7 characteristics of emotionally strong people

Written and reviewed by
Ms.Samiksha Jain 91% (670ratings)
Hypnotherapist, Diploma in Counselling Skills, BSIC, Advanced Trainee of Transactional Analysis, Advanced Skills in Counselling
Psychologist, Bangalore  •  14years experience
7 characteristics of emotionally strong people


Emotionally strong people are better able to manage the stresses and distresses of daily life, and recover more quickly from challenges and crises when they arise. Is your emotional engine strong enough to take you through the ups and downs of life? Are you riding a bullock cart which can topple over anytime you pass through a broken road or are you driving a four wheel, all terrain vehicle, which will ensure you a safe trip through all the rocky terrains of your life?

A common cultural belief is that people who don’t cry and are unemotional, detached are the emotionally strong ones...and the ones who cry easily and exhibit emotional turmoil are the weaker ones. Well, this is just a myth and not an accurate indicator of one’s mental and emotional strength. A person’s internal coping mechanism will determine how strong he/she is emotionally and deal with challenges and bounce back from them. For eg. Two investors invest in a startup company and watch it fail after 5 years of hard work...one cries copious tears and falls apart, the other controls his emotions but feels defeated. Both were not emotionally strong as they couldn’t sustain the pressure and crumbled. It would have been fine if they felt sad and worried over the loss of time, resources and money and then bounced back with fresh ideas and renewed energy, which would have shown their capability to bounce back from difficult situations.

Unfortunately, too many of us judge ourselves incorrectly in exactly such moments. If we react emotionally or tearfully to emotionally challenging situations we scold ourselves for being weak, even when we have every intention of persisting and moving forward and even when we believe we will eventually succeed. Tears are usually a sign of frustration and disappointment, not defeat. What you believe about your future chances of success and how discouraged you feel in the long term is far more important than how often you cry in response to stresses and bad news.

The following list will help you decide how emotionally strong you are and where you need to work on yourself:

1) Emotionally strong people are less discouraged by setbacks and disappointments: they see each failure as an opportunity to learn and improvise over the last one. They compare themselves with themselves and define their own measures for failure and success. You could do an analysis of your strengths, limitations, opportunities and impediments in order to get over difficult situations. Geet, a student who didn’t get into his desired subject of IT, sat through 5 years of Law and did some extra courses in corporate law and worked towards fulfilling his dream of working in the Corporate. He felt confident, happy and satisfied with his efforts.

2) Emotionally strong people are more adaptable to change: they welcome and embrace changes in themselves and their environment simply because it brings newer opportunities and learning which can catapult them on their way to success. New boss, different stage of life, children going away are changes that will surely happen. Preparing for them in advance, can help people cope better with changes. When Surabhi got married, she took marital counselling to prepare for the differences that will crop up due to changes in the environment, thinking and attitudes of her inlaws family. She is a happy and successful wife and mother today.

3) Emotionally strong people are able to recognize and express their needs: ability to acknowledge and express your needs is being genuine to yourself and an expression of self care. People who are self aware move faster on the ladder of success as they are devoted and passionate towards their goals and needs. Taking care of your health and exercising along with a professional career makes for an emotionally strong person. You can become aware of your needs and values in counselling and experience contentment and power as you take charge of your life.

4) Emotionally strong people focus on getting around a hurdle rather than on the hurdle itself: focussing on the hurdle can be very emotionally draining and demotivating. Emotionally strong people invest their energies in working through a problem and looking for viable solutions, which ensures their victory over stresses and strains. If you have lost money in business, then working on your sales and marketing skills could get you better gains rather than feeling defeated. Counselling can help you look at problems objectively and from different perspectives. Get in touch with your problem solving skills and feel motivated and accomplished again.

5) Emotionally strong people can learn from mistakes and criticism: who hasn’t been subjected to criticism or made some mistakes? It’s human to err. Working towards excellence rather than perfection and looking for the golden piece of advice in the strong criticism helps emotionally strong people win over situations and important relationships. Sarita, an intelligent and smart woman ignored the critical remarks of her mother in law because she knew that there is a lot to learn from her. She knew which battles to fight and which ones to let go of.

6) Emotionally strong people tend to see the larger perspective in a challenging situation: They don’t get weighed down by smaller defeats when they have the larger picture in mind. An emotionally strong employee, Martin, who experienced office politics, kept his cool and focussed on his work.

7) Emotionally strong people are able to recover more quickly from emotional wounds such as failure or rejection: nobody can reject you unless you give them the permission. Seeing each failure as an opportunity to grow and learn helps. Staying with what you can do differently next time and having fall back plans helps to reduce the impact of failure. Thomas Edison didn’t get deterred by the number of times he could make his bulb glow. He kept looking at different permutations and combinations and kept learning from each mistake. Finally, his bulb glowed and now we all can benefit from the fruits of his hard labour.

If you don’t find yourself scoring high on this list, then there is no need to worry because in personal counselling, you can build emotional strength and capacity to bounce back by working on your mindset and learning more adaptable responses to stresses of daily living.
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