Sticks and stones may break my bones but calling names won’t hurt me…
Despite singing the words of that old adage as a child, many women still get to their forties and let the hurtful words of others affect the way they feel about themselves. For some it can take just one negative comment or hurtful remark to knock their motivation or impact on their confidence and self esteem.
Why do we let this happen? It is easier to react to the negative comments because they reinforce any negative beliefs we have about ourselves. These beliefs can stem from the hurtful words of others and sometimes they can be the result of words from those we hold most dear.
It could be constantly being told as a child that you’re no good and that you will never amount to anything. One of my clients has lived her life trying to prove that she can be successful because she was labelled as being no good as a child.
She has achieved great success both professionally and personally but as she approaches mid-life, she is feeling burnt out from living a life of constantly trying to prove something to others.
She is now at a place where she is learning to love and accept herself as she is and acknowledging that she does not have to prove anything to anybody, removing a weight of her shoulders in the process.
Many of us are quicker to react to constructive criticism than we are to positive feedback. I too am guilty of this at times. At one of my earliest workshops, all bar one person rated the session 4 or 5 out of 5. One person rated it a 2.
I chose to focus on the feedback that had rated it a 2, blanking out the others. That negative voice started its chitter chatter in my mind saying things such as you’re no good at this and they didn’t get anything from the session.
My whole mood took on a negative stance and if I had let it, it could have made me start to question my ability and whether I was good enough.
However, I did not. I quickly recognised what was happening and put things in to perspective, focusing on the positive feedback I received instead. The more I read over the positive feedback, the better I felt. Some of the comments had been very encouraging and showed that they had got something of real value from the session.
Sometimes someone may give us constructive criticism because they are trying to help us but because of the negative thoughts we have about ourselves, we may see it as an attack on us. When you are the recipient of words that hurt you and make you start to feel bad about yourself, the following 3 tips will help you to reframe the situation so that you do not bring yourself down.
1. Seek clarification
Make sure that you have received the feedback in the way that it is intended and that you have not misinterpreted what you have heard.
2. Put things in to perspective
Look at what has been said in perspective to what else is going on for you. Does this piece of feedback really justify you beating yourself up about it?
3. Turn unhelpful thoughts in to helpful thoughts
The way we think affects the way we feel so if your thoughts about yourself are negative, you won’t be feeling too good about yourself. If so, the negative or hurtful comments will only fuel the negative thoughts you already have.
Change your unhelpful thoughts about yourself to thoughts that are more enhancing and that are more helpful for you.
Remember sticks and stones may break your bones but calling names won’t hurt you.
Are the hurtful words of others affecting the way that you feel about yourself and in turn impacting on your confidence levels? If so book your place for the Ladies Networking Event here
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