If you've ever been called thin-skinned, touchy, prickly, defensive or asked about the chip on your shoulder, this post is for you. I think we've all experienced a time when someone has said something or done something and you start thinking, "what's that about"?
Many people let it roll right off their back but some of us spend hours, even days ruminating the incident over and over, trying to make sense of it.
The feeling of being slighted is sometimes very real but sometimes it wasn't real at all, it's only in your mind. It's hard to go through life being prickly all day but more importantly, it's hard to succeed: if you think that your boss was trying to embarrass you in front of the entire team, how can you possibly use your creativity and skills in a productive way?
You could be right. Maybe you're being slighted. Maybe you need to ask yourself about the situations you're in and develop the courage to change them. But chances are that your boss might be under pressure to make sure the numbers are there so you can keep your job, and just doesn't have time to always be thinking about your feelings.
Here's the truth: people don't like dealing with prickly people. It's always a chore, no matter how smart, engaging, hilarious they are, it still becomes "something you have to deal with" and more often than not, people will choose not to deal with it unless they have to.
Being prickly could be closing you off from opportunities at work, with friends, but really be preventing love, making money, and ultimately be preventing you from happiness.
If you're touchy about your weight, even those around you trying to help you will be perceived as trying to slight you and you could be shutting off the help you need to get your life under control.
But the real question is this: how do you toughen up? Follow these basic rules and you'll see the feelings of being slighted be lessened and eventually minimized and redefined to conversations that happen throughout the day.
1. It's not about you. It really isn't. If you're friend is snappish and seems to have a disregard about your feelings, you have to remember to consider the source. She could be going through something and not telling you. Her boyfriend could be hinting that he's breaking up with her but she's not telling you and her anxiety is coming out in different ways.
When you're thinking everything is about you, it's similar to the development stage of a 2 year old, when the world does revolve around you and only you. Most of the time it's about something other than you.
2. Simply ask. Nothing can bring more relief than a simple question of "What did you mean"? Now if you ask that question with hidden rage, you're most likely going to draw out ire or even create ire! A simple approach of what did you mean, with a calm voice could show you exactly why that slight was a perceived slight, and not even close to what you were thinking.
3. Ask yourself, "Why does it bother you so much?" Asking yourself this question will surface old memories that you thought were buried, but they are very much at the forefront of your every day life masking themselves and transforming into new ways to feel slighted.
What do I mean by this? If your boss asks you if you've finished the project you're working on, and you feel your blood boil with thoughts rushing through your head such as I've been working day and night! Doesn't he see how hard I'm working? You need to ask yourself the question, "Why does this bother me so much?" He's probably just asking because he needs to report to someone else.
Who used to ask you if you were finished? Why is it bringing about such heightened feelings?
4. It's not always what you think. Maybe a good friend of yours is having a dinner party and you haven't heard about it. A day or two goes by and you've now heard about it from a few of your mutual friends. They're are talking about it and what they're going to wear and you start to think, I can't believe I wasn't invited! Is my friend mad at me? What is going on?
You start to think of all the conversations you've had over the past month and try to figure out what you could have said or did. You start to get angry, then hurt. Meanwhile, this entire time, she told people about the dinner party by email and your email "invite" went into your spam box that you didn't even check.
5. Check your physical state. Are you tired? Are you hungry? Do you need to get your energy out and go for a run? These can all have an effect on how you deal with being slighted.
Working out is a great coping mechanism to clear your head and give you clarity about a situation and discover different angles and reasons for why something happened. If you feel yourself getting annoyed or angry, have a quick mental check in about how much sleep you had over the last few days and if you skipped breakfast.
If you found this post helpful, you will also find our article "How To Live Without Apology" of interest!