Becoming More Thick Skinned – How to Deal with Criticism
Author: Lynne Namka, Ed. D.
When You Are Criticized, Ask Yourself – “How Important is the Threat?”- Is This a Big Deal or Am I Being Super Sensitive?
Ask yourself, “How serious is the charge? Is it a trivial one? Am I just playing trivial pursuit to allow myself to be hurt by a small matter?”
What Threat Does The Other Person Feel?
To his body?
To his possessions?
To his self esteem
To his values? (No matter how irrational attitudes and values may seem to us, people generally act in accordance with their belief system and values.)
What Does The Other Person Want To Have Happen As A Result Of His Words? What Does He Really Want?
To intimidate you and squelch you?
To shift the blame from himself to you by externalizing it?
To change or control you by putting his values on you?
To gain attention?
To get his way?
To give information?
What is the threat to yourself?
Is there physical threat?
How does the remark threaten my self-esteem?
How do I allow myself to feel belittled by the remark?
Am I flashing back to how I felt when I was criticized as a child?
Who in the past has used critical remarks in a similar manner?
Am I projecting someone from the past on this person?
How Do I Cope With Critical Remarks?
Shut down? Become frozen?
Retaliate with anger and blame?
Withdraw? Run away?
Act silly? Laugh it off?
Ignore it and hurt inside?
Internalize anger and stew over it?
What Choices Do I Have In The Face Of Threat?
State my limits–“I won’t allow you to call me—-“
State my feelings. “I feel upset when you speak sarcastically.”
Leave the situation. Walk out and give the message of refusal to be put down.
See the issue as the other person’s problem.
Breathe, stay centered and calm. Put up my shield of power refusing to engage in an interchange of negative energy. Let the negative energy bounce back or be deflected away.
Criticism gives us a wonderful chance to learn about ourselves. When You are Criticized, Ask Yourself:
What can I learn about myself?
What information do I need to get from the remark, if any?
Is there a message there that I need to hear despite the criticism?
Why do I need to continue to hurt over small criticisms?
What fear does the criticism bring up for me?
What values of mine are being threatened?