True strength

Dear President Trump,

When I say a loving-kindness prayer for myself and people other than you, I always include the word “strong” when I send the intention for health so that the phrase is “May you be healthy and strong.” I haven’t been saying that to you because I’ve been concerned that your conceptualization of strength is so far off the true mark that it would be a bad idea to mention it (even though there is 0% chance that you’ll ever see any of these messages). I remembered this morning, though, that I typically unpack what I mean by “strong” when I share an LKM blessing with the Veterans I work with since so many of them also carry our culture’s limited hyper-masculine notion of strength. Since we could use some real strength coming from you, I’ll share what strength does and does not mean to me.

The foundations of true strength are carefully considered values and principles.

  • True strength has integrity.
  • True strength is transparent and has nothing to hide.
  • True strength is carried with assurance. It is not boastful, prideful, or arrogant.
  • People with true strength understand and honor their weaknesses. They don’t try and hide them and therefore are not prone to defensive posturing or vulnerable to blackmail.
  • People with true strength are open to opposing ideas from smart, informed people.
  • They are flexible and able to incorporate nuance and multiple perspectives.
  • People with true strength have the fortitude and capacity to insist on and find non-violent solutions to conflict.
  • True strength never bullies.
  • True strength is never vengeful.
  • Truly strong people are able to be vulnerable and whole.

I’m reminding myself of these things as much as I’m informing you.

May you and I both be safe.
May you and I both be happy.
May you and I both be healthy and strong.
May our lives unfold and intersect peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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