Strength comes in many forms…and its development isn’t linear

by Megan K on August 13, 2010

When I think about strength I think about it in terms of physical prowess or emotional fortitutde.  Both types of strength adapt over time. 

Today, I was not feeling very strong.  I was in physical and emotional pain.  I hit PR’s on some of my goal exercises (chest press, deadlift and swings) and temporarily alleviated the physical pain, but now I hurt again- albeit to a much lesser extent.

When I began writing this post I had the strongest desire to lie down, in the middle of my apartment on the living room floor and cry until I fell asleep. It was a tough day today, and its been a hell of a couple of weeks. But instead of totally melting down, I began writing (through tears) because its important for you to know that we all have bad days and that does not mean that we have stopped progressing.  

My good friend and mentor said something to me (that he had said before) that really clicked on a couple of levels today. Strength development is not linear”.  You may lift heavier and heavier on a given exercise and then take steps back, in terms of weight, before progressing well past your last heaviest lift. 

I had noticed and wondered about non-linear progress or growth within my own workouts (especially as it pertains to certain exercises) but hearing it again today lead me to consider its application to emotional growth as well.

I had what my yoga colleagues refer to as an “aha” moment.  Given that both physical and emotional strength can be developed, and given that physical strength development is non-linear, it follows that non-linear development applies to emotional growth as well.

Are you still with me?
The bottom line is this: sometimes physical or emotional stuff (weights, running, healing after loss etc.) gets easier and then harder before it gets easier again.  If we think we have resolved the emotional distress caused by a trauma or loss and it resurfaces in an unpleasant way, that doesn’t mean we are getting worse because progress or growth is not linear. 

Ladies and gentlemen write this part down: crying is cathartic and it releases toxins from your body. So if you ever feel like you need to lie down on the floor of your living room and cry, do it! It will make you feel better. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

In good health,
Megan K

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