So what do we mean by "inner strength".
Lets start by understanding what strength is; Strength is a state of being able to either resist or exert force. So when we think about a bridge being strong we know that it can resist all of the force applied to it without breaking. When we talk about a truck being strong we know that it can exert incredible amounts of force to carry heavy objects. Inner strength then is the state of being able to emotionally resist a challenging situation or to change it.
Several years ago Stella was going through challenging time. Everyday I would pick her up from the bus stop and I would begin to hear about how a group of girls were chipping away at her sense of self-confidence. As her father I made it my goal to build her up and to be honest I took a very holistic approach to it. Meaning that we tried to address her challenges physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We knew that soccer would be a great way for her to blow off some steam and at the same time teach her a bit about courage. We memorized scripture which helped remind her how important she was. And then emotionally I constantly celebrated who she was as a person, and then took every possible opportunity to try to build her up. We also roleplayed situations to help her find the strength to stand up her frenemies. This all became a habit for our family and through the process we began to learn about many other girls who were having the same struggles Stella was.
What is so interesting to us is the competitive arena that girls find themselves in, and the ways in which they compete within it. A new girl walks into the room and all of the sudden everyone is being measured up against her. Who is prettier, has the best body, whos the coolest? If one girl feels her status is challenged the passive aggressive bullying starts, then the gossip, compliments that dont really feel like compliments. All of it with the specific purpose of chipping away at a person's sense of inner strength.
The thing that we realised was that girls are struggling to find access to the right tools to help build their inner strength. If you are wanting to become more physically fit then you would go and join a gym or join a team, maybe go on a diet. If you are wanting to grow spiritually you can go to church or read a book. But if you are wanting to grow your inner strength you can….. Listen to music or medicate?(do you get the point?) Sadly for too many people they fail to address this area of life until it gets critical. Often this results in a person either seeing a counselor, being medicated, or perhaps even hospitalized.
While we do feel addressing the issue of emotional strength in a holistic way is wise and helpful. It is our goal to be a little more specific. Our feeling is that strong girls will empower other girls, not defeat them. It is our desire to help provide girls with as many tools as possible to foster their own inner strength and then the motivation to build other girls up. This is the most important piece of it. Girls helping girls.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this:
- If you went to an “emotional gym” what kinds of exercises would you do?
- What does your emotional diet look like? What are things you tell your self often to help you through challenging times?
- What is your emotional vegetable, something that is actually going to help you in the long run? What's your emotional junk food?