Photo by Anthony Tran from Unsplash
My parents have always told me to be kind to anyone, that it must be my first resort at all times. They tell me that I absolutely need to understand their circumstances in life and be grateful that I’m not in their shoes (should their lifestyle be unfortunate). And if I were to encounter people who seem to not have had been taught basic manners, I should take a deep breath and choose to be the bigger person.
I kept that advice and brought it along with me until I grew older. Throughout the years, I felt mostly angry and tricked by that piece of advice. Because as time went by, I realized that people were not nice to me even if I was nice to them. I got offended when they didn’t show me the level of respect I showed them. I got hurt when they had the audacity to throw me under the bus and flip the story to their favor. I was shocked at how people’s capacity to do something they don’t usually do increases the moment they’re desperate.
Then I realized the most important part of the advice that was invisible to me for so long. My parents only said to be kind to people, but they never told me that they will be kind to me. I didn’t understand back then that I couldn’t control nor impose on other people their response to my affirmative actions.
No matter how hard we try to transform the world into a place we want us and our future children to live in, we always find ourselves feeling discouraged. There are just instances when even our wildest ambitions are impossible. A lot of things are beyond our control, and changing the world is one of them. We can only change our life by doing the little actions that benefit us in the long-term consistently. And hopefully, by these actions, we can change others’ life as well.
WHAT IS A THIN-SKINNED PERSON?
A person with thin skin is someone who’s sensitive in nature. He/she is easily offended or hurt by criticism, disapproval, or any manner opposite to what he/she considers as gentle and kind.
Being soft is different from having thin skin, although they are commonly misused, depending on how it’s used as a description. When you describe someone as soft, it can mean lots of things — sensitive, caring, weak, insecure, pleaser. And mostly, these words can also describe someone who has thin skin. As opposed to a person with thick skin, they wouldn’t feel a knife to their back because they’re used to the pain or they didn’t expect people to treat them nicely.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS FOR THIN-SKINNED PEOPLE TO SURVIVE IN SUCH A WORLD?
It depends. Some successful people had a thin skin before they started walking to the path towards success but that completely changed when they realized they wouldn’t be able to move forward as quickly and strongly as they wished if they played nice all the time.
If you don’t develop a thicker skin sooner, your chances of surviving your current situation and other upcoming challenges succeeding that will lean towards none. In the harsh, unpredictable world we live in, you need to up your game if you want to make it through.
5 REASONS YOU’RE SO EASILY OFFENDED:
YOUR EGO IS BLOCKING THE WAY
You’re the kind of person who thinks he/she is the smartest person in the room. You speak from a high pedestal and think you don’t need to be corrected about anything because you’re usually never wrong. With a huge ego like that, you wouldn’t be able to take criticism without acting out or making a scene. Your ego is preventing you from accepting an outsider’s input besides your own. It’s hindering you from interacting and building relationships with other people, stopping you from growing.
YOU FEEL ENTITLED TO HEAR PRAISE FROM EVERYONE
Entitlement plays a huge role as to why you’re easily offended. It relates to the ego but can also delve more into your upbringing or background. At some points in your life, it’s either you’ve been unappreciated or invisible by someone who you desperately wanted to notice you. You’ve done all you can to prove to that person or group of people that you deserve their praise and appreciation but to no avail.
You revolved your whole life to being pleased, even sacrificing your interests. Because of this, you’re looking for an outlet where you can freely express all the bottled up emotions inside you to people who do see your potential (but they’re not the ones you wanted). Your ego was crushed a million times before, and now that they’ve been put together by the people who are intimidated by you, you crush theirs.
YOU LIVE IN FANTASY LAND
You perceive the world as a paradise filled with nothing but kind-hearted people. You’re living in a delusion looking at the world as a place that favors the meek when in reality, it favors the arrogant and manipulative. You’re offended easily because your expectations about the world and its people are so different from what’s real. You think that as long as you do your job and match the performance according to your standards of what’s excellent, people will leave you alone. You think that if you stay away from people and mind your own business, that you will not be stuck in others’ drama.
YOU FAILED TO DRAW BOUNDARIES
It’s a possibility that you tend to get offended easily because you expect an exchange of desired results from another person without clearing the air. You failed to disclose your honest intentions in a relationship and that’s why you’re offended when you receive something completely far and different from what you had given. You get offended by the audacity of the other person to not match the value you’re giving to him/her consistently. You get upset by the feedback you receive when at some points, you need to take accountability for your role in a specific relationship.
