Sunday, February 5, 2012

Being a Strong Person

I've always thought of myself as a strong person.  I think, for the most part, I've attempted to live life in a way that shows I am a kind person, that I can "get the job done" when I take on a task, and that I put my own interests on the back burner when it comes to the good of my family or the "group" I am working with.  But I've noticed something.

As I walk through isles in grocery stores or in shops, I'm the kind of person who steps out of other folks' way when I am going down the isle.  "Okay.  So what?" you might ask.  Think about it.  In this life, there are the people who plow their way through, concerned only for themselves and where they're going, expecting others to get out of their way.  And then there are the "others."  The people who find themselves trying to get where they want to be, but end up encountering those first-described people (we could call them rude, self-absorbed), and they feel the necessity to get out of their way rather than to stand their ground.  I would wager they probably do this out of self-preservation and good manners, but I think there's more to it. 

I've seen that there are people in life who have an inordinately strong sense of self.  They don't even question the fact that everyone else should just understand that the world was created for them, and that everything is here to revolve around them.  To their way of thinking, of course, you should move out of their way!  Their life is so important that they don't have a second to step aside for someone else.

Then, there are, at the opposite extreme, the "doormats" of life.  These are the people who have had a strong upbringing in customs and traditions that require they be on their best behavior at all times.  They would feel guilty if they even presumed to not give way to others.  Think of them as a throw-back to the '50s and '60s when TV shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver taught children moral lessons of life, and we all wanted our families to be just like these models of perfection. 

I have to confess that I fall more into this second category than the first.  I have to ask myself, though, what would be so wrong with living somewhere in the middle of these two extremes?  I know, personally, that I need a stronger sense of self...not that the world should revolve around me, but I do know that I am a good person, and that I have much to contribute to those around me.  I am more than willing to give credit to people for what they have honestly accomplished, and for what they honestly deserve, but I would like the same credit and recognition afforded to me when I have contributed to life. 

I think some of it comes with how one "walks."  Someone who plows their way through life leaves a wide wake of personal destruction.  A doormat, on the other hand, never seems to really get anywhere.  A self-confident person, however, has a calm and confident walk.  They get where they are going, but they don't have to plow through without regard for others.  It means they will graciously move to one side, even though they know they don't have to do so.   They know that they have self-worth, and they also know they don't have to prove it to anyone.  It just sort of oozes from them, and you only have to be around them for a short period of time to understand that they are truly quality people.

The Bible says it all so well.  "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30:15 KJV)  I am determined today to accept that I am a person of quality, and that I don't have to feel intimidated by anyone.  Yet I won't have to go around telling everyone what a great person I am.  I just need to accept that I am, and understand that my quiet actions and sincere confidence will speak for itself.

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