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13 Things People Who Are Tough On the Outside But Soft On the Inside Never Told You

13 Things People Who Are Tough On the Outside But Soft On the Inside Never Told You

Have you ever met people who are like eggs? They are tough on the outside but soft on the inside. Initially, they seem rather unapproachable and cold, but as you get to know them, you discover that they have a warm side too.

People who are outwardly tough are easily mistaken as rocks. They are respected for their strength and confidence, but at the same time, other people feel intimidated by their achievements or feel incompetent around them. Some might even mistake their confidence as arrogance. They are typically not the first people you approach to be friends with.

However, some of these people have a heart of gold. If you take the time to understand them, you might find a friend for life. Not only are they warm and caring, they have the mental toughness to help you resolve your problems. If you have a friend who is tough on the outside but soft on the inside, treasure them.

Here are 13 things to help you get to know them better, so that you can be better friends with them.

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1. They don’t know how to talk about intimate feelings.

Tough people are easily mistaken as cold because they don’t express their feelings much. But it’s not that they don’t have any feelings. It’s just that they find it difficult to express their emotions in words. Don’t force them to talk about their feelings. It’s just not one of their strengths.

2. They are blunt because they care about you.

Tough people have a different approach when it comes to caring for others. They are usually very honest and direct with their words. Sometimes, they may sound harsh and critical. But they are not trying to be mean. They genuinely want to help you. They are just not someone who is soft in their delivery.

3. They get hurt by unkind words too.

Although they are blunt, they mean well. If someone else was to misunderstand their kindness and call them offensive names, they do feel the pain inside. They might act like nothing is wrong on the outside, but it hurts them as much as it hurts you in the inside. They are normal human beings.

4. They don’t listen to your troubles when they know they can’t help you.

Again, it’s not because they don’t care. It’s because they know they can’t help you. They understand that the key to a better life depends on the individual. If you don’t want to change your life for the better, there’s nothing they can do about it. So they don’t waste time listening to you complain about stuff that you don’t wish to change.

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5. They have problems too.

They aren’t supermen or wonder women. Just because they are tough doesn’t mean they have no problems at all. They don’t complain and whine to others because they know that complaining and whining don’t help the situation at all. So they prefer to spend time alone thinking how to resolve their problems themselves.

6. They need help from other people too.

Tough people are self-sufficient and independent. They can do a lot of things on their own. But they need help from other people too. Sometimes, they may not know how to approach others or feel shy about asking others for help. As a friend, you should offer them help once in a while even if they are silent about it.

7. They are afraid to appear weak.

One reason why tough people don’t display their emotions publicly is because they are afraid to be seen as weak or pushovers. They are afraid that others might take advantage of their vulnerability, so they prefer to hide their feelings away from public view.

8. They build walls to protect themselves emotionally.

Tough people have their insecurities too. They find it hard to be vulnerable and emotionally close to another person because they might have been hurt by others in the past. So they put on a strong front to protect themselves from getting hurt again.

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9. They have a hard time opening up themselves.

They feel deeply but they have a hard time opening up themselves to others. They only open up to friends they trust and keep new people they meet at a safe distance. It takes time for them to trust other people. So be patient with them and allow them to reveal themselves to you slowly.

10. They don’t trust their emotions that much.

Although they are softies inside, they don’t really trust their emotions. They believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. They are also afraid that their emotions will guide them wrongly. So they prefer to rely on their logical thinking and mental toughness to make those hard decisions.

11. They are much harder on themselves than on others.

If you think that their expectation of you is high, think of their expectation of themselves. It’s so much higher. As bonding with others wasn’t their best strength growing up, they focus on achievements and working hard instead. Being tough is how they get to where they are in life. They see the value in it, so they keep challenging themselves to higher standards.

12. They take their relationships seriously.

Tough people with a tender heart tend to be selective with their friends and choose their relationships carefully. They have fewer friends but they are close with their friends. They are supportive and loyal to their friends despite appearing uncaring.

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13. They need love and connection like everyone else.

They might appear uninterested in love and relationships. But deep down inside, they wish to find a loving partner and want to be loved. They can be really shy about dating. And their independence might push potential partners away. As a friend, be there for them and talk to them when they feel alone.

Conclusion: Be Kind With Tough People

Next time you meet a tough person, be in their shoes and be friendly towards them. Understand that some of them are just protecting their tender hearts with a strong front. And if you are friends with tough people, keep in touch with them. They might be independent, but they need friends too.

Featured photo credit: young beautiful short blue hair hipster woman with headphones music in the city via shutterstock.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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