Yeah right. Who am I kidding? I get hurt by things people say all the time. So I’m trying to devise a few ways to cope. I admit I can be overly sensitive. Not all the time, but enough that it causes those crazy flare-ups of instant anger instead of a calm rational response. So here are a few ideas to change that:
- Pretend they are talking about someone else. When the criticism is unwarranted, or if you’re just feeling vulnerable, hear someone else’s name when you are being criticized. It can be someone you hate or just another friend or family member. This works because most of us are more understanding and forgiving with other people than with ourselves. This takes the sting out and let’s you evaluate whether it has merit.
- Listen. Don’t respond; just listen to what they are saying. Give yourself five minutes or so to take it in and come up with a reply. No one said you have to answer every rebuke right away.
- Give it a pass. If someone says something highly negative and it is out of character or out of context, it may be something else is upsetting them. Let this one slide or laugh it off. You can always get mad later if they keep complaining.
- Armor yourself. Imagine yourself in shining silver armor like a knight. See the criticism bouncing off you and being destroyed. It seems a bit silly, but then taking everything someone says to heart is a bit silly too.
- See a great mentor. When someone is displeased with you, imagine them being a mentor you’d like to have; the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, or Jesus. Then judge how you’d respond if they were the ones talking to you. This will at least help you clamp down on those instant anger outbursts and help you keep your composure.
None of these methods are foolproof – I should know, I’m the fool who’s tried every one of them at least once. It’s worth a little effort and practice though to overcome those knee-jerk responses. If you’re one of the lucky few who don’t get steamed by rude remarks, or you enjoy verbal sparring – congratulations. The rest us could use a few more pointers, care to share?