13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin, LCSW

Tony discusses Amy Morin, LCSW’s article “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201501/13-things-mentally-strong-people-dont-do

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ00:00:15]

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Come on in. Take a seat.

[00:00:22] Hey everybody, welcome to Episode 326 of the Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four and creator of The Path Back and online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like pornography. So if you want more information, go to pathbackrecovery.com. And I’m excited. I’m excited as always. On recording days, it is exciting to record a podcast. It’s mind blowing to think that we’re on Episode 326 of the virtual couch and add another 30 to 40 episodes of waking up the narcissism and just love. I love recording. I love spreading the good news of mental health, if that makes sense. So let’s get to today’s topic. 13 Things that Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. And this is from an author named Amy Marin, and she is the author of the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. And I’ve talked about her on previous episodes. I’ve done a couple of episodes, I think based off of some of her other articles. I really enjoy the things that she is putting out. And if I take you on my train of thought of how I got to today’s topic, the there’s been a steady pattern over the last few episodes. Yeah, I did one on Doomscrolling. That was because there was a lot of heavy things that were in the news.

[00:01:36] And then I talked about emotional validation, emotional invalidation, and where I just noticed when people ask me what I see as a therapist out in the wild, out in the world, or even in my office, it’s so often people telling other people what they think or what they are supposed to think or feel or do. Instead of looking at relationships with absolute curiosity of understanding that I only know my experience. So let me find out about your experience. Tell me more about that. And then last week I talked about what to do with emotions and the fact that we even as kids, even in the very best of homes, that we’re taught to avoid emotion, that if we’re told on a pretty regular basis, hey, it’s not a big deal or don’t worry about it or get over it, or they didn’t mean it, that it’s natural for us to not know what to do with our emotions. And so when we keep those emotions buried, then those emotions can come out big. They can come out as anger, they can come out as extreme sadness. And then people try to hide those emotions. They try to stuff those emotions. And a lot of times that is one of the things that drives people to unhealthy coping mechanisms because they feel like they just don’t know what else to do. And I have really resonated with that as I continue to process some trauma of an accident with one of my kids, my daughter, and just realizing that there are still really good tools out there, tools of absolute radical acceptance and tools of sitting with my emotions and mindfulness and the concepts around inviting my big emotions to come along with me while I do things.

[00:03:06] Because it’s better to start to do instead of ruminate and think and go down this path of what’s wrong with me, but how hard it can be to tap into those big emotions, especially because we weren’t encouraged to feel all of our emotions growing up. So that has led to a place where I get a lot of wonderful feedback from my podcast and still working with clients on a regular basis every day, five days a week. And I get the question often of how long are things going to take? How long does change take? And boy, I try to avoid cliches, but sometimes cliches are there because they’re true. And one of the cliches that unfortunately is true in this situation is change is going to take as long as it’s going to take because it’s based on so many different variables. And this is where I go back to. It’s based off of your nurture and nature and birth order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, your hopes, your dreams, the situation that you’re in financially, the situation that you’re in emotionally, the situation that you are in with your support system.

[00:04:03] Do you like your job? Do you feel like you’re healthy? Are you connected with your faith community? Do you have a friend network? What’s your relationship like with your parents? Do you have a pet? There are so many things that can go into affecting change. So then as I was looking for more information on that and I’ve got a pretty big speech that I like to give when I speak about how long change occurs. Because oftentimes and I’ll just give you this in a nutshell, but oftentimes that’s the it’s not the right question to ask, because the process of change is more of this process of just becoming that. It’s more of this process of the more we recognize that the those old familiar patterns of trying to ruminate and figure things out, how to why we beat ourselves up. I did an episode about shame a few weeks ago that are default when we let our foot off the gas of being intentional about the things that we’re trying to do in our lives that we go right to shame. The shame comes from childhood. It’s a good old childhood defense mechanism that we feel like if if our parents didn’t give us the pony or allow us to have candy for dinner every night or stay up late on every weekend or do all those things that we thought as kids that we really knew ourselves best, that we wanted to do that.

[00:05:10] Then we default to this place of shame because it must be because something was wrong with us or we were not a good kid, or my parents would have given me everything. When in reality there there’s parents. And you’re a kid. And probably. Had some pretty unreasonable expectations. Go back to that whole candy for dinner every night or the pony in the backyard of a residential neighborhood. So we default to shame. So we have to work pretty actively to stay present and take action on things that matter. Then that brings up the good old question of what matters. Great question. So oftentimes we have to really be intentional about figuring out what our values are or what really does matter. So when you put all those pieces together, change is a pretty slow process because it’s a process of just figuring out yourself, learning, becoming, being. And so as it moves along six months, a year later, could be more. You start to recognize these unhealthy patterns that you’ve been in of beating yourself up, and that sure doesn’t get us anywhere. If that worked, we would all be perfect because we’re all really good at that. And then figuring out what really matters to you, identifying what your core values are, not the values that you’re supposed to have, that your parents have said that, you know, you value this, this is what you care about or your the values that are instilled in you from your faith community or in your work life or from your partner.

