The word strength has a number of interesting meanings, both on the street and on the pages of a dictionary. Cambridge dictionary gives several definitions:

1. The ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort.
2. The degree to which something is strong or powerful.
3. A good characteristic.
4. At the best level of ability possible.

No one wants to be weak; everyone craves to be the strongest in the group. In the past brute strength was all that counted, in present day society brute strength is less appreciated in open circles, mental strength and agility is more sort after. This change is not surprising as in the past, a vacuum of knowledge existed between man and his immediate environment, he needed strength and courage to explore the far reaches of the earth. Fast forward to today and man has more rhetorical questions, issues that need more foresight as against immediate actions to tackle. The environment endures merely endures us, nature seems in a bid to wrap us up, thus a need to outsmart the system is highly recommended. Regardless of these differences man’s intergral strength hasn’t changed, if anything his need to reconnect with it for survival has become more expedient.

Man is said to compose of a body, spirit and soul, the heart being a literal part of the body, while the mind and the figurative representation of the heart are considered part of the soul. For this article, they would be considered as separate entities. These various components have unique strengths which are manifested in different ways:

The strength of the heart is love: love is defined as a great interest and pleasure in something. The above definition is very apt as it in no way rules out the possibility of love not being returned by the object of our interest or pleasure. It also doesn’t imply that love has no room for reason, balance or correction. It does, however, imply that love is a positive feeling, a desire to be involved or understand the object of one’s affection. The heart grows stronger and broader as it learns to love genuinely.

The strength of the mind is the ability to keep things in perspective: this is a very important strength as the mind has been known to play a lot of tricks on us. Although what we see or perceive from our environment is affects are final interpretation of events, however, situations have been known to turn from bad to better and vice versa depending on the swaying of the mind in the moment. I find this strength the most difficult to cultivate as it requires a lot of patience to harness, but it one mark of a strong character.

Tenderness is the strength of the body: there is something very endearing about a baby held gently in the arms of a muscled adult. Our strength is at its maximum ability when it can be restrained when it is pushed to bend another, but rather bends itself. A lion roaring at full capacity at a mouse isn’t amazing, a lion roaring full capacity at an elephant now that’s different. In essence, it is not enough to have strength but it is a mark of great strength to know which way to lean with your strength.

The strength of the spirit is discernment: this is limited very closely to the strength of the mind. It is very influential to the outcome of the mind; they have to work in sync to produce the best result. A balanced and calm spirit is very important as it is a gateway to more than what we see through sight.

A compassionate soul is an endearing one: the ability to feel empathy, to share someone’s pain, joy, anger is a deep trait. A strong soul isn’t one hardened to the reality of everyday life, but one that is able to detect the ever wavering invisible signals weaved between people like a spiders web, easy to break, easy to strengthen.

And the strength of humanity is the ability to endure, to overcome, to outlast its opposition. This last strength pulls all the others together to produce remarkable men and women throughout history. Examples abound of lowly men and women who saved families, aristocrats, men of great societal standing from the world that sort to destroy them. A clear example that strength from without is of no value in the face of true opposition. Women and men who rallied troops into battle, but never feared to kneel literally and figuratively before another as some battles are won by a restraining of strength. Thus it is safe to say that whatever eras we find ourselves in these strengths are the only things that will sustain humanity.

Published by Chioma Nwafor