Mental strength isn’t about acting tough; it’s about feeling empowered to overcome life’s challenges.
Here is a list of things Mentally strong people don’t do.
- Waste time feeling sorry for themselves
- Give away their power
- Shy away from change
- Focus on things they can’t control
- Worry about pleasing everyone
- Fear taking calculated risks
- Dwell on the past
- Make the same mistakes over and over
- Resent other people’s success
- Give up after the first failure
- Fear alone time
- Feel the world owes them anything
- Expect immediate results
Don’t try to control things around you, control yourself!
How often when something bad happens to us, do we feel sorry for ourselves thinking things like “there we go again” or “I didn’t deserve this”. But here is the thing, self-pity is destructive and holds us back. Feeling sorry for ourselves just leads to more negative emotions and wastes our energy.
You can’t escape misfortune but you can change and control how you respond to it.
Let’s say you suffer from a car accident and are hospitalized in a bed. You could either dwell in a cycle of bitterness or you could start working out hard at physiotherapy.
You can’t undo the accident but you can choose how to feel about it now and how to react. We often cling to the illusion that we can control everything and that impulse can hold us back. Because we loose time and energy on things we cannot change, when we should spend energy on things we can change.
Trying to control everything often backfires and makes everything worse. For example trying to control circumstances in a relationship can lead you to focus exclusively on that part, failing to focus on improving your relationship where you should.
After James’s divorce, he was worried that his ex-wife would try to turn their daughter against him. But instead of focusing on his daughter, showing her how much he loved her, he wasted his energy trying to control his ex-wife’s behavior. His wrong focus lead to the outcome he was trying to prevent, it damaged his relationship with his daughter.
Don’t focus too much on other people’s thoughts and feelings
Mentally strong people don’t give other people power over them. That means they don’t care too much about what other people think, because that would mean letting them define their self-worth. The moment you let other people dictate your behavior, you open yourself up for manipulation.
A mother might tell her daughter that “big girls don’t climb trees wearing their best clothes.” By making this kind of emotional pressure parents often control their children. Because the child wants to be seen as a big girl, she alters her behavior.
Mentally strong people in contrast, refuse to give other people power over them by making them feel bad or inferior. Instead they take control over their emotions and actions.
The key is to stop being a “people pleaser”. Taking care for yourself isn’t being selfish.
Of course as children we often have no choice. Children of alcoholics for example, often become “people pleaser” because that was the only way to manage a parent’s unpredictable behavior.
Fear hinders change
The comfort of familiarity often can prevent us from taking action and make changes. Making changes can be scary, we have to enter new territory. We will have to confront unfamiliar situations which can make us feel uncomfortable.
But think how much improvement just some small changes could bring to your life. Changes could be as small as becoming more conscious of your health, start working out and changing to a healthier diet.
That wouldn’t be too scary, would it?
Many people are scared to start a weight-loss program because they think that would imply to stop eating tasty food and spending all their time sweating in the gym. That mindset makes it much harder to start.
Another example is the fear of risk. Many people don’t open their own business because they are scared to end up without income if they quit their day job.
Dwelling on past mistakes is another common problem. Instead of focusing on future possibilities people tend to remember past mistakes and let those thoughts scare them to take another risk.
If you want to move forward, you have to focus on the future, learn from past mistakes but don’t let them scare you to take action again.
Small bad habits prevent us from moving forward
As children we often escape scolding or mocking by lying about our mistakes. But this attitude can hold us back as adults. Because when we don’t face the consequences of our mistakes, we fail to learn from our mistakes. And making the same mistakes over and over again makes us stuck.
Failure is not something bad, every champion has failed many times. Don’t feel bad about failures, change your mindset, instead of thinking about something as a failure, think about it as an opportunity to learn. Champions persevere through failures and make adjustments.
People also tend to give up when they don’t get immediate results. But big achievements take time. If they were achievable in a short amount of time everybody would be doing them. So focus on your big goals, put in the effort and stay patient.
Competing with other people often leads to resentment
How often do you scan through Facebook posts, envying other peoples success? Or the same thing might happen when you see successful people at a restaurant or an expensive car you would love to have. But poisoning yourself with envy only leads to resentment and prevents you from focusing on what you really value.
Don’t compare yourself to others just to rise your “status” like insecure people do, as if you need to prove yourself. Do and pursue things you love and don’t worry about what other people think.
Being at solitude can help you connect with your true values. Make it a habit to log off from social networks and shut down your tv and spend some time in solitude every day.
Learn to manage negative emotions.
Mental strength isn’t about burying emotions. Burying emotions backfires sooner or later. Mental strength is about harnessing your inner power to deal with your weaknesses. Become your own coach!
Become aware of your bad habits and how they hold you back from your goals. Then take adjustments every day and change those bad habits one by one.
Learn to shift your negative emotions when you experience them. You can learn to focus on more positive emotions. Whenever you compare yourself to others, remember yourself that you have your own skills and talents.
Make a list of your goals, write them all down. Whenever you feel discouraged read through your list and imagine them one by one. Change your mindset.
Successful people have a different mindset than normal people do.Constantly improve your mindset, learn to focus your emotions positively and make decisions towards your goals.
Also published on Medium.