[00:06:27] You should care about this, right? And if your spouse is saying that and got this deep fear of abandonment, then you might feel like, yeah, of course, I believe that I go back to honesty. Honesty is one of the most fascinating values, if you really look at it, because honesty sounds like something that we all should have up there as our top value. And if you grew up in a home of brutal honesty of somebody saying that meal was horrible or you look, absolutely. I can’t believe you’re going to go outside in that outfit. Or somebody says, hey, let me practice this speech. I have to give it work. And somebody in your family who doesn’t even know what you do for a living but says, I think that sounds ridiculous. I’m just being honest, just being brutal, brutally honest. You may not grow up with honesty as a core value, but if you grow up in a house where gaslighting was used as a weapon, or the gaslighting was the air that one breathed, where you would hear your parent tell somebody that knocked on the door or something and then tell your brother or sister something, then jump on the phone and say something completely different. And you thought, I have no idea what to make sense of.

[00:07:26] I don’t even know what the truth is. You may have a value of absolute honesty, so a lot of it just depends on the situation that you grew up with. So with that said, that process of becoming a finding yourself and then recognizing that we all have this desire for external validation for people to tell us that we’re okay. But then we realize that, man, I am putting my happiness in the hands of other people who may just be passing by. And then I say, Well, what do you think? And they say, I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of what you’re talking about right now or what you’re doing. And all of a sudden we think, Oh my gosh, I wonder if I should keep doing this thing. And you just literally ask this person that just popped into your life, and now they feel like they need to have an opinion about something they really don’t necessarily care about. And that’s part of what’s in the article today. But boy, what a what a fun time. I was going to say what a mess. But the more that you’re figuring these things out, the better. And the more that you have awareness, oftentimes we feel like, man, I’m aware. So shouldn’t I be better now? Well, that’s adorable because awareness is not the ultimate end all be all awareness is where now I’m aware.

[00:08:29] Now what do I do? I need to start taking action. And that’s where I feel like this article today by Amy Morin is so good. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, she says how to avoid the pitfalls can keep you from reaching your full potential. All right. So we’ll clean up a little bit of items of business. Please go to Tony over Baker Farms Workshop. There’s a $19 marriage workshop. I’ll hit the refund button and give you your money back if you feel like it isn’t helpful. Because I really feel like in that marriage workshop, within 60 to 90 minutes, I want to lay out that we just don’t have the right tools to communicate effectively in our relationships because we don’t have them. They are not natural tools because we go into relationships a little bit more emotionally immature looking for that external validation. So worried about abandonment. And so there’s some little tweaks that you can do in your relationship that will help a great deal. So this isn’t to replace counseling or even my marriage course, but it’s a marriage workshop that I think can help. So go to Tony Bacon’s workshop and I’m going to give you a little head’s up to my associate, my intern Nate Christianson, who’s been on my podcast many times. People love Nate. Nate and his wife Marla, have a very good podcast called Working Change, and it’s part of my Virtual Couch Podcast Network.

[00:09:37] Please go listen to it. They’re short and they are just to the point. And Nate and Marlo have a really good back and forth banter. And Nate and I are working on an anxiety workshop that will be similar to this marriage workshop. And man, we are putting a lot of effort into the planning of that and I think that’s going to be really helpful. It’ll be a similar thing. That’ll be a low cost workshop that we’ll have up soon, so I’ll give you more information about that. And I have a really exciting project that is actually beginning, ironically, a little later today with the co author of the book, the best selling book that he and I wrote called He’s a Porn Addict. Now, what an expert in a former addict to answer all of your questions, and I will give you more information about that coming up soon. But that’s a really cool project that we’ll have to do a little bit of podcast. I asked a little bit of Q&A in some place to find that more, and that will also be a big part of my YouTube channel. So if you aren’t already following me on YouTube, look up Virtual Couch or Tony Overbay and I would love it if you would subscribe, that would make my day. And there’s a lot more coming on the YouTube channel as well. So there’s all the business today.

