All of us have at some time or other experienced an unpleasant put down. While a well-timed compliment can do wonders for our confidence, a put down can have an even more profound impact on our self-esteem. This is especially true if the put down comes from someone whose opinion we value, or someone that we really like. And it can be especially devastating when the put down is referring to something that we feel insecure about already.
But there’s nothing to be gained from wallowing in this feeling. The question is: how can you get your confidence back after someone has knocked it and how can you avoid getting hurt again in future? Let’s take a look at some strategies and tips that can help…
Think About Where the Put-Down Is Coming From
The first thing to do, is to assess whether or not the put-down has any merit. Is this an objective appraisal of your ability? Chances are that it’s not.
Most of us will not put someone down unless we have a very good reason to. We all know how it feels to get unsolicited criticism and that for the most part, it’s not constructive or helpful. Therefore, even if we have a legitimate criticism, we will normally sugar coat it or keep it to ourselves until asked.
So, if someone is putting you down, it’s probably not because they have a legitimate concern. Rather, it’s probably because they feel insecure themselves, because they have something to gain, or because they’re being purposefully vindictive. Try to identify the motivation of this person and then decide whether you should really worry about what they have to say!
And even if you do think their criticism comes from an honest place, even then you have to ask yourself whether they are in a position of authority to make that complaint. Do they know what they’re talking about? Are they in a better position to judge than you are?
Judge Yourself by Your Own Standards
When asked whether we put more stock in what other people think or what we think, most of us would say that what we think of our own behaviour is more important. But while this is the official party line, it’s something we often forget when we’re interacting with others and this is why it can hurt so much when someone says that the clothes we’re wearing look bad, or when someone tells us that our career choice is dumb.
At the end of the day, these are just opinions. There will be others out there who share your opinion, so what does the opinion of this one person really matter?
Next time, just ask yourself: do you think you look cool? Do you think the career you’re pursuing is an interesting one? If the answer is yes on both counts, then who cares what that person thinks…
Speak to Someone Who Makes You Feel Good
They say that one bad comment is as impactful as about 10 positive compliments. In other words, it will take ten positive words to get you back to that equilibrium.
This is an entirely arbitrary number though of course and it’s not in any way accurate or precise. Nevertheless, it’s certainly true that after a few nice comments that feel heartfelt and genuine, we’ll be back to feeling on top of things. So, spend some time with friends or family. Don’t fish for compliments, but just enjoy basking in the good vibes!
Do Something You’re Good At
Finally, why not just try spending some time doing something that you know you’re good at and that makes you feel positive?
For me it’s the gym. I know I’m strong and when I lift 150kg off of my chest, it’s hard to feel like a failure. Go and find whatever it is you do best and feel great about it!