Power grows during the difficult moments that consume you, big and small. For all the pain, grief, and lonely times, for all the moments you have questioned yourself or your worth, and for all the times you have worried that you were not good enough, there is, unequivocally and convincingly, power.
Your power is revealed through times of healing. If internal power were easy to achieve, it would mean nothing. Like anything good, it comes in time, and it happens after you are forced to deal with unexpected decisions, unforeseen situations, and abrupt endings.
Like the martial artist who tries repeatedly to perfect a skill, you will find yourself feeling inadequate. You will want these tender moments to pass as soon as possible, yet they take time. Similar to the martial artist who wants perfection in his skills first time around, disappointment and discouragement will prevent achieving success in one fail swoop.
You have to feel it. You have to live it. This is life.
But, power takes time to develop, especially when it emanates from the difficult times, the obstacles, and the fears. It builds momentum as you move through the situations in your life. You realize that you must be resilient. You cannot back down or give up. Some days are more challenging than others, but you begin to put a system into place to attack negativity in your life:
- Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel
- Allow time to heal the pain
- Allow yourself to live again
One day you look in the mirror and realize you have found your own power and your own control. You grow through each difficulty and learn from it. Throughout your life, you make the right decisions for you because you know that tough times are going happen. But, you always remember in the back of your mind that there are more good situations than bad.
Your power means that you face difficulties with an unwavering belief that things will be alright again at some point after the healing. You know that each day will bring a fresh perspective and another opportunity to find hope and truth in yourself.
In this interchange, when you finally cross over from pain to power, you know that you have a purpose and nothing can ever take that away. In other words, you will know that every inch of pain or heartache was meant to make you stronger.
Martial art training has its own moments of pain, from the literal pain of sore muscles, self-defense bruises, or black eyes from full contact sparring, and the discouragement or disappointment of not finding immediate success, to dealing with the aging process, and watching students suffer through illnesses or their own difficulties. Yet, the students who push through debilitating illnesses just to train often have the highest levels of success and continue on their paths to become black belts, motivators, writers, and instructors. Their personal pains prompt the power of their success.
There are pains and problems in everyday life to the extent that we cringe every time we hear about them – wars, starvation, guns in schools, weather calamities, bombings – and yet, we push through because we must. We know that giving up is not an option, so we ban together to create a force that has amazing, incredible, beautiful power in it. This is the first step, to ban together, while discovering ways to mitigate what happens around us. I dare say it is the most important part. Without the unity of people helping each other, the power in all of us is extinguished.
I often read on social media about the deaths of loved ones and the struggles people face. I always wish in my heart there was something I could say or do to take that pain from them. There are never the right words. The one consolation that I know and believe is that the pain will lighten in time, and when they move just slightly past it, they will recognize and hone a power within that they never knew existed.
Some turn their personal tragedies into ways to help others in similar situations. Some create moving speeches on how to overcome adversity. Those who push through situations become better listeners or have tremendous compassion for others. They write books. They make new friendships. They even love again. They use their pain to create hope for others.
The next time you struggle, whether in martial arts or life, you can be sure of one thing. There are always two responses to struggle. One is to fall victim, and the other is to persevere and grow from it. These options are always available and the choice is always yours.
You cannot control what happens around you or in the world, but you can control your reaction. You must push through, even if you do not know what awaits on the other side. This is a practical living tool, a mindset that will never fail you, and a coping mechanism that will guide you where you need to be.
No matter how you slice or dice it, there is power in that. Friends, there is power in you.