[00:10:40] So let’s get to this article and I’m going to do what I love doing. I’m going to read it and I’m going to, in essence, react to it or give some thoughts on it. So 13 things mentally strong people don’t do, and Amy just starts right out swinging. She says, We often hear advice like Think positive or good things will happen and try your hardest and eventually things will work out. And she says, Well, such words of wisdom certainly have merit. These well-meaning suggestions will not help you reach your goals if you’re simultaneously engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This is why I struggle a little bit with that just concept of Just do it, just be happy, just wake up and you’re just going to do it today. You’re going to have this positive mindset because how can I not say that I sound like a big jerk and a horrible therapist if I say no, I’m not a big fan of telling you to have a positive mindset. But the concept is that if you are, if that is the only tool that you’re bringing into your arsenal of in the world of self help, that it’s just waking up positive affirmations and go get them. Then if you are running late or if something happens or you forget something or your car breaks down or whatever that looks like, all of a sudden now you’re frustrated or you’re angry. Now you get to beat yourself up because the goal today was to be happy.

[00:11:46] But in reality that’s a great goal. But then also to be able to make room, give yourself grace and compassion because things happen, life happens. And so that doesn’t mean that you have done something wrong. It means that you’re just going about life and things happen. So she says that again, recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength. So she said, try comparing mental strength to physical strength and I like this example, she said. While a bodybuilder maintains his physique with good habits like going to the gym, it is equally important for that bodybuilder to get rid of unhealthy habits like eating junk food and exercise regimen will not be effective in building lean muscle unless unhealthy eating habits are also eliminated. But that one that one stings a little bit. I remember even in the height of my ultrarunning days, doing a good at least a marathon plus on weekends, and I was doing a lot of 50 k’s 32 miles or 50 milers and did a few hundred mile races. And but boy would I eat. And so that was I think often people would look at, I’m going to be super honest, right? Here’s where I talk about insecurities back in the day, but where I would get that look, where somebody would say, man, oh, I hear about the running that you do.

[00:12:52] And I feel like the next view would be right down to my midsection. And there I’m carrying my love handles along with me wherever I go. And so there was this, hey, almost like this. I thought you would death that you’d be a little bit more leaned out. So, boy, that concept of what we take in can really matter. So it isn’t just you can run your way into health, but you also apparently have to eat. I’ve heard this phrase that abs are created actually in the gym. And so when you’re looking at that from a mental health standpoint, then it is similar there. There are things that one must do and it can be everything from setting up a mindfulness or meditation routine, or it can also be in eating things that that are good for you. So there are many things that go into building your physical health, and there are also many things that go into building your emotional health. Now, to be completely honest, I love the ultrarunning and I also love the eating. So I’m not saying that you must be perfect in everything you do because perfectionism is its own beast and that is something that that people can then go overboard on. So we really want to find what that healthy balance is for you. And I think that Abby talks about some of those things as well.

[00:13:55] So she said that. So she said that similarly building mental muscle requires that in hard work and dedication and exercise. So in addition to adopting healthy habits and avoiding detrimental habits like negative thoughts, unproductive behavior and self destructive emotions, that that is also essential. So whether you’re working on becoming a more patient parent or you’re striving to become an elite athlete, building mental strength will help you reach your goals. And she suggests that you need to learn to identify the pitfalls that you’re prone to you are prone to. So even as we go through this list of 13 things that she has developed of what mentally strong people do not do, that you may identify with all of these, or there might be some of these where you feel like, I don’t know. I don’t know if I really jive with that or if I resonate with that. So here they are, the first one, she says. Here’s things that mentally strong people do not do. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. Now, many of life’s problems and sorrows, she says, are inevitable. But feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. And I know that can sound harsh. There’s a concept in the book called Buddha Brain that I love where they talk about first and second darts. So the first dart is the dart that comes from just problems, things that happen, things that come up.

[00:15:02] That second dart is the one that you throw at yourself. The second dart is then beating oneself up or feeling sad or down, or what’s wrong with me telling yourself that story. So she says, whether you’re struggling to pay your bills or you’re dealing with unexplained health problems, indulging in self pity will not fix your problems if you’re prone to feeling sorry for yourself when the going gets. Train your brain to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem. Instead, they focus on creating a solution. And again, this can sound so easy when you just read it. And if you read it and this isn’t the way that you are showing up now, then I feel like ironically, mentally strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself about the fact that right out of the gate, item number one, you do this, then that doesn’t mean. Well, I guess I can’t. I guess something’s wrong with me. It means you’re normal, because that’s something that we’re talking about today. And I love where she talks about that. Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem. And if you’ve been listening to multiple episodes in the past, the research is becoming pretty clear that we cannot think our way out of thinking problems when we recognize we’re thinking, when we recognize we’re ruminating, beating ourselves up, figuring out what’s wrong with me.

