7 things mentally strong women don’t do (so you shouldn’t, either)

I can see you rolling your eyes.

It’s not enough to lift weights anymore; we have to build mental strength, too?


Because mental strength is key if you want to be able to navigate life’s many indignities with a touch of grace.

It enables you to pick yourself up when you’re down, handle stress better, and even take more risks.

Thankfully, being mentally fit is less about adding stuff to your to-do list and more about cutting out habits that are holding you back.

Here are 7 things mentally strong women don’t do.

Obviously, you shouldn’t, either.

1) Feel sorry for themselves

Feeling sorry for yourself traps you in a cycle of negativity.

Before you know it, you’re an old lady who tells strangers that she could have really been someone if only she had a chance.  

You won’t find a mentally strong woman wallowing in self-pity.

She understands that the world doesn’t owe her anything, so she doesn’t get discouraged when life deals her a bad hand. 

She might drink a bottle of prosecco, have a good cry, and soak in a bubble bath. She might even spend a couple of days in bed.

But then, she’ll put on a nice outfit and figure out her next steps.

Being mentally tough doesn’t mean that you never complain or experience doubt.

It’s more about finding the strength to move forward during difficult times.

Life is shaped through choices and actions. 

Stop making excuses for yourself.

2) Aim for perfection

I’ve wanted to write a fiction book for a long time.

I have an idea. I have the beginning and the end. I just don’t have the middle.

And whenever I sit down to write, I’m plagued by this crushing feeling that the words won’t fit, the sentences will be jumbled, the characters won’t come alive on the page.

So I stare at my laptop screen and write nothing.

I’m a perfectionist, and it’s ruining my life.

You can’t put out a good book if you’re unwilling to face a bad first draft.

Perfectionists place immense pressure on themselves to meet unrealistic expectations.

This annoying need to be flawless in all aspects of life leads to chronic stress, while fear of failure prevents you from even trying something in the first place.

If this sounds familiar, there are a few things that can guarantee a more balanced approach to life:

  • Set realistic deadlines (feeling the pressure will make you want to act)
  • Break big tasks into smaller, achievable ones
  • Remember that done is better than perfect
  • Aim for progress rather than perfection
  • Instead of getting discouraged at the first setback, push through

While striving for excellence is commendable, it also inhibits growth.

Mentally tough women don’t allow themselves to be paralyzed by the need for perfection.

I’ll try to keep this in mind next time I sit down to face my faulty first draft.

3) Compare themselves to others

The only person you should be in competition with is yourself.

As long as you’re in a better place than you were last month or last year, you’re already doing awesome.  

With social media at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to fall into a puddle of self-loathing as you examine someone else’s carefully curated life.

It’s become so common you might not even realize you’re doing it.

You see an influencer’s vacation pics as you scroll on your lunch break, and you start to beat yourself up:

  • Why can’t I look this good?
  • Why am I not traveling more?
  • Why am I not making more money?
  • What is wrong with me?
  • That bikini looks cute, does she have a discount code?

It’s not only influencers. You may be comparing yourself to your friends, especially if you’re on different paths.

Once you’re out of college, you and your friends stop moving at the same pace.

Some might take jobs in better-paid fields than you. Some might settle down and start a family.

Depending on your priorities, it’s easy to feel “behind in life” if you don’t reach certain milestones at the same time as your immediate circle.  

Remember that you’re on your own journey.

You might reach certain milestones later. If they don’t matter to you, you might not reach them at all.

Not everyone wants to buy a house or get married or have kids or have a successful career or travel the world.

Focus on your own goals and stop measuring yourself against others.  

You’ll become much more mentally tough once you do.    

4) Put themselves down

One of the biggest things that influences how strong you are is how you talk to yourself.

A mentally tough woman doesn’t bully herself to the point where she becomes her worst enemy.

She doesn’t call herself names or question her competence.

I struggle with negative self-talk, and I’ll be the first to admit that it takes work to develop self-compassion.

If your inner monologue has been snarky and self-deprecating for years, it won’t change overnight.

With time and practice, however, the voice in your head will sound kinder, and your negative thoughts will be easier to control.

The turning point for me was when I started to give myself a compliment every morning.  

After I brush my teeth and do my skincare, I look at myself in the mirror and say something nice.

(Your hair looks good. The article you wrote yesterday turned out great. This new moisturizer is working wonders.)

It felt silly at first, but, to my astonishment, it worked. This small habit sets a positive tone for the entire day.

Additionally, whenever I have a bad thought about my abilities, I try to find evidence of the contrary.  

If I doubt that I can finish an assignment, I think about all the times I met my deadlines.

If I believe that my friends secretly hate me, I think about the last time we talked.

Learning how to be your best friend and biggest cheerleader will make a world of difference.

Ask any mentally tough woman you know.

5) Diminish others

Bringing others down doesn’t lift you up.

And all that time you waste being jealous of someone else’s success?

It would be better spent working on achieving your own. You’re wasting precious resources.

Mentally tough women celebrate others’ wins.

They know they’ll get their turn sooner rather than later.

6) Try to please everyone

People will get upset with you. It’s part of life.

When you try to please everyone else, you put yourself last.

You’re basically telling yourself that your needs aren’t important.

It’s nice when people get along, but mentally tough women know that isn’t always attainable.

Once you learn to prioritize what you want, your self-esteem skyrockets. A few tips that might help:

  • Say no to overcommitting yourself
  • Don’t over-explain your refusal to do something
  • Stop apologizing for things you aren’t responsible for
  • Understand that you don’t need to please everyone to be loved and accepted

At the same time, it’s essential to make peace with the fact that not everyone will like you or agree with your choices.

That doesn’t mean your choices aren’t valid.

If you want to start a YouTube channel, do it.

Quit your successful job to live on a farm? Go ahead.

Wear that extravagant dress at brunch? You’ll turn heads.

More often than not, when someone mocks you or tries to prevent you from going after your dreams, they do it because of their insecurities.

Others’ opinions on how you should live your life are just noise.

Mentally tough women tune it out.  

7) Obsess over things they can’t control

Some things in life are impossible to control. Trying to will drive you crazy.

If you tend to obsess over past mistakes or over other people’s actions, you spend a lot of time dwelling on things you can’t change.

Mentally tough women prefer to redirect their attention to stuff they can influence, like their future.

Time marches on no matter what, but you have a say in how the next weeks, months, and years of your life look.  

Accepting that you’re not in charge of everything gives you immense freedom.

This doesn’t mean ignoring problems. But once you acknowledge them, don’t waste time wondering why they popped up.

Take constructive action to fix them.

Letting go of what you can’t control enables you to channel your energy into areas where you can make a positive difference.

That’s what mental toughness is all about.

Final thoughts

Like weight-lifting builds muscle, ditching the habits above improves mental toughness over time.

It’s a gradual journey, and you’ll probably stumble upon obstacles along the way.

But you already have all the tools to overcome them.

Before you know it, resilience will be your middle name.  

If you truly want to turn your life around, say goodbye to these 7 behaviors

If someone uses these 10 phrases, they lack emotional intelligence