Now more than ever, strength isn’t just about how much you sweat. Below, four women share when they felt their most powerful, from building confidence to facing criticism…
Feeling strong has never just been about physical power.
While a body that can lift, race and carry you through life is undoubtedly a strength, there are plenty more ways to be mighty.
From finding the courage to stand up to critics to finally being able to smile with confidence, we spoke to four women to find out when they felt their strongest.
1. 'Realising I'm enough' - Katy, Birmingham
When you’re busy trying to live your best life, other people chipping in can be a little frustrating.
This year, Katy found strength in realising that she was enough.
“Instead of seeing myself as not good enough, I decided that some people just don’t deserve me,” she says.
“I make my decisions based on whether I can be proud of myself, not what other people think.”
“It’s felt really empowering to let go of how other people feel and focus on how I feel about myself.”
2. 'Getting to know myself' - Carla, Colchester
Break-ups are rarely a walk in the park, but for Carla, the split was actually a catalyst for inner strength.
After breaking up with her boyfriend of four years, Carla was able to get to know herself as an individual, rather than someone’s girlfriend.
“The relationship was by no means negative,” she says.
“We just fell out of love, and at that point I’d been with him for my entire adult life.
“After we split, I was amazed at the strong, independent person I became on my own.
“I established deeper friendships, started going to the cinema and the theatre by myself and worked through my emotions.
“It was a major period of self reflection and self realisation - all without relying on somebody else.”
3. 'Finding my smile' - Jasmine, London
Having always been self-conscious about her smile, Jasmine shied away from the camera at social events.
Coming from a big Iranian family, this proved difficult to avoid.
“I never wanted to be filmed on camera because my teeth were so wonky,” explains Jasmine. “It was a real confidence issue for me.”
But after taking positive action and scheduling in some time with the dentist, Jasmine finally had a smile she felt proud of.
“It seems trivial, but feeling like I was finally able to smile in photos completely transformed my confidence,” Jasmine says.
“I felt so much better in myself, while my friends and family could also see the difference.
“Now, I feel proud of who I am and the way I present myself.
“These days my teeth are something I enjoy taking care of and showing off.”
4. 'Discovering fitness' - Lisa, Manchester
For Lisa, running and fitness have always been a passion, but she’d never describe herself as a ‘strong’ woman.
“I’ve never been particularly muscular, so it amazes me how I found the confidence to compete in CrossFit and weightlifting competitions.”
Starting CrossFit four years ago, Lisa learnt that training wasn’t all about the end result.
“I feel my strongest when I hit milestones in my training journey, however small, such as a new PB or finally nailing a move I never thought I could.
“The gains are gradual but the journey is so much fun and what seems impossible today becomes the new-norm some day in the future.”
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