Do you easily get angry when someone snips about you or your work? Do you take things way too personally that you view petty criticisms or feedback as major slights? Maybe you should learn how to calm yourself and take things some things a bit more lightly.
Criticisms, even ones that are destructive in nature, are part of life. You can’t please everyone. So every now and then, you may get unfriendly remarks. The key is; how do you control your emotions such that you don’t get offended right away?
Stop and Take A Moment to Relax
Our reactions to situations are partly a reflection of what we are. When something offends you, you have to sit down and think about why the particular action offends you. In some cases, taking offense is reasonable. Unfair judgment, malicious gossip, and invasion of privacy are offensive actions you have to defend yourself against.
There are other instances, though, wherein taking offense can make you look like a clumsy loser.
For instance, a would-be client tells you about your lackluster work and compares it with the works of others. You suddenly go berserk. You spent sleepless nights doing that project, and the last thing you expected was some clueless bloke telling you off for doing something different.
Write Down How You Feel
The moment you feel like responding to your supposed offender, sit down and put what you are supposed to tell them in writing. This allows you to pour out your emotions. You will feel a bit better once you have blurted out your thoughts about what you felt had happened.
Now leave this note somewhere. Go somewhere else, and then come back to it after an hour, maybe even after a day, when you are calmer. You will be surprised at how awful your words get when you’re angry. Now reword what you wrote into something more decent and composed.
Just Leave the Area
No matter how anticlimactic it seems, leaving the place of tension is a logical way of preventing unnecessary altercation between you and the person who said or did something that think is disgusting. Your initial reaction would be to lash out at him or her. But where would that leave you afterwards?
On the list of people with anger management issues? When you feel like hitting the other person in the face, keep your clenched fists right beside your hips and leave for some fresh air.
Engage In A Conversation With The Offender
When you’re calmer and when you have composed yourself, talk to the person who you think has offended you. Perhaps they don’t know that they have offended you. Perhaps they didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
So talk to them. Tell them that what they did earlier didn’t sit well with you or that what they said about you rubbed you the wrong way.
Don’t be too quick in attacking the person. Instead, engage in a conversation where you both clarify to each other what happened. Ask them why they did it. Ask about their intentions. Let them know that regardless of the intentions, you still feel that there would have been a better way to say what was said or do what was done.
The purpose of this conversation–not confrontation–is for you to understand each other better, to promote camaraderie, and prevent future disagreements and squabbles.
Accept That You Too, Might Have Had Shortcomings
People don’t just go around and say bad things about you if you are genuinely good. Of course, sometimes we have envious colleagues or associates who try to downgrade our accomplishments just so they could feel better about theirs.
However, in other cases, the criticism and feedback may be warranted and valid, and your best reaction should be to just accept them as objectively as possible.
Our emotions get in the way. That’s why you have to take the time off when you get a little too emotional after hearing unfavorable remarks about you or your work. Emotions cloud your rational thinking.
When you’re no longer emotionally charged, you can think about the criticism without cognitive bias.
Maybe the other person was right, and you have to look at your work or craft and tell yourself that you actually can make it better. Artists don’t improve by reading sugarcoated remarks about their work. It is the acerbic remarks that usually stir them up from prolonged stagnation, forcing them to be more creative and imaginative, and explore uncharted territories of their talents.
How To Stop Playing The Victim
Do you always blame people for your failures, predicaments, and misfortunes? Do you see yourself as a helpless victim of your situation? Do you consider your current situation as a crisis that’s impossible to get out of because you’re surrounded by people who pull you down the pit you’re in? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time you got out of the sticky situation you made up yourself.
Playing the victim is convenient. You have no control of your situation. You can always lay the blame on other people. You can always free yourself from the responsibility.
But at the same time, this is the perfect recipe for stagnation. You don’t grow as a person. You don’t get promoted. You’re stuck in your cubicle, doing rudimentary tasks until retirement. You will grow old in despair.
Go Over Your List of Misfortunes
You didn’t get the job. You were fired. You had to file bankruptcy. All right, take note that everyone makes blunders. People screw up on their first job interview. Their start-up small business didn’t make it its third year.
They couldn’t keep up with their mortgage. Bad things happen even to people who plan well.
Check your list of misfortunes. Who were responsible for them? More often than not, it was you, and even if it wasn’t you, you certainly could have done a workaround solution to navigate through the hard time. However, many people get stuck in the “it’s their fault” rationalization.
It’s that manager’s fault, he didn’t ask the right questions. It’s the traffic congestion’s fault, I didn’t arrive to my presentation schedule on time. There’s an endless amount of excuses.
Be Honest With Yourself
Can you honestly tell yourself that in all this difficult situation you are faultless, that someone else has put you where you are now, and there’s nothing you can do about it? Why weren’t you able to finish college? Was it because mom didn’t lend you money? Was borrowing money from mom your only option then? Were there no other options? Did you try other avenues?
Engage in introspection. Talk to yourself. What exactly is the problem? Your ego will jump in and save yourself from the embarrassment by rationalizing your actions and displacing the responsibility for your misfortunes. Everyone but yourself is at fault. You’re the victim. That’s what your ego will tell you.
It’s time to confront your ego with a simple question. What could you have done yourself? That leads to a better question. What can you do now?
Forgive Yourself For Your Failures
One of the reasons we play the victim is it shields us from the frustrations brought about by our failures. Deep inside, you know you could have worked harder for that project that never received recognition. But that’s a part of history now from which you can learn.
Stop dwelling in the past. Stop thinking about it. Instead, just learn from it, and move on.
Be In Control – Get it Together
Make a promise to yourself that from now on you will be in control. Don’t let anyone stand in the way of realizing your dreams. The rest of your life begins today, and that means embracing life and taking it within your grasp. Start making decisions for your personal growth.
Don’t be afraid to make bad decisions. Everyone makes bad decisions, and well-adjusted people don’t blame other people for their bad decisions. Remember, you can always fix a bad decision by baking a new and better decision.
Take Charge – Empower Yourself
You can do it. You’ve made accomplishments in the past for sure, and you certainly can make new accomplishments. The first thing to do is to stop looking at yourself as a victim. Start looking at yourself as your own hero who will pull yourself up from the deep pit you’ve created to shield yourself from the harsh realities.
Think about it. There are people who had lower grades in college.
There are people who were earning lower than you. There are people who were in worse situations than you are.
They made it! So can you.