Which personality traits do you think of when I say “mental strength”?
Courage. Integrity. Resilience. Confidence.
While these all fit the bill, there are some personality traits out there that fall under the same umbrella and that are incredibly underrated. It’s about time we give them some credit, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s have a look at the 8 underrated personality traits that signify immense mental strength!
Hear me out.
Stubbornness isn’t always great. If someone sticks to an illogical opinion no matter how much proof is staring them in the face, they’re displaying stubbornness at its worst.
But every coin has two sides, and the same principle applies to this underrated character trait.
So, what’s so amazing about stubbornness?
It shows resilience to external pressure. No, really. If you’re stubborn, you’re less likely to be shaken and manipulated because you’re so used to sticking to your guns that you’ll automatically view other people’s attempts to persuade you with suspicion.
A stubborn person abides by their own rules and principles, and they won’t just go with the flow to avoid confrontation. They’ll stand up for themselves – even though it’s hard.
I don’t know how about you, but that’s what I call mental strength.
Another trait that gets a bad rep is pride.
Again, if you’re too proud for your own good – for example, if you refuse to apologize although you really should – it doesn’t bode well for your personal relationships, work life, or well-being.
But there’s one amazing thing about pride: it prevents other people from throwing you around like a volleyball.
If you have pride, it also means you have dignity. And if you have dignity, you won’t let others treat you like rubbish just because you love them.
You’ll say “no” and mean it. You’ll set firm boundaries. You’ll have standards for friendships and romantic relationships, and you won’t settle for people who cancel on you, mock you, or put in zero effort.
In other words, people who have a healthy sense of pride also know that they deserve to be treated well, and they’ll act in harmony with that knowledge.
“Uhm, we’ve just talked about pride, how can you bring up humility next? That makes no sense!”
Except it does. A person who’s mentally strong has one defining trait: they know how to find balance between harmful opposites.
Too much pride, and people will think you’re a douchebag.
Too much humility, and people will walk all over you.
If you have just the right amount of both, though… that’s mental strength in my books.
It means that you can stand up for yourself, but you also know when to say sorry and admit you were wrong.
It means you have principles and opinions that won’t change with the snap of a finger, but you’re also open to other people’s worldviews and ideas because you’re able to accept that you’re just one mind in a universe of many.
More than anything, it means you have enough self-awareness to know when your behavior needs changing and when you should take pride in your actions.
Ah, my favorite trait on the list!
I’ve spent years practicing the art of acceptance, and while I still don’t have it all figured out, the improvements I’ve made in that area have immensely contributed to my well-being.
Contrary to popular belief, acceptance doesn’t equal giving up. It equals letting go. There’s a difference.
When you look at a problem, ask yourself whether there’s something you can do about it *right now*.
If your answer is yes, accept that’s what you’re going to do, and do it.
If your answer is no, accept that you either have to pass the responsibility for solving it onto your future self (if it’s something that’ll only happen a month from now on, for example) or accept the situation as it is (if it’s raining and you don’t have an umbrella).
Personally, I consider acceptance the one fundamental trait that signifies mental strength. If you accept life as it comes, you don’t worry too much. You don’t overthink. You don’t try to wrestle for control over something you inherently have no control over.
If you need to solve something, you do it, and if you need to let go… you do that, too.
It’s hard to tell others the truth sometimes. But do you know what’s even harder?
Admitting it to yourself. Your ego likes to come up with excuse after excuse just so you can keep avoiding the real issues underneath. Every time the harsh truth is about to come out, you rationalize it away, hide behind other feelings, or just ignore it altogether.
It’s not ideal. Yet it’s what most of us do on a daily basis.
I, for example, love to hide my grief behind anger. When I’m really sad, I get pissed off. Rage is a much nicer emotion than grief because it gives me a semblance of power.
But it always runs out eventually, and once I have no anger left, I have to confront the heavy hopelessness underneath. And that’s when I finally get in touch with the real problem, allowing myself to process it.
Keeping it real with yourself is no easy feat. It opens up a lot of wounds you didn’t even know you had. But the deeper you dig, the more issues you’re likely to solve, only to emerge stronger as a result.
6) Being able to laugh at yourself
The strongest of people don’t take themselves too seriously.
That’s because when you’re genuinely confident, you have nothing to prove.
You don’t seek validation in the external world because you have enough of it within you, and so when you do something silly or stupid, you just laugh instead of chiding yourself for it.
I remember one time when I tripped and fell in the cafeteria. While everyone stared at me, I started laughing because I imagined how freaking ridiculous that fall must have looked.
They probably thought I was a bit weird, but I had so much fun I didn’t really care. I was about fifteen at the time – an age where embarrassment comes to us very easily – and I found it to be quite a transformative experience.
I realized that when you laugh at yourself, others can’t laugh at you, too, because the action of mocking somebody has to give rise to shame and humiliation in order for it to work. But if you’re already not taking yourself seriously, no one can touch you.
What’s more, laughing at yourself signifies immense mental strength because it means you’re very comfortable in your own skin.
Growing up, everyone told me that selfishness was bad. Every time I did something even slightly selfish, I was chided for it and told I should learn how to be more generous.
Buying things for myself was bad. Buying things for others was good.
Making myself a nice meal was bad. Cooking for others was good.
The issue is that this approach makes you believe that anything you do for your own well-being or happiness is a “guilty pleasure” or a “reward” you have to earn. You simply can’t have nice things if you don’t do something to deserve them.
But that’s where people are wrong. To a point, selfishness *is* good.
Selfishness is knowing that you are worthy of getting that nice purse or taking yourself out on a trip. Selfishness is prioritizing your well-being and saying no to events you have no interest in attending. Selfishness is thinking of yourself and your own needs and desires, and why would that be bad?
Again, balance is of the utmost importance. If you’re too selfish, you won’t think of others at all and will become too self-centered.
But a little bit of selfishness never hurt anybody, and what’s more, it’s a sign you’re mentally strong because it shows that you know you deserve happiness.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without kindness – the ultimate sign of mental strength.
Well, look at it this way. The world is full of cruelty. Everyone you know has had something bad happen to them in one way or another.
It would be so easy to give in to that pain and let it fester, right? Before you know it, you’ve turned into a grumpy person who never leaves the house because their whole world has been painted different shades of grey.
But that’s not how kind people operate. Kind people get hurt, and instead of repeating that cycle of pain, they choose to break it. They choose to believe that there is just as much beauty as there is cruelty out there, and that they will do their best to spread the first and reduce the latter.
And that’s why kindness signifies immense mental strength. Because it’s the decision to be kind no matter how unkind other people have been to you.
Kindness is choosing hope.
And nothing is stronger than hope.