We’ve always been taught that mental toughness breeds champions. The tougher you are, the better. Sports coaches and leaders tend to preach about how we all just need to toughen up to succeed. This common approach that most take to mental toughness can have its drawbacks.
Before delving into the drawbacks associated with mental toughness – first, here are a few of the positive aspects:
• A stubbornness when it comes to submitting
• The ability to push through difficult situations
• Cognitive and emotional resilience
• Strength and stamina
• Being hard-headed, strong-willed
Those who are mentally tough can find these qualities useful in various situations throughout the course of life. However, it is also important not to allow these qualities to govern your behavior.
For instance, it is never a good idea to push through pain just to make a point to someone. Operating like this breeds pride, stubbornness, and bullheadedness. Your efforts to be overly tough may also lead to increased isolation or other problems when your intent is misconceived.
Now that it is clear how mental toughness can be an issue, here are a few ways that you can revamp your approach to mental toughness by not letting it get the best of you:
• I’m Fine: Don’t fool yourself into believing that it is a sign of weakness to experience pain, anxiety or have problems in life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Living in denial is unhealthy, by suppressing your feelings, they can eat you alive. Emotional scars need to be dealt with, and there is a healing process. If you are constantly putting on an act and pushing away unpleasantries, you will never become all that you can be.
• I Don’t Need Help: Claiming to always have your act together, you are always in control and that you are never in need of support, doesn’t demonstrate toughness, it shows you have difficulty connecting with people. Because you won’t open yourself to the people closest to you, your relationships will likely suffer.
• I Always Have Something to Prove: Sure, most people want to work hard and reach their full potential, but by constantly competing with others, that need to constantly outdo can turn ugly. True strength comes from having a sense of purpose, overcoming real obstacles and seeking balance. It is not about accomplishing something to prove to someone else that you can.
People with true mental strength can deal with both physical and mental discomfort far better than those who lack it. Strong individuals are not afraid to ask for help when it is needed or allow themselves to be vulnerable at times. By facing fears and working through weaknesses, you can improve mental toughness in all the uncomfortable situations that life throws at you.