Inner strength manifests itself in many different ways. It looks like a person that manages life’s challenges and grows through them, a person that forgives those that have wronged them, and a person that asks for help when they need it. It’s someone that never stops improving and won’t settle for anything less than greatness and also someone that is kind to themselves when they mess up.
Inner strength is not one-size-fits-all. What does yours look like?
What you might not know or might not believe is that you already have inner strength. It’s there for you to use, but you may not always use it. But to feel peace and to live your fullest life, you need to start tapping into that strength. Nobody’s inner strength looks exactly like anyone else’s, and that’s why it’s important that you follow steps to meet yourself where you already are and build your inner strength. Here’s how.
The first step to building your inner strength is to recognize how strong you are.
This will require getting to know yourself a lot better. This means being mindful of how you feel about yourself, of how you react to challenges, of your hopes and fears, and more. Only when you know yourself inside and out and will you be able to see strength in yourself.
If you are having trouble seeing strength in yourself, you can turn to close friends and family. Though mental strength is internal and individual, it’s often easy to see in other people and should be easy for the people that love you to name. Then, be brave enough to see yourself how others see you. It might take time and help to get to know yourself, but it’s a valuable endeavor that will benefit you in many ways.
Your flaws are what make you you. Don’t ignore them or make the mistake of thinking that to be strong, you need to wipe out all weaknesses.
Perhaps one of your weaknesses is that you struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships. Maybe this is because you don’t communicate with or open up to the people in your life. Maybe this is because you’ve been badly hurt before. To yourself, your inability to develop strong relationships is a weakness and something that you don’t like about yourself. To others, it’s a testament to what you’ve been through and an admirable ability to set boundaries.
Often times, our weaknesses are not really weaknesses at all. They are evidence of growth and opportunities to learn. Dare to believe this: Even the strongest people have weaknesses. Weakness is not the absence of strength, but a complement of it.
Every time you compare yourself to another person, you do yourself a great disservice. Research has shown that envy, wanting what someone else has, can actually trigger depression and anxiety. Self-comparison is harmful and unproductive, and it can make you feel less strong than you really are.
Many people struggle to see themselves as enough when they see other people they consider to be “better.” But to build your inner strength, you need to learn to see yourself as a foundation worthy of building on. If you don’t and you continue to believe that only other people have what it takes to be strong, this will eventually become true. You must have the courage to live for your own goals and on your own path rather than anyone else’s.
Just as you go to the gym to build muscles and get stronger, you need to work out your mind to build your inner strength. Inner strength is a beautiful thing: the more you use and cultivate it, the more it grows.
Again, everyone’s workout will look a little different. You might need to work on your outlook on life or your inner beliefs while someone else might need to work on letting go of something from their past. This is why getting to know yourself is so important.
Here are just a few general suggestions that might fit into your personal mental fitness journey:
- Stay positive.
- Be flexible.
- Learn to say “no.”
- Take care of yourself.
- Push yourself.
- Find peace.
- Stop worrying.
- Stay present.
Adapt these exercises to meet your specific needs, and, as always, ask for help if you need it.
Don’t just show yourself self-love when you are at your strongest. Show yourself self-love when you are at your lowest and when you are not feeling very strong.
The only way to empower yourself to grow is to give yourself room to fail as well. There will be times when you are going through something challenging and you forget to tap into your inner strength, and that’s okay. Over time, this will happen less and less often, but you need to let it happen when it needs to, especially when you’re first starting out.
Above all, the only way to tap into and build your inner strength is to practice, practice, practice. You will need to sacrifice bad habits—things that don’t serve you, such as comparing yourself to others or letting yourself stay in one place—in order to build your strength, but these changes will be healing, freeing, and empowering.