Jihaad - What it actually means
Smiling in tough moment is Jihad. Keeping patience in hard times is Jihad. Struggling for good deeds is Jihad. Taking care of old parents in a loving way is Jihad. Forgiving is Jihad.
Whatever is tough to do but good for others and yourself requires jihad, which means continuous struggle and effort. That's it!
There exists a great misconception regarding jihad (lit. striving or struggle), one of the religious obligations of a Muslim. In the terminology of Islam, jihad is applied both to the purely missionary activities of a Muslim and to his defence of the faith in a physical sense. The first duty, the duty to invite people to Islam, is a permanent duty laid upon all Muslims of all times, while the second is a duty which arises upon certain contingencies. According to the Quran, a jihad which it calls jihad-an kabir-an, or the great jihad, must be carried on against the unbelievers by means of the Holy Book tself (see 25:52). Islam’s greatest jihad is, therefore, not by means of the sword but by means of the Quran, i.e., a missionary effort to carry the message of Islam to all nations. Compulsion in religion is forbidden in clear words: “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256).
A user on Quora comments like this: "From what I have learned, the true Jihad is the struggle or striving to overcome one's weaknesses and lack of attentiveness to one's duties. If it is a Holy War it is a Holy War against one's own shortcomings."
Jihad of the heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combatting the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad was regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).
Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.
Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.
The understanding of the meaning of Jihad depends entirely on your own understanding. If an individual believes in continuous improvement and self betterment, he is engaged in jihad all the time.