- The book is a self-help guide for women who want to improve their mental strength and overcome the challenges they face in a society that often undermines their power and potential.
- The book identifies 13 things that mentally strong women don’t do, such as insisting on perfection, comparing themselves to others, fearing breaking the rules, or staying silent. The book explains why these things are harmful, how they are influenced by social and cultural factors, and how they can be changed.
- The book provides practical tips, exercises, and strategies to help women develop healthier habits and behaviors that will boost their mental strength. The book also emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision, a positive attitude, a growth mindset, and a strong sense of self-worth.
As a woman, you face circumstances every day that require enormous amounts of psychological strength and perseverance. In this book summary, you’ll discover expert strategies and practical techniques you can use to enhance your inner power, as well as personal stories from women who have learned how to harness their strength and flourish.
Ditch negative habits and learn how to become your strongest, happiest, and most confident self.
READ THIS BOOK SUMMARY IF YOU:
- Want to free yourself from destructive thought patterns
- Are looking for ways to become more assertive
- Want to feel more powerful and confident
Table of Contents
Becoming mentally strong is one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially as a woman. Even in a post-#MeToo cultural environment, women are far more likely to encounter sexism and harassment than men, and it’s important to know how to be assertive and resilient in the face of mistreatment. Furthermore, developing positive mental skills and strategies to help you to cope with life’s daily challenges can bolster you both in times when things are going well and when you’re struggling to get by. The more you practice cultivating your mental strength, the more prepared you’ll be to face any situation. You’ll feel calmer, wiser, and more hopeful about the future, and during times of grief and upheaval, you’ll have the inner resources you need to guide you through the healing process.
Creating healthy mental habits takes effort and intention just like any other worthwhile endeavor. But it’s worth it, as research shows that people who have trained themselves to take care of their emotional well-being are able to persevere and recover from setbacks more easily than others. However, taking care of your emotional health isn’t just about cultivating healthy thinking habits; it’s also about learning how to avoid the unhealthy habits that bring you down. For example, selfpity may feel comforting when you’re going through a tough time, but if you allow it to persist, it can drain your energy and focus, keeping you stuck in a state of unhappiness and inertia.
Whatever you’re facing in life, avoiding destructive thought patterns can help you be your healthiest. In the following sections of this summary, you’ll explore five of the 13 things mentally strong women don’t do:
- They don’t compare themselves to other people.
- They don’t see vulnerability as a weakness.
- They don’t fear breaking the rules.
- They don’t let others limit their potential.
- They don’t stay silent.
As you build your mental strength, you’ll be better equipped to disrupt these unhealthy thought patterns and feel empowered to live a more peaceful, fulfilling life.
They Don’t Compare Themselves to Other People
Thanks to social media, it’s hard to escape images of other people’s lives that appear to be better than yours. It can seem as though everyone else is enjoying happier relationships, more friends, a lovelier home, and better vacations than you are. If you’re going through setbacks in your life, these feelings can be even more intense. You might look around and feel distraught, or you might ask yourself why you don’t get to enjoy these things, too. You might even mentally compare yourself to others all the time without realizing you’re doing it — until you find yourself feeling deeply dissatisfied with your life without quite knowing why.
While it’s normal to feel dissatisfied sometimes, you might be comparing yourself to others too often if it starts to affect your overall outlook. If you tend to believe that almost everyone is happier, thinner, smarter, or richer than you are, or if you often worry that you might be missing out or doing something wrong, maybe it’s because you’re comparing your happiness level with the level of happiness that you perceive others have achieved.
You think they’ve gotten everything they could want, but can you really know how happy they are? Whether in real life or on social media, people often put on a good show, even if things are going badly for them. You might think they have it all, while, in reality, they are experiencing exactly the opposite. That’s one reason why comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and emotional energy.
