I've found that people are ingenious when it comes to overcoming their fears. I'm not so much talking about fears of external things like spiders, heights, or Dutch people, but fear of certain attitudes and feelings. The biggest fears I've found thus far are a fear of seeing yourself as inferior, of loneliness, of losing a loved one, and of losing yourself and not being awesome. Seriously scary shit.
Some people develop gimmicks in order to overcome those fears. They might, for example, put others down so they feel superior; they might criticize others so they feel more included in their group; they might play subtle or over control games so they never feel vulnerable. I don't consider this real strength. It's a strength that's dependent on other perceptions and relationships and therefore, ultimately unstable. It can also be very destructive.
Real strength, in my opinion, is finding the courage to stand up to those fears and see that you can actually endure them. Even if you feel like your world is falling apart, you wait and see what happens and have faith that you'll turn out okay. That's an amazingly stable strength since it doesn't depend on any one else, just yourself.