Just what I needed to see this morning! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. What a story! Thank you for sharing how this post impacted your family. Nurses are my specialty! And the nurse you describe has perseverance multiplied. Obstacles are stepping stones for them. Such a critical trait in working with patients. Each time a nurse perseveres, they give their patients inspiration to do the same. No roadblocks. No stop signs. Only detours. And adventures. To a much stronger place. ๐Ÿ’ซ

        1. I agree! I have a “soft spot” for this particular nurse!!! She is going to be an amazing nurse since she spent 1 yr. as a Patient Care Tech & 3 years as a Pharmacy Tech while in college!!! This relative is awesome…roadblocks and all…she is a total inspiration to me!

  2. So true, thank you Andrea. โค I have walked through deep sadness and self-judgment and it has given me so much. I love myself (which is an amazing statement to make) and am so grateful to practicing forgiveness to help me work my process.

    Just was looking at a Buddha quote, "Our sorrows and wounds are healed when we touch them with compassion." Your post reminds me of this. Thank you! I really appreciate you, Andrea. Debbie

    1. You always bring so much depth to my posts Debbie. Thank you for sharing your journey from suffering to strength experience. Your willingness to move through your pain encourages us to do the same.

      Love the Buddha quote! A compassion mantra to live by.๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿƒ

  3. Oh so true! When life throws it’s lemons.. we have a choice to let the lemon knock us flat or to energise us… Thank you! xx

    1. Lemons that energize us! Love that! In the end, choice = empowerment. Something we should never give away. The lemon metaphor is a great reminder. Thanks Wendy! I always love hearing from you. ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ’š

      1. Thanks so much! I love hearing from you too!! I’ve been a ‘bit off line’ recently following a bereavement and hopefully I’ll be back up to speed soon. Much appreciated and thanks for your patience. x

  4. Your posts are always so enlightening! I just completed pre-posting a blog entry that talks about this very topic as it pertains to my journey from being thin to overweight to thin again. Reader’s Digest version: it’s been weird and a roller coaster of emotions. The one constant: I always try to remain optimistic and persevere through whatever life is throwing at me.

    1. Thank you for the feedback!

      I love how you share the vulnerability of your weight loss journey AND your strengths that have developed because of it + pulled you through.

      Important lessons for us all.

    1. You are so welcome Nicolle!

      And I’ll suggest you take it one step further..


      1. Take an inventory of your “Top 3 Strengths”.

      2. Also: Ask your friends & family to do this for you too. Their answers might surprise you!

      3. Combine their answers with yours & trace them back in time to pain / challenges that built these strengths of yours.

      4. Post your history of “From Pain to Strength” timeline on your wall or bathroom mirror. And use it as inspiration the next time you experience adversity. You, like all of us, have survived (and thrived because of) challenge. Don’t forget that! This is your badge of honour. Your victory. Big & small.

      Mantra during adversity =
      This pain is “My Strength in Training” ๐Ÿ’ซ

  5. Thanks for the simple reminders about strength through adversity.
    The tired cliche of “no pain, no gain.” doesn’t need to be a battle cry for martyrdom , rather as you aptly remind us, we can learn and grow from our pain.
    In fact, that may be why we experience it in the first place.

    1. I love your interpretation on this post! Thanks Shawn. Your wisdom gives me one more glimmer of hope in our shared trials & tribulations of this so called life. I look forward to exchanging insights. Have a wonderful day! Andrea โ˜€๏ธ

  6. Absolutely!
    We often despair about adversity instead of seeing what it can lead to and follow that path.
    You put it perfectly and you are inspiring my next aphorism!
    Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿค—

  7. Andrea, thank you so much for another beautiful and encouraging post! Your words are very helpful today…..
    “This pain is โ€œMy Strength in Trainingโ€ย 
    “Slowing down is a sign of strength.”

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