We all want to be mentally tough – but what does that mean? We tend to picture peaceful superheroes, climbing mountains with a serene smile while quoting a Buddhist monk. However, the image of a person who possesses mental fortitude can, in reality, be very different. Below are some widely held ideas we have about mentally strong people that just aren’t true:
Mentally Strong People Never Give Up
Sometimes, it just makes sense to throw in the towel. This doesn’t mean you are weak – it means you are realistic. If the cost of accomplishing a goal outweighs the benefit, mentally strong people acknowledge this and move on. Don’t waste your time on a goal that may not be possible because of foolish pride. Know when to turn your attention to other pursuits.
Mentally Strong People Don’t Eat Carbs (or Sugar, or Whatever)
There are lots of people who swear that you need to eat a specific diet in order to be your best self. While eating healthfully is certainly a good idea, there is no magical formula to optimize your physical or mental health. Some mentally strong people are vegans, and some drink alcohol. Some love burgers and others avoid diet soda. You have a unique body, unique tastes, and a unique appetite. Do what works for you.
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Mentally Strong People Always Stay Positive
Being overly optimistic and refusing to see the negative in any situation is not realistic or safe. Rather, it will leave you unprepared for the inevitable downturns that each of our lives take at some points. Rather than smiling all the time, allow yourself to face your troubles in a realistic way. We can’t manage or heal from our problems if we refuse to acknowledge them.
Mental Strength Leads to Success
Mentally strong people fail all the time, just like the rest of us. The difference is in how they cope. Mental strength means accepting your level of achievement, and taking pride in your accomplishments, even if they are not what you imagined they would be.
Mentally Strong People Never Say “I Can’t”
Actually, there are a lot of things mentally strong people cannot do – and they are not afraid to admit it. Developing wisdom involves learning about your personal limitations, and accepting them. Challenging yourself is admirable and necessary for growth. However, do not confuse challenging yourself with setting unrealistic expectations. Know your abilities, and try to strengthen them – but don’t be afraid to accept that some challenges might just be beyond your capacity.
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Mental strength means doing your best, living by your own values, and accepting your true self. You don’t have to be a serene, carb-free, yoga loving CEO to accomplish this. Rather, by definition, true mental strength should be built on your own terms.