I know that I often take things too seriously when it comes to feedback. I get sensitive about certain things. I’m sure that many others aren’t this way. But I’m sure that a few are.
Getting offended happens in life. At work. In our personal lives. It’s a big part of the everyday happenings for a lot of us. Well, maybe not a big part, but at least a part. And when it’s happening it can feel that it’s a big part.
Over time I’ve come to learn that a few considerations can help. I still struggle with it. Maybe that’s the nature of my personality. But these things have seemed to help.
Others Usually Don’t Mean It
Other people are often thinking about themselves. They often give you feedback or their opinions on things because it makes them feel good. They give advice they think helps. They give criticism they think helps. All kinds of things.
It’s usually in good faith. But we can often take it the wrong way.
But there are times too when they are trying to be honest. I’ve learned that this should be appreciated. It doesn’t often feel good when it’s negative. But it’s usually better than not hearing it at all. Then you can’t learn the full story of the work you’re doing or the person you are around friends.
In both situations and others, it’s often not meant to hurt you. Knowing that can help lessen the blow.
It’s Usually Something That Matters Deeply To You
I’ve noticed over time that the things that really seem to offend me or that get to me the most are about things I care about deeply. It’s the things that I feel I’m good at or passionate about. Or the things that I’m putting a lot of thought and effort into. I know I’m not perfect at it. I’m probably aware of my shortcomings. So it stings a little extra when criticism comes in these areas.
And it’s not any easier when it comes from a friend or a spouse or a family member. It’s easy to feel like they should know how important these things are, but they still criticize or offend. But again, they’re probably not trying to do that. They are probably trying to help. Or they’re probably not thinking about it all that much and feel that we shouldn’t care what they think.
Communicate Your Thoughts
In my case I probably don’t communicate my feelings enough. This is true with many things and that includes when I’m offended. So I have to kind of force myself to tell the other person how I feel. Not to necessarily change their behavior, but to get it off my chest so I don’t build any resentment or anything like that.
Because that’s how things can get really sideways with offense. You don’t take time to work through it. You don’t get it out. Then the next time it happens you can kind of build an internal narrative that creates an alternative reality.
We can’t control the world around us. Offense is going to happen. The key is figuring out how to deal with it. How to understand it. How to prepare for it. It doesn’t mean that it will be okay when it happens. Because it will probably continue to happen. But it does seem possible to figure out how to lessen the negative effects from it. And even to learn from it.