10 things strong minded people don’t do (so you shouldn’t either!)

Strong-minded people aren’t easily influenced by others.

From the outside looking in they may seem effortless resolute and determined.

But their strong will comes from their strong inner confidence and knowing what is important to them.

They use this to guide them.

Here are 10 things strong-minded people don’t do that we could learn a lot from:

1) Take responsibility for other people’s feelings

Don’t get me wrong, empathy is a wonderful thing.

It helps us to feel more connected to one another and create stronger relationships.

Understanding and caring about the way others feel is powerful and important.

But there’s a difference between caring how other people feel and taking ownership of their feelings.

Strong-minded people realize this difference.

They take responsibility for their own feeling, but not other people’s. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we can ever control.

What feels like kindness when we absorb someone’s feelings is anything but — as explained by counselor Michael J. Formica in Psychology Today:

“Attempting to manage the emotions of others engenders our relationships with a complex dynamic of power and control. In proposing to anticipate another person’s thoughts and feelings we are effectively proposing to think for them. And, in anticipating another while imposing our perceptions upon them, we rob the other of their power within the relationship.”

When you take the burden of other people’s emotions upon yourself, you rely on others to feel good for your own happiness.

Your desires take a backseat.

The reality is that you can’t please all the people all of the time. But before too long, you fall into people-pleasing tendencies.

2) Allow themselves to be manipulated

When you recognize that you are only ever emotionally responsible for yourself, it’s much easier to avoid manipulation.

You are less susceptible to unreasonable guilt trips and projections.

You’re not sucked in by love bombing and flattery.

You can avoid people pleasing because you don’t see it as your job to always agree with or do things just to make someone else happy.

This is made possible through a strong-minded person’s inner confidence and self-esteem.

That helps them to set and uphold firm boundaries.

Rather than allow others to walk all over them, they create clear lines which cannot be crossed.

In order to do this, importantly, they don’t rely on what people think of them for their sense of worth.

3) Look for external validation for their self-esteem

Here’s the thing:

To a certain extent, we all look outside of ourselves for validation.

We live in families, communities, and large societies. So we’re always going to be impacted by the relationships we create.

But the danger arises when we turn outside of ourselves for pretty much all, or most of our self-esteem.

Speaking in Psych Central, author and mental health coach Darius Cikanavicius highlights the pitfalls when people do just that:

“One, they constantly need other people’s approval and validation to feel that they are a good person, to feel pleasant emotions, or to even feel alive. And two, they feel shame or guilt or anger or loneliness or anxiety or confusion or other painful emotions when someone disapproves of and invalidates them, which then often leads to dysfunctional behavior to manage all of it.”

Strong-minded people find their validation from within.

It’s this that helps them follow their own path in life, rather than do what others expect of them.

4) Let other people dictate how they should live their life

Strong-minded people ultimately live the life they want.

It’s a well-perpetuated myth that it’s selfish to think of yourself first.

I’m not talking about never considering or accommodating the needs of others. I’m talking about fundamentally living your own life for you, and nobody else.

That’s what strong-minded people do.

Not the lives their parents expect of them.

Not the lives their peers all live.

Not the life society mapped out for them before they were even born.

Sometimes that means breaking the mold.

A strong-minded person isn’t necessarily trying to make waves, they simply want to live a life that is meaningful to them.

They are able to do this because they understand what makes them tick.

They have plenty of self-awareness and have gotten to grips with their own core values.

They use this to shape the life they want to live.

5) Compromise their values and beliefs

Strong-minded people don’t sell out.

They know what they feel is right and wrong.

They have a firm grasp of their values and belief system. They use this as a compass to steer them through life.

So they won’t abandon their principles when it suits them. 

They stay true to themselves, because in the words of American comedian Jon Stewart:

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.”

Sticking to your values and belief often means questioning the things that you are told.

6) Take things at face value

Strong-minded people prefer to make their own minds up.

Some may see this as stubbornness at times —because they will question the status quo.

They will ask questions and dig deeper.

In short:

They don’t mindlessly follow the crowd.

But they’re not being stubborn, if anything this is what helps them to stay open-minded and adaptable.

They prefer to reserve judgment until they have all the facts.

They are prepared to change their view of things.

But they won’t allow somebody else to tell them what they should think, feel, or believe.

They are curious and inquisitive.

This curiosity allows them to go out into the world and seek answers for themselves.

7) Let setbacks stop them 

With an adventurous spirit, comes adversity.

Mentally strong people have cultivated resilience.

Sadly the best way to do that is to face your fears and encounter failure and setbacks along the way.

Not a very appealing prospect, I know.

But sometimes that’s just the way that life works.

The most precious things can be forged through suffering.

For example, did you know that pearls are created after an oyster encounters some sort of damage or irritant?

It slowly secretes layers of aragonite and conchiolin as a natural defense which encases the irritant and protects the mollusk from it.

And hey presto, you get a pearl.

Anyway, you get the metaphor:

Sometimes the most beautiful things are created out of hardship.

Strong-minded people accept the difficulties they have faced and push past them.

When the going gets tough, they stay the course and make it out to the other side.

8) Settle for bad relationships

It’s perhaps unsurprising that strong-minded people don’t stay in dead-end relationships.

As we’ve already discussed, they have inner self-worth and don’t look outside of themselves to have their emotional needs fulfilled.

So that makes it way easy not to settle.

Rather than getting sucked into toxic connections out of neediness, strong-minded people make conscious relationship choices.

They have the inner strength to know that it’s better to be alone than in a bad relationship.

Plus they have faith that they will find someone.

It’s not easy to walk away.

Attachment means we can decide to settle for less than our heart knows we deserve.

That is why it takes real strength to turn your back on something that feels safe and familiar, even if it isn’t good for you.

Of course, it helps when you aren’t afraid to be alone

9) They don’t shy away from being alone

Some people seem to naturally enjoy alone time.

Introverts use this as an opportunity to recharge and reset.

But some other people seem to shy away from spending time on their own.

The truth is that many of us fear loneliness.

In fact, according to one study, 42% of millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis.

But strong-minded people don’t feel lonely when they are alone.

They use the time to become better acquainted with themselves.

The reality is that it can be challenging to be alone with your own thoughts.

Particularly because our thoughts have a habit of being unruly and causing us suffering.

That is why the mentally strong rein in the negative internal dialogue to create more positivity in their lives.

10) They don’t focus on the negative

Sounds obvious right?

But the truth is that so many of us end up focusing on the negative in life on a daily basis—and we don’t even realize it.

Our thoughts are habitually negative.

In fact, it’s a built-in downfall of evolution. Our brains are forever searching for risk.

But this so-called negativity bias has the potential to turn us into a bunch of negaholics.

As explained in Verywell Mind:

“This psychological phenomenon explains why bad first impressions can be so difficult to overcome and why past traumas can have such long lingering effects. In almost any interaction, we are more likely to notice negative things and later remember them more vividly.”

To counteract this, mentally strong people choose to focus on the positive.

Not because they aren’t realists. But because they know it serves them.

That means they don’t hang around with perpetually negative people, because negativity has been shown to be contagious as well as harmful.

As reported in Wired:

“Feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease,”

Neither do they waste energy on things that they cannot control, instead, they focus on solutions and what they can change.

They know that optimists are scientifically proven to be happier, healthier, wealthier, and even live longer.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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