[00:16:13] Aw, man, I got to figure out why something happened that we can spend a little bit of time reviewing the game film, as I like to say. But the most important thing that someone can do is then drop the rope of that tug of war, of trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, and then just start to move toward things that matter. She puts it in here creating a solution. And I say, that, boy, creating a solution would be ideal, but sometimes just not ruminating and not just going over things over and over again. If you find yourself doing that, when you find yourself doing that, notice it, note it, give yourself some grace and then do something. And at this point, it’s anything I’m talking distraction. Raise your emotional baseline if you are beating yourself up, I would rather have you then turn and play a game on your phone, but only because if that raises you up from the beating yourself up and then that gives you a little bump in your emotional baseline so that now you can go walk the dog. So you can now call a friend so you can engage in something that you need to do. Then that is, all of those things are better than just wasting emotional and mental calories on the old What’s Wrong with me story? So the second thing that she says that mentally strong people do not do is give away their power.

[00:17:20] Boy, this one I got to what, 12 more to go? 11 more to go. I won’t get so excited about every single one, but this is why I love this article. But giving away their power, it can be very tempting to blame other people for our problems and circumstances. Thinking things like my mother in law makes me feel bad about myself. That will give other people power, she says. Take back your power by accepting responsibility for how you think and feel and behave. Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want to live. And I have an accountability module Preston, Pug Meyer and I, creator of the Magnetic Marriage Course. We have a an accountability module that is just gold. And I’ve done the accountability podcast in the past, and taking ownership of something is so imperative and so important. And when we talk about emotional immaturity, when I talk about narcissism, any of those things, one of the key signs there is that it is so difficult for somebody to take ownership of their own actions. It is so difficult for somebody to say my bad and mean it or say, Yeah, I did that. You’re absolutely correct. Or I recognize on my own that I’m showing up emotionally immature and giving away that power is when people then even say to me in a session and they’ll say, Hey, I’m paying you, what do you think I should do? And early on, I think most therapists, when they’re fairly new, feel like that’s well, that’s what they’re paying me for.

[00:18:35] I need to tell them what I think they should do based on all of my data, research and schooling. But in my mind, it’s almost like a parlor trick when somebody says, no, I really I know you’re trying to get me to come up with the solution and you’re trying to support me. But right now, you’ve met with thousands of people 20 years. What do you think I should do? And I would be very direct now and say, okay, let’s play this out. Oh, I feel like it would be good. Now, if you give yourself grace, if you start adopting a mindfulness practice, if you know the feelings and emotions. Thank you brain for giving me those. And then let’s figure out your values. Let’s start turning towards some value based action and you can just watch the eyes gloss over literally people darn near want to fall asleep in front of me or then they’re queuing up there. Yeah, but. Well, yeah, but I don’t really have enough time for the mindfulness thing or. Yeah, but I can’t even stop my brain. I mean, I don’t know how that works. I can’t stop.

[00:19:22] And that’s the whole thing. Well, mindfulness isn’t stopping your brain. It’s coming back to this present moment. Or when somebody is saying, Hey, I want you to tell me what to do if they even do what I’m asking them, just descriptively they’re handing me their power. So what happens? What happens if all of a sudden, a week or two later and here I’ve already laid out that change takes a long time. That’s a good thing. We’ve got a lot of time to work through change our versions of change. But if things don’t happen immediately, now I get to say, Well, the therapist said, and that didn’t work. So again, what are what’s wrong with me? Or Boy, I do a lot of couples therapy and bless their hearts. But when people say I don’t know, I don’t know, do you think I should leave? Do you think I should stay? What do you think I should do? And I think I am not looking for that kind of power, because sometimes if you then say, well, yeah, statistics show or the data shows, or in my experience I don’t think this is viable then the relationship. Now what happens? Does that person all of a sudden just subconsciously give up or stop doing their own self work? Or they say. And a hopeless therapist said, So do not give away your power. And it’s so it can be so tempting because we’re so used to growing up asking people, What do you think I should do? And but you’re an adult.

[00:20:33] If you were listening to this podcast, I’ve seen the numbers, I’ve seen the data go through the millions of downloads now, and 97% of the people are over the age of 18. So you are adults that are listening. So you get to keep your power. You get to take ownership of your own choices and actions. The number three thing that mentally strong people don’t do is shy away from change, she said. Although we feel safest when we stay within our comfort zones, avoiding new challenges serves as the biggest obstacle to living a full and rich life. Learning to recognize when you avoid change because of the discomfort involved in doing something new could be the first step in a long journey toward improving your life. The more you practice tolerating the uncomfortable feelings associated with change, whether it involves taking on a new job, leaving an unhealthy relationship, the more confident you’ll become in your ability to create your future. So change is inevitable. Change happens on a daily basis. It happens minute by minute, and sometimes we don’t even recognize the small changes that we make in any given day. And if you feel overwhelmed by big changes that may be looming or seem inevitable, boy, practice making small changes. Practice changing up the way that you go to work. Practice taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

