5 Behaviors Mentally Strong People Don’t Tolerate


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You can’t control how people act, but you can control what you accept from them.

Every single day we’re faced with an internal question that we don’t often define to ourselves. Yet, it dictates the quality of almost every area of life.

Our relationships, our careers, our friendships, our family life…

The question is: What behaviors am I willing to accept from the people around me?

Two of the most important things we can decide are how we’re going to treat other people, and how we’re going to let other people treat us.

That being said — I am going to stay away from emotional abuse terminology like gaslighting and similar, because all types of people are susceptible to abuse and I never want to make that blanket statement.

But, there are some more “run of the mill” toxic behaviors that people who hold high standards for themselves simply will not tolerate. Here are a few:

1: Being talked down to.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a date, at work, or in a long term relationship — you are a human being who is worthy of respect. That worthiness is not affected by your job title, bank account balance, race, gender, or any other factors.

Being h u m a n is enough. It has always been enough.

But, it’s not always that simple. If someone “senior” to you at work talks to you like you’re stupid, how can you express a disapproval with the tone?

At work:

“I appreciate your patience while I learn these new skills.”

“I always value the input of those more experienced than I am.”

“It’s helpful to have these open dialogues while I continue to learn the ropes.”

In your personal life:

“I understand that you’re upset, but personal insults will not solve the problem any faster.”

“I’m sure we can both agree that it’s important to remain respectful during conversations like this.”

“Let’s focus on facing the issue together rather than the issue causing us to face each other.”

2: Disrespect of your time.

One of the clearest ways to show that you respect someone, is to respect their time.

This is why being punctual is important to both dates and business meetings. You don’t know what this person has planned before or after their time with you, and honoring that time in the agreed upon manner is a great way of showing that you respect them.

Hence, needing to have your time respected in return.

We’re all late sometimes. We all have emergencies come up sometimes — but if someone is consistently disrespecting your time, bailing on you, or always being late, they either don’t think you have anything else going on in your life or they’re too self-absorbed to even care.

Either way, they’re not the types of people you need to be around.

Obviously, some of these situations are harder than others. Perhaps you’ve got a high-paying client who’s always changing things around. If so, it’s important to set boundaries from the beginning of your business relationship.

At work:

“I have a 24 hour cancellation policy.”

“The hours you can expect me to respond to emails are between X-X, except for emergencies.”

“This project is allocated 3 revisions, and anything over that is the standard hourly rate.”

In your personal life:

“I’m really working on protecting my personal time right now as I focus on what’s important.”

“I can tell life is busy for you right now and I’d love to get together when you’re able to commit to making the time.”

“Is there a better time we can schedule this when you have fewer conflicts?”

3: Gossiping about others.

This one is tough, because who doesn’t like a little gossip?

Let me be clear — this is a point meant to preserve the integrity of those not present to defend themselves.

Someone is talking trash at the water cooler, or on a date, or in the locker room, and it’s making you uncomfortable.

These are times we are tested because it may be socially unpopular to take a stand in defense of others, particularly when the rest of the group all seems to be joining in the “fun.”

It’s also when we must remember that strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.


“I usually only talk about people when they’re here to defend themselves.”

“I prefer to air my grievances directly to someone’s face.”

“I’d like to think if it were me that you were talking about, someone would step in and change the topic.”

“I’m going to reserve judgment until I hear everyone’s side.”

“I’d venture a guess that there are more productive things we could be talking about.”

4: Manipulation.

Manipulation can happen in any setting, personal or professional.

Odds are, you know exactly when it’s happening, too. It’s just…not that big of a deal sometimes.

Or, is it?

Manipulation is not always something that starts out as being drastic or extreme. In some cases, it may not even be intentional.

But, if someone intentionally or unintentionally begins to see that they can always “get their way” (you’ll fill in for them at work, you’ll make excuses for them, you’ll justify their bad behavior…) then certain personality types could take advantage of this (and you).

Someone who recognizes their own self-worth will never allow manipulation on any level.

Consciously choosing to do something for someone is one thing — but feeling obligated because you may lose their “friendship,” or fall out of their good graces if you don’t do their bidding is a whole other scenario.

Allowing yourself to be manipulated in small ways opens the door to the “ask” subsequently becoming larger each time around. What’s more, it puts you in a position of servitude when there should be equality of respect.


“That sounds like something you should be doing on your own.”

“You’d be able to explain your own decision making process better than I would.”

“I have too much stacked on my plate right now to successfully add another task.”

5: Losing control of self-talk.

Perhaps the most challenging at all.

It is difficult to change how we speak to others, but it is an even higher mountain to change how we speak to ourselves.

Which is precisely why the rewards are so much greater.

Mentally strong people don’t lose control of their self-talk because it’s the very foundation of how we see ourselves and the world.

Being conscious and deliberate about how we speak to ourselves is the very method by which we can alter our own reality and identity.

Instead of saying:

“I’m so bad at this.”


“I’m working on improving at this.”

“I’m developing new skills around this.”

“I’m in the process of getting better at this.”

Instead of:

“I always date people who are bad for me.”


“I used to date people who are bad for me.”

“I’m raising my standards.”

“I no longer accept sub-par treatment in my relationships.”

Other friendly self-reminders:

“My time is valuable.”

“I am worthy of respect.”

“What I do for a living does not define me.”

“There are people who love and appreciate me.”

“I work each day to make a positive impact.”

“I’ve overcome 100% of my hardest days.”

“I am capable of learning and growth.”

“I have the ability to learn new skills.”

When we re-frame our realities to ourselves, our improved decision making begins to reflect the new reality rather than the old.

We can essentially re-program ourselves to act in accordance with the identity we accept for ourselves.

Most people take a passive approach to this and let external circumstances or other people’s opinions craft their identities, which is why so many people feel unfulfilled or held back — they’re being defined by other people who don’t truly know what they’re capable of or what they’ve overcome in the past.

You are the only person who knows those truths about you.

You are the only person who knows what’s deep in your heart.

You are the only person who knows what you’re capable of.

YOU are the only person who can set your boundaries and raise your standards.

In doing so, you’ll become physically and mentally stronger every single day, until eventually, the poor treatment you accepted in the past will feel like a distant memory.

You can’t control how others act, but you can control what you tolerate from them.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.

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