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    "I've Accomplished So Much Because Of It": People Are Sharing The Personality Trait They Developed Later In Life That Allowed Them To Better Deal With Everyday Challenges

    "It feels good, but I don't think people understand how much work and effort goes into it."

    Let's be honest: Life can be really hard — and sometimes people develop little personality traits or habits to make them better equipped to handle the hardships.

    Woman looking up with a backpack on

    To better understand what kind of traits or habits people develop, Reddit user u/Educational-Act-1081 asked r/AskWomen: "What personality trait have you developed over the years that have made you stronger/more equipped to handle life’s challenges?"

    The answers were incredibly honest and thoughtful — so we gathered several for you to read below.

    1. "The ability to not take things personally — and instead, maintain a healthy level of indifference."

    A woman in the forest looking up

    2. "Self-expression. I used to be stoic and less emotional. I used to appear far more stable and more resilient. I'd dissociate from my own emotions at the drop of a hat in order to function better. But the problem was that I was so out of touch with my own emotions that 99% of my life was about reacting and surviving. I had no idea what I liked or what I wanted. I didn't like myself, or my life, or the world. In the past few years, I've been paying more attention to me. Being more selfish. Expressing my femininity. Crying in front of people. Dancing in public. The thing is, if you saw me then versus now, you'd probably infer that I'm less stable than before. Weaker. More sensitive. But I'm actually learning to feel my feelings."

    "This makes me stronger because I actually have motivation now. I actually want to make a good life for myself and don't want to settle for a tolerable existence anymore."

    3. "Self-love."

    "If you can think of that critical voice as a persona, and find a way to make peace with it, that'll turn its volume down. So, rather than taking what that voice says to heart, or pushing it away, it's more like a gentle correction

    Example: inner voice says, 'That was a dumb thing to say, and no one likes you.' You gently correct, 'It was perfectly fine to say in that conversation, and actually, I'm loved.' It may sound a little like two voices talking, but you know that's kind of how it feels. And if you think of that critical voice as not you, it can help create distance."


    4. "I'm not sure if it's a personality trait, but I've been living my life operating under the idea that failure has lessons that we can only learn from by first acknowledging the failure, and then trying to grow from there."

    A woman looking upset and holding a laptop

    5. "Firmness. I had to learn to be firm in my boundaries, firm in asking for my needs and wants, firm in establishing myself as someone who deserves respect."


    6. "The older I get, the less I seem to care. Especially in regards to people. I just carry on and mind my own business."


    "This. Older women in my life always told me that they gave fewer and fewer fucks from about 30 onwards. Now that I'm in my early 30s, I feel like they were right. I think as you get more comfortable and secure with yourself, other things start to fall into place a little more easily. 

    I'm no longer trying to force relationships, I'm more willing to walk away from things that are draining me, and I just overall feel like I have a better handle on life than I did 10 years ago. It's great!"


    7. "The ability to tell myself to shut up when I start overthinking has been valuable to me recently. There’s no point spending hours staring at a wall and thinking about how sad and depressing life is when you could just…not. I’m good at sending myself in to a spiral but being able to maintain self-discipline and distract yourself is vital."

    A woman thinking on her couch

    8. "Being decisive. Many of my friends will be wishy-washy about decisions for hours. I used to be like that, but I think the ability to just make a decision and stick with it is very, very useful for tricky situations. I still have a lot to learn, though."


    9. "The ability to take criticism and feedback in the spirit in which it was given, especially in my relationships."

    "My boyfriend and I give each other a hard time sometimes, just joking around, but I went too far the other day and joked about something I didn't know he was insecure about and hurt his feelings. He told me he didn't like what I had said, so I apologized and gave him a hug and thanked him for telling me so I could avoid that topic in the future. 

    He cried and thanked me for understanding and not getting defensive because he has never been with someone that reacted positively when confronted with their own bad behavior."


    10. "Learning to say no, and choosing to ignore dumb people instead of arguing with them."

