When my husband and I first separated, my friends and family rallied around me and threw out all sorts of wonderful, supportive words to help bolster me through those first hard months of adjustment. One word they liked to use was "strong" as in "You're so strong – you'll come through this just fine!"
I've been on my own a while now, but as a single mom I still hear it from time to time. "You're one of the strongest people I know," a friend told me the other day. They look at me juggling two jobs and primary custody and a child with autism and think I must have some kind of super power. Yeah, I'm a mom. That's my superpower. I do what I have to do because it has to be done and no one else is going to do it for me. I'm not the only strong one in my family – spend ten minutes with my kids and you'll realize that.
And that brings me to this list. Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, psychology instructor, and speaker, and she put together an interesting list titled "Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid." I was reading through and definitely recognized myself in some of these, but in a few of them, it was glaringly apparent that I wasn't as strong as I'd like to think I am sometimes.
I'm pretty good at numbers 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11 and 12 – I don't tend to wallow in problems or the past, I don't waste time worrying over what I can't control, I definitely don't have the time or energy to please everyone, I don't begrudge anybody's success, I have no problem being alone and I know full well that the world doesn't owe me a thing. So I get a score of seven out of thirteen.
The big problems for me were items associated with change – or more specifically, the fear of. Change and risk are things I've been cowering from, and it's definitely not serving me well. I also have a habit of getting easily discouraged when things aren't paying off fast enough, and I know I need to work on that.
What about you? Do you consider yourself a strong person? Do you see yourself (good or bad) anywhere on this list?
[Ellie DeLano is the author of David And Me Under The Sea: Essays From A Decade With Autism, and also blogs at SingleMomtism.com. You can follow Ellie on Facebook and Twitter]