There are large differences between being strong and acting tough.
An aggressive boss or a demanding partner may be masking their lack of mental strength with a fake projection of toughness.
But while acting tough may meet a person’s needs in the short-term, mental strength is a necessity for true commitment in life.
Successful people do not climb to the top by acting tough; they become better at what they do and who they are by growing stronger.
Here are the key signs of people who are not mentally strong but just acting tough:
1. They are always positive
Acting tough involves unrealistic self-confidence, which will eventually backfire on you when you end up unprepared for the realities you’re going to face. Mentally tough people know they have to find the right balance between staying positive, negative or static if necessary, even in situations that are hard to face.
2. Their self-worth depends on how they are perceived by other people
Those who act tough are highly concerned with their appearance. Their entire sense of self-worth depends on what others think of them. However, mentally strong people are not worried about proving their worth to anyone but themselves. They are not shy to ask for help and are fueled by their internal drive to grow stronger and become better at whatever they do.
3. They mask their insecurities
Acting tough is all about developing a persona and an attitude that says, “Look how amazing I am.” But often, the tough exterior is secretly used to hide self-doubt. People with mental strength invest their energy into working on their weaknesses, rather than trying to conceal them.
4. They try to be controlling
People who act tough want to be perceived as being “in control,” and they often try to micromanage other people or make unreasonable demands. However, mentally strong people are interested in managing themselves rather than others around them. They are heavily invested in managing their emotions, regulating their thoughts, and being productive, regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.
5. They often overestimate their abilities
While of course a healthy amount of self-confidence is what we all need to have, overestimating your abilities can leave you crippled for the realities of a true challenge.
In a similar way, underestimating the time and energy it would take to accomplish your goals can lead to a big disappointment. Being mentally strong is all about recognizing your own shortcomings and acknowledging that you need to put in hard work to reach your goals.
If you find yourself putting up a mask that helps you feel tough around others, think of how it may affect your life in the long run. Devote some time on building mental strength, so the way you feel on the inside can begin to match the way others see you. As your mental strength increases, your need to act tough decreases.
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