1. They’re introspective. They evaluate their actions from a third-party perspective and are always digging for why they took a certain course of action, why they felt the need to do so, what caused that need, etc.
2. They don’t yell or erupt with anger easily; especially over petty, daily things. The people who live on the verge of exploding numerous times a day are the ones with the most turmoil brewing beneath the surface, turmoil they don’t — and typically won’t — acknowledge. Mentally strong people know that external projections of anger are just echoes channeled through their own open (but internal) wounds that reverberate out onto someone else.
3. They’re open to feedback in the sense that they don’t just handle criticism, but they also consider ideas beyond the scope of that which they’ve already acknowledged themselves — they don’t exist with such open wounds that even the slightest jab is monumental. They don’t immediately write off new opinions just because they haven’t heard them before.
4. They are aware of their conditioning, and adjust it as they need to. They do not base their opinion of themselves on the opinions of others, nor their worldviews on the ways they’ve been conditioned to believe. They do not believe they are only as good as someone else has affirmed they are, and they do not accept anything for the simple reason of having been told it growing up.
5. They apologize. It seems like a simple thing to do, but there’s a big ego element to overcome in reaching the mindset that doesn’t automatically assume that you’re right all the time. Genuine apologies are harder to come by than you may realize, but a mentally strong person will give them as often or as little as they are honesty needed.
6. They realize that anything they feel the need to judge other people for is usually directly related to what they most judge themselves for. They don’t utilize this awareness only to be kinder to others, but to see how they also need to help and heal themselves.
7. They were once probably not strong at all. They don’t act from a place of inherent fearlessness, but in spite of the presence of fear. They know that mental strength is not usually something you are born with naturally, but something you cultivate out of necessity.
8. They know how to healthfully draw the line between being selfless and giving and taking care of themselves. They don’t withhold for the sake of self-gratification, but they understand what lines cannot be crossed before that affects their own overall, day-to-day wellbeing.
9. They don’t look for peace or happiness anywhere outside of themselves, or at least they know that doing so is fruitless.
10. They don’t label emotions as “good” or “bad,” they know how to let them pass, and they know that it’s normal to have an array of feelings. They know that having a negative reaction, an off day or a bad feeling are more healthy than not. They just don’t let themselves become controlled by them.
11. They don’t limit their thoughts. For the lack of a much less cliché phrasing: they let themselves have big dreams and goals. They don’t tell themselves why they can’t, they think: “why not me?”
12. They don’t expect anything, and they’re not attached to the results. They know that keeping their minds open to possibility and the inevitability that is their plans not always working out the way they wanted is the only way to remain content.
13. They don’t excessively draw attention to themselves for negative reasons. There are some people who make hospital trips out of scraped knees if you know what I mean — and this very intense need for other people’s attention is usually rooted in some kind of self-worth/esteem issue, though the cause can vary, of course.
14. They are open to receiving help. They’ll attend therapy if they need it, consider medications if it’s necessary, let themselves be consoled and comforted by friends. They know there’s no shame in the suffering, only in not asking for the help you need.
15. They aren’t co-dependent. They do not exist for the sake of a relationship with someone else. Their world wouldn’t fall apart if one aspect of it did. They are rounded in the sense that they have more than one thing going for them, or rather, more than one person they can rely on to make them feel loved and wanted and necessary.
16. They can have an argument in which they can completely disagree with someone but not have the situation devolve into a screaming match. They don’t feel the need to “fight dirty,” so to say. They know when to walk away, and when to step up and approach issues head on in a rational way without letting them fester until they explode.
17. They are conscious of their childhood issues. It’s unfortunately the place from which a lot of our struggles originate: the saying goes that the way our parents’ spoke to us growing up is how we speak to ourselves now, but I think that concept is true of a lot of our early relationships. The sooner we are aware of this, the sooner we can work on changing that default setting.
18. They follow their instincts, and trust themselves enough to know that they are worth following.
19. They forgive themselves because they know there’s no merit in holding a grudge against yourself. It’s not punishment, and you don’t deserve it. The only thing worth doing is acknowledging your faults (we all have ‘em) and doing your best to work on them without adding more negativity into the mix.