You never know how strong you are until you’re tested.
Most of us go about our lives never truly realizing just how tough we are. At times, we might catch a glimpse and be surprised with ourselves but most of the time, we’re too busy beating ourselves up over why we aren’t constantly exceeding our personal best.
We kick ourselves over why we’re not smart enough, why we quit at everything we do, why we didn’t do better at that job interview, or why we always screw everything up.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
Here are thirteen signs you’re way stronger than you realize.
1. You Have Great Patience
Patience itself is one of the clearest signs of strength. To have patience means to have control over the mind and an effective ability to navigate your response to outside events.
If you’ve always, or are now, the patient type, know that this isn’t just the “type of person” you are, it’s a sign of real strength and mental toughness.
2. You Know Your Weaknesses And Work Through Them
Most people don’t know what their true weaknesses are because they’re not conscious enough.
But you’re not only aware of your weaknesses, whether it’s social anxiety, perfectionism, or the tendency to second guess yourself, you actively work around them and adapt what you’re doing to make it happen regardless.
3. You’ve Actively Worked On Your Inner World
you’ve meditated for years, kept a journal, or simply consider yourself very introspective and self-aware, you have a particular kind of strength that very few others have.
Where most are controlled by the forces of stress, anxiety, and strong emotions you’re able to manage them effectively and keep them from overwhelming you.
4. You’re Not Afraid Of Failure
If you couldn’t give a crap whether you failed or not because you know you’re just going to get back up and try again until you succeed, you have immense strength and a very rare ability to weather the effects of adversity.
5. You Do What You Want Because It’s True To Who You Are
If you don’t let what others think of you dictate your actions, you’re in a very small group of human beings.
Whether it’s following your passion of becoming an artist, snowboarder, world traveler, or adopting a particular sense of style that you love, your unique qualities make you who you are.
If you don’t let anyone stop you from expressing your authentic self, whether they criticize you or not, you’re far stronger than you realize.
6. You’re Okay With Being Vulnerable
Vulnerability in a person is a sign that person is strong enough to admit imperfection, an imperfection we all have but aren’t all willing to admit to.
If you’re okay with being vulnerable you’ve not only found a great source of strength but you’re far more likely to live a happier life than someone who is not.
7. You Don’t Hold Grudges
When someone constantly holds intense grudges, it’s the sign of a low sense of self-worth.
That person feels they’ve been attacked and their defenses are poised to defend their mind from any semblance of an attack to protect their own sanity.
But the willingness to let things go in due time is a sign of great strength and wisdom.
8. You Don’t Mind Being Criticized
No one likes being criticized. However, if you don’t react defensively to criticism and let it roll off your shoulder, that’s a sign of a very thick skin.
Many people react as if they’ve been struck in the heart when receiving criticism.
But you understand that people talk because of their own insecurities — not because what they say about you is true.
Their words are nothing but sticks and stones to you as you’re secure with yourself and know your own truth.
9. You Take Action Now
Laziness and apathy are two of the great human diseases. They plague the average person to no avail and leave them only on their deathbed to reflect on their many great regrets.
But despite the stinging pain of stepping out of your comfort zone, you face that pain and walk through it time and time again. You know the value of taking action and you’re willing to face the challenge head-on.
10. You Embrace Fear
Some live paralyzed in fear. Some use it as a springboard. If you’re the latter, you have a rare ability to face one of the most difficult challenges known to man.
You know that courage isn’t the absence of fear but the willingness to face it and move forward anyway, a sign of great mental toughness.
11. You Stand Up For What You Believe In
If you frequently stand up for the opinions, people, and causes you believe in, you’re what the world desperately needs right now.
It takes an immense amount of strength to be willing to stand up in the face of potential adversity for what you believe in but those who have done so have been some of the most important people in the history of mankind.
If that’s you, you have an incredible gift.
12. You Love Others Without Fail
Love takes a certain measure of courage, strength, and wisdom. Without each of these things, you’re not able to fully love someone.
If you have someone in your life that you give unconditional love to, each and every day your strength is tested. And, each and every day, you move forward with courage and toughness.
13. You Follow Your Heart
It takes a lot of guts to follow your heart. More than it does to do virtually anything else.
That’s because following your heart requires many different types of strength: the willingness to stand up for what you believe in, to weather criticism, to face your fears, to take consistent action without giving up, and to get back up after you’ve been hit with failure.
If you know what you want to do with your life and you’re actively following your heart, you’re far stronger than you know.
This story originally appeared in Goalcast.