9 signs you have stronger character than the average person, according to psychology

Ever wondered what truly sets apart individuals of strong character? 

It’s not just about the bold achievements or the high points; it’s more often the subtle, everyday choices that define who we are. 

Today, we dive into some traits that signal a robust character, according to the experts. Some of these might just surprise you. 

Let’s get to it.

1) You follow through on plans and goals

Did you jot down some ambitious New Year’s resolutions as 2023 waved goodbye? 

Now, be honest with yourself—how’s that going for you? Are those goals still in your sights, or have they faded into the background?

I know many of mine have fallen by the wayside. 

However, if you’re nodding proudly, knowing you’re on track or have even ticked a few boxes off that list, you’re a rarity. 

Research has revealed that a staggering 92% of Americans veer off their New Year’s resolution path. That puts you squarely in the elite 8% who demonstrate a remarkable strength of character through their persistence.

Of course, it’s not just about New Year’s resolutions. It’s about following through on goals by taking small, consistent steps to achieve them. 

The decisions, the moments of choosing perseverance over comfort, underscore a profound level of self-discipline—a trait experts acknowledge as part of a strong character.

Perhaps, Steven C. Hayes Ph.D., a professor of psychology, put it most simply when he explained in a Psychology Today post that “consistently acting in ways that move you toward your chosen objectives” is a sign you are a mentally strong person.

2) You apologize when needed

In a world where admitting fault is often misconstrued as a sign of weakness, it seems time we flip the narrative. Contrary to what many believe, the ability to apologize isn’t a flaw but a formidable strength. 

Dr. Ilene S. Cohen, a psychotherapist and author, sheds light on this misconception. She noted that “owning up to our flaws and mistakes requires a lot of strength and self-awareness.” 

And when we think about it, it makes a lot of sense—I mean, how easy is it to deflect blame, to find a scapegoat, or to bury an issue under a mountain of excuses? 

Far too easy in most cases. But stepping forward, acknowledging a misstep, and offering a sincere apology? That takes guts. 

So, take a moment to consider the last time you apologized. Was it a mumbled afterthought, or did you genuinely recognize an error and seek to mend a rift? 

3) You have bounced back from difficult times

This is probably one you were expecting. 

Have you ever faced a setback that felt like a knockout punch and come back from it? 

Perhaps it was losing a job you cared about, the end of a significant relationship, or a business idea that didn’t take off as you’d hoped. 

This “ability to recover and rebound from challenges and setbacks,” as Kendra Cherry, a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, puts it, is a quality that sets strong individuals apart. It’s not just about getting through tough times but also about how you grow and evolve because of them. 

More than that, this quality is invaluable in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing world. The folks at the World Economic Forum seem to agree, listing “resilience, flexibility, and agility” as one of the top skills for workers in its Future of Jobs Report 2023.

So, if you’ve managed to stand up, dust yourself off, and move forward after a setback, give yourself credit. 

4) You don’t allow yourself to be a victim

How often do you find yourself dwelling on unfortunate circumstances or playing the blame game?

If the answer is “rarely,” you may possess a powerful strength of character.

It’s another sign of strength backed up by the pros, but perhaps it’s best summarised by author and psychotherapist Amy Morin, who tells us, “Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.”

You see, refusing to be a victim requires a particular brand of accountability. It means rejecting the lure of self-pity and helplessness, even when the tides of life seem stacked against you. 

It’s about recognizing that while circumstances may be difficult, you still hold the power to shape your response and steer your journey.

This mindset is a hallmark of those with robust character. They roll up their sleeves, face challenges head-on, and focus their energy on constructive solutions. 

It’s a choice to be the architect of your life rather than its casualty. 

5) You aren’t afraid to be vulnerable

Here’s another we often mistakenly label as a weakness: vulnerability. 

Many of us shy away from it, equating openness and emotional exposure with a lack of strength.

But, as with apologies, the experts beg to differ, and perhaps none more eloquently than Dr. Brené Brown. In her 2015 book Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution., she offers a powerful reframe: “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

It’s about letting down our guards, showing our true selves—warts and all—and still standing strong in the face of potential judgment or rejection. 

Recall a time when you opened up to someone and shared a fear, a dream, or a piece of your heart. It’s terrifying, isn’t it? 

It sure is, but it’s in these moments we are showing strength as well as forging connections, building trust, and growing. 

6) You always remain grateful 

pic2429 9 signs you have stronger character than the average person, according to psychology

This one is easy to overlook, but giving thanks is like a superhabit. 

Not only has research shown that it makes us happier, but as noted by the folks at The University of Maryland, it also “ bolsters our emotional resilience by motivating us to focus on the positive things in life.” 

This is also echoed by Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. She told INSIDER, “Rather than exclaim they need more, mentally strong people acknowledge they have more than they need.”

This doesn’t mean ignoring the areas of our lives that need improvement or the goals we aspire to achieve. Rather, it’s about finding balance, acknowledging the good amidst the struggle, and recognizing that our current blessings are worthy of celebration.

If you find yourself routinely pausing to appreciate the small joys, the achievements, the beauty of nature, or the kindness of others, you’re not only cultivating a resilient and positive mindset; you’re also embodying a profound strength of character. 

This next one might actually be the most important sign of true strength of character

7) You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do

Integrity is what you do when the spotlight’s off…when there’s no audience to applaud your choices. It’s about doing the right thing because it’s inherently the right thing to do, not because you’re seeking validation or reward. 

This often means standing your ground, swimming against the current, and sticking to your convictions even when it’s tempting to just go with the flow.

Strong character is closely linked to this practice of integrity, and it seems that practicing it only serves to make us stronger. 

A 1999 study, for example, revealed that aligning actions with personal values fosters better mental well-being. 

Jessica Koehler, Ph.D., further reinforces this. In a Psychology Today post, she notes that another study found that “By acting with integrity, individuals can better navigate life’s complexities while maintaining a solid sense of self and emotional balance.” 

So, think back on those times you made tough calls, not for acclaim or advantage, but purely because it was the right thing to do. Those moments are the true measure of character.

8) You celebrate others’ successes

So, let’s say a friend lands their dream job or finally accomplishes a long-held goal. Instead of feeling envious or insecure, you offer sincere congratulations and share in their excitement. 

Sound familiar?

This ability to genuinely rejoice in the triumphs of those around you without letting envy or jealousy cloud your joy is a profound sign of strength and maturity. It requires a sense of self-assurance and an abundance mindset that transcends pettiness or rivalry.

It’s also backed up by experts like researcher and author Dr. Alice Boyes, who stated in a Psychology Today post that it’s “a subtle sign you feel safe and secure in yourself and that you operate based on an assumption of abundant opportunities rather than scarcity and threat.”

True character shines through when we can wholeheartedly celebrate the wins of others, recognizing that their success doesn’t diminish our own potential. It’s a beautiful trait that fosters positivity, strengthens bonds, and creates a rising tide that lifts all boats. 

So revel in the victories of your loved ones—it’s a sign you’ve cultivated a resilient, generous spirit.

9) You focus on what you can control

If you are a regular reader here at Ideapod, you may well be sick and tired of me writing about this one, but it’s so important. 

This age-old wisdom preached by ancient philosophers like Epictetus not only helps us to be more productive and resilient, but it’s also a sign that you are already strong.

As Amy Morin, an expert in this field, puts it, “You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.”

The bottom line

That just about wraps it up from me today, folks. 

If you can relate to a few of these, kudos to you. You are probably stronger than average and perhaps stronger than you realize. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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