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Don’t let me mislead you. I don’t actually have the answer, but wanted to explore the issue because I’m not sure it’s entirely possible. Even the most emotionally detached person is affected to some degree when they feel under attack. They may shrug it off quicker, but they still feel the sting. So, after my Google research, I found there are a few things we can do while in the moment of an attack.

For starters, don’t respond to the hater for at least ten seconds. If you’re able to act busy, like pretending to taking notes, fine. If not, look away, perhaps there’s a smudge on your shoe that needs your attention. Resist the temptation to react and let that first wave of emotion dissipate.

Next, is two-fold. Separate between criticism/insult and consider the source. Constructive criticism is something we can grow from, though stretching the bones has a definite ache. Insults are just plain hurtful. And if you don’t respect the source, put your fingers in your ears and go, “Lalalalalala.”

Finally, don’t raise your voice. Even if you don’t feel calm on the inside and are about to start shaking from the adrenaline surge, don’t let it show on the outside. Sure, you may need to go scream into a pillow afterwards, just not in front of that person.

After the incident, don’t beat yourself up from she should of’s and could of’s. Here are some coping skills to help get over the incident faster.

First, surround yourself with a core group of good people to help give you support. Over a glass of something – I’ll take a beer – find perspective with an impartial person. Differentiate between this being a career or relationship ender or just an embarrassing and confusing moment. Are you blowing things out of proportion or has a real injustice been served? A lot of times, it’s about the other person and not you, though that doesn’t help when someone has just trampled on your feelings.

If the sadness and anger persist longer that a few days, there are other things to do. One is get a purpose. Volunteer somewhere. Helping the less fortunate can put you in a state of gratitude.

Also, recite positive affirmations about yourself. Think Stuart Smalley of SNL. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” And once you start laughing at how ridiculous this is, you’ll feel better.

An lastly, if therapy ‘s not your thing (and I’m not talking comedy therapy) get a book from the library. Something like, “Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult People.”

There is a flip side to all of this. I’m pretty sure that people with thinner skin are the most caring and compassionate people who make this world a better place. And that’s the kind of world I want to live in. So maybe we shouldn’t try too hard to grow that thicker skin.

 

How to Grow a Thick Skin