This doesn’t just work for physical strength. I’ve been building emotional strength using the same strategy. I’ve been pitted against some pretty intense emotional challenges this last year.
I could’ve chosen to groan my way through meeting my husband’s mistress for the first time. Instead, I looked her in the eye and stepped forward, extending my hand to shake hers. And I felt the strength in my grip.
I could’ve grunted angrily under my breath when I first saw her hold my son. Instead, I felt the flex in my muscles as I hugged him tight the next chance I could, pulling my sweet boy extra close.
I could’ve focused on how difficult it was to see the picture of the two of them framed above their mantle or to smile at my son as he told me about the plans my ex-husband made for her birthday. But instead, I focused on how those little tears in my heart will mend, and my heart will be stronger for it.
I could’ve let myself shake with tears when I heard my child tell her he loved her for the first time. Instead, I breathed deeply and reminded myself of the depth and uniqueness of our relationship.
I could’ve focused on the pain of knowing that a family I’ve accepted as my own, and who has accepted me just the same, is moving forward with her, creating new relationships and bonds. Instead, I focused on the memories our family has already made and will continue to make, knowing they illustrate relationships that will never be broken.
I could’ve felt the full body strain of sitting alone, just a few feet from the two of them at soccer practice. While they sat close, huddled in the wind, sharing a mug of hot chocolate. While they talked quietly and laughed. While she wiped chocolate off the tip of his nose. While I shared custody of the high fives during water breaks. Instead, I squared my shoulders and sat just a couple inches higher. I smiled and made small talk, feeling endurance and strength building with each passing moment.
And once again, I focus on how strong I feel as I pull myself up.
Every time. Stronger.
This post was originally published on Kansas City Moms Blog.