[00:21:42] Practice. Change. Do a few pushups in between, say sessions if you’re a therapist or change up, just. Just start to embrace. Change. Changes, okay. Changes. It feels uncomfortable and it’s okay. That’s part of a normal process for you to feel afraid of change. Our brain is a is a don’t get killed device. Sure. But it’s also it’s a it thinks that the more things that it can get you to habitual lies or to do over and over than it believes the less electrical activity you’re going to take in your brain. And therefore, somehow you will live forever. So your brain is trying to get you into these patterns, habits, paths of least resistance, because it feels like that’s the way that you’re going to survive. Now, granted, you may survive, but will you thrive? Will you live? Your brain is working off of a false premise to begin with. It does not have a finite amount of electrical activity. As a matter of fact, things like change give people a real sense of purpose, and that sense of purpose can be what causes people to live as smart as we think that our brains are. Bless their little pink, squishy hearts, they they are just trying not to die. When, meanwhile, it would be sure nice for us to take control and live live a more fulfilling life. So the number four thing that mentally healthy people do not do is waste energy on things they can’t control, she says.

[00:22:59] So often we worry about all the wrong things. Rather than focus on preparing for the storm, we waste energy wishing the storm wouldn’t come. I love that analogy. Storms come, things happen. And so what are we going to do about them? And this is one of those concepts in the book, The Road Less Traveled, where we start right out of the gate as life is difficult because once we recognize life’s difficult, once we recognize storms are going to come, things are going to happen. They are going to continually happen to us because life and what are we going to do about them? Once I accept the fact that storms are coming, then the fact that is a storm going to come no longer necessarily holds the same emotional fear. And within me now it’s the that happens now how do I respond? And I can prepare myself for the responses by upping my mental health game and identifying my values and recognizing my true sense of purpose. Things are going to happen. They really are. So it is not productive or mentally healthy to waste energy on things that we can’t control. Amy said that if we invested the same energy into the things that we do have control over, we’d be so much better prepared for whatever life throws our way, she says. Pay attention to the times when you’ve tempted, when you’re tempted to worry about something that you can’t control, like the choices that other people make, or how your competitor behaves, and devote that energy to something more productive, like your own mental health, your own well being or doing things that bump your own emotional baseline of your own self care.

[00:24:20] The number five thing that she says that mentally healthy people do not do is worry about pleasing others, she said. A lot of people say I don’t care what other people think, but often that is a defense mechanism to shield them from the hurt and pain associated with rejection. People, please just come in all forms. I am absolutely one myself. Sometimes you can spot one a mile away and at other times their fear of angering others is deeply rooted, she says. Doing and saying things that may not be met with favor takes courage. And I love that. On our magnetic marriage coaching calls, Preston and I’ve been talking a lot about courage lately. It takes great courage to be able to express the way that you feel or express your needs or desires in a relationship. It takes equally great courage for someone to be able to make room for their spouses opinion and to stay present and to listen and to hear and understand that two people in a relationship have two different opinions doing a saying things that may not be met with favor.

[00:25:13] Again, it takes courage, but living a truly authentic life requires you to live. We’ve been talking about this today. Live according to your values. Even when your choices aren’t popular. What am I? Just core of all values is being authentic. I know it’s a buzzword, but authenticity. It does. It can feel amazing when you recognize that. I do have strong opinions about certain things and other things. I do not. And that’s okay. So when somebody says to me, Boy, you don’t care about this or you haven’t read about whatever this is in the news and where if I used to say No, I need to stay more involved. But if in my mind I think, Oh no, I haven’t read that and I’m not going to because I don’t that isn’t something that interests me. Boy, you can already feel the invalidation that could come from somebody that, if that is their life, is to become involved and obsessed with these news articles or stories. And I’m grateful that that is somebody that has such a passion. But my passion may lie elsewhere. So the more that I put myself in positions where I am going to be authentic, the more I am going to also deal with invalidation as part of the process. And it is the sixth thing that mentally healthy, mentally strong people do not do is fear taking calculated risks. So Amy nails this. She says, We make dozens, if not hundreds of choices every day with very little consideration of the risks that we’re taking.

[00:26:24] Whether we choose to wear a helmet on a bike ride, whether we decide to take out a loan, we often base our choices on our emotions, not the true level of risk. Making decisions based on your level of fear is not an accurate way to calculate risk because emotions are often irrational and unreliable, you don’t get to be extraordinary, she says. Without taking risks and learning how to accurately calculate, risk will ensure you’re making the best choices. So I love that the best choices. But that doesn’t mean that the choices aren’t going to come without uncomfortable feelings. I’m telling you, at the beginning of this podcast, I think if you add up the number of podcasts I’ve done, I’m talking about 326 virtual couch episodes and another 40 waking up to nervous systems and another 50 to 100 interviews. And I put and my point being, every time that I’m ready to put something out there, there’s a risk, there’s uncomfortable feelings and emotions. And so I try to prepare myself to to make the best choice for me, for my career, for putting things out there, to try and help people, to express things the way that I feel that I can express them. But it’s risk and it still feels uncomfortable. And uncomfortableness is part of the human experience. If you’re going to go through life, if you’re going to be an adult, if you’re going to be in a relationship, if you’re going to try and take action on things that matter, then there’s going to be some uncomfortableness and that’s okay learning to be okay with that.

