In high school I used to love weightlifting, specifically the bench press. Seeing my name on the “100 lb+ Club” was my goal. It would mean I was strong. The first time I bench pressed I lifted 95 lbs. It took me no time to reach 100 lbs. Still, I had more in me. Slowly, I added more weight, the more plates of weight the better. I told myself I only had to lift the weight once to complete the task. There was always a spotter to make sure I didn’t collapse under the weight. Eventually, I topped out at 145 lbs. I hit my limit of what I could handle on my own.
What I’ve learned in the years since is that I don’t really want to be a heavy lifter. I don’t want to continually put more and more on myself. I try to apply this thinking to life, especially in emotionally demanding situations. It’s enough for me to know that I can handle heavy loads. Life has a way of repeatedly putting heavy situations in front of us. The challenge now is to accept and handle what I’m given. I don’t need to add more. There’s still always a spotter, and just like in lifting, sometimes that’s my role.
Rising to each challenge life presents requires varying degrees of emotional strength. Being strong in life is about helping each other do hard things. Having emotional strength takes practice, but you don’t need to add more weight on your shoulders. You don’t need to be a heavy lifter. There’s nothing to prove when it comes to emotional strength. There’re no bragging rights, your name won’t make it on a meaningless chart either. Just do your best. Lots of things in life are hard, but most things only have to be done once.