​As you grow older you realise that moving through stages in life sometimes means facing all sorts of challenges you weren't prepared for.

People who have overcome such ordeals often say that what helped them the most was the fact that they were emotionally stable and mentally tough.

What is "tough"?

"Emotionally stable" here means being in touch with your emotions, that you recognise what you feel. It also means that you know how to avoid whatever makes you feel uncomfortable or awkward, so that you're able to step away unharmed.

Being "tough" here doesn't mean being physically strong or emotionally aggressive. It means being mature and smart enough to weather the challenges that life sends your way.

In fact, you may have already been tough in various moments in your life, and you haven't even realised it!

Remember that time a nasty rumour about you started circulating, but you ignored it and it went away by itself without bruising your ego? Remember when you felt broken-hearted and you didn't completely withdraw from everyday life, you faced your emotions and you got on with your life? Or how about that time you stood up for yourself despite being scared or nervous of the outcome?

Well, those are all examples of being emotionally and mentally tough!

Refusing to be permanently knocked off the "bicycle" of life, knowing who you are, being confident, putting others before you, standing up for your beliefs, helping out in exchange for nothing, accepting 100% responsibility for every action you have ever committed: that's what being "tough" is all about.​

How do you become "tough"?

Of course, you may be thinking: "That's great! But how do I know when I've become emotionally tough?"

Well, there's not really a specific moment in time in which you "become" tough. Just like there's not really a moment when someone will come up to you and say "Congratulations, sir, you are now an adult!"

Some people realise they've become "tough" when they are able to give some helpful advice on something they were previously confronted with. Others look back to a specific moment in time, or to a specific event, and think "Whoa, that was a pretty rough patch, am I glad that's over!".

Basically, it's any moment you realise that the worst is now behind you, that you're still here, that the world is still turning, and that you've grown a little bit wiser.

It's all about support and respect!

Of course, it's easier to be emotionally stable and mentally tough if you have a caring, supportive, and nurturing environment (family, friends) that you can rely on for help or advice. Even when you think or feel alone, remember that there's always someone you can turn to!

Also keep in mind that being "tough" doesn't mean being "insensitive" or "unkind"! There may be instances in which you'll think "if I can weather tough periods, so should other people".

But not everyone can be ready and strong in an instant. Everyone has different lives, different issues, and different reactions to challenges. Be as sensitive as you can, and try to be an emotional anchor for other people.

Remember: What doesn't break you only makes you stronger!​​​ 

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