To stop comparing yourself to other people, focus on accomplishing your own goals. When your mind is full of your plans and ambitions and you’re excited about what you’re working toward, you’re able to devote more of your mental energy to creating the life that is most fulfilling for you. Sometimes, you may need to accept that others are truly happier than you, and you may need to remind yourself that you don’t have to measure yourself against them in order to enjoy your life. Resisting the urge to be (or appear to be) the happiest allows you to experience life more completely.
They Don’t See Vulnerability as a Weakness
The ability to be vulnerable with other people is essential to building emotional intimacy in relationships, but it is also one of the hardest things to do. You might get close to someone, only to push them away when you start to believe they’re getting to know the real you. The closer they get, the more anxious and uncomfortable you feel. Maybe you feel fine when others share their vulnerabilities with you but find it difficult to reciprocate. Like many women, you may have learned how to put up protective barriers in childhood. However, if you keep people at an arm’s length and avoid letting them in, you’ll find yourself feeling lonely and isolated.
Letting down your guard and putting yourself out there doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means you’re strong enough to risk getting hurt. No one wants to feel foolish or rejected, and when you open up to others, you know it’s possible that people won’t respond the way you hope they will. Mentally strong women know this, but they take the risk anyway. They reach out to a new acquaintance, start up a friendly conversation with a stranger, or allow themselves to cry on the shoulder of a trusted friend. They allow others to see who they really are, even though it can be scary. And they’re strong enough to endure feeling foolish and being rejected at times because they know those uncomfortable experiences are part of getting close to people.
They Don’t Fear Breaking the Rules
Many women are taught from a young age that, to be accepted, they must be compliant. Research has shown that girls are socially conditioned far more than boys to be obedient, cooperative, and subservient, and these traits extend into adulthood. Women are often expected to be self-sacrificing and amenable, while men are rewarded for being assertive and powerful. Thus, it can feel especially uncomfortable for women to go against the grain and make choices that may provoke disapproval from others.
Maybe you can relate. But if you follow the rules and try to please people, even when it hurts you, you aren’t really serving your best interests. Mentally strong women learn to trust that they know what’s best for themselves and their families, and they aren’t afraid to make choices that affirm their values — even when others criticize them for it.
Take Amber, for example. She began therapy when she was seven months pregnant with twins because she was concerned about transitioning from her corporate career into the role of a stay-at-home parent. Although her husband was willing to quit his job and stay home to care for their children, Amber worried that their family and friends would find the arrangement unconventional. Having been raised in a family with strict gender roles, she was concerned that she would be judged and labeled a bad mother for leaving her children to go back to work. But Amber believed that breaking these unwritten rules about parenthood was important for her family, and she and her husband knew they were making the right choice. With therapy, she learned that she didn’t have to apologize to anyone for her decision, nor did she need to justify her reasons. It was empowering for her to learn that breaking the rules and setting her own standards led to greater satisfaction and contentment.
They Don’t Let Others Limit Their Potential
Even the strongest people are affected by what others think about them. Maybe you grew up being told that you were uncoordinated, so you’ve always been reluctant to try new sports. Or maybe you had a colleague tell you that you’re not worthy of a promotion, so you’ve stopped trying to advance at your job. Research has shown that others’ expectations about you can significantly impact what you think about yourself. You might find yourself trapped in a specific role or pattern of behavior that doesn’t feel right to you just because people have told you that’s where you belong.
But one of the most important skills to develop for your mental well-being is the ability to overcome what others believe about you. To become the fullest version of yourself, you must intentionally decide that what other people think about you doesn’t define you. You can choose not to let criticism and negative feedback determine how you see yourself. There will always be people who don’t appreciate you or your way of doing things, but instead of letting their opinions make you feel small or incompetent, choose to recognize that they’re entitled to their point of view, while also feeling confident that their evaluations don’t determine who you are.
You’re the only one who can decide what reaching your greatest potential looks like, and you’ll miss out on growth opportunities if you let yourself be distracted by others’ opinions and limitations. Instead, focus on pursuing what makes you feel whole and powerful and let others’ voices matter less than your own.