YOU THINK THAT BY BEING GOOD, THEY WILL BE GOOD TO YOU TOO
If you think that by being good to other people, you are given the guarantee to expect a tantamount degree of kindness from others then you’re way wrong. You need to stop with your expectations when you do something good to someone because it’s not a right move to make. You should continue to be kind even when others are not, as your actions reflect more about yourself than to them. Some good-hearted ones out there will probably be but you can’t force those to treat you the way you treat them just because you’ve been fair or considerate. The world simply doesn’t work that way; you just have to accept it.
4 WAYS TO DEVELOP A THICKER SKIN:
BE OPEN TO CRITICISM
When you’re all about the grind, your courage and confidence attract two kinds of people: those who get inspired and those who get jealous. Both types try to involve themselves in your process because they want their lives to change by being a part of your story. To those who are proud of your beginning, you might feel pressured of meeting to their expectations and as a result, you get burned out by working way too much than your capacity. For the second type of person, you might get insulted by their negative feedback which brings no good to the table whatsoever but gives you a reason to give up.
Regardless, keep in mind that the people’s opinions, whoever they are, have no power or any form of direct effect against you if you don’t let it. If they shame your first video upload on Youtube by saying “you’re ugly” in the comments, you can either not read it and delete it right away or read it but don’t believe it or read it and take it as a challenge.
STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO PERSONALLY
You have to learn how to separate personal attacks from constructive criticism. If it’s the latter, then it’s best to receive it in the manner that any person should. Your colleague criticizes you for the flaw in your procedure (which without his/her input, you would’ve been embarrassed in front of your boss), but you take it the wrong way. You see his/her constructive criticism as a brand for hate and jealousy and that’s why you refuse to listen to him/her.
You paint him/her as a bad person when all he/she wanted to do was to help you out by pointing out an error you failed to acknowledge. This happens to everyone in different parts of their career and it’s frustrating to know how many points of improvement people waste because they have mistaken it as a desperate act of hate against them.
Some people, no matter their approach, tell you what you’re doing wrong about the job and not what’s wrong with you as a person. Sometimes, it’s not the fault of the sender but the receiver’s from interpreting it wrong and shifting the message into a different angle that places you in the wrong position. There are things that weren’t meant to hurt you but you felt like it was for you. Sometimes, you’re the one forcing your foot to fit in the shoe that wasn’t for you in the first place.
MAKE ROOM FOR MISTAKES
To take criticism well, never think you don’t deserve to be criticized. Everybody makes mistakes, no matter where you are in the process of growing. Even when you think you’ve outgrown the advice of the people who helped you before, there’s still always a reason to listen. It’s essential that you make a huge room for mistakes because there will be no shortage of them. Don’t let insecurity and ego take a big chunk of that room because that won’t do good to anybody, especially to you.
If you acknowledge that you’re still going to make and encounter lapses of your own, it wouldn’t hurt as much as when people spot them for you without you knowing. Because when people shoot you unexpectedly, your instinct would be to shoot back. But if you have at least the slightest bit of idea what kind of poison their bullets contain, the wisest thing to do would be to build an antidote for yourself.
LET PEOPLE JUDGE YOU
If you think you’re in the right but they’re still talking bad about you, then let them. Not all fights need to be fought; some of them are simply not worth it. Let them come at you as often as they like. Their relentless pursuit to bring you down reflects how intimidated they are to you and that’s a good thing; it means you’re bigger than them. Take it as a challenge and a driving force to rise above them. The higher you get, the fader their voice will get, and the lesser their impact is on you. Eventually, they’ll stop with all the hate and judgment because they’ll realize they couldn’t hinder you from your dreams anymore.
You have the power to choose which battles you want to bleed for, so don’t waste every drop of blood on fights that don’t matter. You are in control of everything you can do if you put your mind to it. When starting your journey, everybody is going to want to sit in the front row cheering you on if you succeed or throwing banana peels at you if you fail. But don’t allow their impositions and expectations of you to limit your strength and capabilities just to meet them.
If you constantly involve yourself in everybody’s mess, you wouldn’t have enough strength and wit to deal with your own issues. Make use of the time and gift you have by honing your skills and seizing opportunities, not waiting for other people’s approval to check if this pleases or upsets them. One way or another, you need to toughen up. Not everyone is out there to get you and certainly not jealous of you.
“The problem with thick skin is that it leaves you impervious to the sharpest of pins. Everything becomes dull. But without that sense of pain, there cannot be that sense of relief. Ultimately, the thickened skin leaves you numb, incapable of feeling the highs and lows of life. It leaves you rough like a rock and just as inanimate.”Michael Soll