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9 Secrets Mentally Strong People Live By

9 Secrets Mentally Strong People Live By

What does it mean to be mentally strong?

Well, what it doesn’t mean is that you never struggle with issues like anxiety and depression. We all have to work with these states to some degree at one time or another. The person completely free of them is as rare as an honest politician.

You don’t have to be an enlightened master meditating in a Himalayan cave 24/7 to achieve your own version of mental strength though. With some practice and an intention toward awareness, you can thrive or even soar when life gets challenging.

There are many ways to become mentally strong. Listed below are nine pointers that anyone can incorporate into their lives. And though they may sound like the clichéd utterances of a bleary-eyed new-ager, there is some solid wisdom here.

1. Love yourself first, above everything else.

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    You might feel a weirdness in your chest at the notion of self love. Don’t worry. A lot of people do. But the fact is, it’s tough to love others if you don’t love yourself.

    Consider the oxygen mask on the airplane metaphor. Selfish as it may feel, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first in order to help others.

    2. Learn to be both soft and strong.

    The ability to see the world in shades beyond black and white is part of being mentally strong.

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    Many ascribe weakness to things that are soft, and power to things that are strong. But that’s black and white thinking.

    It is not only possible, but necessary to be both soft and strong to maintain balance and mental strength. For example, in one moment a mother elephant will gently rub her trunk against her calf as it nurses, and in another she’s fierce and ready to trample any animal that threatens her baby.

    Another less esoteric example? Toilet paper.

    3. Keep going, even when things get tough.

    Giving up is the belief that you don’t have what it takes and cannot endure. It is riddled with self-doubt and hopelessness.

    The mentally strong hold on to hope. They know that nothing is permanent and understand that with challenge comes growth.

    Yet with that being said…

    4. Know when to let go and do so bravely.

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      There’s a huge difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up is a loss of belief and hope. Surrendering carries with it the knowledge of a healthy threshold, and not surpassing that.

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      Because it’s so often associated with giving up, surrendering can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome. Especially if you’re a control freak. But it’s also one of the most freeing.

      5. Fake it till you make it.

      “Your beliefs become your thoughts,

      Your thoughts become your words,

      Your words become your actions,

      Your actions become your habits,

      Your habits become your values,

      Your values become your destiny.”

      -Mahatma Gandhi

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      ‘Nuf said.

      6. Never settle when something isn’t good enough.

      Seriously.

      Unless, of course, you feel some affection toward being undervalued and enjoy the deep resentment that grows over time like a tumor. You’re allowed.

      That’s just not the way of the mentally strong.

      7. Say no without hesitation.

      If your gut intuition is telling you that something isn’t right, then it isn’t right. Those who are mentally strong know they have the option to reject anything that isn’t right for them.

      They are acutely aware that “no” is not a four-letter word.

      8. Eliminate toxic people from your life.

      Of course, this is easier said than done. Especially if one of the toxic people is currently camping on your couch.

      But it can be done.

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      Toxic people will stay in your life as long as you continue to give them what they want. It may start with your money, your companionship, your car. But eventually it will become your time, your attention and ultimately your energy.

      That’s a heavy toll on your mental state and you don’t need it.

      9. Praise yourself rather than waiting for other’s approval.

      By praise I’m not implying adopting a god(dess) complex.

      But appreciating oneself for achievements or positive actions is part of a mentally strong regimen. In other words, it’s healthy.

      This is quite different from using self-flagellation and -degradation to draw positive comments on the contrary. That would be less healthy.

      So try this.

      Rather than attempt to tackle all of these suggestions, simply think of them as single steps toward becoming mentally strong. Consider them baby steps. Use one or several as mantras. Take them in any order you want.

      And remember that you’re building a foundation toward becoming more mentally strong.

      Take the necessary time and care to make it solid and it’ll definitely pay off.

      What do you do to stay mentally strong? Share your stories.

      Featured photo credit: Eyes by Dboybaker via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on December 3, 2019

      10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

      10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

      There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

      Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

      1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

      Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

      There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

      Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

      2. Pace Yourself

      Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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      Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

      Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

      3. You Can’t Please Everyone

      “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

      You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

      Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

      4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

      Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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      We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

      Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

      5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

      “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

      No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

      We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

      6. It’s Not All About You

      You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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      It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

      7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

      No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

      We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

      Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

      8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

      That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

      Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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      Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

      9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

      Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

      The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

      10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

      We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

      When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

      Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

      This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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      Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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