The Strength Project #1 ~ Simmy Hoonjan...

By Lucy Harbron - 07:00

Over the past years strength has become a quality so so important to me as I've attempted to embody it, as well as aiming to surround myself with incredibly strong, positive people. I think it's a trait that often goes under-appreciated, but to me, it's one of the most valuable qualities you can have; both physically and mentally. Strength to me is a synonym for overcoming; strength is getting back up, knowing how to care for yourself, accepting your own emotions. But strength has so many connotations and means different things and resonates differently with everyone. Everyone has a personal story about strength and I truly believe those stories deserve to be celebrated.

I'm lucky enough to know so many incredible people and I see lots of signs of strength daily on social media- so I decided to chat to some people about the idea of strength and what it means to them, in their life...


"Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage not weakness"
The second I decided to start this project, I knew Simmy Hoonjan had to be the first person I talked to. At only 15, Simmy is one of the most incredibly strong, inspiring, positive girls I've ever had the privilege of talking to and working with. She's a blogger, writer and self-love advocate.

Here's our chat about what strength means to her-

Could you tell me what strength means to you?

Strength is such a broad word and I feel as if there are so many different interpretations. Of course there is physical strength but I personally believe that personal strength is much more important. This is the strength that pushes you to keep trying even when you feel like giving up. It's the strength that allows you to get through whatever life is throwing at you whilst knowing that you are going come out much stronger. To me strength is something that you will develop whilst you are in different situations which you may find uncomfortable and given no other option but to get yourself out of them by holding on to possibilities.

Has there been a time when strength has been really evident in your life?

I never really valued the idea of strength until I reached year 10 which was last year. At the beginning of the year I didn't feel like myself. I changed incredibly and found it difficult to be content with myself. I moved on regularly and didn't settle down easily because I was afraid of being happy. I was extremely self critical to myself and allowed everything to get to me personally. My 14 year old self began to crumble away slowly and it felt as if any event would wear away at me even more. I got so weak and my mind was completely consumed with negative thoughts that did me no good whatsoever. I guess you could call it my lowest point so far? I would cry every single day and was in cycle that seemed impossible to break. I felt hopeless and I hated myself because I didn't feel good enough for anything. BUT - I got out. I continued to change and evolve into the person I am now by swapping my negative thoughts with positive thoughts. I found out that happiness can only be sourced from within. I began to be open about the battles I was facing and realised what a healthy relationship was. I met a selection of amazing people and began to see life in a whole new way. I realised that my journey was different to every other person and embarked on a journey of self love. I learnt about myself and spent time with myself to give myself a value. I am the best that I have ever been right now. It only shows what a difference a year can make!

I think you're so so strong as not only have you overcome so much in yourself, but you've created this amazing online space, with your blog and twitter, that's full of messages of positivity and strength for others! Do you think a key part of strength is spreading it onto others and being supportive and strong for those around you?
This question has made me smile so much oh my thank you!! + I truly do believe that spreading positivity to others helps me maintain my own strength. Seeing someone else smile due to an action of my own is one of the best rewards I could receive. I think caring for other people is so important. How can one expect everyone else to care for them if they don't care for anyone else? A healthy relationship includes having an equal yield of caring on both parts. I genuinely love being there for anyone who needs someone because if I can make even the smallest difference to a life I know how much it would have helped me when I was hurting inside. I do believe that words can make such a large impact on other people. Our word's are so powerful that we can do so much for other people. Just one friend can be the difference between life and death. If only more people knew that.

When do you feel strongest?

I feel strong when I'm happy and essentially living in a moment. I feel strong when I look over the past and evaluate how I got through everything and am still here to this day making the most out of this gift of life. Although I don't believe you should dwell on the past, I think that sometimes you need a little boost to remind yourself of everything that you've conquered if you are feeling overwhelmed because I do believe that everything happens for a reason. The past is the past. It is not the present. Now is up to us and our decisions are up to us completely. I don't really believe there is a specific time when I'm at my strongest however I think each situation draws out the strength we need within us.

Do you think strength is something you're born/raised with or something you develop?

I definitely think everyone is born with strength, however I believe that it only develops when you are put into tough situations and given no way out apart from using your own strength. Everyone has it in them but I don't think people realise it! I think each individual has so much power and strength it's unbelievable, I only wish people knew how much they could achieve if they stopped doubting themselves. I really believe that people can make it through anything - everyone can get up from the lowest of the lows. We are all capable of so much, however when you are in a low place your vision is clouded and you don't feel as if you can actually get out, but I assure you that you can.

Who's the strongest person you know?

If I'm honest I don't have one particular person in mind because one lesson I've learnt from someone is to not compare the journeys of others. We are all going to face things in life and nobody is at the same point. I have learnt that comparison regarding personal aspects including strength does more damage that it does good because nobody will deal with the exact same situations as they go through life. We are all facing different problems, and although some of the issues we face may be similar, they will never be the same. I don't think I can compare things that don't have the same grounding however I do believe that everyone is strong.

Could you give me 3 signs of strength that you don't think other people might necessarily associate with strength? 

I love this question!! Okay so everyone has their own interpretations of what strength is however when you are enduring a tough experience even just getting out bed is tough and requires strength. Going about your normal routine can seem impossible when your negative thoughts have consumed you. Just going about your life and leaving the house when you want to give up is strength to me. Although at the same time having a break and relaxing also shows strength in a similar way. Allowing yourself to take time out is a way of informing yourself that you matter and have self worth. By recognising your own needs and putting them at the top of your priorities - to me this shows strength when self love is so forbidden in our current day society. Being kind to yourself shows strength. I also think talking about what is going on in your head shows incredible strength despite the fact that people often assume that keeping everything in is what defines strength. If you are facing a problem please do not keep it in because there are oh so many people out there that dedicate their lives to others. There is no single type of strength and I think I may have missed the '3 sign' part of the question but oh well!

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I can't recommend enough that you follow Simmy and take some time to read her work, or even just some of her tweets!

Find Simmy-
Let me know your thoughts about strength, and tell me about the amazing, strong people in your life! If you want to get involved in the project, don't hesitate to contact me!

More chats coming soon!


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