If you should ever get the question “how strong are you?”, I hope your instant thought will be “stronger than ever!” and even more importantly, I truly hope that you sincerely feel that way. I know I do.
The term “being strong”, to me, has little to do with physical strength. I think I partly learned that already as a very young girl training for my life dream of competing at the Olympic Games – my physical outcome, my physical results are just a mirror of my mental strength. My body always performs as a reflection of my mind. Anyone (!) can train 6 hours a day, the only question is if your mind, thoughts and inner battles work with you or against you.

However, as you may know, your mind can be trained just like your body.

“your mind can be trained just like your body”

I loved many things about swimming: how it made me feel, how it disciplined me, how it had me know and see a lot of my capabilities, how the sport invited me to travel the world. What I also loved about swimming was that in the water they can’t see you cry. I have used the water to practice grammar in silence, to practice for exams in silence, to deal with my thoughts in silence and I have used the water to cry my heart out. I’ve used the water to grow strong. It was always just me, myself and I in the water. The water has taught me who I am, not leaving me any other choice but accepting myself.

To sum up my 31 years of life: I was born a few hundred meters from the ocean, I grew up in a swimming pool and then I moved to Berlin and ended my life as an athlete. And then I was forced to grow again.
I had to learn a new language, while dealing with an identity crisis of not being an athlete anymore, being a “nobody” in my mind and having no friends to talk to. Again I was left alone to figure it out in silence by myself.
I gained 10kg. I had no money. I sold soup to make a living and in this city I have also lost who I was sure was my forever partner in crime and soulmate.

If the water hadn’t taught me that there is no story without a struggle, I would never have known that in my struggles I grow the most. I accept every struggle, knowing that on the other side I’ll be even stronger. That is the mindset that makes me feel “undefeated”. I wouldn’t change a thing. Every tear, every laugh, every doubt has made me MICHA. And fact is: there is only one Micha. The choice is mine.

With every up and every down in life you have a choice and that choice is made in your thoughts. Your choices and your way of thinking will determine who you are as a person and how you live your life. Life can be very unfair, but make sure you use those hard times and experiences to rise on the other side. Remember that if you are hurting, it’s a certainty that the best is still to come.

I wasn’t always this strong. I have grown strong. And I know for sure that I am not done growing yet.

Neither are you.