Saying things like,
“I’m not scared of anything,” or, “I didn’t want that promotion anyway,” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re mentally strong. In fact, there’s a good chance you might just be acting tough.
While acting tough may meet your needs in the short term by artificially boosting your ego or by getting other people to back off, it’s not a good long-term strategy. In fact, a new study conducted by psychologists at Rutgers University found that men who act tough may suffer serious consequences.
The study, published in The Journal of Health Psychology, found that men who act tough visit doctors less often. They’re also less forthcoming about their medical symptoms when they see a male physician. (Interestingly, these same men were more likely to choose a male doctor because they believe male doctors are more competent than females).
Researchers suspect that delaying medical appointments and minimizing symptoms could be one of the reasons why men die, on average, five years earlier than women.
But clearly, it’s not always just men who feel the need to act tough. Many women do, as well. Here are some signs you’re just acting tough:
- You always hide in your comfort zone.
- You don’t try new things because you fear failure.
- You give up easily because the tasks are too challenging.
- You complain a lot to the people around you.
- You are always looking at other people’s lives and never working on yourself.
- You let society dictate your goals and dreams.
- You are a people-pleaser.
- You are afraid to voice your true opinions.
- You let people step all over you.
- You seek the easiest way out.
- You readily give up your morals or principles in exchange for something gratifying.
- You don’t fight for what you want.
- You follow the herd.
- You make up excuses convincing yourself you can’t accomplish the things you want to do.
- You engage in useless gossiping.
Mentally strong people, however, are interested in controlling themselves rather than the people around them. They’re invested in regulating their thoughts, managing their emotions, and behaving productively, despite whatever circumstances they find themselves in.
Be a mentally strong person
If you’re guilty of putting up a fake exterior that helps you feel tough, consider the toll it may take on your life. Invest in building mental strength, so the way you feel on the inside matches how others see you on the outside. As your mental strength increases, your desire to act tough decreases.