I've spent much of my career talking about the bad habits mentally strong people avoid (which I identify in my book, "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do"), but it's sometimes the words people say that are the strongest indicators of strength.
Don't get me wrong, you can't always spot a mentally strong person when you see one. After all, we often have no idea what private battles someone is fighting. We can, however, learn a lot about them based on the words they say, and whether their behavior lines up.
Here are seven things mentally strong people always say:
Whether they're offered unsolicited advice from their in-laws or starting a self-improvement program, mentally strong people don't blindly follow advice from others.
Instead, they think about whether the guidance offered is something they really want to incorporate into their lives.
It can be tempting to leap at any opportunity that provides more money, admiration or power. But mentally strong people aren't looking to inflate their egos.
Before taking on a new responsibility or making a major shift, they examine whether their new circumstances are truly in line with their values. They want to ensure that the way they spend their time and energy truly reflects their priorities.
Mentally strong people are willing to listen. Rather than tuning others out to form their rebuttal, they invite others to keep talking so they can better understand their views.
That's not to say they don't set boundaries. They don't tolerate abuse, but they're willing to listen to respectful conversation — even when the words might sting a little.
You'll never catch a mentally strong person complaining about how hard something is going to be. Rather than wishing life were easier, they put their energy and effort into making sure they're strong enough to tackle tough challenges.
They also know how to embrace being uncomfortable. They're willing to tolerate the self-doubt, anxiety and potential failures that comes with doing hard things.
Toxic self-blame is quite detrimental, and mentally strong people don't apologize profusely for everything. They do, however, take responsibility for their behavior.
They offer sincere apologies when they regret their actions and strive to make amends whenever possible.
Mentally strong people don't fall prey to guilt trips. They also don't yield to peer pressure and are willing to say no to things they don't want to do.
The more things they say no to, the more time and energy they have to put toward things they want to work on. They're confident enough in their decisions to tolerate other people's displeasure.
Mentally strong people are willing to admit they don't have all the answers because they know there's always room for improvement.
When they fail or make a mistake, they acknowledge their weaknesses and stay focused on how they can improve.
Obviously, repeating these phrases alone won't help you to develop or strengthen your mental muscle.
Being mentally strong requires commitment to creating positive changes in the way you think, feel and behave. It's also important to give up the bad habits that are robbing you of mental strength.
But with dedication and practice, you can develop the strength you need to reach your greatest potential. And over time, the language you use will reflect your inner strength.
Amy Morin is a clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and psychology instructor at Northeastern University. She is also the author of the national best-sellers "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do" and "13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do." Amy was named the "self-help guru of the moment" by The Guardian. Follow her on Twitter here.
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