How would you rate your mental toughness?
It can be hard to gauge and measure: is it how fast you come back from a lost job or a breakup? Or is it your ability to stick to a goal and weather obstacles?
Here are the most important signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so).
1) You take responsibility for your life
Taking responsibility for your life is the top one of the big signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so).
A surprising number of people don’t take responsibility for their lives.
Instead, they focus on past trauma, inherited weaknesses, unfair life circumstances, physical shortcomings, mental health struggles or family or career problems.
Many people say they will finally take responsibility and get going in their life once A, B or C happens.
Then they spend half their life waiting.
You don’t do that. You own your life and don’t expect anyone else to fix it, even the parts that are unfair and upsetting.
You keep moving forward anyway without letting yourself get trapped in a victim mentality.
2) You accept your painful emotions
Next up in the signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you accept your painful emotions.
The less mentally strong individual feels emotional pain and immediately tries to either repress it or stop it from happening.
“I shouldn’t be feeling this!”
“This is wrong, it needs to stop now!”
The truth is that sometimes a period of sadness, frustration, confusion or anger is inevitable.
Sometimes it can be the fertile ground for something new to grow.
In any case, denying difficult emotions or trying to get rid of them the fastest way possible creates a vicious cycle and tends to worsen them.
3) Your inner monolog doesn’t control you
The next of the signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you don’t let your inner monolog run your life.
For many of us, that inner narrator in our life often has less than positive things to say about us or our future.
“This relationship will never work, why are you even trying?”
“You’re a fraud and you’ll never succeed in this job.”
And so on…
But when you’re mentally tough, you learn to see through the lies of a negative inner dialog and instead create and truly believe in a more empowering and positive inner dialog.
Part of the reason you’re able to not be run by your inner dialog is that:
4) You have a strong purpose in life
Having a strong purpose in life is powerful.
It gives you momentum to get through the ups and downs of life without getting sidetracked.
You find what makes you tick in your career and personal life and you pursue that with all your attention and energy.
As such, you aren’t a captive audience to your inner monolog, nor to the opinions of others.
Whether folks love you or hate you at any one time, that doesn’t determine your inner drive, because you’re motivated by your purpose.
Whether that’s caring for others in the healthcare field and raising a family or writing books that bring meaning to people’s lives, your purpose animates you and keeps you going during all life’s twists and turns.
5) You use failure and heartbreak as fuel
When failure and heartbreak hit, the mentally tough person uses them as fuel.
You feel the pain and you have some down days, maybe even down months, but you don’t let these times take away your power or control.
You find a way to let that pain move you forward and channel it into something productive.
You find a way to regain your personal power and let pain, betrayal and heartbreak make you stronger instead of turning you into a victim.
6) You offer respect even to your rivals
Next up in signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you offer respect even to your rivals.
A more insecure individual takes competition and rivalry as threats to his or her wellbeing and status, and responds by trying to sideline or eliminate the competition.
But a mentally strong person takes rivalry as nothing but a test to get better and stronger.
If you find that even rivals and competitors get your respect and you don’t feel fundamentally threatened by them, it’s a mental toughness that allows you to tolerate competition and pressure without taking it personally or overreacting to it.
7) You don’t take rejection personally
The other thing you don’t take personally if you’re a mentally strong individual is rejection.
You feel hurt by rejection and maybe even angry and disappointed, but it doesn’t hit your bottom line of self-worth.
In other words, no matter how much it hurts to be rejected, it never touches your basic sense that you are a valuable person who deserves love.
Rejection saddens you and may anger you, but it doesn’t ever make you doubt your worth.
8) You never outsource hard decisions
Next up in the signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you are willing to make tough decisions without relying on someone else.
You may take advice or ask many people for support, but at the end of the day a hard decision is made by you and you alone.
As opposed to those who outsource hard decisions or get somebody else to make them for them, you make a tough decision and stick by it.
This is a definite marker of real mental toughness.
9) You are able to be friends even with those you disagree with
Friendships can be very formative in our life and what we value.
They say you can tell somebody by their friends.
The truth is most of us gravitate to friends similar to ourselves, including those who hold at least somewhat similar views about how to live and the purpose of life.
But one of the top signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that being friends with people totally different (or even opposed) to you isn’t that big a deal.
You can be friends with folks on all sides of the political spectrum and even with friends who “don’t get” some aspect of your life or core beliefs.
You can separate your affection and enjoyment of someone from what they stand for and you don’t let disagreement ruin a friendship.
10) You apply critical thinking even to your own beliefs
Next up in the signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you practice critical thinking.
Critical thinking is a matter of questioning assumptions and beliefs, and that includes your own beliefs and values.
The truth is many people find it very difficult to critically take a look at what they believe and why.
They find the idea threatening or worry they could lose their philosophical basis for life or their identity.
But as a mentally strong person you’re willing to examine everything with a questioning eye, even your own core beliefs and values.
11) You help other people become mentally stronger and more resilient
Last up in terms of the signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so) is that you actually help other people face their challenges and problems in life.
You show them how they are self-sabotaging and how they could have more mental resilience.
You encourage friends and family to find their way out of the victim mentality.
You are willing to share your own mentally tough approach with people who ask and wonder how you manage to keep the steering wheel steady when life is crazy.
You’re in the driver’s seat
Becoming physically tough is admirable.
Running marathons, lifting weights, establishing a healthy schedule and diet are all key.
But physical strength can never replace true mental toughness.
When you’re strong in your mind and in your self-discipline towards your mind, you become a highly effective and powerful person.
It’s like the difference of being in a car where you don’t know the destination and are locked in the trunk versus getting in the driver’s seat with a state-of-the-art GPS system and deciding where you want to go and why.
Mental toughness is about competence and power. It’s about focusing on what you can control and putting your mental chatter and monkey mind in its place.