For more than a decade in my career as a psychotherapist, I have helped clients realize their existing skills, abilities and support programs. After that we will look at how we can fix their problems by increasing their existing capacity. With much of my work, I felt that this excellent offensive program was an effective way to help people overcome adversity.
But when I personally experienced the tragedy, I began to rethink my hope. In 2003 my mother died unexpectedly. Then, two days before the anniversary of my death, my 26-year-old husband suffered a heart attack. Seven years later, I lost my father-in-law.
Throughout my ordeal, I realized that focusing on my strengths – and ignoring my weaknesses — had its limitations. If I wanted to get out of that painful situation stronger than before, I needed to pay close attention to the bad habits I was holding. Allowing oneself to become a victim, complaining about my condition and distancing myself in pain can help me to feel better in the short term but can create more problems in the future.
The difficulties I had taught me that it takes one or two bad habits – no matter how trivial – to hinder progress.
Achieving your best does not require that you work hard by adding desirable habits to your already busy life. Instead you can work smarter by eliminating habits that diminish efficiency and drain mental energy. Here are 13 things that mentally strong people do not do:
- Time to waste.
It is useless to get caught up in your own problems, exaggerate your misfortunes and keep track of how many hardships you have endured. Whether you’re having trouble paying off your debts or experiencing a major health problem, throwing a sympathetic party makes things worse. Self-pity keeps you focused on the problem and prevents you from finding a solution.
Hardship and sorrow are inevitable, but self-pity is a decision. Although you may not be able to solve the problem, you can choose to control your emotions. Find three things you can be thankful for every day so that you do not feel sad.
- Give them their power.
You cannot feel victimized and mentally retarded; that is impossible. When your thoughts send you into victim mode – My brother-in-law drives me crazy or my boss makes me feel bad about myself – it gives others power over you. No one has power over the way you think, feel, or act.
Changing your daily vocabulary is one way to make sure that the decisions you make are yours. Instead of saying, “I have to work late today,” set the mood for “I prefer to stay up late.” There may be consequences if you do not work late, but it is still an option. Empowerment is the key to building the kind of life you want.
Live with these powerful words to make life better.
- Reject change.
If you worry that change will make things worse, you will always stick to your old ways. The world is changing, and your success depends on your ability to adapt. The more you practice tolerating stress from a variety of sources – either taking on a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship – the more confident you will be in your ability to adapt and create positive change for yourself.
- We waste energy on things that cannot be controlled.
Complaints, worries, and fantasies do not solve problems; they only waste your energy. But if you invest that energy in things you can control, you will be better prepared for whatever life throws you in the way.
Take note of times when you are tempted to worry about things you can’t control – such as picking on other people or how a competitor behaves – and devoting that energy to something more productive, such as completing a project at work or at home or helping a friend. Accept the situation beyond your control and focus on influencing, rather than controlling, the people around you.
Why should you learn to let go
- Anxiety about pleasing everyone.
Whether you are worried that your father-in-law will criticize your recent efforts or attend a party that you may miss to avoid the guilt trip to your mother, trying to please other people drains your mental energy and causes you to forget your goals.
It takes courage to make decisions that disappoint or offend others, but living the true life requires that you adhere to your standards. Write down your top five values and focus on your strengths to stay faithful to them, even if your options may be graciously obtained.
How can you stop entertaining people
- Fear of taking risks.
If something seems scary, you may not be putting yourself at risk, even if it is small. Conversely, if you are excited about a new opportunity, you may overlook the high risk and move on. Emotions darken your judgment and impair your ability to accurately calculate risks. You can’t go wrong without taking chances, but a successful outcome depends on your ability to take the right risks. Acknowledge your feelings about the danger, and be aware of how your emotions affect your thoughts. Create a list of the pros and cons of taking a risk to help you make an informed decision based on your emotional and mental balance.
- Focus on the past.
While previous reading helps you build mental capacity, lighting is dangerous. Staying skeptical of your past choices or making love on good days keeps you both happy now and making the future as good as possible.
Make peace with the past. Sometimes doing so will include forgiving the person who has hurt you, and sometimes, going forward means stopping regret. Instead of remembering the past, work on the painful feelings that keep you stuck.
- Repeat their mistakes.
Even if you feel awkward when you give the wrong answer in class or are reprimanded, you may have learned at a young age that mistakes are bad. So you can hide or forgive your mistakes in order to cover up the shame that accompanies them, and doing so will prevent you from learning from them.
Whether you have lost weight or worked hard to lose weight or have lost an important deadline, consider every step of the way. Put aside your pride and humbly analyze your motives. Use that knowledge to progress better than ever before.
7 mistakes successful people do not repeat
- Hate the success of others.
Watching a co-worker get a promotion, hearing a friend talk about his or her recent success or seeing a family member buy a car that you cannot afford can provoke jealousy. But jealousy removes the focus of your efforts and hinders your ability to achieve your goals.
Write down your definition of success. If you are safe from that definition, you will stop being angry with others for achieving their goals, and you will always be committed to achieving your own. Realize that when other people reach their goals, their achievements do not diminish your success.
Why should you celebrate the success of others
- Donate after their initial failure.
Some people avoid failure by all means because it reflects their self-confidence. Not trying at all or quitting after your first attempt will prevent you from reaching your full potential. Almost every story about an overly successful person begins with myths of repeated failure (think of the thousands of failures of Thomas Edison before he invented the practical lamp, for example).
Face your fears of being defeated directly by stretching to your limits. Whether you feel embarrassed, rejected or embarrassed, put your head up and refuse to let failure describe you as a person. Focus on developing your skills and be willing to try again after your failures.
5 ways to reverse failure
- Fear of “time alone.”
Being alone can sometimes feel unproductive; for some people, the thought of being alone with their thoughts is terrifying. Most people avoid silence by filling their days with too much work and background noise.
Time alone, however, is essential to building mental capacity. Draw at least 10 minutes each day to gather your thoughts without the distractions of the world. Use the time to think about your progress and make plans for the future.
How to manage your time alone
- Feel that the world owes you something.
We like to think that if we work hard enough or get you out of hard times, then we deserve success. But waiting for the world to give you what you think debt is not a productive life plan.
Be aware of times when you feel you deserve something better. Deliberately focus on everything you have to give than you think you deserve. It doesn’t matter if you think you have been treated fairly in life, you have gifts to share with others.
Gain the strength to keep fighting.
- Expect immediate results.
Self-esteem is slowly growing. Whether you are trying to break free from a tendency to procrastinate or to improve your marriage, anticipating immediate results will only lead to disappointment. Think of your efforts as a marathon, not a sprint. View clusters as roadblocks rather than as a complete barrier.
You will need all the mental powers that you can acquire at some point in your life, whether it is losing a loved one, financial hardship or a major health problem. Mental strength will give you the strength to face challenges.
And the good news is that everyone can strengthen his or her mental muscles. Practice being your mental strength coach. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Create opportunities for growth and challenge yourself to be better today than you were yesterday.
Stick to your goals to the end.
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