I recently came across an article online titled “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” by Dr. Travis Bradberry and wondered where I fall in the realm of things. Do I fit the mentally strong? Am I stumbling along at a pathetic rate? While articles such as this can be great for self-evaluation, sometimes you just don’t want to know the answers.
Curiosity got the best of me and I forged forward in my quest for knowledge. Depending on how far back you reflect, I can easily say the past six years have been stressful, but I feel I am doing well emotionally. I just keep trudging along and don’t think about the conglomerate mess my life has been.
Six years ago I was in a bad accident when I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle, landing me in a trauma center for seventeen days, rehab for two months, and then a year of physical therapy and medical follow ups after that. Two of my granddaughters were taken by Child Protective Services and put into foster care. My husband and I applied to foster them and were denied, we later applied to adopt them and again CPS fought us and we lost. Both girls have been adopted by strangers.
My son was sentenced to 6-22 years in prison for home invasion; his earliest possible parole date is in March 2018. Two cousins passed away, as did a 19 year old nephew who had brain cancer. Other deaths in the family included my father-in-law, brother-in-law, both of my parents (18 months apart), and my husband. I spent about 1-1/2 years traveling back to my old hometown to work on cleaning out the house my parents had resided in since 1966. While this was going on my husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, had surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy as he fought the disease for about 15 months before the cancer won and he passed away. I am now scheduled for surgery on my ankle due to residual deterioration from my accident and am once again facing a lengthy recovery.
I look at the list of things I have handled in the past few years and in my opinion have coped well with everything life has thrown at me. I have often felt that I have strong coping mechanisms but don’t really know why. I am baffled when people have one issue on their plate and are falling apart at the seams. I delved into the article hoping to discover what it is that makes one person successfully juggle a plethora of issues while another crumbles under the slightest amount of pressure.
What the article explained is that mental strength is a matter of emotional intelligence. The article stated “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.”
The article consisted of a list of thirteen things emotionally intelligent people avoid. This piqued my curiosity as I don’t conscientiously avoid much of anything. What I found is that of the thirteen items listed, I do eleven of them naturally / subconsciously. Two items I falter on, but what the heck, we all have areas needing improvement.
The two weakness I have were actually the first two items listed:
- They don’t stay in their comfort zone
- They don’t give in to fear
I feel these two areas are related and to a certain degree overlap. While I don’t totally avoid these two behavior patterns, I don’t follow them 100% either. I tend to operate on a certain level of caution which prevents me from venturing two far outside my comfort zone. Fear is not a physical fear but an emotional fear of doing something, such as public speaking. While I have taken on the challenge of completing numerous things this past year that I never have in the past, the combination of my comfort zone and fear of unknown territory has also prevented me from fully tackling a few others that should have been addressed sooner and more frequently than they have. My weaknesses, the areas I need to work on.
I was happy to discover that the other nine items listed are all areas where I meet the criteria for having emotional intelligence:
- They don’t stop believing in themselves
- They don’t beg for attention
- They don’t act like jerks
- They don’t hold grudges
- They don’t hang around negative people
- They don’t feel sorry for themselves
- They don’t feel entitled
- They don’t close their minds
- They don’t let anyone limit their joy
- They don’t get eaten up by jealousy and envy
- They don’t live in the past
If you tend to let the stress of life get you down, if you are unable to roll with the ups and downs of life and have difficulty coping you may want to read 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Explore the areas you need to tackle so your life can move forward in a more positive direction.
If you are like me and feel you easily cope with the stresses of life, I still suggest you read the article in its entirety. You may find areas in which you can improve. As for me, I’m working on alleviating my fear and expanding my comfort zone. Look out world….here I come!