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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Any tips to get a thicker skin?

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Author Topic: Any tips to get a thicker skin?
Member # 32224

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I have a tendency to terribly overreact to criticism or contempt. I worry more than I should over what strangers think of me. I know I should try to be less sensitive about things like that, but I'm not entirely sure how to get myself into that mindset. It seems to come naturally to many people, but I'm not quite sure how to practice it myself. Is this something that can be learned?
Posts: 475 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Member # 35643

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I could probably do with thicker skin too, lol. But for me, it has improved with time, experience and with some unfortunate people making b*%#y awful comments to me. Now, when someone says something a little nasty, I just think "that's nothing, compared to those other comments..."

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Member # 91788

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I'm also extremely sensitive when it comes to how I believe others percieve me. I haven't been able to overcome this tendency, but one thought I keep in mind when I am at the recieving end of contempt is: "I've been through so many challenges as a person, and lived to tell the tale. In comparison, this is nothing." [Smile]

And, really, when all's said and done, it is. I find that, for me, no matter how awful I feel at the time due to those comments, I will always get over them and laugh them off eventually. In other words, as much as it seems like it, it's not the end of the world. I make it a habit to keep in mind that if the criticism is meant to be constructive, I will benefit from it some way or another, once I learn of its truthfulness. If it's just plain nastiness spoken by strangers, on the other hand, I remind myself that I won't be seening these people ever again, so what value will their derision have on me?

But, the truth is, I'm faring a bit better now than I was, say, a couple of years before. I just continually tell myself that I don't have to live and strive to meet the expectations of everyone, and that I won't be able to please everyone all the time. [Smile]

This is the method that works for me.

"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

Posts: 537 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chocolate cures all
Member # 96217

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I think what you're looking for is called resilience. Some people, the totally unfair lucky ones, have a natural resilience. But most of us have to learn it. And like anything in life, if you really want it and are willing to work to get it, you will!

When the negativity of others gets under our skin so dern easily we must learn to cope better. Knowing we can't change others, can't force people to be nice, can't force people to be friendly, we have to focus on what we can change... ourselves. Personally, I like to keep in mind that I do not like giving a mean person so much control over how I feel about myself. Some people find repeating a saying over and over again to help. Usually something that speaks to you on a personal level. "How sad that you have to be mean in order to feel good about yourself." "You don't know me as a person and so you can't define me as a person."

Another trick is to discover what you're really good at and tuck that into your heart. That's your armor and your weapon. I'm really good at making people smile just by smiling at them. I am really good at seeing the best in others. No matter what you think of my clothing, or my hair, or my body you cannot take away my character.

Here's my favorite trick: I never pretend NOT to hear nasty stuff. I use my smile as a sword and look directly at the mean person and give them a bright smile. Then I smile inwardly knowing that my smile just took them off their mean game. I showed them they cannot affect me and my character is stronger than their words.

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Chocolate cures all, not only do I LOVE your username, but I also love your response! The smiling technique sounds like it works wonders! I suffer from high sensitivity too; and I find your response very helpful! [Smile]

What I do to conquer it is to distract myself from what had happened (the comment, situation, or person) by doing something I enjoy (listening to music, watching my favourite shows); but I sometimes talk about whatever happened with my close friends, and that usually helps a lot. Sometimes, even crying a little (though some may view that as a sign of defeat; as do I sometimes) gets the tension out and I feel better. Also, if the comment came from a stranger or acquaintance, I might think that that person does not mean much to me at all; so why should their comments affect me? As Sans said, if you're never going to see them again, then their comments should not be valued at all.

I find that some people are just critical and scoff at anyone who's even slightly different from themselves; which is foolish, since we're all different and a world full of monotonous robots would be boring. [Smile]

"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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