When discouraging words come your way, you see it as confirmation of what you suspected all along—I’m a loser.
And it doesn’t even need to be words. A single disgusted look can make you wither.
That’s why you wear a heavy coat of armor whenever you deal with people, whether at home, at work, or out in the world. You are eternally, exhaustingly, braced for attack.
People usually mean a lot less by their criticism than we hear.
Pay attention to your reaction the next time you are at the receiving end of a negative comment.
Does your pulse race, does your face go red, or are you hearing the outraged or anguished commentary in your head rather than really listening to what the person is saying?
Try to stop yourself and listen as though you were taking notes for another person.
Is the criticism valid? Is there something to learn from it?
If so, great! You’ve had a positive experience, albeit a painful one. If not, say, “I see your point but I disagree, and here’s why.” Then move on.
- David Sack