The importance of physical strength and health seems to be over-stressed in our society. A recent article in Forbes highlights mental strength and explains its benefits by detailing certain things that mentally strong individuals don't do. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and social worker, assembled this list.
First on the list is "waste time feeling sorry for themselves." The psychologist identified "feeling sorry for yourself" as a trait common in mentally weak people. Justifying your character by blaming your past and present circumstances is a good way to get nowhere fast. It's virtually guaranteed that the situations you encounter in life will not always be ideal. When mentally strong people get dealt a bad hand, they take it in stride and just keep moving.
Eleanor Roosevelt has said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" which portrays the second principle in this article that mentally strong people do not give away their power. People who have disciplined their minds know that the opinions of others have their place, but don't have the power to make them feel defeated.
People who are strong mentally encounter change and take it in stride. Mentally weak people shut down when their circumstances change, either for better or worse. People who know how to not only accept, but embrace change have the ability to use any type of circumstance for their betterment.
Let's face it. There are certain things that are just out of our hands. Mentally strong people know how to accept this and not let it stifle them. We cannot control certain situations, we cannot control people, we cannot control the weather, etc. The only thing we have the power to control is our own reaction to these situations. You can recognize a mentally strong person by the fact that they don't complain.
The phrase "people pleaser" is has mostly negative connotations attached to it. We all know those people, maybe we are one of those people, who manipulate the way they speak and act in order to make people happy, or to change the way others think about them. While mentally strong people are concerned with the needs of others, they boldly and at appropriate times are unafraid to speak their mind, even when their opinion might be unpopular.
Mentally strong people are not impulsive, but they are bold enough to take risks- calculated ones. Those who never take any risks tend to go nowhere. The older a person gets, the less likely they might become to take risks. It was Earnest Hemingway who once said "Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age." While it may become more difficult with age, the mentally strong individual knows how to weight the odds and take a risk.
Another characteristic that sets mentally strong people apart is that they do not dwell on the past. While it can be important to reflect on past successes and failures, dwelling there can stagnate growth. Strong people learn from their mistakes and aren't angry when other people succeed. When you fail, learn from the mistakes that caused you to fail rather than give up.
The final two characteristics of mentally strong people are perhaps the most important. For one, mentally strong people do not feel entitled to anything. They understand the value of hard work and don't get upset when things don't go their way. Lastly, mentally strong people know that the fruits of hard work are not always seen immediately. They persevere in doing the right thing, even if the results are not instantaneous.
It is important to remember that, just like physical strength, mental strength is not simply genetic. It's not something some people have and others don't. It may come more naturally to some, but the way to become mentally strong is to discipline yourself to be.