What Can You Lift?

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 6, 2017

Rarely does a day go by without someone communicating to me that they made a “terrible” mistake, and that now they are discouraged to discover that they are “weaker” than they had supposed. Rarely is their assessment true. Let’s look at a perspective on strength that is far more productive than diving into the cesspool of guilt, self-recrimination, and worthlessness.

I regularly assess my overall emotional and spiritual strength, and I do that—roughly—by the month or the quarter. Daily measurement, or hourly measurement, of my strength would make my head spin, because the variations are too great to create a meaningful picture—much as the strength of a company is not measured by the variation in stock price from one day to another.

What I assess is my overall real strength, which includes my abilities to be peaceful, loving, happy, responsible, and more. For example, let’s suppose that over the past year I have proven that I have the ability—on almost any given day—to lift 100 pounds, emotionally and spiritually speaking. My real strength is 100 pounds.

But what if I get sick or tired or stressed by a series of unusually challenging events? I still have 100 pounds of real lifting potential, but my AVAILABLE strength might be down to, say, 40 pounds. I did not become genuinely weaker overall as a person. I did not go backward in my efforts to become stronger. I simply do not have all my real strength available to me. An Olympic athlete does not cease to be of Olympic caliber when he has a cold, but for a day or two he may not perform at his usual level.

In that circumstance of decreased available strength—40 pounds—what if I am faced with a task requiring 60 pounds of strength? I have choices. I could avoid the task entirely, or I could take time to rest and recuperate, or I could engage in activities that would increase my strength to meet the required minimum of 60 pounds.

Do not get discouraged when you seem to fall or fail. You’re not a failure. It’s much more likely that you are temporarily weakened, or that you are simply attempting a feat that requires more—say, 120 pounds—than the 100 pounds of strength you have.

Keep lifting weights. Keep engaging. Don’t quit. Your capacity to make loving choices, regardless of the circumstances, will grow. In that there is true power.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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