Most would agree that Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the greatest presidents that our nation has known. Few realize that for most of his life he battled internal feelings of inadequacy.
He was often described as a depressed, melancholy, self-doubting, shy, gloomy, secretive, and non-confrontational person. He was preoccupied with premature death and that he might be going crazy. He was uncomfortable in high-society social settings and his etiquette was considered below standard.
Lincoln’s business and political career included many challenges including;
- at 21 he failed in business
- defeated in a legislative race at 22
- failed in business again at 24
- at 26 he was devastated by the death of a sweetheart
- had a nervous breakdown at 27
- lost a congressional race at 34
- lost another congressional race at 36
- at 45 he lost a senatorial race
- lost a bid as Vice President at 47
- at 49 lost another senatorial bid
- finally became the sixteenth President of the United States at age 51
Lincoln was once quoted, in a jokingly way – “Well, I feel just like the boy who stubbed his toe – too damned badly hurt to laugh and too damned proud to cry”.
Lincoln was considered publicly as a non-religious man because he belonged to no church. People of his day viewed the public presence as what the man was inside. Lincoln had the self-confidence to know his belief in God was personal and a foundation to his survival in the public eye.
Lincoln remained internally strong and confident throughout his life. Even as he received hate mail and publicly denounced as ignorant and unfit as president – he endured. He stayed true to his convictions and loved his country, more than himself.
Enduring weakness, persevering, staying true to your internal moral compass, conviction to what is right and commitment to staying on course with your values will assure your path stays straight.
Our society promotes avoiding negative experiences to survive. We need to learn to develop and confront what we face in order to build our strengths to not only endure, but thrive. Learn to develop your internal strengths by seeking wisdom through developing a relationship with God and always work toward understanding (you don’t have to accept) your surroundings – endure all by constantly developing yourself. By doing this, you will persevere and achieve what you seek. Keep looking up!
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