Building unbreakable mental strength was my ultimate goal for many years. Even as a girl, I knew that with emotional toughness in place, nothing can permanently break me. I set myself up for a task. My mission was to find ways and tools which I can use to become mentally and emotionally strong, in control and ready to face anything. If you think that’s easier said than done, that’s two of us.
In the beginning, I experienced lots of failures and errors since I didn’t understand that being tough or looking tough are two different powers. I was trying to build this image of a “street fighter” which wasn’t working because it didn’t come from within. My second task was to share my experience with anyone I met. I understood that with proper tools and perspective, we all could build ourselves into resilient and strong individuals.
That’s why I want to share with you 5 ways you can develop unbreakable mental resilience and gain control of your life:
1. Increase your tolerance for pain
If you want to effectively train your mind in becoming resilient, you need to increase your tolerance for pain. You do it by letting go of how things should be and accept what is. No expectations, no feeling of entitlement.
It’s a perspective matter. When you feel entitled to something better or easier in life, you are putting yourself in a position where your expectations don’t have to be met. This situation causes hurt and loss of control.
When you are at peace with the ups and downs of life, knowing that some fights are involved, you are gaining more control over how you feel and think. Your tolerance for adversity increases since you are focused more on a solution than on the presence of your pain.
“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes
2. Create a powerful support system
Most of my life, I believed that I can handle everything on my own. I wanted to become the strongest among all my friends and family, always independent, never needing help. Soon, I found out that this was a terrible idea while trying to develop emotional resilience. The truth is that we need each other, we need our support network
Part of developing mental resilience is knowing when to ask for help and bury the ego. There is strength in admitting that you feel vulnerable and need someone’s hand. Feeling love and support is the best medicine while dealing with hardships. Your role is to choose who you let close to you and who you can trust. Based on my experience, it isn’t hard to figure it out.
3. Take responsibility for your feelings
You and I know that blaming is easy. It takes a weight off your shoulders, it eases the pain and it creates excuses. But it doesn’t build mental resilience. You need to learn how to take responsibility for your feelings when someone else hurts them.
There is a difference between those who are at fault and those who are responsible. Let’s say that your partner cheated on you which broke your heart and caused you pain. It’s your partner’s fault, but it’s your responsibility to deal with it. I know, it may sound unfair, but this is the only way you can build your emotional toughness on a feeling which scares you the most and that’s pain.
4. Learn to be alone
Some of us are pretty scared of being alone. That’s why we keep the TV on even when we don’t watch it, scroll through our feed 45 times a day or always seek some company just to maintain the noise. Spending some time alone allows you to think clearly, without distractions and on a much deeper level.
I am not suggesting that you isolate yourself from others, but time alone, combined with only 5 minutes of meditation, will help you in gaining better control of your feelings and overall mental state. Schedule your alone time. Reserve 1 hour, twice a week just for yourself, your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t tried meditation, there are tons of videos online which will teach you the basics.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi
5. Love those who hurt you
Two weeks ago, I read an article about letting go. According to Buddha’s teachings, the best way to let go is by loving those who hurt us. At first, it pissed me off. I thought to myself, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.” Then I took a deep breath, stepped out of my ego and admitted that it made sense.
Think about it this way, when you truly let go, when you forgive, you are gaining more control over your feelings and mindset. And that’s one of the most important things in building mental resilience. You take away the power of someone else who gained it through hurting you. Once you overcome the feeling of anger and the need for retaliation, the action of the other person won’t control you.
Having the right perspective on pain, surrounding yourself with people you can trust and taking responsibilities for your feelings are basic components of your inner toughness. The best thing about it is that even when you fail, you will manage to recover pretty quickly because you are built this way.
Don’t focus on your ego, it’s one of the most common reasons which stops you from growing. Have faith and accept the fact the everything in your life has a purpose. It’s how you choose to use it which defines who you are.