7 things mentally strong people always say, according to a psychotherapist and best-selling author

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for the official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on November 30, 2018.
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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:

1. I'll consider whether that's right for me.

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.

Other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.
Oprah Winfrey

Instead, they think about whether the guidance offered is something they really want to incorporate into their lives.

2. I need to make sure this aligns with my values.

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.

Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
Steve Jobs

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 tough people do these things to succeed
Mentally tough people do these things to succeed

3. Tell me more.

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.

I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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.

4. This will be hard, but I'm going to do it anyway.

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.

Make realistic goals, just keep reevaluating, and be consistent.
Venus Williams

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.

5. I'm sorry.

Toxic self-blame is quite detrimental, and mentally strong people don't apologize profusely for everything. They do, however, take responsibility for their behavior.

It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity.
Stephen Covey

They offer sincere apologies when they regret their actions and strive to make amends whenever possible.

6. No thank you.

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.

I started to say no. [...] And slowly but surely, I remembered who I am.
Lady Gaga

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.

7. This is how I'm going to improve.

Mentally strong people are willing to admit they don't have all the answers because they know there's always room for improvement.

Failures are things you learn from. You have to be willing to pick yourself up and go on.
Melinda Gates

When they fail or make a mistake, they acknowledge their weaknesses and stay focused on how they can improve.

Developing or strengthening your mental muscle

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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