So you held your mother’s little finger and trudged your way through your childhood. Some of you perhaps let go of that support a little early while some others continued under the shadow of a parent , a sibling or someone who seemed to make you feel secure. The sense of security is quite a big deal in one’s life. It emanates from knowing that you are in your comfort zone and no one can take away whatever that you hold dear to you. But life has its own way of dealing with each of us . Down the road you understand that be it relationships, your job or your general assessment of your own self , there are many a bitter pill that one has to swallow while growing up. You have to step out of that umbrella of security,that cool shade of safety and face the bristling competitive world that seems hell bent on proving you wrong. Not all of us are ready to face the challenge. In fact most of us cower down and weaken in the face of hurdles. Today an important element in all parenting should be the lesson of toughening up, of letting the child grow up knowing that disappointments and failures are the flip side of life that can always be your destiny and that destinies do not work out as we plan . Those who prepare themselves for the ravages of life toughen up , mature and face life with great gusto , while many simply continue living in a make- believe world, sheltered, often rudely woken up to face the reality which they are unable to handle.
Mental Or Psychological Toughness
Strength more often resides not in the sinews of the muscles but more in the mind and its boundless potential is what we need to explore. Very often social conditioning and perceptions formed by others of our own selves create these false images that not only limit us but bind us so strongly to that false idea that very few emerge out of its shadow. History is filled with examples of people who shook off this image of weakness, whether physical or mental, and cast their doubts aside by building their mental strength. Be it Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther king Jr, be it Helen Keller or Mother Teresa, not one could have believed looking at them that they had the capacity to defeat all odds to emerge champions of their cause. So does this sound grounded enough for you to learn something ? Yes it does. Mental toughness comes from a studied and correctly guided thought process that you can consciously monitor and develop.
Here is a checklist to see whether you need to toughen up :
* Do you often look for excuses for your failures?
* Does hurt and humiliation usually follow any criticism that you face?
*Do you seek answers to your problems from others?
* Do you retract from your decisions often?
*Do you question your abilities and have too many doubts?
* Does every one’s remark make a dent on your mind and waylay you from the purpose of your action?
* Do you keep shifting your goal post and end up in knots and ambiguities?
* Do you often feel that someone else has control of your life and you seem to simply drift along?
If you have marked most of them positive , you have a case needing acute and definite intervention. However do remember, most if not all have under gone phases of insecurity and doubt about one’s potential but made the right moves to ammend their thinking and subsequent actions.
Cultivating Mental Toughness:
As in the case with any effective and positive behavior , mental and psychological strength can be developed and used positively. Here are some ways by which you will feel empowered and be be able to resurrect the strength of your soul and your mind.
*Learn from criticism:Everyone is not out to get you. Learn from every remark and build on it to make the next positive move. It is possible that you may fail again ,but it does not mean that people have a personal grudge against you.
*Surround yourself with positivity: Treasure your friends but don’t ever take them or their praise too seriously. Most of the time praise is a false ego booster but it works fine to keep pushing you to keep at it.
*Learn to assess yourself and be honest. You’ll find that a true assessment can only come from you. This will help you ward off any hurtful comments
*Keep your goal in focus and the tiring journey will seem to pass off. If it’s too difficult or too arduous, have sub-goals that you can achieve and celebrate to keep the adrenaline pumping. Look at the lives of champion sports personalities. They suffered huge defeats and came back to lift the trophy once more. Some didn’t . But the fight for them is gratifying enough.
*Know yourself-if you have two left feet yet want to dance , do so ,but be ready to be laughed at . At least being honest with yourself will help you assess your strength as much as your weakness. Criticisms will not hurt anymore. its not mental strength alone , it’s called astuteness.
*Always look at the bigger picture and don’t take it too personally . This causes too much hurt and burdens you with unnecessary negativity. A loss or a defeat need not be because of you. It could be the entire team.
*Some of the mightiest tools in your hand to carve out that special niche for yourself is by keeping your morale high. Generally those who are mentally weak are out of tune with their inner strengths. Self -belief comes from self analysis. Be fair to yourself and others and then seek an answer.If you can build enough confidence through self belief , your morale or inner strength will always be high and take you places.
*Have an inner dialogue with yourself and keep your inner spirit watered with the cool and calm spring of knowing that good times as much as the bad times are both imperative in our lives and no one can quite predict which way life may swing . At the most we can prepare for the worst.
There is nothing wrong in being oversensitive as long as it does not mess with your positive energies and get you delusional. It’s fine to cry and let go of one’s angst in some form , in fact it’s a good sign of letting go. One cannot toughen up overnight. You can not change the maps of reasoning and thinking that your emotions have been making for so long ,but, what you can definitely do is to have faith in the law of nature that is the underpinning of life itself- ‘If winter comes can spring be far behind”. Strength comes from knowing that there is this inevitable law of nature and bad times turns to good and in knowing that you have your innate strength to overcome every difficulty and cross every hurdle.