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You may be strong but are you tough?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by jammies View Post
    Here's the thing though. I am tired of being tough. Just for a while I want to be warm and comfortable. So if hardship is supposed to make us tougher and stronger, why am I just getting less and less toleranct of it?

    This I can relate to. I was at first kind of regretting posting about myself on this thread but after reading this paragraph I felt I could really relate. How many times do we have to "dig a little deeper"? How many times do we have to pick ourselves up.

    Then came your next comment about your dogs and I remembered that next year I'm moving into the same neighbourhood that the trust fund babies and perfect parent's kids live in. And I'll be able to sit in my comfy chair on my comfy deck with the knowledge that I earned my reward. Then I'll go up to my big comfy bed and sleep like a dog too.

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    • #32
      For me, the situation is what you can handle without complaint.

      One of my friends is in cancer treatment. She just goes through it. No moaning about her fate. No "pity me" language. No neediness.

      She goes and gets her treatments. She efficiently asks for the help that she needs. She's not ashamed to admit she's in pain, to cry in pain, etc. But, she does this *without* complaining all "woe is me!" and "no one understands!" and all that drama. she's just getting on with it with grace and grit.

      So, really, grit is the ability to take on what is in front of you without drama. You look at the situation in hand and get on with what needs to be gettin' on with.

      I find that when a lot of people face any level of hardship in their lives -- even the most modest -- they whine, bitch, and moan about it ad infinitum, seeking all kinds of assurance and "help" and what not.

      I find that incredibly frustrating and annoying.

      Shit happens. You accept and adapt. And eventually, you'll find a comfortable spot and have your rest. Or make due with whatever is comfortable enough.

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      • #33
        Couldn't we frame the issue as a question of physical strength vs. mental & emotional strength, rather than trying to call out "toughness" as a wholly separate quality? That's what we're talking about here, isn't it?
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #34
          Bat with handle rocks it again.

          Physically, I'm not that strong. I don't know where I'd fall in comparison to women my own age, but I'm not breaking my figurative balls to lift stuff. I did that in the 80s and 90s (and not like a Shape gurl). It was cool; I really liked it a lot. I can walk many miles. A fast moving zombie could probably catch me. But I could probably out walk one distance wise.

          Mentally I can be tough. I just don't give much of a rat's ass anymore to prove it. Take up the mantle those of youth - make the world a better place! I will be your cheering section.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

          B*tch-lite

          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
            Couldn't we frame the issue as a question of physical strength vs. mental & emotional strength, rather than trying to call out "toughness" as a wholly separate quality? That's what we're talking about here, isn't it?
            Yes, I guess those can be separate qualities. I am physically not very strong, however I can tolerate situations that other people hate. I can tolerate being cold, wet, in pain and miserable for very long periods of time! I am sometimes quite surprised when people can't go on during a hike because their shoes got wet, or the go to the doctor because they have a stuffy nose.

            Mentally....I used to be a superhero. Invincible to all pain!! I could "accept" anything that happened. Then one day, it all vanished. I feel much more fragile now. But I'm not sure I would go back to that way. It feels more "real" than being zen and calm every minute of every fucking day. But it sure was nice living with that buffer around me.
            Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

            http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Iron Will View Post
              This I can relate to. I was at first kind of regretting posting about myself on this thread but after reading this paragraph I felt I could really relate. How many times do we have to "dig a little deeper"? How many times do we have to pick ourselves up.

              Then came your next comment about your dogs and I remembered that next year I'm moving into the same neighbourhood that the trust fund babies and perfect parent's kids live in. And I'll be able to sit in my comfy chair on my comfy deck with the knowledge that I earned my reward. Then I'll go up to my big comfy bed and sleep like a dog too.
              I think there is great value is taking joy in those comforts. I love that visual! However, I'm pretty sure you'll quickly find that the perfect parents and trust fund babies are pretty damaged too once you get up close and personal.
              Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

              http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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              • #37
                Originally posted by TheyCallMeLazarus View Post
                Well, at least I know a woman to message to beat people up for me. Tough as old boots there
                Nah, I'm pretty ordinary actually.

