Welcome to day 4 of my “5 ways…” posts, in which I have been blogging about 5 ways I have changed, overcome, or improved something in my life. I have already written about eating disorders, panic attacks and worthiness and deservingness and today’s blog addresses a topic that has been particularly relevant in the last couple of months of my life.
Today’s “5 ways…” deals with helping to stop yourself from caring about what others think of you, but also to keep yourself from adversity and bullies, and to stay strong and resilient to taunts:
5 ways I have stopped myself from caring so much about what others think of me
We all know how hard it is to ignore, or rise above the comments of others, and especially when we are dealing with mental illness. Mental illness often provides us with a more sensitive attitude towards the comments of others, as well as confidence and anxiety issues, and low self-esteem. With all of this going on in our heads, of course it is difficult to forget comments with a sting in the tail.
In my life recently, I have been dealing with work-place bullies, a situation made worse by the fact that these two individuals used to be my friends. The adversity I faced due to the comments of these individuals, along with their taunting and pushing for a reaction, caused me to feel extremely anxious, and doubt myself and all that I have worked to achieve in the past decade. Then I got to thinking, why do these people get to have any affect on me? They shouldn’t. And so I thought about how I could stop myself from being sensitive to the comments.
- Evaluate what the person means to me – is the person who is making negative comments about the way I look, the way my hair is, my clothes, my hobbies and interests, or my family and friends important to me? Do I respect them? Would I trust them with my secrets? Do they have any hold over me? Do I like them? Do I value their opinion? If the answer to these questions is no, then why do I care what they think of me…I shouldn’t. Of course, it is easier said than done to let the opinions of others just go over your head without second thought, but in general, if I don’t hold this person high in my regard, then their comments should not be important to me. The other thing to remember is that it is human nature to judge others, whether we like it or not. We are all guilty of it. The difference between me and perhaps another, is that I choose to keep negative judgements and opinions to myself, as I know that they will not be helpful to anyone. The only way a negative criticism is helpful is if it to help the other person, to support them and to constructively aid them to a better resolution.
- Continue working on my self belief and self esteem, and be the best version of me – the thing with bullies is, they are often just jealous people, who are green with envy over what you have, or what you are. Not to assume that all nasty comments come from bullies, but in my experience, this has been the case. Therefore, if the individual is jealous, and I keep working on being the best version of myself that I possibly can (the happiest, most content version for myself, and myself only – not to prove a point), then I’m neither letting them bring me down, nor interfere with my journey, all the while allowing their jealousy to eat them up inside, and not me! Furthermore, it is so important to continue to work on your self-esteem and self-belief. Ways in which I do this, are stated in my previous “5 ways…” post: click here to read. In doing so, you are allowing yourself to be in the best position to ignore, and give no credibility to the comments of others and their beliefs about you. If you strongly know who you are and what you stand for, right down to your soul, and you believe in yourself, then small-minded comments will never hold much credence…and this is what we want
- Stand up for myself – If someone makes a comment about you that you think is unfair, unjust or uncalled for, why shouldn’t you calmly and rationally assert your ability to stand up for yourself? Nobody should have to be a sitting target. Without sinking to a level of nastiness, question, respond and give yourself the power to defend yourself.
- Walk away/ignore – one of the most powerful things to do in the face of adversity, is to walk away. What it is vital to remember is that walking away DOES NOT make you weak. Walking away actually makes you the stronger person. Why? Because you are stronger than the need to retaliate, and sink to the level of others. I also practice the art of ignoring comments that are made to rile me. For example, when at work a couple of months ago, I was asked “why aren’t you eating? You’re weird. You’re not normal. Why can’t you eat like everybody else?” I identified this comment as neither caring, nor helpful, and therefore I decided it best to ignore the comment, and not give this person the time of day. To me, it seemed these questions were asked by someone who did not think before they spoke, and could not fathom the fact that there may be a reason behind my not eating. By ignoring and not rising to her comments, as well as deciding that this person was not relevant or important in my life, I allowed myself to be unaffected by them. By walking away or ignoring a negative comment, you are allowing yourself to take the upper hand, and to save yourself from participating in a conversation that could potentially be further damaging to your progress.
- Surround myself with supportive and loving friends and family – with loving, supportive and like-minded people (and one specific springer spaniel!) around me, who only comment to build me up, boost my confidence, compliment me, and make me smile or laugh, I am much more able to not worry about the opinions of those who do not add to this bubble of happiness. Neither can they take away from what I do have. It is so important to remain yourself, don’t give credence to criticisms or negative opinions, surround yourself with wonderful people and wonderful things, and build a life based on positivity, confidence and contentment.
Anybody that tells you they don’t care what others say, and don’t listen to criticisms and think on them, may be telling the truth, however they have not always been this way. It is important of course to remain able to distinguish between the comments of those you respect, and whom love and care about you and would only comment to further you growth, from the comments of small-minded, often jealous and immature people who comment to get a reaction, or make themselves feel better. The first of the two, is what we need in life, and the latter, we have no space for in our minds. That way, bullies will never win, and we will always remain silently, internally victorious…because we are strong, and untouchable.