[00:27:37] It doesn’t mean that you have to learn to. Something’s wrong with you. If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel fear again, welcome those emotions in. If we’ve been shoving those emotions away our entire life, then I’m grateful. I am so grateful that my brain is sharing these emotions with me and I’m going to make room for them and then I’m going to keep taking action on things that matter. It kind of leads to number seven, she says. Mentally healthy people do not dwell on the past while reflecting on the past and learning from it is a helpful part of building mental strength. Ruminating can be harmful, she said. Making peace with the past so you can live for the present and plan for the future can be hard, especially if you’ve endured a lot of misfortune. But it’s a necessary step in becoming your best self. And I see this so often in my office and this is difficult. It is for somebody that has been through a lot and there are people that have been through an awful lot in their lives. And by no means am I saying, yeah, okay, well, what do you want to win about it? But I do feel like at some point people just they just want to be heard.

[00:28:32] And sometimes we just want to know that somebody sees us and they understand that, that your what you’ve been through is hard. It sounds hard. I can’t even imagine. And I’m so grateful and proud of you for getting through things the way that you have. But then that acceptance of say and those things did happen and here I am right now, one of the principles that I absolutely love is the brain is trying to orient itself right now based off of the past. It wants to continually go back and say, yeah, these things happen. Did I tell you about these things, these traumatic things? And yes, she did. And those sound traumatic. And I can’t imagine that sounds so hard. We can talk about that. But those things happened, noted. And they made you the person you are here you are right now. And then the people will often then say, But what about the future? What if those things happen again? Or What if the things that have happened in the past affect what I’m going to look like in another year or so? And can you watch what our brain is doing is trying to orient with the past in the future, past in the future. But those things are. Man Yeah, that would be hard if the future turns out to be the scary place and that.

[00:29:32] Thank you for sharing that with me. But all we can take control of is right now, right here in the present moment. That is why it is so important to learn a skill, a mindfulness skill of recognizing. I am ruminating, recognizing I am fortune telling. And then just note it my self. Grace, come right back to the present moment and take action on things that matter leads to number eight, she said. Mentally strong help. Healthy people do not make the same mistakes over and over. This is probably when I look through this list, this is one that I really have a challenge with. And the more I am digging into the concepts of an amazing book called ADHD 2.0, and it did not even dawn on me of how much more data there is now about the brain and ADHD, but making those same mistakes over and over that now it doesn’t. I’m not trying to say, well, it’s my ADHD, what am I supposed to do? But noting that, oh, this is why some. These things become so difficult. And so now that I have that information, I already have a diagnosis. Now that I’m aware of these things, I’m aware of these things so I can do something different, so I can take change on something. If somebody gets a label autism, depression, anxiety, ADHD. And I am I’m a big fan of if somebody comes into my office and they say, hey, I don’t want I don’t like labels, I don’t want to be labeled, then bless your heart, I’ll meet you right there.

[00:30:45] But for me, getting my ADHD diagnosis was liberating because it made sense. But it made sense now. So I can do something about it. So I can. Instead of saying, Well, it’s my ADHD, it’s Oh, this is what happens with mine. I often make the same mistakes over and over again. What Amy is talking about here, she says, It would be nice to learn enough from each mistake that we’d be guaranteed to never repeat that mistake twice. But the reality is that we’re prone to repeat the same mistakes, and learning from our mistakes requires humility and a willingness to look for new strategies to become better. And I might add in there that accountability piece. I will tell you a story about that. But she says mentally strong people don’t hide their mistakes or make excuses for them. Instead, they turn their mistakes into opportunities for self growth. Absolutely. We discovered that I had a Southwest Airlines credit that was about to expire and it appeared that I could book a flight before the expiration date and then go in there and cancel it. And it would extend the flight credit for a little bit. My wife says is right there with me. I booked the new flight and then she said, Do you want to go ahead and just cancel that right now? And there was zero reason why I should not have done that at that moment.

