I recently had a great conversation about true strength with a leading expert in this field: a bamboo forest. Bamboo is crazy strong. It is said to be even harder than concrete.
Since we humans often confuse strength with being hard on ourselves or others and believe strength means getting what you want at any sacrifice, I think we can use the wisdom the bamboo forest kindly shared with me. Here’s what I’ve learned: Bamboo has not one, not two, it has 3 different kinds of strength: flexural, compressive and tensile.
When pressure is coming in from all sides or the strains of daily life are trying to pull us apart: tap into bamboo strength.
Flexural strength means that a bamboo can bend without breaking. Bamboo is tough, but not rigid. It is able to give in just enough to not break. The second kind of strength is compressive strength, which is the ability to resist forces that are trying to crush it. Also, bamboo is able to resist forces trying to pull it apart, which is its third kind of strength, called tensile strength.
Does that sound familiar? Don’t we sometimes feel like the bamboo? Pressure is coming in from all sides, humans or circumstances are trying to crush us or the strains of daily life are pulling us apart? We know too well what that feels like.
Let’s translate bamboo strength into human strength. When you are under pressure, remember that a certain amount of flexibility can be useful. Take a look at your goals, whatever is being challenged, and see where you can allow just enough wiggle-room to make sure you remain unharmed, while still staying on task. This flexural strength helps you to handle the pressure with grace and, who knows, a slight, unexpected change of plans may prove to be ever better than what you anticipated.
No-one can touch us or crush us when we know what truly matters in life.
Another way to tap into your strength and make sure that you are neither torn apart nor crushed, is to stay centered and grounded. Focus on what gives you stability. Connect with your family, friends or nature. Stick to daily routines that enhance your wellbeing. Plus, hold on to your values. No-one can touch us or crush us, when we know what truly matters in life. The strongest sources of strength are and always will be love, compassion and forgiveness. A kind heart always prevails.
There’s one more thing: Bamboo grows crazy fast. You and I should do that, too: grow with every experience – good and bad. Be grateful for everything we’ve learned and never stop learning.
Strength is a multi-dimensional, fascinating, beautiful bamboo forest. Since strength has so many faces, I already did an episode on another aspect of strength. If you want, you can listen to episode 32 where I share A new view on weak and strong.
When pressure finds its way into your day, embody bamboo strength instead of being hard on yourself. Be flexible, perseverant, reliable, willing to learn and grow from experience.
Also, remember that we are talking about a bamboo forest: strong beings standing side by side. Meaning true strength is able to ask for help and allow others to give support with their bamboo strength.
Comment below and share your views, worries, stories, positivity and thoughts with me. Or send me a DM on Instagram @suzannefreiherz