If you have these 12 traits, you’re a stronger person than you think

by Isabel Cabrera | June 28, 2024, 10:12 pm

Often when we think of strength the first images we conjure up are of a confident, bold, and gutsy person.

We picture them assertively making their way through life, with bags of courage and the resilience to see anything through.

But the truth is that many qualities that make up mental strength are far more mild-mannered.

They may have gone so unnoticed that you don’t even see them in yourself.

If you have some of the following traits, chances are you’re a stronger person than you think.

1) Patience

I’ll hold my hands up and admit:

I like to think of myself as pretty tough. But not yet tough enough to have enduring patience.

So why is it such a strength?

Because patience is what helps us to accept the realities of life. And they are not always what we would wish.

People, events, and circumstances have a habit of disappointing us.

Patience is what encourages us to deal with the setbacks, delays, and knocks and take a deep breath.

When we can do this we are better equipped to roll with the punches rather than get frustrated.

So you’re also more likely to keep on going in the face of adversity.

Patience will make you more grateful for what you have rather than whinging about what you lack.

So it not only leads to greater strength, but greater success too.

2) Compassion

Sadly, there can be a tendency to overlook the softer side of strength.

Some still assume being strong is about being hard. But that’s simply not true.

In fact, those with the toughest shells usually are the weakest on the inside. Because it’s just a front.

Yet those who stand on strong inner foundations don’t need to play tough. They have the self-love to give love freely.

Caring isn’t always easy. It actually takes a far greater tolerance for distress to handle being a compassionate person who feels for others.

So don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s weak to care.

3) Selflessness

For a lot of the reasons we gave above, the same can be said about taking a selfless attitude.

It’s tempting to always put yourself first. It can even feel like that is the best way to get ahead in life.

Particularly in modern societies where individualism is so valued. It can feel like a dog-eat-dog world out there.

It’s important to point out that being selfless isn’t the same as making yourself a martyr. It’s vital to be able to assert boundaries. We have a right to look after our own needs too.

But if you can put others first too, then that is a powerful act.

Some of the most powerful leaders know this, as explained by Col. Eric Kail in the Washington Post:

“Selflessness is all about strength, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Weakness, on the other hand, takes the path of least resistance; and as humans, that means being selfish — wanting all the credit and none of the blame. Real strength is measured by what we enable our followers to accomplish through our service to them.”

4) Empathy

Okay, by now, we’re seeing a theme.

There is strength in community and connection, and many of the traits on our list reflect this.

That goes for empathy too. It helps us to understand and put ourselves in the shoes of others.

And the reality is that people who are empathetic are more helpful.

There is a good reason that we are hardwired for empathy. Humans have relied upon one another for their survival for thousands of years.

That’s why this is a fundamental evolutionary strength.

5) Self-awareness

Do you know what is really weak?

Bravado and denial.

People who live blindly and with ignorance are ultimately too scared to face the truth. They lack the tools and willingness to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

It’s far from easy to face our own demons.

That’s why people with self-awareness have a superpower.

They can identify, analyze, and begin to understand what makes them tick.

They can see not only their strengths but their weaknesses too. And that gives them the ability to change.

Self-awareness allows us to be fully accountable in life. And that demands a whole lot of strength.

6) Humility

The most cocky people in life are usually the insecure ones deep down. Because they rely on the praise and admiration of others to feel good.

The same goes for attention seekers. Bragging, boasting, or demanding in the limelight comes down to ego.  

Some people don’t feel worthy enough unless they are basking in the glow of all eyes on them.

But the people who have real strength don’t need recognition to fuel their own self-esteem. It comes from within.

They don’t need to make others wrong so that they can feel right. They don’t feel overlooked if they aren’t the center of attention.

It takes a lot of strength to be happy enough to take a back seat, to be a team player, and to take a modest approach to what you have to offer.

7) Independence

Let me start by adding a caveat here:

We all need other people.

There’s zero shame in it. As we’ve seen, it’s far from weak, it’s part of our very nature as human beings.

But standing on your own two feet is undeniably a strong thing to do too.

Whilst we all need a helping hand, we cannot rely on others for our own happiness and success.

If you display self-sufficiency then that takes strength.

You pay your own bills, you get shit done, you can take care of yourself.

Independence is also about being perfectly happy in your own company.

You don’t feel scared, sad, or lonely — you feel at peace being alone.  

8) Reliability

It’s funny, reliability is so often an overlooked admirable trait.

I guess it’s not so sexy to be reliable. But it is strong to be reliable. Because flakiness is a hell of a lot easier than commitment.

When you are reliable, you build trust and respect.

Keeping your word and standing by it takes guts and maturity. These are not things weak people have.

9) Honesty

The whole reason we lie (and yep, pretty much all of us do) is because it’s easier.

It gets us out of tricky situations. It lets us avoid taking accountability. It saves us the discomfort of hurt feelings.

So called-white lies are normal and don’t point to a character flaw. But life’s big liars are cowards.

It takes a lot of conviction and strength to tell your truth and risk upsetting the apple cart in the process.

But it’s also really important for our authenticity and our integrity.

10) Optimism

You probably know that resilience is one of the fundamental keys to being stronger. But this character trait is one we must build.

Believe it or not, being optimistic helps you do this.

Whilst some people might assume that having a pessimistic outlook could help better prepare you for whatever life may throw your way, it doesn’t work like that.

Because we’re actually more likely to just give in.

It’s optimism that gives us a reserve of hope and perseverance in the fuel tank.

Optimism is what provides motivation to tackle adversity and come out the other side.

11) Passion

Another great motivator is passion.

Enthusiasm gives us the strength we need to sail past challenges rather than give up at the first hurdle.

Passion helps us to remember why we’re doing something, and why it’s important to us.

Whilst fear can hold us back in life, it is passion that spurs us on.

Some of the world’s most successful people found their fame and fortune not because they were explicitly seeking it.

But simply because they were diligently doing something they loved.

When you are passionate about something or someone, you’re more likely to persevere.

12) Appreciation

If I could have only one tool in life to face hardships with, I would choose gratitude every single time.

Because we cannot control the hand we get dealt.

We are always going to fail, mess up, and lose at some time or another. We are also guaranteed to experience some sort of hardship and pain.

Whilst tenacity may help you push forward, gratitude will help you heal and feel better.

It’s been heralded as one of the keys to happiness for that very reason.

When we remind ourselves of what we feel we lack, it brings us pain and disappointment.

When we remember everything we already have to be thankful for we improve our mood, decrease our risk of anxiety and depression, and strengthen our relationships amongst other things.

Sometimes the quiet, calm person in the corner is the strongest

Hopefully, by now you’ve seen that strength can be silent.

It doesn’t have to grab attention, create a fuss, or fight its way through life.

If we want to build our strength we’d do well to look to many of our most unassuming traits.

These are where much of our true brawn and sturdiness will be found.

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