* Strength and Courage in Life

Not too long ago I shared a poem from an unknown author about the difference between strength and courage. It is very inspiring. Many of us think of strength and courage as being similar, but in my experience their essence and their impact are very different.

To make this really resonate, take a moment and ask yourself these two questions as I did:

  • What is the strongest thing you have ever done?…..

When I think of the answer .. words that come up for me are willpower, tenacity, stick-to-it-ness, pushing, driving, reaching, perseverance, battle through, grit, not caving in … acts of will.

  • What is the most courageous thing you have ever done? …..

When I think of the answer … its all about facing my own fears… being vulnerable… opening my heart.

woman walking into futureCourage brings about personal change and often leads to profound insights and transformation.

The most courageous people I know are curious, compassionate, accepting, forgiving and open. They have gone through many highs and many deep lows of life and found their Middle Ground to nourish, replenish and inspire themselves and others. They are life’s thrivers.

Strength strengthens and often reinforces the existing structure.

The strongest people I know are single minded, headstrong, know what is right,  are somewhat inflexible and usually intense. They have persevered through the highs and lows of life yet find it hard to connect  to their own Middle Ground and a sense of peace. They are life’s survivors.

Bring courage and strength together however, and we can change not only ourselves, but the world.

change the world  Namaste

25 responses to “* Strength and Courage in Life

  1. I’d never thought of it that way, but you’re right Val. I’m just thinking now of times I’ve been afraid. The last thing I felt during those times was strong. It’s more a leap of faith to face your fears and trust you’ll make it through.
    Diana xo

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  2. A great post! I have always combined the two, and this has helped me recognize the difference. There are times I have berated myself when I didn’t believe I had enough strength, when I should have been recognizing my courage. Placing myself in any sort of vulnerable position is something I have gone to extreme lengths to avoid. Time to stop that. If I’m strong, I can certainly be courageous. Thanks!

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    • Thank you April for your affirming comment. Being vulnerable takes courage. Courage comes from the word coeur meaning heart. Let your strength take you to your heart. Val x

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  3. When the basis of our well-being is firm within, we can act with true courage and compassion for others, for we’re coming from a solid position of calmness and strength. ~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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  4. Funny, when you asked about strength, I thought about climbing mountains, skiing down back country slopes, running the marathon — it takes strength (and some courage) but mostly inner strength to persevere, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. courage is when I find myself up against my fear and as Diana says, took the leap. Even if my body felt strong, my heart could be weak, my spirit diminished — it took courage to pull me through.

    Love this post. Thanks Val — you’ve got me thinking!

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    • Thank you Louise for sharing the physical aspect of strength and facing real dangers rather than perceived ones…. it makes me think of Nancy’s quote. When we are strong within then we can act with courage and compassion. I’m thinking about it too! Val x

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  5. Yes, I think you’re right about courage and strength being different. I have a daughter who is strong beyond measure, has never let anyone push her around or shape her life (unlike me)………….but…………..she so far hasn’t had the courage to face who she really is and why patterns keep repeating in her life. Strength is a benefit in life, but it must be balanced by compassion and courage.

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  6. When I mind Strength I think at a time, when I needed to find the deepest inner strength just to survive and Courage to change my life, which really demanded courage that time. It is really two different things as are perfect, when we can make them work together. Then everything is possible. Thanks for a great post Val.

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  7. The comparison is interesting although I see the words a little differently.
    ‘Strong’ is governed by the noun it is coined with. A strong personality is someone as you described – headstrong, inflexible, intense, stubborn. They could be bold or even brave. (Robbers can be brave.) On the other hand a strong character, I believe, is someone who will stand by their beliefs – no matter what. They will do the right thing, be honest, and show integrity. Even when afraid, they will show courage and fortitude in order to stand by their beliefs.
    Yes, to be strong and also have courage can lead to great things.
    Thanks for getting me thinking today. 🙂

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  8. Great post, Val. What struck me on first reading is the extent to which the physically weakest are often those who show us the most strength and courage and in this way truly inspire. I’m thinking, particularly, of people I have known who are very ill and facing their own deaths.

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