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There are so many moments in the day where it’s possible to take things too personally. Maybe the dude behind you in traffic honks aggressively, your boss dishes out some criticism at work, or your friend says she isn’t in love with your outfit. For most people, these moments come and go without lasting effect. But for those of us who are extra sensitive, even the most benign comment can feel like a punch in the stomach.
Are you part of that latter group? If so, then it probably feels like everyone on the planet has pulled together to ruin your day. While this obviously isn’t the case, I totally get why you might feel that way. People can be mean, and people can be thoughtless. When you aren’t armed with the best self-esteem or an IDGAF attitude, then life can get pretty painful.
This is especially the case if you have social anxiety. “[Those with social anxiety will be] likely to believe people don’t like them, people are talking about them, or that things are their fault,” says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. It magnifies the feeling, and makes it 100 times worse. Luckily, there are things you can do to challenge the feeling and stop taking things so personally. Read on for some ways to do just that.
1. Check That Negative Self-Talk
It’s easy to take things personally when you have a reel of hatred turning in your head. This is called negative self-talk, and it’s your inner voice that says things like “I deserve to be treated this way,” or “everyone is always mean to me.” If this is so your brain, then start challenging it. Martinez tells me a great place to start is by making a list of your 10 best qualities and accomplishments. “Keep it somewhere with you, so that you can refer to it when needed.”
2. Don’t Jump To Conclusions
Do you immediately assume the worst about everything everyone says? If so, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel hurt on a 24/7 basis. So do yourself a favor, and stop jumping to conclusions. “Don’t make assumptions about judgment or criticism seemingly directed at you,” said Abigail Brenner, M.D., on Psychology Today. “Maybe it’s not about you at all, but rather about them and their own perceptions projected onto you.” In other words, remember that most things people say ain’t your problem.