“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
I chose strength as a virtue because those who wish to conquer need strength. Not to conquer others but to conquer myself. To conquer fear. Fear will be an ever present enemy throughout life. Fear will always be there, trying to control you and keep you from progressing. However, by being strong, you will experience fear to a lesser degree, and it shall be much easier to overcome. Strength repossesses the power fear once stole from you.
Human beings, although very conscious, are still animals. Animals ruled by instinct, instinct that is in place to help us survive. Though you may not be fighting for your life everyday, we are still in constant competition for survival even if it is not in the most obvious of ways. Being strong makes you fit. Being fit increases your chances of survival, and strength influences the degree to which instinct controls what you say, think, and do. When you are strong, you feel powerful. When you feel powerful, there will be less in this world that you perceive to be threatening. Feeling threatened triggers the classic fight or flight instinctual response. Hyperarousal, (fight or flight) is a stress response that occurs due to perceived threats or perceived control over situations. Often this response triggers anxiety and aggression, negative thoughts, and negative emotions. Essentially, this response makes you reactive. You want to be responsive, not reactive. Being reactive gives others your power because now they can influence your thoughts and emotions. Not being strong makes you live in fear and negatively influences your perspective. Thus you will be polarized to the negative end of the spectrum and unable to see opportunities to create better situations. Those who are strong do not run. They do not feel helpless. The strong know their own capabilities, are confident, and if they cannot create a better situation, they are capable of escaping or defending themselves. There will always be negative forces in this world that will attempt to hurt you or the ones you love, take from you, and control you. It is a sad fact of life and the reason why you should be strong and capable of defending yourself and others from these forces.
Being strong makes you more capable. Compare the perspectives of a strong man and a weak man. Imagine different scenarios which both men have to experience and try to imagine the perspectives of each. I guarantee, in every situation the stronger man is more likely to have a more positive mindset when conflicted with a problem. In fact, strong people are more likely to view these situations or “problems” life throws at them more as challenges or opportunities for growth then as problems. The strong individual in confident, for he/she has earned their strength by overcoming weaker aspects of themselves and has tried themselves. Confidence, however, is not the only positive quality that is inherited with having strength. Strength also promotes my chosen virtues of courage, health, truth, persistence, and resolution. Being strong you are less doubtful and less controlled by fear, thus making you more courageous and resolute. Living in truth requires strength to overcome temptation ,and being strong naturally promotes health. Lastly, life is suffering, and if you are to endure and persist, you must be strong.
This virtue effects all planes of being. For as above, so below. Having a strong body means having a strong mind/spirit. When you look and feel good in body, you will think clearer and feel energized. Exercise is the way to maintain and acquire strength, and because of this, exercise shall be incorporated into my daily life. Along with making you strong, exercise has numerous benefits. It is a great stress reliever, it keeps you young, and keeps your energy running efficiently.
Ultimately, strength promotes spiritual growth, which is the end goal of this life. You can always keep pushing yourself to higher levels of strength and fitness, increase your tolerance to pain and discomfort, and just grow as an individual. Conquer fear and other lower vibrations with strength and open yourself to new ways of seeing and being.