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There have been a lot of well-known quotes proclaiming how you should react to what other people say about you. Most of them state that you should pay little or no attention to their rants because their words speak more about them than they do you. I would add that if their remarks are derogatory or disparaging, they certainly do not deserve your consideration.
But what if those words are complimentary or constructive? Would it not be prudent to acknowledge and thank them for their comments? It would be counterproductive to dismiss them the same as we would if they were offensive. And what about those times when we do ask for someone’s opinion? Do we accept the positive and throw out the negative as chaff in the wind?
It is impossible to completely discard everything others say. Perhaps we are given strict guidelines by our boss or need to follow instructions from a doctor. There are some people we cannot ignore, and there are some words which are vital. How do we discern when and whose words we should regard the most?
Criticism wears many hats. It can be harsh or beneficial; it flows from the lips of friends or foes. The intent may be to harm or help. Although frequently difficult to hear, sometimes criticism offers a fair analysis of what we need to improve. There are also times, unfortunately, when its only purpose is to hurt or injure.
Biting sarcasm and stinging condemnation can be difficult to ignore, and the higher profile you are, the more likely you’ll have greater extremes of both. It is precisely during these times that encouraging words from a friend or confidant will help you navigate these troubling moments.
In the end, it is truly up to us to decide how criticism will impact us. But is there anything that we can use in our defense against the sharp arrows of condemnation when they are shot at us?
One of the best weapons we have against callous remarks is self-confidence. When cruel words are hurled at us, the only way they can cause damage is for us to consider their validity.
Imagine someone speaking in a language you do not understand, voraciously yelling highly critical insults at you. Not understanding anything that person is saying, you may be wondering what is wrong with that person. You may question yourself and ask if anything you did made them so angry, but you won’t have any clue what they are saying and their outburst will rarely affect how you feel about yourself.
Self-confidence is knowing both your strengths and your weaknesses. Your strengths feed your confidence and understanding the areas where improvement is needed in turn help your strengths become stronger.
“Good job” is something many of us yearn to hear on a regular basis, especially from our boss or manager. Feeling appreciated is something which has a lasting, reassuring effect. Think of the times when someone lifted your spirits by saying something inspiring. Also, remember the times when you sincerely wished someone would have said something supportive to you. Those were the times it was needed the most.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial habits we can create for ourselves is to be the person freely giving thoughtful compliments. Make it a routine to commend others for their efforts. Be that person who others recognize as uplifting or encouraging. That way, when they recall those expressions stating, “what others say about you says more about them,” they will only think positively about you. Being a kind, caring and compassionate person will also add to self-confidence and inspire you to continue lifting others.
Self-confidence is a safeguard against negative talk and is a biproduct of being an inspirational person. But what if you know your self-confidence needs a boost and you’re not quite sure how to do it, how do we go about raising it to a level where it makes a huge impact on our own lives?
Consider first what self-confidence is. The word itself clearly states it: confidence in yourself. But when you realize yours is lacking, is it a simple choice and we just start being more poised and assertive?
Some people had the great fortune of growing up with parents, caretakers, and teachers who instilled confidence in them. They were able to face challenges since they believed in themselves. But what made them become a confident person? Was it because they were told those things only?
There is no doubt that growing up in an environment of confidence and self-belief helped, but ultimately, they had to accept that those ideals were true about themselves. They could have been told 100 times a day that they were capable, talented, smart, or any number of other positive attributes. However, if they ultimately did not acknowledge it about themselves, they would not have greater levels of self-confidence.
The reason it’s important that we do hear positive words from others is for the validation it gives us. It can be incredibly difficult, especially if you have been a victim of low self-esteem, to just start feeling better about yourself. When someone we admire pays us a compliment, accepting it makes us feel better and more importantly, helps us feel better about ourselves.
Not everyone is the same when it comes to how and how much validation they need. But whether it’s a pat on the back or being congratulated in front of a group of peers, receiving validation from others has the power to ultimately transform the way we think about ourselves, and self-confidence is nothing less than changing and enhancing the way we perceive our worth and value.
Ignoring what others say about us is not always the solution. It is up to us how we hear those words, and sometimes, they can be the required amount of validation we really needed to hear.
My thanks to Madhushree Narayan on Unsplash for the wonderful pictures and I look forward to your comments. If you are needing some guidance on how to raise your self-confidence, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be glad to help.