Emotions such as pain and anger might come easily to you, and it might not take much to move you to tears.
But that does not mean you’re weak—you might in fact be stronger emotionally than one who doesn’t cry at all.
Here are some subtle signs that you’re emotionally stronger than you think.
1) You don’t bottle up your emotions
You’re not afraid to acknowledge and express your emotions.
It probably wasn’t always like this. Maybe once upon a time, you used to pretend you’re always fine so as not to bother others. But you learned that keeping it all in is unhealthy.
So when you find yourself hurt by something that someone has said, you’re not going to waste your energy denying it.
You know that keeping it all in for the sake of peace will not only ruin you, but ruin your relationships as well.
2) You know how to self-soothe
When you’re angry or stressed, you’re not going to just spend your day oozing negativity. Instead, you practice self-soothing techniques to keep yourself under control.
You might not bottle your emotions up, but you’re not just letting them run loose either.
Instead, you put plenty of effort into putting yourself in a state of calm. Once you’ve managed to do so, you will find the opportunity to come to terms with your emotions.
And, if you find it necessary, you will address the problem or talk to the person you were in conflict with.
3) You cry but you don’t sulk
Don’t feel bad if you ever find yourself called a “crybaby.” It’s certainly better than being neck-deep in denial.
Crying and throwing tantrums are both ways to express the same emotion. But crying is a show of vulnerability that harms no-one.
Tantrums, on the other hand, are merely shows of misplaced bravado, and one that harms everyone nearby.
People might think that crying is a sign of weakness. It’s not—it’s a sign that you’re strong enough to express vulnerability before others, rather than hide it behind anger.
4) You get angry but you don’t lash out
Anger is an emotion that’s close to impossible to control or suppress. You know that, and for that reason you don’t deny it when you’re angry.
What sets you apart from the average “angry” person is that you don’t just let your anger get the better of you.
You may be angry, but you’re not letting your anger drive you to start screaming at the people around you or punching holes in mirrors.
People might say you’re quick to anger, but at the very least you know how to channel it in a way that doesn’t harm the people around you.
5) You communicate even when you’re uncomfortable
Most people have a hard time speaking up when they get uncomfortable. Instead they just clam up and avoid talking about anything related to their emotions.
For some it’s because of pride or cowardice, and for others it’s because they lack communication skills.
But you don’t let cowardice or pride shut you up.
Good communication—especially around uncomfortable subjects—is important to maintaining healthy relationships.
So though you might feel a little flustered or ashamed, you speak up anyway out of respect for your relationships and yourself.
6) You give yourself full accountability for your happiness
Your happiness doesn’t hinge on whether the people around you are doing things that make you happy.
You’re not going to wait for your partner to offer you flowers, but instead make the first move and offer them a dinner date, for example.
Of course, it’s not always this straightforward. Sometimes we don’t even know that we’re relying on others to keep us happy.
That’s why it would be a good idea to try to be more in control of your own happiness.
I found an effective way to do this when I joined Jeanette Brown’s “Reset Your Life Compass” challenge.
It’s a 5-day challenge offering methods and techniques that will offer you plenty of ways to live a happy and more purposeful life.
What I especially loved about it was the challenge on Day 3. It helped me reflect on things I have overlooked about my life, which well…made me realize what I ultimately had to do to reclaim my happiness again.
Give it a try!
7) You know how to “get real” with yourself
If you got into a fight with someone and were the one in the wrong, you’ll own up to it and apologize. Likewise, if you mess up an important work project, or fail to show up in time for a date.
You don’t try to find a way to point a finger at someone else and say “it’s their fault” or to minimize your part by going “I did something wrong, but they made me do it!”
Everyone can make mistakes, after all, and you’re not included. So as embarrassing or painful as it might be to admit that you’ve failed, you will do so nonetheless.
You’re honest with yourself, and you always take the time to reflect and understand where you went wrong instead of comforting yourself with lies, as convenient and soothing as those lies may be.
8) You let pettiness fly by you
Emotions always hit you harder than it does everyone else. This might be because you’re a highly sensitive person, or it might be because you’re honest with yourself. Might even be both.
However, you don’t feel that just because you feel something, you have to express it IMMEDIATELY… or at all.
If you’re at a work meeting and a colleague throws you a passive-aggressive comment that cuts deep into you, you’re not going to just snap at them and make the problem worse.
Instead you’ll just let it pass and deal with it later. Or better yet, you’ll deal with it by keeping your cool and refusing to be provoked.
9) You can resist temptation without much effort
You might find yourself tempted to eat a fatty cut of steak, even knowing that it wouldn’t be good for your heart.
Or perhaps someone may offer you an especially generous “tip” if you turn a blind eye to them breaking work rules.
But no matter how delicious that steak might be, or how badly you need that money, you know better than to say yes.
You can easily set aside your wants—your emotions—and instead make the choice that is best for everyone involved.
10) You know when to switch off
When your emotions are overwhelming you, or if you know that someone else deserves your attention, you know how to set aside your feelings and lock them up until the time is right.
Let’s say you just got your heart broken by a partner cheating on you, or maybe a good friend passing away.
As tempting as it might be to spend all day at work crying, you know that there is work to be done so you keep a stone face during the day and hold off your tears until your shift is over.
This isn’t you being weak or in denial of your feelings—you’re simply doing what needs to be done to survive the day.
11) You take risks
Fear is a blessing. It tells you that you’re facing something potentially risky, and that you should be careful.
Without fear, you might as well take your sunday stroll in the middle of a shootout and, well, get shot.
But way too many people are paralyzed by fear and end up failing to take any risks whatsoever. They always play safe, content to remain in safe mediocrity rather than bothering to weigh the risks against the rewards.
You, on the other hand, refuse to let fear petrify you.
You heed it, sure, but only to see if the risks are worth it. And if it is, well, you go and see it done.
In the end, being emotionally strong isn’t about being able to stay stone-faced no matter how hard things get, or about not feeling any emotions at all.
It’s about self-control, of accepting your feelings but setting them aside when you know letting your emotions run loose isn’t going to help anyone.
It’s also about endurance, or about knowing how to stay your course no matter how hard things might get for you.
More often than not, those who insist on pretending to be stoic are the ones who are most haunted by unaddressed emotional turmoil, ultimately making them more emotionally vulnerable than you are.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
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