There’s a lot of misconception about what makes a person tough in American culture. Behaviors commonly associated with weakness are sings of true strength, as opposed to the brawny idea of tough and rugged. While someone can act tough externally, it takes mental fortitude to have real strength.
Building that mental strength involves working on your character, being vulnerable at times, and possessing the ability to remain open and honest. There’s more to it than that, though. Here are signs that you’re mentally stronger than average.
A Change of Mind
Changing your mind doesn’t automatically mean you’re fickle or wishy washy, nor does it mean you’re easily influenced. When done with purpose, it shows that you’re open to gathering and receiving new information.
This means you listen to the ideas of others and rationalize which parts are true or have meaning to you. As people age, they often change their minds about everything from what clothing styles they like to more complex issues like politics and personal values.
Asking for Help
It’s common for people to feel weak when asking for help, but it’s the opposite that’s true. Would you consider someone weak for seeking in help in dealing with a divorce or other family hardship? It takes humility to know when to ask for assistance, whether that’s at work or with anything in life.
Knowing When to Walk Away
Tough people see a fight to the finish, right? As it turns out, mentally strong people know when to take the high road and walk away from a situation. When you know there’s nothing productive left, separating yourself isn’t copping out.
It takes more strength to walk away from a situation than it does to be headstrong. This is especially true when you’ve devoted time in a person or goal. It also shows you act in line with your values, which takes strength as well.
Emotions, outside of anger, are often considered a sign of weakness in American culture due to age old and untrue gender stereotypes. There’s nothing wrong with expressing sadness, disappointment, embarrasment, or any other emotion.
Mentally strong individuals take expression one step further. They identify and label their feelings, then find positive or healthy ways to express them. Denying an emotion or becoming defensive is a knee jerk reaction, but expression is a true sign of mental strength.
For some, expressing their emotions means allowing those feelings to take over. That’s not a sign of strength, but staying calm in the storm is. People often mistake calmness for a lack of courage, especially in situation where you might want to stand up for yourself.
However, acting on emotion alone can get you into trouble. If you were the victim of same-sex sexual harassment at work, what good would your case be if you acted rashly or out of anger in retaliation? The mentally strong regulate their emotions, keeping them in check and using their wits in any situation.