What is it mean to be mentally strong?

When you hear this phrase, do you picture a person who has a strong physical presence, or a person who always seem to know the correct answers? Or is it the person who holds medals and trophies and seems to be a winner in everything?

Perhaps you cannot identify yourself as a mentally strong person because you don’t have what they have. You are just a regular person, or at least that’s how you see yourself.

Being recognized does not instantly confirm you to be a mentally strong person. Likewise, the absence of external validation does not make you weak-minded either.

If you are not already aware, you may be surprised to find out that you already have some or all of the characteristics of a mentally strong person. See if you can identify with any of the following.

You Are Humble

It is easy and tempting to boast about abilities and achievements. Sometimes, we feel the need for recognition from others for our efforts. But, isn’t it a great feeling when someone acknowledges or praises your efforts without your announcing them? When you don’t even have to do it yourself as somebody else will carry your torch for you.

It is even better again when you don’t need vindication from others. When you know that what you do is meaningful, and more importantly, that you are a worthwhile person, this is mental strength. You do not need to flaunt your competence. From this mindset, you naturally recognize and acknowledge the people who helped you achieve your successes.   No matter how big or small.

Being humble also involves admitting your mistakes and accepting the consequences. You know that doing so does not make you less of a person. On the contrary, facing the consequences of your shortcomings proves you are a fair, strong-minded person.  You are able to defend yourself but do not blame others in order to cover up your shortcomings.

You Are Forgiving of Yourself and Others 

If admitting mistakes is a sign of mental strength, so is forgiving one’s self. You accept that you have your limitations and that even the most prepared and most capable can still fall short of their own expectations. Despite any setbacks, you have the courage to start all over again. You do not define yourself by your perceived failures.

In the same manner, a mentally strong person also knows how to forgive others. You move past your pain and disappointments and understand others’ shortcomings. As you forgive yourself and others, you look forward and not backward, forging on towards you path you set for yourself.

You Accept Challenges

A mentally strong person takes setbacks not as a nuisance but as a challenge. Setbacks drive you to push harder and to try other possibilities rather than dwell on all of the obstacles. You fight past your limitations and are willing to try even if there are risks involved.

For you, to try means “a chance to win”, and not trying at all is an acceptance of fear and failure. You know that you miss every shot you don’t take. This is perhaps the most famous quote by Wayne Gretzky.   This quote states that taking a shot means taking action.  No matter the outcome.

While you are a fighter, you also know when to give up. Despite not reaching your goal, at least in the form you envisaged, you are still satisfied because you know you did your best. You do not harbor bitterness over losses.

You Remain True to Your Ideals and Values

The integrity of a mentally strong person is always intact. Despite your passion to win, you do not compromise in exchange for an unmerited gain. You play fair rather than caving in to someone else’s questionable demands.  As you stand on your principles and the truth you believe in, you are willing to wait and act according to your values; not being afraid to make decisions you feel comfortable with.

You Do Not Let Your Emotions Control You

A strong-minded person does not let their emotions rule them.   You understand how you feel, you can name your emotions, accept them.   You feel bad about misfortune, but do not resent the incident nor hold grudges against the person who may have caused you pain. Despite the pressure and discomfort, you maintain your composure.  You are aware that emotional strength requires resilience.

The Strong Person That You are

Being mentally strong does not require you to be a superhero or that you need to know everything, be all-capable, or be infallible. It is fine to have your share of “I cannot” and “I did not” moments.  After all, you are a human being.

We are human. We are not perfect. We are alive. We try things. We make mistakes. We stumble. We fall. We get hurt. We rise again. We try again. We keep learning. We keep growing. And we are thankful for this priceless opportunity called life.

– – Ritu Ghatourey quotes

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