We tend to take things personally when faced with criticism, with good reason. After all when someone says something to our faces it must be intended for us… right? Very few of us live completely cut off from the rest of the world, and even those who do, are still influenced by their direct environment and their own “stuff” going on inside their heads.
So, the question is, when we’re faced with criticism whether it is direct criticism or a sidelong glance we need to keep in mind that we might not be either the cause or the intended (or even a deserving) target. We just happen to be in the way.
This can be particularly uncomfortable if you’re one of the around 20% of the population who are particularly sensitive or perceptive of their environment. Recognising that there is a chance we haven’t done anything wrong, can be the first step in dealing with how that comment or look makes us feel inside. It can help us help us let the criticism roll off of us like water off the proverbial duck’s back.
So, once we’ve accepted that we might not be to blame, how do help ourselves not be so affected by this stuff?
Well, if we take a look at that proverbial duck we see that it engages in regular preening of its feathers to retain its water repellant surface. Several times a day ducks take the time to preen themselves to make themselves impermeable to water.
And this is exactly what we need to do. If you’re a duck, it’s easy to know where to start… beak along feathers! But for the rest of us who seem to have forgotten how to make our outer skin more repellant to criticism. There are a multitude of methods available. Meditation, visualisation, autogenic training, yoga, exercise, affirmations, spending 10-15 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace at the beginning of the day, or even looking at kitten videos, can help us “stress-proof” ourselves when done consciously and consistently.
We just need to get into the habit and keep it going every day… twice a day preferably, with additional exercises to replenish ourselves on the go if our “outer skin” starts to wear a little thin in places during the day.
So, make a plan… invest in some waterproofing, choose a morning and evening practice, and have a technique to replenish yourself during the day in the case of emergency. Then, when we do get shouted at or sneered at things just don’t ‘ruffle our feathers’ as much. So fit in a little preening
and get in touch with your “inner duck” today!