8 signs someone has incredibly strong character, according to psychology

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Real strength isn’t loud.

Someone of strong character doesn’t beat their chest and scream “Don’t mess with meee!”

In fact, they often act very…normal.

And yet, when you look closer, you can see real strength in the smallest things they say and do.

Want to know if you (or someone you know) has an incredibly strong character?

Here are 8 signs to watch out for:

1) They bounce back from adversity

In a research that examines the relationship between resilience and strength of character, it showed that people who are resilient usually have the following character strengths: curiosity, bravery, zest (for life), self-regulation, and hope.

Personally, the toughest people I know are the ones who’ve been through hell and back. 

Take a look at Viktor Frankl.

He has experienced one of the worst things that could happen to any man, but he was able to make it out the other side, and turn tragedy into triumph.

Now, of course, we’re not saying that one should suffer as a show of strength. 

But simply that those who are able to bounce back and become better versions of themselves after experiencing difficulties, definitely have more wisdom and strength than the average folk.

2) They’re authentic

Being unapologetically yourself requires a lot of courage.

So, if you notice that someone embraces their unique traits and quirks instead of trying to be someone else, then they have an incredibly strong character.

According to psychology, authenticity is being in sync with your true self…and it’s definitely a sign of real strength.

Basically, it’s when your outsides match your insides—from the way you dress, talk, make choices, and even the way you perform mundane acts like how you sip your tea.

By embracing who you truly are, you’re showing everyone that you can advocate for yourself.

In a world where we’re rewarded for looking, thinking, and acting the same way as everyone else, being one’s authentic self is an undeniable act of bravery.

3) They say “No” without feeling guilty

If they really DON’T want to do something, they’d say “No” and expect others to respect that.

Unless it’s a life and death situation, they’d always prioritize themselves over trying to please others.

You might wonder how this could possibly be a sign of strength. 

Well, setting boundaries requires a lot of courage because it creates the opportunity for people to disagree with us, dislike us, even get angry at us.

People who set boundaries are:

  • Not scared to lose their friendships.
  • Not scared to be seen as “selfish”.
  • Not scared to show others “I care for you, but I have to care for myself too.”

Research shows that it’s even harder to set boundaries when one lives in a society where saying “Yes” is the social norm, as is especially the case for some groups and cultures. 

So if someone is direct, firm, and consistent with their boundaries, you can take it as a sign of their strong character.

4) They speak their truth

Someone who has an incredibly strong character is not afraid to say (or write) what’s on their mind. However, they’re able to do it in a way that’s still respectful.

It doesn’t matter if they’re talking to their boss about how they think their new policy is unfair to new employees. They know it’s their right to do so.

It doesn’t matter if they’re talking to their mother in law, and they have opposing opinions on a subject. They won’t shy away from expressing themselves.

The fact is, most people just remain quiet to keep the peace. 

But the ones with incredibly strong character believe that expressing what’s on one’s mind is essential for any kind of growth to happen—both for themselves and the people around them. 

5) They don’t conform

Those with incredibly strong character are a bit nonconformist.

American cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker says that there are two paths to heroism: the path of the nonconformist (personal heroism), and the path of the conformist (cultural heroism). 

And they always choose to please themselves first before they please others!

Nonconformists don’t just follow social norms and rules to be accepted and liked, they adopt them only if they understand their utility. In other words, only if it makes sense to them.

They’re critical and able to question the norms. They won’t subscribe to them even if others won’t like them for it.

And regarding trivial things,—like what society perceives as attractive, or how to be a “proper” lady—they just don’t give a damn.

In fact, they’d openly question why we are the way we are, and why we live life the way we do.

They’re not afraid to be seen as “eccentric,” or “weird,” or “strange.”

And because of this, they’re able to live a more authentic life.

6) They’re not afraid to change their mind

Some people think they’re “stubborn” or “opinionated” just because they say what’s on their mind.

But someone with incredibly strong character isn’t ruled by their ego.

Yep, they’re strong even against themselves!

Say, they’re in an argument with a friend, and they realize that they’re the ones at fault. They won’t insist on being right just to save face. 

Instead, they’d acknowledge that they’re wrong, and even thank their friend for helping them realize it.

It’s actually weakness that makes one stick to their convictions no matter what. It stems from the fear that others would judge us as stupid if we admit that we’re wrong.

7) They’re not scared of failure

People who have incredibly strong character don’t see anything wrong with failure.

Instead, for them, failure comes with lessons that can lead us to success. 

They know it’s a necessary step to achieving results that are worthwhile.

If they get rejected, they’d shrug and go “Welp, I tried.” Then, they dust themselves off and move on.

According to psychology, fear of failure stems from the unhealthy beliefs we hold about failure itself.

A research study found that overachievers believe that failure is temporary and in some cases, inevitable. In contrast, underachievers believe that failure is permanent, and that it stays with you forever.

People with incredibly strong character are the ones who think like overachievers. 

Even if they fail a hundred times, they won’t think of themselves as flawed. Instead, they’d keep going. 

It’s this strength that makes them unstoppable and unbreakable.

And in the end, it’s the people with incredibly strong character that are most likely to find success.

8) They’re optimistic

It’s hard to maintain a joyful disposition when things are hard.

But people with incredibly strong character know the importance of remaining optimistic.

No, they’re not naive or simple-minded—not at all!

They can clearly see things as they are.

But they CHOOSE to be hopeful and positive because it helps them to keep going.

They have achieved what positive psychologists call learned optimism

And this mindset and way of life is not for the weak of heart.

After all, it’s much easier to worry, be pessimistic, and succumb to one’s gloom. 

But it takes a person with incredibly strong character to remain optimistic despite the setbacks that they encounter.

Final thoughts

Real strength doesn’t beg for attention. It doesn’t need to be advertised!

And while it may come more naturally to some people, it’s definitely a trait that we all can easily develop.

Start with the basics of getting to know yourself, and try to put into action the traits listed above. 

Remember that strength of character comes from knowing who you are and what matters to you, and believing that your authentic self deserves to be seen and respected.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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