When life hands you lemons, what do you do?
Plenty of people decide to make lemonade rather than sit around complaining about it.
Staying strong in the face of adversity isn’t easy. It can demand that we develop plenty of special qualities that support us to do so.
Here are the personality traits of people who stay strong, even when life doesn’t go to plan.
1) They’re grateful so they can focus on what they have
When life gets us down it’s understandable that we may feel a bit sorry for ourselves.
But we can end up focusing too intently on what is going wrong, and neglect what is going right.
If we look closely enough, even during difficult times, there is always something we can be thankful for.
Whether that’s a roof over our head, good health, or loving family and friends.
Strong people appreciate what they have. That way, what they lose doesn’t feel like such a blow.
Sure, they may have lost a relationship they wanted or a job they valued.
But they know it’s not the end of the world because they remind themselves of the things they can be grateful for.
2) They’re optimistic so they look on the bright side
Research has concluded that optimists are likely to achieve more and be happier than pessimists.
One of the reasons is because it makes you better equipped to handle obstacles that may come your way.
When things don’t go to plan optimists find it easier to envisage a successful outcome.
This belief that life will work out gives them the motivation they need to seek solutions to the problems they face.
3) They’re also realistic so they don’t create unreasonable expectations
Okay, so optimism pays over pessimism, but here’s the key:
That doesn’t mean you should be delusional.
It’s also important to keep your feet on the ground rather than your head in the clouds.
Realistic optimism allows you to balance out negative and positive things in any situation.
That way our optimism doesn’t make us naive.
Without a realistic streak, we can create unfair expectations — of both life and other people.
That’s bound to lead to disappointment.
4) They’re resilient so they know they will bounce back
It’s unsurprising that resilience helps us to stay strong. After all, it is by definition a toughness that allows us to spring back.
But what is perhaps more surprising is that this toughness is not something we’re either born with or not‚ it is a skill we develop.
Even the most sensitive and fragile of hearts can build their durability.
You do so by pushing your comfort zone. As you do your confidence grows.
We may not always enjoy the experiences that lead to greater resilience. But we can take comfort in the knowledge that every difficulty we overcome better equips us for the future.
5) They’re tenacious so they carry on trying
As we build our resilience, we may notice that our fighting spirit increases along with it.
Not all stubbornness is bad — especially when it gives us drive and determination.
Grit and perseverance become essential when we want to overcome setbacks.
Rather than giving up, strong people keep on going.
6) They have a growth mindset so they know they can learn and improve
Over 30 years ago, a researcher named Carol Dweck became fascinated with students’ attitudes toward failure.
What she discovered was that whilst some students managed to overcome and bounce back fairly quickly, others became crushed by even the smallest of setbacks.
Their underlying beliefs around learning and intelligence.
Those who feel like they don’t stand a chance at improving she labelled as having a fixed mindset.
Meanwhile, those who think that we always have the potential to expand and get smarter, she says have a growth mindset.
Cultivating a growth mindset ensures we believe that with effort, we become stronger.
So when it’s time to make that effort, we have way less of a defeatist attitude.
7) They’re independent so they know to take care of themself
If everyone has always done everything for you in life, how will you ever learn?
An independent spirit means we don’t become reliant on others for our success and happiness.
It also means that when shit hits the fan, we’re not at a total loss over what to do.
We don’t look around wondering who will come to save us and fix everything. We roll up our sleeves and get to work to put the pieces back together.
Having said that, being independent enough to cope isn’t the same as desperately trying to do everything alone — as we’ll see next.
8) They’re humble enough to ask for support
Whilst it’s important we learn to stand on our own two feet in life, that doesn’t mean we should go it alone.
If someone is proud, they may find it difficult to accept help.
Even during the best of times, no man is an island. But that is especially the case when we get knocked off our feet.
It’s during these times that humble people can turn to others without feeling ashamed to do so.
They know that it’s a true sign of strength to seek help, not a weakness.
9) They’re self-aware so they can handle tricky emotions
Self-awareness helps us to grow our emotional intelligence.
This proves to be an incredibly useful skill when life doesn’t go to plan.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by our emotions. Sadness, pain, grief, and disappointment can engulf us.
Yet when we have self-awareness we become more conscious of our own feelings. As we do, we also become better at regulating them.
So rather than get swept away, we’re better at recognizing the nature of feelings. We understand that they will come and go and we won’t always feel this way.
10) They have self-responsibility so they don’t fall into victimhood
There are two types of people in life:
Victims and heroes.
We may think that the cards we are dealt dictate what we become, but that’s not so.
We are the ones who will choose which role we take in our life.
Victims feel helpless when life hands them a bad hand. They look to shift the blame for how they feel and what they do next onto their circumstances or another person.
Meanwhile, heroes step up and take charge. They recognize they cannot control certain aspects of life, but they can always control themselves.
Heroes essentially take responsibility for themself and their lives, rather than trying to pass the buck.
11) They’re compassionate so they don’t become bitter
We’re talking about not only compassion towards others, and life itself, but also compassion towards yourself.
Rather than beating ourselves up, we can give ourselves a break.
Compassion softens us when we are tempted to harden to life’s hardships. And when we harden, we all too often close ourselves off to new opportunities and chances.
We all know someone who had their heart broken and put up walls to protect themself. Maybe that person is even you.
But compassion is such an important part of helping us to mend.
12) They’re patient so they don’t become demanding
Patience is one of the unsung qualities of people who stay strong.
After all, it is a softer quality. Yet it makes you tough thanks to its enduring nature.
Wanting everything right now leaves us feeling extra frustrated when we don’t get our own way.
We’re not prepared to wait for our happily ever after and we can start to lose our drive for making it happen.
We may wonder “What’s the point?!”, but we’ve forgotten that all good things come to those who wait.
In the words of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau:
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
13) They’re flexible so that they bend instead of breaking
Adaptability means that we don’t get too attached to only one path in life.
If we fixate on one desired outcome, we’re bound to be bitterly disappointed when it doesn’t play out the way we hoped.
But those who are flexible have a superpower.
Their hopes of happiness and fulfillment aren’t crushed when something falls apart.
They simply adjust their goals, plans, and dreams to their new reality.
Rather than get stuck, they are prepared to change.
14) They’re expressive so they can let their feelings out
If we try to keep our struggles to ourselves they have a habit of spilling over.
Negative emotions when we keep them inside become insidious.
We need to find constructive and healthy ways of releasing them. One of the best ways to do this is to express them.
That could be by talking to a friend or someone you trust. It may be dissecting your thoughts and emotions through journaling.
But what is key is acknowledging your emotions when you are going through a hard time.
Denial won’t dissolve them. Yet research has shown that even the simple act of identifying and labeling what we are feeling helps to diminish its grip on us.
The strongest of people open up about how they feel in order to move on from it.