6 Traits Of Mentally Strong People
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What does it mean to be “strong?” We hear it all the time — they’re a “strong person,” and we’re usually not talking about physical strength at the time.
Mental strength is arguably even more difficult to build because it requires emotional trials and tribulations.
When you do establish it, though, you recognize different actions and traits within yourself that wouldn’t have been present before.
Here are 6 things that mentally strong people do:
1: They’re selective about where their energy goes.
Part of being strong is being discerning. It’s knowing what (and who) is good for you…or, not. And then it’s doing the hard part: Cutting out the negative and toxic influences.
In order to do this, we must consciously choose where to spend our mental and emotional energy. This is difficult, because we risk saying “no,” or letting someone down, or feeling like we’re doing something wrong by simply maintaining our own boundaries.
Mental strength, though, stays true to its values and knows what is right and wrong for the individual (you), which has to be the main priority.
Mentally “weak” people will allow themselves to be pulled in every different direction because they don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves and what they want. It takes real fortitude to do that.
2: They welcome (and even seek out) challenges.
Challenges involve risk. Risk of failure. Risk of falling short. Risk of needing to face our own shortcomings. None of which are easy — and none of which are enjoyable.
However, they are all necessary for building a strong sense of self, and a fulfilling life.
For that reason, mentally strong people understand the value of facing challenges, or even specifically seeking them out in order to test themselves. They learn new skills, they start new businesses, they go out and meet new people, they take personal risks outside of their comfort zone.
As a result…they grow. They thrive. They find out who they really are.
They become even stronger as they continue building credibility with themselves through overcoming these challenges. It’s an upward cycle of personal growth through trials and tribulations.
Avoiding challenges altogether, though…keeps one inside of a comfort zone and prevents all of this growth from ever occurring.
3: They keep moving forward.
Our youngest, Liliana, is almost 4 years old. I have been in her life since she was 6 months old, and have watched her grow and progress into a sassy little munchkin who never stops running around and telling you exactly how she feels and what she wants.
When I met her, though, she could barely hold her own bottle up in her own hands.
I watched her learn to walk.
We all know the steps involved (no pun intended).
First, she started crawling. Then, she’d begin pulling herself up onto chairs and tables. Then, she’d slowly be able to balance on her own legs. Then, after many failed attempts, she’d take her first step.
At no point in this process did she stop and feel bad for herself.
At no point did she consider quitting.
At no point did she think “meh, maybe walking just isn’t for me.”
She fell onto her bum, stood up, and tried again.
We all did this at one point — yet somewhere along the line, we began to forget just what it is that we’re capable of. We began to tell ourselves limiting stories and accepting limiting beliefs that we heard decades ago from someone who probably isn’t even in our lives anymore.
Mental strength, though, means overcoming that internal narrative and rewriting it on your own terms.
Mentally strong people don’t spend all of their time feeling sorry for themselves. They take a little time, feel the feelings, and then move forward towards a solution.
4: They are kind to others.
For years I have been saying that kindness is a strength.
It’s a strength because it requires you to step outside of yourself and consider other people. It may require you to defend them, or to prioritize them, or to step in and encourage fairness when there seems to be none.
Being selfish or mean is a basic primitive trait. It shows that you only have the mental capacity to care about yourself and that if you stop doing that for even a minute, you think the whole world will fall apart around you.
That, my friend, is no sign of strength.
Mentally strong people know when to be kind, and also to maintain their boundaries to make sure they’re receiving equal treatment in return (See point #1).
5: They display patience.
How is patience a sign of strength, you ask? If you’ve ever actually had to be patient — you know the answer.
Patience is a form of self-control, which requires an immense level of mental strength. It’s easy to get impatient and frustrated. It’s easy to lash out and react rather than respond.
But ease doesn’t require strength. The hard things do — like patience.
6: They’re inspired by strength — not intimidated by it.
I used to be jealous of other people’s successes.
I’d see people who were better looking than me, in better shape than me, making more money than me, dating more successfully than me…
And I’d get jealous as hell about it.
Then, as I grew as a person and discovered the control I had over my own life, I began to face the truth that many of these people (albeit, not all), had already discovered:
They were simply working harder (and smarter) than I was.
The people in better shape than I was had earned that body. They were in the gym more often than me…so how could I be jealous?
I became inspired.
The people making more money were working smarter and harder than I was. So, how could I be jealous?
I became inspired.
I began to learn from people rather than resenting them. This, though, required consciously choosing to shift my perspective and stop playing the victim.
It required me to face my own shortcomings and be honest about where I needed to improve if I wanted to get where I wanted to go.
It required me to build the mental and emotional strength I needed to transform into the person I am today — and to continue transforming into the person I want to be tomorrow.
Real strength isn’t about outperforming other people — mentally or physically.
Real strength is about outperforming the past version of yourself. And that strength comes from the only place that real strength comes from…
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Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 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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