Emotionally strong women are confident, healthy, and happy. They know what they want in their relationships and life yet they aren’t pushy, aggressive, or mean. Many women want to develop emotional strength—but they don’t know how.
Even women in good relationships are looking for tips on emotional health. Here’s a comment and question from one “She Blossoms” reader:
“This was great advice,” says Lisa on 11 Ways to Stop Being the “Clingy Girlfriend. “I honestly don’t know how or where to find self-confidence. I’m dating a great guy but my insecurities always get the best of me. I’m so afraid of being hurt that I try to do everything I can to protect myself so I don’t get hurt. I wish I was a more confident, emotionally strong woman in my relationships. I know have a lot to offer anyone but I just don’t know if I’ll ever be enough for him. I know it’s unattractive to be insecure but I just don’t know how to be secure in myself.”
If you have tips or advice on how to increase your self-confidence and protect yourself in relationships, feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you—especially if I miss an important tip.
How do you become an emotionally strong woman—especially if you grew up with a weak, critical, or domineering mother?
Here are seven steps to developing emotional strength:
- See the big picture
- Identify your insecurities.
- Face the most common fears women have.
- Recognize the internal voices that tear you down.
- Discover several sources of emotional strength.
- Prepare for times of weakness, fear, and insecurity.
- Work towards emotionally strong relationships.
Growing strong and healthy isn’t a quick fix or one-time deal! It takes time and effort to learn how to be stronger emotionally in your relationships. My number one source of emotional strength is number five, which I describe below in more detail.
How to Be an Emotionally Strong Woman in Your Relationship
Different strategies and tips work for different women. My tips on how to be an emotional strong women in a relationship are based on my experience. They may or may not work for you—but I encourage you to give them a try!
1. See the big picture
I recently listened to an interview with Dean Koontz, a bestselling fiction author. He said women are less likely to succeed as writers because they don’t take rejection as easily as men. Women tend to give up more quickly and allow others’ opinions to sway their resolve. He also said mothers tend to raise their daughters to acquiesce and not fight back when rejected or criticized.
This is why women aren’t as emotionally strong as men in relationships. We were raised to be agreeable, sweet, and loving. We naturally take care of people; our natural instincts to love and protect often make us emotionally weaker and more vulnerable. We care too much what people think—and if men leave us. That is the big picture.
2. Identify your insecurities
My insecurities used to revolve around my writing, which is the type of insecurity Dean Koontz was referring to. As I writer I’m no longer concerned about getting rejected. It doesn’t bother me when my work, articles, book proposals or sample chapters are criticized. My writing is not who I am; I have a whole separate identity apart from my work.
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In the past I’ve also been insecure about my marriage. I didn’t know how to be an emotionally strong woman in my relationships because I grew up with a mother who wasn’t just single, she was mentally ill. I didn’t learn anything about building a healthy happy marriage from her, so relationships were a huge source of insecurity to me. I didn’t just lose confidence in myself, I had none to begin with. But I learned how to be an emotionally strong woman, as I describe in the next few steps.
What about you—what are your insecurities? Be specific and honest with yourself. I encourage you to write them down because you’ll find that writing helps you become more clear and insightful.
3. Face the most common fears women have
In her comment, Lisa said she’s afraid of being hurt. This is the most common fear for everyone, men and women alike. We’re scared of being abandoned, rejected, left behind. We’re scared of losing our relationships and love, of being ostracized and lonely. We’re also afraid of losing our homes, families, and friends.
What is your biggest fear? You may not be as scared of getting hurt or feeling abandoned as other women are. It’s important to be clear on what your fear is and why you want to be an emotionally stronger woman in your relationships. Identifying your “why” will help with the “how” when you’re developing emotional strength in your relationships.
4. Recognize the internal voices that tear you down
Emotionally strong women know which relationships to avoid, and which ones to seek more of. They know when they’re being criticized and judged, and when they’re being supported and loved. One of the smartest tips on how to be an emotionally strong woman is to stop spending time with people who tear you down! It seems simple, but it’s surprisingly common for women to stick with friends and family members who are critical and offensive.
And, some women stay in unhealthy relationships with men because they’re scared to be alone. Are you wondering if your relationship is good for you, or if your partner is tearing you down? Read 12 Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Boyfriend.
5. Discover several sources of emotional strength
Picture a caterpillar, and all her strong little legs. If something happens to one leg, the others can keep carrying her along like the fuzzy little engine she is! Be that caterpillar. Develop different sources of emotional strength that build you up and that you can rely on when you’re struggling with insecurity, fear, and doubt.
My number one source of emotional strength is God. He’s like the head of my caterpillar, and Jesus is legs one through twenty. The Holy Spirit is all the fur on my fuzzy body. I’ve been through a lot of pain, grief and trauma in my relationships and life; I learned how to become emotionally stronger simply by leaning on God. The more I lean in and surrender, the stronger I am.
How are you and God these days? If you’re struggling, read 6 Practical Ways to Find God’s Call on Your Life. Walking with Him is the best and ultimately the only way to develop emotional strength in your relationships.
6. Prepare for times of weakness, fear, and insecurity
No matter how emotionally strong you are, you will face times when you’re scared, alone, insecure, and filled with doubt. This is normal. As a Christian I believe God allows me to walk through those valleys because they help me lean on Him. Without those struggles I wouldn’t need Jesus—and I wouldn’t have a strong personal relationship with Him today!
You will face hard times. It’s part of life in this world. Your husband or boyfriend may leave you, criticize you, or hurt you. He may betray or divorce you. He may change and become a man you want to leave! You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for times you need to draw on a source of emotional strength that goes beyond you. That, for me, is God.
7. Work towards emotionally strong relationships
What is the strongest, healthiest relationship in your life right now? How did it get that way? Take time to reflect on it. It probably didn’t develop emotional strength by itself. That relationship—whether it’s with a woman or a man—probably took time and effort to build.
Also, who is the strongest, healthiest woman you know? Spend more time with her. You might even ask about her source of spiritual and emotional strength. Develop a good relationship with her, and you’ll start to absorb her qualities in your own life.
Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! Writing is one of the best ways to discover what you really think and feel. Take time to stop and listen to the still small voice, and you will learn how to become an emotionally stronger woman in your relationships.
I read every comment, but don’t worry. I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.