They Don’t Stay Silent
Many women feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions and ideas at work or taking the lead in their everyday interactions with their partners because of cultural expectations. From a young age, women are taught that it’s impolite to express themselves too boldly, rock the boat, or make anyone else feel uncomfortable.
Silence gives problems a place to grow, especially if you’re staying silent about a situation that involves harassment, sexism, or discrimination. Not only that, but staying silent also depletes your mental energy: When you continually avoid expressing your thoughts and opinions, it takes a toll on your inner resources. You might downplay or deny your real feelings for the benefit of someone else; if so, you’re not acting in your best interests. Silencing yourself means accepting less influence and power in your life.
In contrast, mentally strong women don’t stay silent; instead, they know the power of their voice and they’re not afraid to use it. Refusing to stay silent takes practice. When you’re not used to being assertive, it can feel unnatural at first. But when you own the fact that you have a right to make your voice heard, you speak up for yourself calmly and confidently.
Investing in your mental well-being can help you become the strongest possible version of yourself and empower you to face life’s challenges with wisdom, acceptance, and resilience. By learning how to build your inner strength, you’ll feel powerful and unstoppable, even when you’re faced with adversity.
In this summary, you’ve explored ways to avoid unhealthy thoughts and disengage from thinking patterns that disrupt your sense of peace. You can adopt some of the skills you’ve learned in the previous sections to make positive changes in your life. When you avoid comparing yourself to other people, you’re able to focus on creating goals in your own life. When you embrace vulnerability instead of seeing it as a weakness, you can let people get to know you and experience deeper levels of intimacy and connection. When you allow yourself to break unspoken rules and stereotypes, you free yourself to pursue what matters most. And when you don’t let others limit your potential, you live out your personal values with confidence.
About Amy Morin
Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and instructor at Northeastern University. She authored the international bestseller 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and is a regular contributor to Psychology Today.
The book is a self-help guide for women who want to improve their mental strength and overcome the challenges they face in a society that often undermines their power and potential. The author, Amy Morin, is a psychotherapist and a bestselling author of several books on mental strength. She draws from her personal and professional experience, as well as from research and examples from various fields and industries, to explain what it means and what it takes to be a mentally strong woman.
The book is organized into 13 chapters, each focusing on one thing that mentally strong women don’t do. These are:
- They don’t insist on perfection
- They don’t compare themselves to other people
- They don’t see vulnerability as a weakness
- They don’t let self-doubt stop them from reaching their goals
- They don’t overthink everything
- They don’t avoid tough challenges
- They don’t fear breaking the rules
- They don’t put others down to lift themselves up
- They don’t let others limit their potential
- They don’t blame themselves when something goes wrong
- They don’t stay silent
- They don’t feel bad about reinventing themselves
- They don’t downplay their success
For each of these things, the author explains why they are harmful, how they are influenced by social and cultural factors, and how they can be changed. She also provides practical tips, exercises, and strategies to help women develop healthier habits and behaviors that will boost their mental strength. She emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision, a positive attitude, a growth mindset, and a strong sense of self-worth.
I found the book to be very helpful and inspiring. The author has a clear and engaging writing style that makes the book easy to read and understand. She also uses a lot of examples and stories from her own life and from other successful women to illustrate her points and make them relatable. I liked how she balanced the personal and the professional aspects of mental strength, and how she addressed the specific challenges that women face in different domains, such as work, family, relationships, health, and social media.
The book is not only informative, but also empowering. It encourages women to take charge of their own lives and happiness, and to challenge the stereotypes and expectations that limit them. It also reminds women of their strengths and achievements, and celebrates their diversity and uniqueness. It is a book that can help women of all ages and backgrounds to grow and thrive.
Overall, I think that this book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to be a mentally strong woman. It is not a book that tells women what to do or how to be, but rather a book that shows them what they can do and how they can be. It is a book that will make you think differently and act differently. It is a book that will make you mentally stronger.