6 signs you’re an emotionally strong woman, according to psychology

What if I told you that you might be stronger than you realize?

Sure, there was that meltdown on the bathroom floor you had last month. And the occasional scream of frustration. And that crying marathon after your most recent breakup.

But guess what?

Emotional strength isn’t measured by the amount of tears you shed. It’s all about your ability to recognize your feelings, process them properly, and become a more resilient version of yourself.

Do you fit the bill?

Here are the 6 signs you’re an emotionally strong woman.

1) You respond rather than react

The first thing you should know about emotional strength is that it does not equal apathy.

On the contrary, someone who’s strong on the inside experiences a vast array of emotions – it’s just that they have the skills to deal with their emotional experiences in a mature way.

In other words, they don’t succumb to the power of their feelings. Instead, they know how to recognize them for what they are, process them in a healthy manner, and respond appropriately.

According to psychology, there is a huge difference between a reaction and a response: “A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later,” says Matt James Ph.D.

“A response on the other hand usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind. A response will be more ‘ecological,’ meaning that it takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.”

If you take some time to process how you feel and respond rather than immediately give in to your feelings (for example by snapping at your friend when frustrated), it’s the first sign you’re an emotionally strong woman.

2) You’re self-aware enough to accept criticism and work on your weaknesses

People who realize they need to stop themselves in time and think through the appropriate response are usually more self-aware than others.

Self-awareness is essentially the ability to reflect on your behavior, continually learn more about yourself, accept constructive criticism, and look at your weaknesses with self-compassion instead of judgment.

Naturally, this is pretty difficult, which is also why many people don’t reach their full potential in the self-awareness department. Oftentimes, they hide behind denial, avoidance, or several different coping mechanisms that prevent them from pursuing real personal growth.

Not you, though.

If you’re emotionally strong, it means you don’t shy away from the truth – even if it’s painful.

If you’re still deeply hurt by something your ex did a year ago, you admit it to yourself and deal with the pain instead of ignoring it.

If you don’t really like the relationship dynamic you have with your relatives, you don’t tiptoe around it. You address it.

And if you’re in a situation where your people-pleasing tendencies make you want to keep quiet and carry on even though you feel uncomfortable, you don’t give in. Instead, you choose to do what’s hard rather than what’s easy. You face your discomfort.

Self-awareness is one of the five pillars of emotional intelligence, and the more self-aware you are, the higher the chances you’ll grow in emotional strength over time.

3) You know when to ask for help and when to be independent

Self-awareness has many benefits, one of which is the fact that you can accept and ask for help when needed.

Sure, you could manage all on your own, but that’s not the point. The point is whether you want to.

I mean, you can move all your stuff yourself, but isn’t it better to have a couple of people help you load and unload the van?

You can raise your child on your own, but isn’t it beneficial to let your best friend or sister take them for a day so you can recharge and look after yourself?


An emotionally strong woman knows when to take charge of her life, display self-sufficiency, and be resourceful; but she also knows that there comes a time when we all need to rely on others.

Humans are social beings, after all. We weren’t programmed to do it all by ourselves. We work best as a group, so it stands to reason that accepting help is generally a good thing.

What’s more, it’s important that we let go of the whole “burden” narrative. In fact, studies show that people who help others feel a bit happier as a result.

People who love you, care about you, and have the time to help you are generally very happy to be there for you. Remember that.

4) You can balance gentle and strict self-care

What do you think of when I say the word “self-care”?

My guess is that the image of a bubble bath, a face mask, or a smoothie pops into your mind.

Don’t get me wrong, these could all be classified as self-care. But looking after yourself isn’t always Instagram-worthy.

In her book The Selfish Romantic, life coach Michelle Elman writes, “My version of self-care is a little different. I define it as being a parent to yourself. Remember when you were a child and your parents wouldn’t let you hang out with your friends because you had too much homework? Well, as an adult, self-care is when you force yourself to stay home to do your taxes rather than going out.”

She continues, “If you were a parent and your child was hungry, you would get up and make them a meal… A parent would never schedule a child’s week without any rest time, and you should have the same considerations for yourself.”

I love the idea of self-care as self-parenting because it allows us to be both gentle and strict with ourselves depending on the situation.

If you take a rest day when you need it, you’re going to show up as an emotionally stronger version of yourself tomorrow.

If you push yourself to go to the gym even if you feel lazy, again, you’re going to feel more resilient and stronger because you’ll be proud of yourself.

Do what’s genuinely good for you as and when you can.

5) You honor your boundaries

This is another big one.

Sometimes, emotional strength isn’t just about how you respond to your feelings; it’s also about how you protect yourself so that those feelings don’t get triggered in the first place.

Imagine that your friend always forces you to go outside your comfort zone even if you really don’t feel like it. Every time they do it, you feel out of control, helpless, and severely uncomfortable, but you do it anyway because you don’t want to ruin the mood.

Well, over time, you will probably feel resentful and scared to hang out with them, which will affect the whole dynamic and potentially ruin the friendship, not to mention you’ll feel anxious before every meetup.

Your well-being is the priority here. And in situations such as these, looking after yourself means doing the hard thing. It means speaking up and setting boundaries.

That’s not all, though. In her book Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab highlights how crucial it is to honor your boundaries once you’ve established them.

And that’s because people may try to push them or accidentally forget about them. It is your job to reinforce them.

The more you honor your boundaries, the more likely it is that your relationships will make you feel safe and comfortable, which will in turn contribute to your emotional well-being and strength.

6) You have high and reasonable standards

Speaking of relationships, the final sign you’re an emotionally strong woman is that you know your worth – and you’re not going to settle for anything less than you deserve.

Mind you, this applies to all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones.

If someone treats you with disrespect, you call them out on it or cut off the relationship if necessary.

If you go on a date and find out that their core values aren’t in sync with yours (something that’s a deal breaker for you), you don’t take the relationship to the next level – even if they’re a nice person.

In short, you act according to your principles, set standards that are high yet reasonable, and establish boundaries in an assertive and respectful way.

All of this contributes to your sense of confidence and comfort, which then boosts your mental health and increases your resilience.

And ta-da!

Those are the six signs you’re an emotionally strong woman in a nutshell.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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