on mental strength and the lack thereof

Lifehack always has interesting things up for grabs. Their posts are always numbered – 6 things on cannot live without, 10 things to be happy about, 8 things we must learn” and so on. Sometimes they catch my eye and I click to read further on. Depending on where you are in life, some articles resonate just a  bit more stronger than the rest. As I wage a war with the few impish demons in my head, this article came at an opportune time via Forbes.  The original article was on Lifehack. 

Am reproducing the headlines verbatim (Just to remove all copyright issues, the original article is cited above in the link and hence the disclaimer) and I add my own thoughts next to them..

So, Amy Morin, a clinical psychologist came up with this list of what constitutes a mentally strong person. As I read each, I immediately tried finding the trait in me and in a few friends around me and well, they sound alright and accurate in how I perceive them. As she explains, it is not always about how a mentally strong person behaves and does, but it is in what they DO NOT indulge in which is the source of strength that they thrive off of.

Makes sense too right? So here we go.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves – Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

True right? I thought of friend B. She never feels sorry for herself. She has her regrets and has her self-deprecating moments but they are always with grace and simplicity. Nothing to be ashamed of. Then I looked at myself and I realized that I do tend to dwell a little longer in my past than I should. I was told a weekend ago that “life is short, and we must let go of the past mistakes or regrets and move further” nothing new of course, but every time since then I feel like I use the past to feel sorry for myself, I have begun to feel irritable and ashamed. It’s a conscious effort, one that I will need to continue to work on.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power – They don’t allow others to control them, …that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

I tend to give the folks closest to me extreme power over me. They don’t ask for it, it’s all me. TONS of work in this area 🙂

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change — Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

I don’t like sudden too much change, but am okay with it. I like and can adapt fairly ok given a bit of time. Am alright here I think.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control — You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

Heh, Again, sometimes I couldn’t care less when something goes off around me, and sometimes it’s like the world has caved under my feet. I must find better balance here.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone — Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

Yep. I think I’ll ace it here. I will admit there are a few (as mentioned in #2) whom I worry about pleasing, but for the world in general, I aim to do MY best, and that can or need not measure up to the rest and I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about them.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks — They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

Halfway there.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past — Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

I do live for the present, but the past of what-could-have-been still plagues me. Like I said in #1, there is work to be done in this area.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over — Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

This I do, as in take responsibility. I am okay with forgiving myself in making the same mistake twice, but I don’t easily forget the feeling in my mouth when it happens. I suppose it’s a good thing.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success — Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

I am never jealous. I surprise myself but I am never jealous. Recently on a couple of occasions, I have swallowed some green bile and I felt tremendously ashamed of this new emotion. I may or may not be happy for them (and am more happy than not if they are good friends) but am never filled with ugliness. This I pride myself in.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure — Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

Yeah, who gives up? Never say never attitude.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time — Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can behappy alone.

I need my alone time. I find joy and peace in my alone time. 🙂

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything — Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

Need work. Sometimes I feel life is unfair, which translates to entitlement to an extent, and I know in my logical part of the brain that no one owes me anything. Not always the logical part of the brain is heard though 🙂

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results — Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.



Pretty neat eh? I thought the article made perfect sense. I have my work cut out for me, and I’ll make it alright.

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4 replies on “on mental strength and the lack thereof”
  1. says: LG

    You know…this thing disturbs me. I see that I am substantially weak mentally. Thanks for the kick in the rear. I need to work on the attitude on a firefighting mode.

  2. says: aanandhi venkatadri

    Me as well, have lots to work on. very well written radhika. Just came across your blog and can’t stop reading. Thank you

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