(The cover photo is me during a workout a few years ago)
I was just interviewed live on the AskZena radio show on the topic of Endurance.
What is endurance?
Endurance, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity; the act or an instance of enduring or suffering
Every being in existence will be required to endure something within its lifetime. Let’s face it, no matter how happy you are, how positive you think, how nice you are, how much money you have, blah, blah, blah, you will face challenges that you must endure. Challenges such as losing a loved one, the ending of a relationship, illness, financial hardship, homelessness, drug addiction, abuse… I could literally go on and on.
In my own life, I have endured many things. I have been through a divorce. I was a single parent with a disability. I’ve had financial hardships. I’ve had major illnesses. I’ve lived paralyzed for several months. I’ve had horrible jobs and terrible bosses. And so much more!
I will not allow these things to define me or disturb my inner joy. Of course I know that an outward reaction to painful, scary or annoying circumstances is a typical part of our human existence. I’ve screamed, cried, run away, isolated myself, fallen on my knees, cussed, and shown emotions in both understandable, and outlandish ways. The important thing is that I reacted, recovered, endured and moved on!
Every time I work out I have to endure the glorious pain of progress. I know that a workout without pain will not get me the body and health that I want. I believe this is a metaphor for life. Without the aches and pains of life, how would we grow? If we never experienced sadness, how could we fully appreciate happiness? We learn so much more from challenges and pain than we do when things are smooth and easy.
Tenaciously endure challenging, hairy, painful, problematic circumstances with the knowledge that change is always coming. Sometimes we endure for 5 minutes and other times we endure for years. Sometimes enduring becomes such a natural hum of life, that we forget about it. Whatever the case may be we must take full responsibility for change. Don’t get me wrong, sitting and crying has its place as part of the process, BUT allowing yourself to do this too long can lead to emotional ruin, bad health, and a host of other realities that can force us to endure even worse scenarios like being fired, hospitalized, or even imprisoned. Only you can decide how much time to allow yourself to cry or be angry. Just give yourself space, set a goal, AND move through it.
Be careful about becoming angry with the world and treating others poorly. Even if you view an aspect of your challenge to be someone else’s fault. Treating people poorly is never ok and may cause you to push away the very people who could help! Believe me, I did it and it was NOT GOOD!
‘Stinkin’ thinkin’” and wondering why life is so unfair is simply a waste of time! I know your mamma may have insisted that you be treated fairly. If you are a fully functioning adult, yo’ mamma has left the building! Fairness, my friends, has no place in building the mental muscle of endurance.
Like many of my disabled peeps, we endure all kinds of challenges, some that will change or improve and others that will stay the same or get worse. We all must do what we can to deal with and accept our situations as they are. If you have the possibility of healing or improving, DO THE WORK! Whether it is physical therapy, losing weight, taking medications, etc…DO IT! If you have to live with a disability, do what it takes to accept, and learn what is normal for you! Whatever the case, ROCK YOUR BEST LIFE! If you are dealing with a new disability, your life is not over! Be thankful and move through it. Disability or illness may seem like suffering that you endure but they can become the background hum of your life that catapults you to do great things!
When I was paralyzed, I had no idea, when or even if I would improve. I endured painful, demanding physical therapy. I endured full care from nurses and family members. I decided to endure life in a rehabilitation center for a time to make sure I stayed challenged physically! It hurt like hell…every day! I had to endure the process of re-learning how to sit up unsupported, walk with a walker, talk, eat, write, dress and to care for myself. I endured the super scary process of driving with my hands (yikes), I endured being a single mother who was being fed by her 6-year-old son! Talk about endurance! Looking back it seems incredible to believe, but in the midst of it all, I pushed myself to endure. I had to! Although it was many years ago (my son is about to turn 21) I have continued to be joyful, silly, happy and to leverage the strength I gained during that time to endure challenges I face today. My disability is now something I endure as background hum. Although my disability can be painful, annoying and frustrating, it does NOT stop me, and it damn sure does NOT define me!
To be honest, my endurance tolerance bar is quite high now. I’ve learned that there are some things that I can choose not to endure. For example, after all of that, why would I endure a bad relationship for even 1 day? Why would I stop working out if working out allows me to avoid having to endure the health issues of a sedentary person?
Yes, I consider myself an Endurance Badass! My life now is more peaceful than it has ever been. No, that does not mean that I have nothing challenging going on, but it does mean that I KNOW I have the strength to get through life’s ups and downs without being destroyed, bitter or angry.
I identify with many of the synonyms for endurance, but the few I’ve listed below have a particular meaning in my life.
Consider your past or present stories of endurance…
- What have you had to endure?
- How did you get through challenges that you endured?
- What did you learn?
- What strengths/learning are you leveraging today?
- What are you enduring now that seems ”never-ending?”
- What CAN you do to own the changes that will move you through?
- How will you allow others to learn from your challenges?
Let’s ALL be Endurance Bad Asses!
Love, Light, Endure, Learn, and Grow!
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