I spend most of my time talking about the bad habits that rob people of mental strength. In my latest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do, I identify the unhealthy habits that women are most likely to engage in.
But it's also important to talk about the core beliefs mentally strong women possess. Those beliefs guide their decisions and help them stay strong in tough situations. Here are five things mentally strong women know:
1. Societal pressures encourage women to engage in unhealthy habits.
Gender norms, cultural expectations, and the subtle ways girls are treated differently than boys play a role in women's perceptions of themselves and the world. There's a lot of pressure on women to "be" a certain way--like beautiful, polite, and quiet.
Mentally strong women recognize these pressures and they understand how these factors can lead to unhealthy habits--like social comparisons, toxic self-blame, and downplaying their success.
2. Other people don't determine your worth.
It can be tempting to let criticism or rejection stand in your way. But other people don't determine your worth--you do. And it's important to build your self-worth on a healthy foundation.
It's up to you to decide how you feel about yourself, what you're going to do with your life, and how you're going to bounce back when other people try to tear you down.
3. You don't have to shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.
Whether you're tempted to minimize your achievement after you've been given a compliment or you worry that your ambition might threaten other people, you don't have to shrink yourself for the comfort of others.
Owning your success isn't the same as being arrogant. Mentally strong women are comfortable in their own skin and they're willing to acknowledge the hard work and effort they put in to reach their goals.
4. Strength sometimes gets confused with weakness.
Being vulnerable, kind, and expressing your emotions can be signs of strength--but many people confuse them for weakness.
Mentally strong women aren't interested in trying to prove their inner strength to gain applause, however. Instead, they're invested in growing stronger and becoming better for themselves. They understand that not everyone will recognize strength when they see it.
5. Mental strength has a ripple effect.
You can't force anyone to become mentally stronger. But you can inspire them to build strength when you lead by example.
Mental strength has a nice ripple effect because when you feel good about who you are, you'll be in a position to help others feel good too. When you put your energy into becoming the strongest and best version of yourself, other people will naturally feel inspired to do the same.
Build Your Mental Muscle
No one is born mentally strong--it's all about the choices you make every day. And fortunately, everyone can choose to develop healthier habits and give up the bad habits that threaten to rob them of mental strength.