Being thick-skinned is about changing your mindset, but controlling your brain to behave is not an easy task. Think of the change as like learning how to ride a bike.
At first, it will be hard to make things personally work for you, but once you do, it will become a part of you and stay with you for life.
Here are a few factors you can do to help:
1. Wait a moment before responding
Emotionally charged situations cause physiological changes. Information is processed, and thinking is applied before deciding on a response. Whether you’re trying to solve an issue or comprehend what someone else is saying, your mind uses a consistent process at a subconscious level.
When threatened, however, the brain bypasses the rational thought process in favor of a more immediate response. Consider your reaction if you saw a snake right next to your feet as you walked. To say, “Oh, I see a snake,” after only 2 seconds of observation, is absurd. If it bites me, it might be toxic, and I could die. Now is the time to go.
As an alternative, you act in the blink of an eye.
Our survival depends on this response, also known as the “flight or fight” reaction. Every kind of animal, bird, and insect reacts to danger similarly.
The issue is that your brain may see any dispute, negative criticism, or disagreement as a danger. The brain secretes cortisol as a defense mechanism, prompting instinctive, protective actions.
Do you recall making a snap judgment and then immediately regretting it? The medications wore off after a while, and you returned to your senses.
When anything provokes your anger, it only takes around 6 seconds for the hormones in your body to disperse. You can win the war by keeping your cool in those crucial moments.
It’s possible that on your first attempt, you won’t be able to hold back. On the other hand, you can learn to control your emotions with time and effort. Learning not to react on impulse is a learned behavior that can unlearn with practice.
2. Don’t conflate the person with the situation
Disliking certain individuals increases the likelihood that you may take offense at whatever they have said or done. You think they’re being intentionally sarcastic with their actions. You might also argue that it’s because of who they naturally are.
Some people will always look for a way to criticize you, even if it has nothing to do with you. People rarely fail to return a favor, though. And now we know that your actions made them so resentful of you in the first place.
When you’re angry, remove the person from the situation. If you think people are good, they will be friendly to you over time.
3. Find the lessons in each comment
There are two types of critics:
- People who always find something to criticize.
- People who care that you improve for the future
You can always learn something useful from criticism, regardless of the source. If your harshest opponent calls you out on a mistake, there’s probably some truth to what they’re saying. Most people who criticize you aren’t going to make stuff up.
If you wish to develop a thick skin, it’s important to listen to others and figure out how you might better handle similar situations in the future. You don’t need to roll over and play dead when people step on you.
Feel free to retaliate to offensive remarks, but do so only if you’ve considered the speaker’s motivations.
4. Assume the other is mentally ill
Those less-than-stellar days happen to the best of us. When we are not in good mental health, we are more likely to lose our temper, have a dispute over trivial matters, and act in ways we would have avoided had we been in a better frame of mind.
Assume the other is mentally ill. Unfortunately, that’s the circle of life.
When you hear a pointless argument or a spew of words, presume that the speaker is having a terrible day. This tactic will serve you well when dealing with someone you hardly know or who you know will behave themselves. It’s only fair to give such people a chance.
5. The art of being honest
Develop the habit of speaking out when you’re bothered by something a friend or coworker has said or done.
But, don’t cause a disturbance by acting inappropriately. Speak up, keep cool, remain calm and explain why you find that behavior offensive without getting angry.
Insightful listeners will take your words at face value. They’ll remember this lesson the next time they’re in a sticky circumstance and avoid making the same mistakes.
What Makes A Person Thick-Skinned?
Having thick skin is admirable since it enables you to handle life’s minor irritations easily. It encourages you to take life as it comes rather than letting the little things get you down.
But does that mean that they are immune to the effects of constructive criticism or negative feedback? Naturally, that’s not the case. It’s important to remember that as human beings, our feelings are influenced by the information received through our senses.
The difference is that persons with thick skin don’t respond so quickly. They have a positive mindset, and a positive attitude, and never get angry, dispute, or keep a grudge.
How Do I Know If I Have Thick Skin?
One of the original meanings of the term “thick skin” refers to an individual’s ability to withstand punishment without showing signs of weakness. The words or actions of others can easily hurt a person with thin skin.
People are said to have thick skin when they are not easily upset by negative comments, jokes, criticism, or disagreement. Or even when they feel hurt because of a deeper wound and have those negative feelings because they build mental toughness. This quality is not limited to verbal expression but extends through all actions taken.
In today’s fast-paced environment, you must learn the skill of being thick-skinned. The more you give in to your feelings, the less you’ll get done. Strive for an outlook that doesn’t get rattled by life’s little stresses.
It’s not as effective a strategy as it once was to shut down emotionally if someone disagrees with you or criticizes you; yet, with the right attitude and practice, you may learn to establish an aura of invulnerability around yourself that prevents any negativity from penetrating it.
Decide if you want to start developing thick skin or whether you want to keep yours the way it is. You have a free will option.