“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one in pushing down, the other in pulling up.”
-Booker T. Washington
Have you ever heard the song You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban? For whatever reason Booker T. Washington’s quote immediately brought this song to my mind. To me that song, like this quote embodies the importance of having solid and meaningful relationships with others. And more importantly, what our role is in any relationship: to raise one another up as Josh Grobin says or pull them up like Booker T. Washington’s quote says in times of trouble or distress. To be there for one another and expecting nothing in return. That’s the true meaning of a solid relationship.
In any relationship we all have one of two options and both of them according to American educator Booker T. Washington exhibiting strength. The question is which really exerts the most out of you, not just physically but also emotionally? When we use our strength to push something down we are able to utilize all of our weight on top of whatever we are trying to keep down. An example of this would be when you go to dunk someone in the pool who is not expecting that to happen. You jump up and push all your weight on their head or shoulders to push them under. Not really too hard. But if you are trying to pull that same person up onto something where you are standing over them it requires a lot more strength. More than likely, the latter would make you feel considerably more tired.
Now let’s look at the strength exerted emotionally when looking at those same two options. Let’s use a classic grade school scenario. When you see a fellow classmate getting teased by a group of other classmates what choices do you have? Do you join in any contribute to the unnecessary onslaught of teasing that other classmate in order for you to fit in with the crowd? In other words continue to push them down. Or do you make the decision to stand up for that classmate and either get the others to stop or simply remove them from that situation and help them rebuild their sense of self-worth. Once again the latter requires more strength but this time more mental strength to do what was right and go against the grain so to speak.
It takes more courage and strength to pull someone up in their time of need. In doing so shows the other person that you see value in them and your relationship with them. Better yet it also shows that you value and respect yourself. In closing, the first verse and first chorus in Josh Grobin’s You Raise Me Up sums it up best in how impactful a supportive relationship can be from one person’s perspective:
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be
So why not raise someone else’s spirit today? What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your relationship skills?