[00:31:50] But here’s the more that I learned. Adhd 2.0 talks about two two time frames. For somebody with ADHD. You either do it now or you’ll do it later. There is no in between. So I did not want to do it right then, so I told her I’ll do it later. Now, who am I kidding? How many times have I done the I’ll do it later story? And that’s the part where I’ve made that mistake over and over. And so I was going to do it later, not now. On several occasions until then, I finally got the email that said, Hey, you didn’t show up for your flight. You’ve lost your flight credit. I’m going to take ownership of that. I’m going to take full responsibility of that. And that is me making the same mistakes over and over. And so now I am reengaging with a to do list I have heard so much about. I must do something different with that because I am recognizing making the same mistakes over and over, which is not something that mentally strong people do. According to Amy Marin in this article. Number nine, this is a great one too, that mentally healthy people do not resent other people’s success. Watching a coworker receive a promotion or hearing a friend talk about her achievements can start feelings of envy.

[00:32:50] But resenting other people’s success only interferes with your ability to reach your goals, whether you are secure or when you’re secure in your own definition of success, you stop envying other people for obtaining their goals, and you’re committed to reaching your dreams, your own hopes, your own dreams. And this one is a great one. Right now. My son is on an amazing trip and it is in a land far away for his senior trip with a lot of good friends. And they are it is phenomenal the place that he’s staying and it’s someone’s house. And I am so just grateful that this person has done well enough that they have this house where my son and his friends can go and stay. And I recognize that in my more emotionally immature days in the past that I absolutely would have thought it’s probably not that cool or the water is probably too cold. And who wants to be ten feet from the beach anyway. Right. I would so that just so appreciate that that stop resenting other people’s success and if there’s anything to the concepts of the universe and karma and giving a blessing someone for their success or whatever that looks like for you, boy, embrace that thing. Wish people well because it feels good and it does not harm your your psyche, your self esteem.

[00:33:58] What does is resenting people and wishing that well. I’m sure it was easy for them, but every one of us is going through things and we’re trying to figure out life. And yeah, maybe some people were born into some situations that were more advantageous, but ultimately it is up to us to carve out that destiny and taking ownership and accountability of things and not pointing the finger and controlling the things that we can control. That is a huge part of beginning to feel like you are more control and control of your life and succeeding and and all of those wonderful. I now I feel like I’m starting to get into my motivational speaker mode. But but just let’s start with not resenting other people’s success. The 10th thing that Amarin says that mentally healthy, strong people do not do is give up after failure. I’ll throw a big old arm in behind this one, he said. It is normal to feel embarrassed, discouraged and downright defeated when your first attempts don’t work. From a young age, we’re often taught that failure is bad and it is nearly impossible to succeed if you never fail, she says. Mentally strong people view failure as proof that they’re pushing themselves to the limits in their efforts to reach their full potential. This can be really, really difficult. It can be, but I think it’s a pretty solid example of a cliche that is there for a reason, that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, or failure is another opportunity to learn.

[00:35:15] And you can go find all the stories about Walt Disney failing however many times. Colonel Sanders driving around. How many hundreds or thousands of times and giving is figuring out his chicken recipe. Whatever those stories are, you absolutely learn from failure. And that is one where it becomes imperative for us to not beat ourselves up to just notice that, okay, yeah, that didn’t work. And how many times then do people to say, well, that didn’t work? So I guess I am not meant to be an entrepreneur. I’m not meant to have happiness or find the job I’ve always wanted. And that is where we’re starting to take more of that victim energy. I’m not trying to say you are becoming a victim because that can be a real triggering thing for people. But if I am starting to think, well, I guess that’s just not going to work for me, that’s where I feel like our subconscious at our core, we are looking for someone else to say, Yeah, well bud, you can do it, pick yourself up by your bootstraps. But again, as an adult, that’s up to me to pick myself up by my bootstraps. Absolutely imperative to not give up after a failure. We have three more here. She says that mentally strong people do not fear alone time.

[00:36:19] This one is one I have really struggled with and I have tried to work hard on in Jay Shetty’s book How to Think Like a Monk. I feel like he was one of the first times where I felt like I understood. He talked about his time in a monastery and how just when everybody was wearing the same thing, looking the same way, eating the same thing, sleeping at the same time. And then he said it was in essence, so that you could then have this time by yourself and you weren’t. We don’t even realize how often we are comparing ourselves to others or worrying about what others have or worrying about what others are doing. And it sounds like you almost have to go to a some sort of silence or meditation retreat or monastery to then get to this position where you can strip yourself of all of that envy of that of that comparison so you can sit with yourself. And that feels scary. And I think that’s one of the hardest things. We are in a world full of devices and things that will stimulate us at all times because we so often don’t want to be alone with our thoughts, but practicing being alone with your thoughts and understanding and giving yourself grace and you are enough and you are okay. That then when you’re sitting with your thoughts, that that’s where then you can really start to resonate and feel the things that you feel and want, the things that you want.

