Updated: May 20, 2022
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What better time to have an honest conversation about the behaviors that damage our mental health and hold us back! Now, let me preface a few things. I am not a mental health counselor or therapist. I am a woman who's battled and conquered many of her own mental health issues. Alongside therapy to deal with my past, I adopted new ways of thinking and created a plan to take charge of my future. I did the hard work of creating a better life for myself. I made simple changes by incorporating practical (and very doable) daily routines. Those small changes made a huge impact. Let's just say I have a knack for making life's complicated issues not so complicated.
As a Master Certified Life Coach with over 25 years of training, development and coaching experience, I have made it my life's mission to help others overcome the same obstacles that I have faced and conquered. There is no better person to lead others than somone who has walked the path.
Over the next 10 days I will reveal 10 things that I know to be true about the mentally strong. My hope is that these tidbits of insight will help increase your mental strength and get you closer to living the life you've always dreamed of!
#1 - The mentally strong don't give their power away.
As an awkward preteen, I remember being forced to hug strangers. They were men and women I'd never met before. Because they were distant family, church members or neighbors, I denied my natural insticts and allowed them to cross my physical boundaries. It didn't feel right. Sometimes it was downright creepy. I detested it but I did it anyway. My eyes watered and I sneezed through all the cheap perfume and aftershave smells. I wiped my face down after all the sloppy cheek kisses and squirmed my way out of the "longer than normal hugs". I suffered through it in the hopes of pleasing everyone and not causing a ruckus. I'm sure I could have refused or diverted the hugs and kisses, but I didn't. I gave my power away. That was the early beginning of my people pleasing behaviors and just a snippet of all the others who would intrude on my physical and emotional boundaries throughout my life.
Ever been guilted into doing something you didn't want to do? When other people criticize you, does it hit home just a little too hard and ruin your day, your week, or year? Do you say YES when you really want to say NO resulting in a heart full of resentment towards your clueless friend? All these are signs that you have allowed others to have control over you. You've given away your power.
The mentally strong understand that someone's opinion is simply, an opinion. It is not fact. It does not shape or define reality, unless they allow it. They surround themselves with people that want to see them win by providing honest feedback that encourages growth, not unproductive criticism with no real purpose.
They realize that saying NO is a form of self care. They realize that saying YES when you mean NO, is a form of dishonesty. Dishonesty ruins relationships. They also understand that NO is a tool used to prioritize and cut away the things that are unimportant or distracting us from pursuing our dreams. The mentally strong use NO to establish and enforce boundaries that keep them focused on their own lives instead of taking ownership of someone elses.
Create a habitat of free choice in which all of your relationships can grow. Don't participate in any relationship that requires you to surrender your power. All the mental muscle to keep your power is inside of you!