    A woman talking in her home

    11. "It's allowing myself to feel negative emotions. My first instinct every time when I feel sadness or tears coming is to push it away, not accept it. Now, I have learned to say to myself, 'It's OK to feel sad; it's OK to cry.' All that suppressed unhappiness did me a lot of harm in the past, of course, and it took me a long time to accept that I was entitled to feel upset about upsetting things."

    "No prizes for guessing where it came from: a childhood where tears were scorned and the only emotion ever expressed by adults was anger, even though the kids were severely punished for that, of course. 

    It's such a relief to not be a tyrant to myself about emotions anymore. I feel so much stronger for it because they don't get suppressed and fester."


    12. "I no longer care what people think of me. I used to spend SO much energy managing other people's emotions and tip-toeing around family members, friends, etc. One day, I asked myself who in my life ever does the emotional labor and tries to manage my emotional state at the expense of their own?Answer: No one."


    13. "A willingness to try anxiety meds."


    14. "Knowing my worth and not letting anyone convince me otherwise. I’m a kind and straightforward person, but people try hard to guilt trip me or to humble me when they can’t take advantage of me."

    A woman on the balcony with her phone

    15. "Becoming more silent in the presence of toxic people. The less you give them, the less they have to harm you with."


    16. "Looking at my habit loops — specifically, the habit, cue, and reward. I've accomplished so much with this part. If I'm doing something I shouldn't be (e.g., smoking weed to sleep), I figure out what the reward is (easy sleep) and swap out the habit for something else that will achieve the reward (reading before bed/sleepy time tea)."


    17. "Asking for feedback. All. Of. The. Time. It’s helpful in my work environment, my relationship, and my friendships. Allowing and creating that space for another person to be transparent about something that could be potentially damaging to the dynamic really releases a lot of unnecessary tension. Plus, it eases my anxiety because I know there’s not something festering or hovering that I’m completely oblivious to. Overall, it’s made me more confident, and also more receptive to other people’s feelings and viewpoints."

    A woman talking to her coworker

    18. "Putting myself first. If I'm not happy, I can't make anyone else happy."


    19. "Being a listener and less of a talker. I was shy growing up, and I'm still quite introverted, but I've learned how to communicate with people better in a way, because I can just observe their interests and ask questions that they might enjoy talking about. Many people love talking about what they love."


    20. "One day I just decided I was gonna stop feeling crippling embarrassment. My mantras were that everyone in life makes mistakes, I’m no different, and most of the things I think are embarrassing, people forget about quickly. I repeated these truths to myself for long enough that now I really believe them. Most of the time when I mess up in a silly or small way now, I don’t feel much shame at all. It feels great, and I don’t regret it."

    Woman laughing outside with friends

    21. "Believing in my own assessment of people and not that made by others."


    22. "If something bad or undesirable happens, I reflect on what I did to contribute to the situation, how to avoid it in future, and how to grow from it."


    23. "Organization. I have ADHD, chronic pain/brain fog, and I was scatterbrained to begin with. My memory is unreliable at best. So I write everything down. All my tangible and digital paperwork is organized by category and chronology. I trust future me to remember nothing on her own, so I babysit her. And oh boy, is she grateful. Past me might put things off for future me to do — but she does her best to organize everything as clearly and helpfully as possible so that Future me isn't retracing her steps or reverse-engineering decisions to find out why they were made that way."

    A pad of paper with notes on top

    24. "Giving people the benefit of the doubt. No one is trying to make your life harder; they're just trying to do things for themselves — so don't take things to heart, and be kind to others. You'll see how this simple, yet positive outlook can make a huge difference."


    25. "Resiliency. This has been vital to me throughout my life, from my days of competitive figure skating, applying to and graduating from college, applying to graduate school, applying to jobs, staying at jobs. Hardiness goes a long way, especially when it's something you really like."


    26. "Acceptance. When you hit one of life’s roadblocks, complain and be bummed for a minute, then accept that this is life, find a solution, and keep moving forward. Don’t dwell on what you can’t change."

    A woman smiling while she's on the couch

    Is there a certain personality trait or habit that improved your life in some way after you adopted it? If yes, tell us what it is below.