People inherently want to be liked and will tell you what they think you want to hear. Instead of offering the truth and helpful thoughts, most will sugar coat (here are my thoughts on sugar coating). However, giving and receiving constructive criticism is what makes the world go around right?! Yet, criticism has somehow gotten a bad rep – unfortunately. Although I think it’s partly because not many people know HOW to give it……
So in order to maintain a sane life and not be depressed/sad/upset about every little negative thing someone says to or about you, you gotta develop a thick skin. If you think you already have thick skin, good for you. But trust me, it can be even thicker!
Why You Need to Develop a Thicker Skin
If it was up to me, I’d be living in Kesha’s World 24×7, a hunky-dory existence where everything is gravy. However, I have to come back down to earth more often than I’d like where it’s crucial to have a thick skin.
- You need the critics because criticism can help you make improvements.
- Sometimes our critics (can also be called haters depending on the situation!) are our best motivators.
- Critics can help steer us back to our goals. In the end, we need to ensure we’re driven by our vision, not by others’ criticism.
- We need criticism and though you may not like it, it’s crucial to living a balanced life. It can keep us grounded.
How to Develop a Thicker Skin
Okay, so now you have a few reasons why you need to develop thicker skin. But how do you do it? For that, I’ll share with you some thoughts by a friend of mine, Shanon Kearney Lessard, who offers her thoughts on how to do so.
It’s been a rough month; I ain’t gonna lie. I let someone get the better of me to the point I felt stupid and worthless. For some reason, I have also recently developed a habit for mistaking people’s antics for subtle insults. Does this sound familiar? In an effort to grow a thicker skin, I began to think of some ways to remain unaffected by others’ opinions, whether it’s a weird look, a teasing remark, or direct criticism. Read on if you can relate…
Give the benefit of the doubt. If you have a habit of taking things personally, it means that you’re apt to assume someone is directing some form of aggression towards you specifically, when they might be just joking around or having a bad day. It might be your instinct to react, or curl up into a ball emotionally, but pause for a second. Maybe it’s NOT about you. Learn how to gain control of your emotions. Don’t jump to conclusions.
Refocus your attention. When you take things personally, you shift your attention from what they said or did, to how you feel. Unless you move on from that point, it’s likely that you’ll ruminate, and the negative feeling will be amplified. Instead, focus again on the other person. Look at how the person treats others. They might tease, pick on, or even insult everyone they cross paths with. Some people are just antagonistic. Period.
Consider their insecurities. Could they feel threatened by you in some way? If so, don’t feel bad for being your awesome self. Think about how you can help this person feel better about himself. Keep in mind that the other person may have poor communication and emotional management skills. Imagine that there’s an inner child acting out, because the person hasn’t learned how to deal with things in a mature way.
Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s approval. If you’re especially sensitive to people’s behavior towards you, to the extent that you regularly overreact, it might be because you’ve got a strong radar for rejection. If you pick up on any kind of displeasure, you worry that you’re doing something wrong, and you want to fix it. But just because someone isn’t happy with you, doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In many cases, it means that person isn’t happy with himself and expects you to fill in the blanks (which is impossible).
Speak up. Let the person know how you are feeling. They might not realize how hurtful or aggressive they seem and how it is affecting you. Use “I” statements. If this is recurring, use direct communication to (hopefully) put an end to it, and resolve any underlying issues.
Value Yourself First. If someone is a bully or passive aggressive, don’t waste your time with them. Your value, your self-worth is your biggest asset, because it’s something that comes from within and will help propel you through life.
- Don’t act worked up. It gives people more reason to believe their criticisms.
- Don’t stop taking things personally to the extent that you absolve yourself of any personal responsibility. If someone’s acting out towards you, it is possible that you did something wrong. However, remember that it doesn’t automatically mean you did something wrong. You still need to evaluate your role in the situation. Essentially, instead of thinking, “What did I do wrong?” think, “Did I do something wrong?”.
- When speaking up: Are you all right? or Is everything okay?, be careful to do it sincerely. If the shift of attention is felt as patronizing or implying criticism, it might detonate an aggressive response on the other person and will probably complicate the situation even further.
Here’s to a new month and letting stuff roll off your back!
Shanon is the current owner of www.urbanagricoaching.com and www.innovativelyFIT.com. Urban Agricoaching is a holistic life coaching program geared towards providing busy moms and working women with a dedicated accountability partner around achieving success with health, wealth, and relationship goals without sacrificing more time away from the family. She loves coaching home-based business owners like herself. You can follow Shanon and Urban Agricoaching at these social gatherings: Blog | Facebook | Twitter
Final notes: For me, the art of developing a thicker skin is about being willing. Willing to admit what I don’t know; willing to understand that not everybody will agree or cosign to what I say; willing to listen; willing to accept the truth and if I don’t like it, do something about it!
Do you have thick skin? What are some of the tactics you use to develop thicker skin? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!