Shira Lichtman

Debating Mental Durability

On November 13th Amy Morin published an article on titled, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. This article is now circulating on Facebook and I am appalled by the positive feedback it is receiving! My heart hurts for those who believe that mental strength is measured by Morin’s thirteen principles.

I think she forgot what a human is. We are complex beings made up of many factors. Things don’t come easily to ANYONE and as humans we are constantly facing challenges and fighting battles of all sorts. According to Morin, what makes a person mentally strong is being invincible, or above human. This is totally unrealistic.

If all problems could be solved with the snap of a finger, what would life be all about? Life is a journey of toil and self discovery. I, like most human beings, face difficulty and I wish that problems could be easily solved. I don’t believe that vulnerabilities are indications of weakness. And you shouldn’t either!

I consider myself a mentally strong person. Below is a list of the items, in contrast to the thirteen on Morin’s list, that exhibit my mental strength:

1. “They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves” – Morin

I pity myself for the hardships I face. I validate my feelings and explore the underlying causes for my difficulty. This is my springboard to success. Knowing and appreciating that there is crap in my life, and still striving to live my life to the fullest; this is strength.

2. “They Don’t Give Away Their Power” – Morin

I am very affected by other people’s judgment of me, and even by my false perception of their judgment. This fear influences every move I make. Every time I exhibit confidence despite my insecurities, I am being strong.

3. “They Don’t Shy Away from Change” – Morin

I am very afraid of change. I get accustomed to a certain norm and when I suddenly have to change things up, I freeze. It takes me a long time to adapt to the unfamiliar and often by the time I am finally settled, a new change comes along. I build more muscle with every new adjustment I make in life.

4. “They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control” – Morin

I live my life wishing I had control over that which is out of my reach. I wish I could understand God. I wish I could be above human and be unaffected by my feelings and vulnerabilities. My quest for the unattainable is what helps me appreciate the parts of life that I can control and master.

5. “They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone” – Morin

I live for other people’s feedback and recognition. Positive comments fuel my motivation while criticism (even constructive) makes me doubt my abilities and self-worth. In spite of my fear of what others will think and say, I share my opinions. I even publish my work, taking the greatest risk of all. This is strength.

6. “They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks” – Morin

Risks. I shy away from them. I make lists of pros and cons, scrutinizing the issues to determine whether or not they are worth taking. When my fear prevents me from taking a risk I don’t see it as weakness. I see it as opting out for safety. And I know that next time I might succeed. Part of what allows me to be risky is the knowledge that if the stakes rise suddenly, I’ll allow myself to quit without letting it deem me weak.

7. “They Don’t Dwell on the Past” – Morin

I think about my past and dwell on it quite obsessively. I can better understand my makeup with the backdrop of my past. My character is a work in progress, building onto what already exists. I have an understanding of why I struggle in certain areas. This understanding is what allows me to exhibit the strength of moving forward, with a strong appreciation and link to where I’ve been.

8. “They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over” – Morin

I make the same mistake over and over and over again. Often I know it is wrong even before doing it, but I still succumb to the habit. I think about ways to work on minimizing the frequency of my mistakes. But I don’t expect perfection or cold-turkey success. My strength lies in an appreciation for the fact that I’m a mistake-making human, and that that’s okay.

9. “They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success” – Morin

When I see others succeed in areas that I have failed in, I am seized by a strong feeling of jealousy. I wish things could be as easy for me as it (seemingly) is for the person who succeeded. I am a human being who is jealous of other people’s success. This jealousy motivates me to accomplish my own goals.

10. “They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure” – Morin

Every single @#$%& time that I fail, I want to give up. Failure hurts. It is invalidating. It is numbing and discouraging. Every time I fail I need to not only recover from the failure itself, but from the accompanying feelings of despair and hopelessness as well.

11. “They Don’t Fear Alone Time” – Morin

Alone time is scary. I am a human, by nature a social being. If I am left alone I am inclined to challenge my existence. Do I matter to anyone? Does my absence affect others? Am I worthy? This inner dilemma and these unanswered questions drain me. But within this introspection lies my inner strength.

12. “They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything” – Morin

I often feel that the world owes me something. When things are painful I ask “why?” assuming that I deserve better treatment. This feeling, that others are indebted to me, shines a light onto my appreciation of my self-worth. I won’t let others treat me in a way that is degrading because I have the strength of character to know that I am worth more than that.

13. “They Don’t Expect Immediate Results” – Morin

I want to see immediate results to my actions. How else will I know if I’m moving in the right direction? I want answers! I want direct and immediate feedback for each and every action of mine. Yet, despite my blindness, I never stop pushing ahead and navigating my way towards self improvement.

About the Author
Shira Lichtman is Israeli, contrary to common misconception; She grew up in Beit Shemesh with her parents and seven younger siblings; She works for the secret services and therefore cannot disclose any further information regarding her current occupation and mysterious future plans, which are so secret that even she doesn't know them ;-)
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