5 Ways The Most Emotionally Tough People Become That Way

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You know that woman you know? The one who has her act completely together?

She knows what she wants and who she is and she won’t let anyone or anything get her down. She has confidence and high self-esteem.

Yes, her. Wouldn’t you like to be her?

A woman like that most likely wasn’t always that emotionally strong. Chances are, she had to work to become that way. And you can do it, too.

RELATED: 5 Practical Ways To Majorly Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Here are 5 ways the most emotionally tough people become that way:

1. They take care of themselves

At the most basic level, no one can be emotionally strong if they aren’t physically strong.

I am not saying you have to join Crossfit and do the Whole 30 program and go to therapy every day. I do mean to take care of your body.

Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, be kind to others, and do what makes you smile.

Feeling healthy and strong will give you good strong roots at the base of your emotionally healthy tree. Roots that will make it so that you won’t blow over in a storm.

So do it. Take care of yourself. Create a healthy base on which to cultivate your emotional strength.

RELATED: How Exercise Instantly Boosts Your Mood & Positively Impacts Mental Health

2. They challenge their thoughts

Do you know those pesky thoughts that incessantly course through your head? You know the ones. The ones that tell you aren’t pretty enough, not smart enough, or not successful enough?

Yes, those thoughts. Those are thoughts that are holding you back. They are keeping you emotionally weak.

It’s time to change those thoughts. It won’t be easy but with a little determination you can bring about big change.

One of my clients spent a lifetime telling herself that she just wasn’t worthy of love. Her life experience had led her to believe this to be true and because her thoughts consistently reinforced this idea she just wasn’t emotionally capable of finding and keeping love.

I urged her to challenge that negative outlook, to talk back to the negative thoughts, and provide evidence that they just weren’t true.

I encouraged her to make a list of those who had loved her — her various boyfriends, her parents, her friends, her kids, and even the barista who flirted with her for years. Those people liked and loved her.

She kept this list easily accessible and when those dreaded thoughts reared their ugly head, she referred to the list. Gradually those thoughts, being starved of reasons why it was true, became much quieter.

And then, because she no longer felt emotionally weakened by her thoughts, she flirted back with that barista and it looks like she just might live happily ever after.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Let Go Of The Toxic Story You Believe About Yourself

3. They don’t take things personally

Taking things personally can be the death of emotional strength.

When something happens to us, the only way that we can process it is through our own internal system. And that internal system only truly understands our experience. As a result, we often times personalize things that have nothing to do with us.

I have a client who was in a dispute with her landlord about the damages done to her apartment and she was very upset. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t enjoy her everyday life. She took the dispute personally.

She felt that the landlord was questioning who she was as a person in his pursuit of keeping the damage deposit. She felt less than she could be because of this.

I suggested to her that a more likely explanation for his actions was that he wanted more money from her, not that he didn’t like her as a person.

At that moment, my client let go of everything that she had been holding on to. Of course, it was about the money, not about how she was as a tenant or a person. It’s always about money.

She learned about the importance of not taking things personally and grew her emotional strength.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Stop Taking Things So Personally

4. They give of themselves 

Nothing can help build emotional strength more than doing something for someone else. 

When I was going through my divorce, my emotional strength was at its lowest. I started volunteering weekly at the local food bank. Four hours a week of helping other people get food to eat for themselves and their families made me feel so good.

And not because I felt lucky that I wasn’t in their position but because I knew that I had made a substantial, positive difference in their lives. It made my heart sing.

Many of us don’t have time to volunteer but we can make a difference in other ways. Hold the door open for someone, buy that homeless person sitting outside the grocery store a sandwich, reach out to a friend you know is going through a hard time, or give up your seat on the subway.

There is nothing like being on the receiving end of a smile of gratitude or an act of true kindness to build up your emotional strength. So try it. Reach out and make a difference in someone’s life today.

RELATED: 7 Things Truly Nice People Do Every Day That Make Us Adore Them

5. They do things they didn't think they could do

There comes a time in one’s life when one is presented with an obstacle that seems insurmountable. For me, that obstacle was rebuilding my life after my divorce.

I never wanted a divorce but it was forced upon me and I had to deal. I had to deal with no longer being a wife, greatly reduced financial stability, and the prospect of being alone forever.

I did not want to deal.

But I had to. I had to pick myself and move forward. And I chose to pick myself and move forward in the strongest possible way. I wasn’t going to let this situation ruin my life so I didn’t.

How? I got into therapy. I surrounded myself with people who loved and supported me. I educated myself about the divorce process so that I could get what I needed to take care of myself and my children.

I didn’t back down in the face of his anger and derision. I stopped taking his actions personally and realized they were his issues, not mine.

In short, I came out on the other side of my divorce with a different woman. I went into it a woman who was scared of her own shadow, as I had been at the end of my marriage.

I emerged as someone who knew that she could take care of herself and her children, who were no longer a wife but a woman who actually preferred to be alone because I was very happy with my own company.

The best way to ensure your emotional strength is to do that thing you think you cannot do.

By doing so, you will truly see your own strength. Nothing and no one will be able to convince you otherwise.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Build Emotional Resilience & Mental Strength When Facing Adversity

Mitzi Bockmann is a certified life coach and relationship coach. With over 10 years of experience, she helps clients find happiness in love and life.