                Originally posted by Iron Will View Post
                I'm happy for some anonymity on this site. Today I work with people that 20 years ago would have kicked dirt in my face. I had a childhood I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I've lived in drug houses and when that got rough in my car with nothing but dry ichiban and dinner rolls. I didn't want that life and I always knew that I would have to do 1-1/2 times what anyone else did just to get through. That's why I chose the screen name Iron Will.
                Now this is toughness right here.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by jammies View Post
                  I think there is great value is taking joy in those comforts. I love that visual! However, I'm pretty sure you'll quickly find that the perfect parents and trust fund babies are pretty damaged too once you get up close and personal.
                  You may be right. I don't know how it feels like for my body to fight against me so to me, you and others like you, are the tough ones. I had a client for a while who has Crones disease. He dealt with it every day and it wasted him but he was one of the kindest people I have ever met.

                  Jammies, I hope you find your proverbial comfy pillow for times of rest.

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                  • #39
                    I guess that I have a general definition of toughness that fits for most aspects:

                    Toughness is when you intentionally withstand discomfort, inconvenience, or emotional upheaval in the pursuit of something larger than the right now.

                    In most real life cases, toughness is really about deferring gratification, or accepting current hardship on behalf of something worth having....in the case of someone very sick, it is the hope that one day they will get better. In the case of someone that came from nothing to grow into being successful, it was the belief that one day their work, their sacrifice, would pay off. In the case of a guy deciding to deadlift 450 instead of an hour on an elliptical, it is the belief that it will make them stronger, look better naked, etc....the point is that there is a common thread.

                    I have told people how some of the toughest people I have ever met were in med school....the stereotype that they are legacy kids is exactly that, and a false one. Some of them had grown up very poor, were not really the most intelligent people one would ever meet, but HOLY hell were they relentless. I always say that when I think of doctors, I don't think "smart", I think "tough". For them, it was their way of saying that they made it out, that they had made something of themselves no one could argue with. A lot of academic pursuits do this for people, and it doesn't get as much credit as it should....the toughest person I ever met went from being essentially homeless to having a computer engineering degree from Purdue. He was unshakable with everything he did. It spills over into everything.

                    For my people, tt was 6+ years of often 16-18 hour days, no such thing as a weekend, usually with finals right after the holidays. Saturday night meant you simply got to study a little later than normal. No sleep, bad food, and it just never ends. No breaks, no "taking a long weekend", often not a single night off for months on end.

                    I remember having a calender that I got as a Christmas gift one year....I took New Years off, and was about to head into the toughest semester we had (2nd of 2nd year). I wrote across the whole calender, with a Sharpie, until May when finals came: "Every day is war"

                    Now it all feels like a million years ago with my life now. I at least had the luxury of getting my mettle truly tested. I am fortunate enough for that. It does something to you....

                    A friend of mine had a song lyric that she would write on the top of her final's study guides that I still remember. It said: "I swim for brighter days, despite the absence of sun." That is toughness for me, in many of its forms.
                    "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by TheyCallMeLazarus View Post
                      Toughness is when you intentionally withstand discomfort, inconvenience, or emotional upheaval in the pursuit of something larger than the right now.
                      I think for me this pretty much nails it. Having worked in emergency medical services, firefighting and law enforcement, I have seen people, myself included, work under conditions that a lot of people just would not have been able to handle.

                      It was not a matter of physical strength, not that having good strength didn't help, but an attitude of the challenge of the call, that you had a job to do and do it you will. There are no choices, peoples' lives are in the balance and nothing, physically or emotionally, could hold you back from doing your job.

                      2 hour vehicle extrications in sub-zero temperatures, full cardiac arrest in 100 degree weather, 9 hours working a fully involved fire in Suez or working a full cardiac arrest on a 3 years old child (my first arrest as a paramedic), it had to be done.

                      Melt down later, rage against the causes of these calls, whatever you need to do to cope but in the here and now, you tough it out and do you job.

                      And we welcomed the challenges. Not that we wanted anyone to get sick or hurt but we rationalized that it was going to happen anyway, we just wanted to be the EMS unit that responded. Working a multiple vehicle accident with several critical patients was the next best thing to sex. Yes, we were all trauma junkies.

                      Good times, good times.

