It takes one bad event to outweigh five good ones; it takes five good events to outweigh one bad one.
And that’s the exact same logic our brains use to disregard the wealth of evidence we’ve lived through that confirm our strength, to convince us that we are not strong.
This article is going to remind you of seven ways in which you are stronger than you think.
Perspective dictates strength
If we see the world in rose-coloured glasses, then we see ourselves in blacked out glasses. We’re unable to truly acknowledge just how strong we are because we focus our attention on all the ways we are “weak.”
Think about it.
Have you ever had a friend come up to you and say,
“Wow, I can’t believe you did that! I would never be able to do that! You’re so brave!”
You look at your friend and think to yourself,
“Brave? Really? That was nothing! In fact, that was just completely normal so why are they praising me for this?”
But you know, deep down, if the shoe was on the other foot and your friend was recounting the same story, you would have been in awe of their strength. So why is the standard different for you and your friends? Surely if something makes your friend strong, it makes you strong, too?
See, the way we view ourselves is a large part of how strong we are, and when we learn to see ourselves with kinder eyes, that’s when you find your inner strength.
Why do we ignore our inner strength?
There are plenty of people out there that know their value and strength, so it’s highly unlikely that it’s a natural human trait to underestimate ourselves. Why then, do so many of us do just that?
For those of us that suffer from low self-esteem, we find it incredibly difficult to give ourselves the credit we deserve. We attribute positive consequences to lucky coincidences, and only believe that negative consequences are our own fault.
If you grew up in a household where you were always told you weren’t good enough, or won’t amount to anything, then it makes sense that you are unable to recignise your strengths now.
Our childhood experiences mould our self-perception, and those core beliefs are difficult to forget.
Trauma can beat us down to within a shell of ourselves. Feeling out of control of an experience, something often felt during traumatic events, relationships, etc., leaves us feeling helpless and, by proxy, weak.
Yes, culture can have a significant role in the way we think and behave. Us Brits are infamous for being more reserved when it comes to self-praise. There is a common (misguided) perception that strong self-belief is equivalent to arrogance and an over-inflated ego. As such, many Brits were encouraged to be “modest” in their self-view from an early age.
How you view your strength and how it affects your life
Seven ways you are stronger than you think
1. You’ve survived every day of your life so far
Is it cliché? Maybe. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Throughout your life, you’ve had good days, bad days, weird days, and sad days, but somehow, you’ve made it through them all.
You’ve had to be strong, even when you thought you couldn’t, and yet, here you are.
2. You are capable of facing your fears
We often mischaracterise what it means to face fears. We think that to face our fears means we need to be an adrenaline junkie jumping out of planes. We categorise fears as acceptable or stupid and dismissible.
But the truth is, no matter how small you think your fears are, they are just as valid and require just as much inner strength to overcome.
And therefore, by definition, we are strong enough to face our fears in everyday life.
Whether it’s going to the dentist, going out in the dark, public speaking, or entering relationships, we all have fears that we have to muster the strength to overcome.
3. You are adaptable
Adaptability is a great strength to possess. It’s the ability to accept change and move with it to survive (and hopefully thrive). Life has taught all of us this lesson the hard way.
Think back to March of 2020 before the Pandemic changed our lives forever.
Through trials and tribulations, we’ve all found ways to cope and adapt to this new normal.
And that’s not the only example of your adaptability. You managed to adapt from primary school, to secondary school, and then maybe even to university if you chose to go. You adapted from being in education to being in the workplace.
There are many things we have to adapt to, expanding our comfort zones to accommodate them, and improving your flexibility and adaptability.
Your life has undoubtedly seen many changes, and most of them probably weren’t as significant or profound as the ones listed above. But the point is, whenever you’ve been faced with change, you’ve adapted.
4. You are in control of your life
I can already hear your eyes rolling through the computer screen. You don’t feel like you’re in control of your life. Maybe you even feel like life is in control of you.
And most times, when we feel like this, it stems back to that skewed perspective that doesn’t allow us to see ourselves unbiasedly.
Disagree? Here’s a list of examples of things you most likely have control of in your life right now:
- The food you eat
- The drinks you drink
- The clothes you wear
- The music you listen to
- How you act on your feelings
- The way you talk to yourself
- How you talk to, and treat, other people
- The activities you do in your free time
- Making plans and carrying them out
They may seem small, but they make a big difference.
And exercising your control over yourself and your situations proves your inner strength.
5. You are resilient
Resilience is a significant strength. Things can happen around us that are either out of our control or simply not worth engaging in. And when that happens, you need to have the strength to keep pushing on. That’s exactly what resilience is.
So for all the times you thought you couldn’t make it through the day, but kept going regardless, you exercised your resilience and proved you’re stringer than you thought.
6. You have routines
Routines can be extremely difficult to master and yet they are one of the most powerful tools that we as human beings have.
And often, we have routines without even knowing or realising that we do.
For example, when you wake up do you pick up your phone and scroll TikTok, or go to the toilet when you arrive at work? Is there a path that you always take when travelling to familiar destinations? Do you have a preference for the order in which you settle down for bed?
We all have micro and macro routines in our lives that are so engrained we don't even notice them. This is so powerful as it allows our brains freedom and energy. After all, if we had to think about every single thing we did in the day we would be exhausted after about 20 minutes!
Routines help us group activities into one action command.
For example, let's say you've got trainers with laces.
Realistically, to put on a pair of trainers there are many steps involved. You have to slide one foot in, then the other, take the laces of one shoe, cross them, pull them, loop them, wrap them, pull into a ribbon, and then repeat on the other foot. That was tiring enough just typing, imagine if your brain consciously went through all those steps every time you put your shoes on?!
That’s why your brain has created an automated routine to put your shoes on where you still follow all those steps, but you don’t have to think consciously about them.
And that is a true strength.
7. You have clear wisdom
Wisdom is usually a word associated with older people, but we gain wisdom every time we have a new experience. As we learn new lessons, our brains retain more valuable information that helps guide us in the future.
Are you ready to admit your strength now?
These are just seven of hundreds of examples why you’re stronger than you think you are. All it takes is for you to shift your focus and recognise all the actions in your life that rely on your inner strength.
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