8 signs you’re a mentally tough woman, according to psychology

Have you ever wondered what makes some women seemingly unshakeable in the face of adversity? 

Well, psychology would suggest that it’s a blend of traits that empower them to meet life’s challenges head-on and thrive. 

Today, we dive into eight signs that you or someone you know embodies this sort of mental strength. 

How many of these traits do you see in yourself or others around you? 

Let’s find out. 

1) You see failures as learning opportunities

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

Oprah Winfrey

This insight from Oprah highlights a key characteristic of mentally tough women: their perspective on failure. 

Mentally tough women view setbacks not as impenetrable barriers but as essential experiences from which to learn and grow. 

When faced with failure, they don’t succumb to discouragement. Instead, they assess what went wrong, draw valuable lessons, and strategically apply this knowledge to future challenges.

As highlighted by Harvard psychologist Dr. Cortney S. Warren, strong women might use phrases like “What can I learn from this?”. 

This adaptive approach to failure encourages a mindset geared toward continuous self-improvement and success, even in the face of adversity. 

Not only that, but by openly embracing failure, mentally tough women also inspire those around them, demonstrating that progress often requires perseverance through difficult times. 

Do you see adversity and challenges as lessons?

Good for you. It’s a big sign that you are mentally tough. 

2) You stay positive

“Stay positive!”…I know it sounds pretty cliché. 

However, it’s more than just cliché; research, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, suggests that a positive mindset can actually enhance our ability to cope with stress and anxiety.

Clinical psychologist Monica Vermani sheds some more light on this in a Psychology Today article. She explains that “Our thoughts lead to our perceptions, behaviors, actions, interactions, and choices.” 

I suppose this is pretty obvious when we think about it, but it’s worth noting. 

The point is maintaining a positive outlook can fundamentally alter our reactions to stressful situations.

​3) You compare yourself to yourself

Let’s be honest: at one point or another, we’ve all found ourselves comparing our own lives to the triumphs or seemingly perfect lives of others. 

Maybe it was a colleague’s promotion or a friend’s popularity or beauty. 

Worse yet, it might have been some celebrity or influencer on social media that we don’t know and probably never will. 

Why is this bad?

Well, research indicates that this common habit can lead to diminished self-esteem and well-being because it creates a relentless cycle of comparison and discontent. 

Mentally tough women have realized this, usually through experience and reflection, and no longer participate in this external comparison game. 

Instead, they look inward. Instead of measuring their achievements against someone else’s curated highlight reel, they set personal benchmarks. 

This approach is endorsed by experts like clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, who, in his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, dedicates an entire chapter to the importance of comparing oneself to oneself. 

Basically, by prioritizing self-comparison, mentally tough women cultivate a healthy growth mindset

Such a perspective allows them to appreciate their own achievements and continue striving for personal excellence, free from the distortions of external comparison.

This next one is a big one, but one that’s often overlooked. 

4) You don’t play the blame game

“It’s because of the economy,” “She didn’t remind me,” or “The traffic was terrible,” you won’t hear such phrases from truly tough women.

Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has suggested that blaming others is often the easier option because it avoids the need for personal reflection and change. 

As she points out in a Psychology Today article, it takes less effort to find fault with others than to acknowledge and correct our own mistakes.

Mentally tough women, however, are dedicated to self-improvement. They critically examine their own actions and accept responsibility for their outcomes. They are never the victim and never play the blame game

Perhaps Dr. Charles F Glassman put it best when he said:

“Strong people don’t play victim, don’t throw pity parties, and never point fingers. Strong people will take personal responsibility when the situation requires them to do so. And when not, they will look for ways to turn being a victim into being a victor.”

5) You say “no” often

nice phrases theyre subtly trying to gaslight you 8 signs you’re a mentally tough woman, according to psychology

So I have this one friend, one of my best friends, in fact.

She has always been a source of inspiration for me and others. I won’t get into everything here, but I will say that she epitomizes a mentally tough individual

She embodies many traits on this list, but one of her most admirable qualities is her capacity to decline requests that do not align with her life’s vision. 

What do I mean by this?

Well, without guilt, she will skip social events that don’t interest her, pass on projects that don’t align with her passions, or turn down favors that would overextend her resources. 

This is a key trait of mentally strong people. And the experts agree. 

According to the experts, it seems that saying ‘“no’” is not only a habit of strong women; it’s one of the things that allows them to be strong. As psychotherapist and author Amy Morin has noted

“Creating healthy emotional and physical boundaries gives mentally strong people the room they need to grow. Even when they may disappoint others, they’re willing to say no.” 

Basically, mentally tough women maintain their strength and focus by being willing to disappoint others when necessary to stay true to themselves. 

So ask yourself, how often do you say “no”?

6) You are self-disciplined

Picture this: It’s Saturday morning, your alarm rings at 6 AM, and there’s no pressing reason for you to be up early. Do you hit snooze, or do you get up and start your day as planned? 

If you consistently choose the latter, congratulations—you exhibit the trait of self-discipline, a significant marker of mental toughness.

Being mentally tough means having the willpower to stick to your goals and commitments, even when it’s uncomfortable, or there’s an easier option available. 

It’s about making choices that align with your long-term goals instead of succumbing to instant gratification. This level of self-discipline is a definitive sign of a mentally tough woman.

7) You focus on what you can control

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.”


This quote, a favorite of mine that I’ve mentioned in several articles, encapsulates a powerful principle that almost all mentally tough people know the value of.

We don’t control the weather, the economy, or global events. Spending our time worrying about them and ruminating on them only wastes our time and energy. 

The solution?

Focus on what we can actually influence. 

The power of this mindset has been acknowledged by experts  like Dr. Carla Shuman, who has noted that doing this “will help keep you emotionally well-adjusted and able to deal with challenges that come your way.”

Basically, the ability to distinguish between what we can and cannot control is vital. It reduces feelings of helplessness, prevents us from feeling overwhelmed, and helps us stay calmer under pressure. 

8) You have your feet on the ground

I know I mentioned earlier that strong women maintain a positive outlook, but this is not to say that they are overly optimistic. 

They understand the importance of maintaining a realistic perspective in all aspects of life.

As noted by author and psychotherapist Amy Morin, strong individuals avoid the pitfalls of overconfidence and the subsequent disillusionment that can arise from misplaced expectations. 

Instead, they adopt a grounded approach, focusing on an honest assessment of circumstances rather than succumbing to wishful thinking.

This realistic outlook is crucial—it enables them to prepare effectively for potential challenges and to set achievable goals. 

By doing so, they sidestep common emotional traps such as disappointment and frustration, navigating through life with a clear-eyed view of their capabilities and the realities they face. 

The bottom line 

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

Mental toughness in women manifests as a powerful blend of resilience, confidence, emotional intelligence, and perseverance. 

If you saw yourself in more than a few of these signs, kudos to you. You are probably very mentally tough, a trait that is increasingly needed in our changing world. 

If not, know that you can foster such strength. There’s no time like the present to start improving your life. 

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

Until next time. 

Picture of 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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