Merriam-Webster defines strong as “having or marked by great physical power”.
Urban Dictionary defines strong as “someone who comes off as confident”.
And Dictionary.com defines strong as “able to withstand great force or pressure”.
I’d like to add my own definition…
I think “strong” means you keep going…
…when someone says you can’t
…when you’re tired
…when you want to stop
…when someone says you’re not good enough
…when someone thinks you’re crazy, irrational, out of your mind
You keep going.
To me, that’s what strong is. And it certainly can mean strength in the physical realm. A muscle grows when it’s put under ever-increasing pressure and you keep going, you keep lifting. Or if you are running and you’re tired but you keep going, your cardiovascular system will improve and get stronger.
Strong also comes in many forms in mundane, every day circumstances. Moms are nearly always tired but they keep going because their family needs them and they’re strong. Women who aren’t given an equal seat in the workplace but keep trying and keep on going, they’re strong. Activists who may feel like they’re getting nowhere but they keep on going and keep on fighting, they’re strong.
Here are some of the strong women who inspire me the most…
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Did you know that RBG was one of 9 women in a Harvard Law School class of 500? She transferred to Columbia Law School, graduated first in her class, and is the first woman to be on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review.
Despite all of this, no law firm would hire her. Because she is a woman.
Instead, she began taking cases in violation of equal rights due to gender and became an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. Ladies, many of our rights today are because of the fact that RBG kept going…
She also stays physically strong by working out with a personal trainer twice a week. She was able to complete 20 push-ups in a session before her 80th birthday.
Can you believe that women were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon until 1972? What in the world??
In 1967, Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entrant. During her run, race official Jock Semple attempted to stop Switzer and grab her official bib; however, he was shoved to the ground by Switzer’s boyfriend who was running with her. She kept going and she completed the race.
For the 2017 Boston Marathon, bib number 261, the same number Switzer was assigned in 1967, was assigned to her to mark the 50th anniversary of her historic marathon. And rather than being the only official woman in the race like in 1967, she was joined by over 13,700 women—almost half of the total runners.
Ever felt like you’re too old to start exercising? Ernestine Shepherd didn’t start exercising until she was 56 years old. Today, she’s 82 years old and has gone on to win two female bodybuilding titles. Yes, you read that correctly!
What is her secret? “Discipline, determination, and good old-fashioned hard work! I wake up at 3 am, run about 80 miles per week, and I eat a calorie-controlled diet of boiled egg whites, chicken, vegetables, and plenty of water. However, the true secret to my success is simple: I never give up.”
She never gives up. She keeps going. Whatever it is that you’re working to get stronger in, just keep going.