[00:37:26] And so often we have to strip away all of those that comparison, that envy, all of those sort of things. And I didn’t even read the paragraph that she said. Amy said, In today’s fast paced world, obtaining a little quiet time often takes a concerted effort. Many people avoid silence and solitude because the lack of activity feels uncomfortable. There it is right there. We are just programed now to not want to feel uncomfortable. That’s because we have so many things and we can turn to that are for the most part, many of them are unhealthy coping mechanisms. And it’s because we want to turn to coping mechanisms when we don’t feel comfortable, when we don’t feel like we’re enough, when we don’t feel like we know what to do, we turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms and learning how to sit with yourself is absolutely okay. She says that time to yourself is an essential component of building mental strength. Mentally strong people create opportunities to be alone with their thoughts. They reflect on their progress and they create goals for the future too. More Amy says that what mentally healthy or mentally strong people do not do is feel that the world owes them anything, she said. It’s easy to get caught up in feeling a sense of entitlement, but waiting for the world or the people in it to give you what you think you’re owed is not a helpful life strategy.

[00:38:31] If you’re busy trying to take what you think you deserve, you won’t have any time to focus on all of the things that you have to give. And everybody has gifts that can be shared regardless of whether they’ve gotten a fair deal in life. And last but not least, and this is what led me down to this path to begin with when I was trying to take a look at how long change takes. She said that what mentally strong people do not do is expect immediate results. She said, Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in your life could happen at the touch of a button? We do. We often grow so accustomed to our no lines, no waiting world, instant access to everything, binging shows, ordering things, food to be delivered to us, I still think. And here, boy, let me put my old man, I don’t know, put some suspenders on or my old man card out here. We used to have to go buy records and you couldn’t just say, I would like to listen to this song and literally say it and have my car play it back on me. Oh my gosh, I sound old. But if you would have told me that when I was 18 or 19, that I would be driving around in my car and I would ask someone named, I don’t even want to say her name because then she will pop up on my computer.

[00:39:33] It happens at the most random times when I’m doing online therapy, but I cry when you ask her to play you a song and all of a sudden that song is playing. That’s witchcraft and wizardry. If you would have told me that when I was 18, 19, 20 years old. But so these things are a touch of a button. So she says, again, we’ve grown so accustomed to our no lines, no waiting world, that our brains begin to believe that everything should happen instantaneously. There’s the key right there. When that is happening, our own brain is evolving. I don’t know our evolving, but evolving to think know I deserve this now and I deserve it immediately because I am asking self growth develops that more of a snail’s pace rather than at a lightning speed. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, develop more gracious attitude, she says. Slow and steady wins the race and expecting immediate results will only lead to disappointment. Mentally strong people. Well, no. The true change takes time and they’re willing to work hard to see results. So the good news is what she. Amy wraps it up. The good news is everybody has the ability to build mental strength. But to do so, you have to develop self awareness about the self destructive thoughts, behaviors, feelings that prevent you from reaching your full potential.

[00:40:34] Once you recognize areas that need work, committing to mental strength exercises help you create healthier habits and build mental muscle. So I love everything that Amy shared, and I will just add my $0.02 there as well. First of all, very quick ADHD. Funny thing, one of the first shirts that I bought for myself that I thought was very witty and clever back in the day when I started down my path of becoming obsessed for a little while with online shopping was a shirt that literally said Slow and steady wins the race, except in a real race. But I love that Amy brought up the slow and steady wins the race still the slow and steady wins the race of life. It may not win the race of the day, but it does win the race of life. But if you resonated with any of these 13 things and think I do that, I would just implore and beg of you to not view that as you had to do all those things, but to say, Oh, fascinating. I do most of those things because now is the time to stop beating yourself up. Start looking at a stop looking for that external validation of someone else to tell you that you’re going to be okay. Because guess what you are, you’re going to be okay. And you can start plucking these things off one at a time.

[00:41:35] And part of the process of change, which I think I’m getting to in a couple of weeks from now, is you go from a place where you weren’t aware to. Now you’re aware. That’s part of the process. Then you start to take action on things from time to time, and you’re not going to be perfect at it because nobody is. And then as you start to build these new routines, these new habits, then it will take time. Absolutely. You cannot expect immediate results. It will take time. And then eventually over time, then you will start to notice that you are making change. So then at that point we go right back to how I started the today’s episode. How long is it going to take? I don’t know. It’s a great question, but it is going to take as long as it is going to take and you start the process right now. So thank you so much for all your support and please share this episode. If you liked it with somebody that you think could use this and feel free to send the episode ideas or guest suggestions, or if you want to hear me, come speak wherever you are, go to Tony eBay.com and you can send something through the contact form. They’re taking us out, per usual, the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It’s wonderful. All right. Thanks, everybody. I will see you next time on The Virtual Couch.

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