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15 Things Mentally Strong Women Understand

15 Things Mentally Strong Women Understand

Whether you’re 14 years old or 94, there’s something in this article for all women. This piece was written to encourage and empower women everywhere and from all walks of life to pursue their dreams and make a positive difference in the world.

1. It’s okay to be successful

You have as much right as anybody else in the world to thrive, succeed, and be happy. Never apologize for being successful. Rather, you should embrace your successes–every single one of them–and know that you’re doing the world a favor by being the successful, thriving woman you were always meant to be. So what does it mean to be successful? That’s completely up to you.

2. Don’t compare yourself to other women

I’ll admit, it’s not easy not to compare yourself to other women, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a woman in the workforce. The dangerous downside to asking yourself who’s better than who is that it inevitably promotes a what-I-don’t-have mentality, rather than a what-I-do-have way of thinking. On the flip side, you should ask yourself, which of this person’s positive qualities can I develop to make myself a better person?

3. Because it’s all right to be different

Besides, what’s the fun in being a cookie-cutter wannabe?

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4. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings and emotions

By opening up emotionally, you become happier and live longer; even scientific studies say so. While this is a well-known fact, in Western societies, especially in the United States, being openly expressive is still often seen as a sign of weakness, for women as well as for men, when in reality it can be a sign of confidence and emotional strength and stability.

5. But don’t let your emotions govern your actions

While it’s okay to be emotionally expressive, being in control of those emotions is equally important. Emotions are a powerful human mechanism that, if left uncontrolled, can overpower a person to the point of completely governing their actions, more often than not with very negative consequences. While keeping one’s emotions in check can be more difficult for some than others, this is an ability that anyone can develop and use to prevent a lot of future problems and heartache.

6. Being strong and independent means not relying on a relationship to make you happy

Ever heard of the “overly attached girlfriend”? That’s the exact epitome of what you shouldn’t be. In a relationship, the two people are meant to complement each other, not define one another. If you’re one of those people who have yet to find that special someone, don’t fret. Just focus on being the best version of yourself, and everything that’s meant to be will be.

7. It also means not asking permission to do what you want to do

It’s your life. You do what you like (so long as you’re considerate of other people!). While some, if not many, people will disapprove of what you do and perhaps even try to discourage you, it’s not they who own you! (It’s you, in fact.)

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8. Stand up for yourself

It goes without saying that in order to overcome the skeptics, the discouragers, the haters, etc. you must first learn to stand up for yourself. Oftentimes, your parents or your closest friends won’t be there to hold your hand. Therefore, you must learn to hold your own (pun intended, maybe).

Maybe you’re not as naturally thick skinned as other women. The good news is that any woman can build and develop her self-confidence, although it may take quite a bit of time and effort. If you want to know more about developing your self-confidence here’s an article you should read.

9. But help other women too

So now that you’ve learned to stand up for yourself, now the hard part: learn to stand up for other women too. There’s nothing that shows self-confidence better than offering another woman a helping hand (when you more easily could’ve dragged her down), and there’s nothing like building a bridge, when you’ve helped a fellow woman, that you know you can always cross over when you yourself need help.

10. And uplift them

Be a mentor. Show them their potential. Let them know they’re invaluable. Let them know they can do anything they put their heart into. You get the gist.

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11. Be educated

And no, I don’t mean go to college. While a bachelor’s degree can nicely decorate your resume, it’s not the golden ticket to success (and this is coming from a current college student!). Just be knowledgeable about your stuff, whatever that may be, so that you can work effectively and, just as importantly, be taken seriously.

12. Stay physically healthy

Good physical health almost always correlates with good mental health, and with a strong and healthy mind, you’re bound to do many great things in life.

13. Be financially independent

What if, for example, the person you’re financially reliant on gets sick or dies unexpectedly? Well, I guess you always could ask someone else for money (which, of course, I don’t mean seriously!).

14. We still live in a male-dominated society

Unfortunately, despite having more college degrees than men, women still earn significantly less–78 cents for every dollar a man earns–and frequently face gender discrimination. Fortunately, however, we are a far cry from where we were decades ago and are succeeding every day in making the world a better place for women, albeit just a little slowly.

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15. For that reason, we need mentally strong women like you

After all, there’s only one of you, which means the world doesn’t have enough of you. Make yourself count, and remember, it’s okay to be successful.

Featured photo credit: Politically Incorrect via img.4plebs.org

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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