8 signs you’re a mentally strong person (even if you don’t think so)

“I’m so weak. I don’t think I can make it through this.”

I’ve had many friends tell me something along those lines over the years. They all thought they weren’t strong, brave, or resilient. They all thought they were coping terribly with the challenges that life threw in their paths.

And they are all amongst the most mentally strong people I know.

It is sometimes in our fear that we find courage, in our anger that we find meaning, and in our vulnerability that we find strength.

Here are the 8 signs you’re a mentally strong person, too – even if you don’t think so.

1) You take accountability for your actions

It sounds so simple, yet plenty of people out there are the exact opposite – they’re stuck in a victim mindset, blaming everything and anything for the misfortunate they’ve co-created for themselves.

But if you’re mentally strong, there’s a high chance you’re not like that. On the contrary, you always take accountability for your actions, no matter if they’re good or bad.

If you make a mistake, you admit to it. If you hurt someone, you apologize and change your behavior.

This is because you understand that despite the limited control that we have over our lives, we do carry a lot of responsibility for how we react to what happens to us.

You may not always be able to choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your approach.

You may not be able to influence other people’s actions, but you can always remain in charge of your own actions, as well as your thoughts.

2) You know when to let go

Since most of our life isn’t within our control – for example, you didn’t choose the body you were born in, nor the country, nor the socio-economic situation, nor the fact that your boss is annoying and that it’s raining today – it’s actually very common for people to try to grasp for any control they can get their hands on.

They obsess over minuscule things. They plan too far into the future. They let anxiety swallow them whole. They keep trying to butt their noses into other people’s business.

Little do they know that true power isn’t about having as much control as possible – it’s about the art of letting go. Of letting be. Of stepping back.

If a friend doesn’t reciprocate the time and energy you invest in the relationship, you let them go no matter how much it hurts.

If your new job doesn’t seem to be the right fit for you, you find a different position even if it means changing your priorities and rethinking your goals.

No, you don’t always get it right. But that’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect to be mentally strong – you just have to keep trying.

3) You make it through challenging times and emerge stronger

Do you know what true resilience is?

It’s not facing challenges without a scratch. It’s getting a dozen scratches, feeling the pain, and as they form into scars, your newfound skills make it easier for you to only get half a dozen the next time.

It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to struggle. But if you’re mentally strong, it means you incorporate all those struggles into who you are and grow stronger as a result.

It means you learn your lesson. And it means you emerge stronger and wiser, proud of how far you’ve come.

4) You don’t suppress your emotions

On a similar note, we usually think of mentally strong people as those who don’t crumble under the weight of obstacles. Those who never cry. Those who always remain optimistic, no matter what.

But we rarely see those people in the comfort of their own bedrooms, right? We rarely see them weep into their pillow, stare at the ceiling late into the night as they doubt their decisions, and try to calm their nerves as anxiety storms through them.

The truth is, the strongest people I know aren’t the coldest ones. They’re the ones who are in touch with their feelings. The ones who aren’t afraid to cry, laugh, or admit that they’re nervous.

They’re the ones who don’t shy away from their vulnerability. Instead, they embrace it.

5) You don’t let your intrusive thoughts get to you

We all doubt ourselves from time to time.

“What if my partner doesn’t love me anymore?”

What if I’m not talented enough?”

“What if I lose everything I’ve worked so hard for?”

However, what defines mental strength isn’t the fact that you doubt yourself. It’s how much power you let those doubts have over you.

At the end of the day, thoughts are just that: thoughts. You only give them power if you focus on them and magnify them, turning them into an issue.

But if you accept that your thoughts are just there, rolling through you in the same way clouds roll through the sky, you won’t be as likely to yield to doubts and fears.

6) You try to create your own meaning in life

Life is essentially meaningless.

We don’t know why we’re here. We don’t know if we have some inner purpose or if our whole existence is just a lucky coincidence.

But while you’re here, you might just as well create your own meaning.

This is the core principle of optimistic nihilism, and it’s also what many resilient people have in common – while they accept the fact the universe may be meaningless, they don’t give up on meaning altogether.

No, they go out into the world and forge their own path.

The fact that you go after your dreams, that you are keen to learn more about the world and yourself, and that you don’t give up on yourself even if things get hard…

It means you’re creating meaning. It means you’re stronger than you think.

7) You push yourself when necessary

It’s not easy to remain disciplined, and even though you often falter, you push yourself when it truly matters.

However, there’s more to pushing one’s limits than you might think.

If you just push and push, you’ll soon burn out, stretching yourself way too far way too soon.

This is why mentally strong people approach self-improvement with care. They don’t hurl themselves into ten new habits overnight.

No, they take it step by step. They push, but they also know when to loosen up a little, when to take a break, and when to have some self-compassion.

Discipline mixed with self-love is where true strength is born.

8) You don’t rely on external validation to feel worthy of love

I’ve had to learn this the hard way.

For most of my life, I relied on external validation so much that I felt like I had to earn other people’s love and admiration through competitions, good grades, and professional success.

But during lockdown, there was none of that to keep me going. For the first time ever, I had to look myself in the eye and find my self-worth from within. I had to accept that I was worthy of love even if there were no As to strive for, no rewards to win, and no people to impress.

And when the lockdown was over, I was stronger than ever before.

You don’t have to take on a large challenge, win a shiny medal, or do something impressive to be strong.

The fact that you can accept yourself as you are now… that’s what makes you strong.

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.

If you encounter these 7 situations in life, the best thing you can do is walk away

12 ways a master manipulator will try to exploit your weaknesses