Believe it or not, emotionally strong people feel the same emotions that you do. So, what’s the difference? They learn how to cope with their emotions and move on. They have many of the same setbacks and challenges in life that you do.

They don’t view themselves as a victim in the situation. They know they have choices, and they know what choices they need to make. Believe me, I know. It’s probably been 20 or more years since I was that emotionally dependent person.

You can sit around and complain that life isn’t fair, or drown yourself in your sorrows. This will only keep you stuck, and it won’t change anything. The best lesson I got from going from emotionally dependent to being emotionally strong was: that as I change the people around me change. People actually started to treat me differently.

Here are 5 tips to help you become an emotionally strong person:

  1. Let go of control. Life is unpredictable. You can’t go back and you can’t predict the future. But, you are constantly worried about the future and filled with regrets about the past. You can’t do anything about them. This keeps you from enjoying and embracing the present. The next time you go for a walk and see a flower, I want you to stop and examine every part of it. Take a deep breathe. You will get through this.
  2. Prioritize yourself. I know you are thinking, how can I do that? That is so selfish. And, you’re right, it is selfish. But, what is wrong with being selfish when you are taking care of yourself. Over the years I have met women that continually put themselves last. This has lead to anxiety, depression, cancer, diabetes and so many other illnesses. I once met a woman that stopped showering on a regular basis. She felt it was a waste of time, when there was so much else to do. I want you to catch up on sleep and set aside 30 minutes a day for yourself.
  3. Say NO and mean it. This means you don’t feel guilty when you say no. This is also known as setting boundaries. What you are doing is taking care of yourself. When you say yes and you mean no, you will become resentful. You will be jealous of others, when you don’t need to be.
  4. Accept yourself and love who you are. That means flaws and all. You aren’t perfect, and you shouldn’t be around people that expect you to be perfect. If you are introverted, then flourish in it. Don’t hide it. Spend time doing things that you like and being with people that accept you. You are who you are, and there is a reason you are the way you are.
  5. Ask for help, when you need it. This also means that you accept help, even if you didn’t ask for it. This doesn’t mean you are weak. It’s true, no one can really do it all, alone. This will cause you to burn out and feel resentful. This was probably one of the most difficult things for me. But, I’m glad I did. It has really paid off, and I have met a lot of great people along the way. This does mean that you are admitting you are vulnerable. As human beings we need people in our life. This means you are needy. Accept it and embrace it.

Start with one of these tips today. By doing this, you are starting to change your mindset. I know it sounds scary. But, over time it will get better. You will start to trust in yourself, again. Remember, you’re worth it.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many women become emotionally strong, and thrive in life. For more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or

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