                      Next time you see a fat and out of shape paramedic out there, remember that mentally that person is likely way tougher than the bulked up hulk benching in the gym.
                      Randal
                      AKA: Texas Grok

                      Originally posted by texas.grok
                      Facebook is to intelligence what a black hole is to light
                      http://hardcoremind.com/

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                      • #41
                        I acknowledge that in some ways, we have been encouraged by media to develop toughness, so that we make better slaves. From that point, if you subtract the demands of labor and other ways we whore ourselves out for little green pieces of paper, a different kind of toughness is left behind - the ability to do absolutely nothing, to sit still and face death, totality and pure emptiness and purposeless; this is a strength that far too few people have. The busy-body who roams from task to task in fear of downtime, who says they are "bored" far too often, who is afraid to be alone - this person is weak and dangerous to be around. The frail black hole who always needs somebody to hang out with; these caustic, hypervalent and draining people are the neediest and weakest example of abject helplessness I can imagine.
                        Crohn's, doing SCD

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                          I acknowledge that in some ways, we have been encouraged by media to develop toughness, so that we make better slaves.
                          With all due respect, I think I would have to argue your point. I think that the media, and society in the US in general, are encouraging people to become weaker and more comfort based.

                          From food to driving to living, everything is about convenience and comfort.

                          Just as an example, I was talking to someone yesterday about how people will gradually lose their ability to drive without all the modern "conveniences" that new cars have. From 360 degree sensors to automatic transmissions to cars that parallel park themselves, we are not too far away from having a majority of drivers that if you put them into a 60s model car with a standard transmission they would likely wreck or tear the car up, or both.

                          The arts of cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients, is going the way of the Dodo bird. In rural areas these skills still exist but they are diminished from what they were a few decades ago.

                          Weak and comfortable people are just as enslaved as slaves in shackles. The shackles are just invisible to the naked eye.
                          Randal
                          AKA: Texas Grok

                          Originally posted by texas.grok
                          Facebook is to intelligence what a black hole is to light
                          http://hardcoremind.com/

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                          • #43
                            I am not intentionally calling an early ceasefire between what Knife and Texas are saying, but they are both really part of the same force.

                            One of the strongest forces that exists in the US media and culture is infantilization.

                            What I mean is that the push is to reduce people into the desires that babies have: to want, immediately. To be cared for. To have a life without nuance, without undue hardship. A part of this is that we must be branded, ASSIGNED an identity...and Knife is correct: a big one that pushed on a lot of men is a very superficial, macho, easy form of "toughness". Along with it, people cannot stand to be alone, to have no distractions, to just be grateful to be here. What else requires these things? A toddler.

                            I think that is what makes true toughness so valuable and impressive.....people that signed up to be miserable at times, to get something much bigger. Sometimes this is the job itself, other times its family related, or a sacrifice to improve your life for the long term.

                            I have read about how in a lot of ways, an engineering department counselor at a college and a military recruiter face the same problem; because what they are asking for is opposed to the overwhelming societal ethos.....both openly acknowledge that the next few years will be very rough. You are signing up to be uncomfortable, sleep-deprived, and to see others attempting what you are also attempting fail. Both of these things require maturity, and that is the REAL enemy of the culture, with toughness as just an attribute of it.

                            This is why some of the most common majors in the US are fashion merchandising or communications....things that really produce a good job on the other end are HARD....it is all connected. Our society discourages the truly mature.
                            Last edited by TheyCallMeLazarus; 10-06-2013, 07:18 AM.
                            "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by texas.grok View Post
                              I think for me this pretty much nails it. Having worked in emergency medical services, firefighting and law enforcement, I have seen people, myself included, work under conditions that a lot of people just would not have been able to handle.

                              ... Yes, we were all trauma junkies.

                              Good times, good times.
                              My friend is ex-law enforcement, recently retired. He nearly fell apart healthwise upon retirement. This is actually quite common for retired law enforcement. Turns out they live life in a state of hyper-readiness, the cortisol and adrenaline constantly flowing. This is not healthy and they die shortly after retirement when the hormones stop and the damage done is revealed. It's not a form of toughness that I would recommend as entirely positive. Still, I'm grateful for your service and admire your ability to withstand such pressures.

                              Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                              a different kind of toughness is left behind - the ability to do absolutely nothing, to sit still and face death, totality and pure emptiness and purposeless; this is a strength that far too few people have.
                              There is a definite lack in ability of people to do nothing. I have a friend who invited me to go camping with him. He is the master of doing nothing. He elevates it to an extreme sport. I simply could not do it. I cannot do nothing. I think in some way that does make me somewhat weak that I cannot simply sit next to a beautiful stream and watch the flowing water, the changing light, the dipping birds, and be satisfied with that. I'm not sure what is missing, but I have to at least sleep or walk or be planning something.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                              • #45
                                Its an interesting concept, but its all relative. I'd consider myself tougher than average, I'm a glutton for pain some times.
                                http://lifemutt.blogspot.sg/ - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore

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