Standing in the mirror winking at your reflection and giving yourself the old Joey (How you doin’?) is definitely something you’ve done (you can deny it, but what’s the point?). Perhaps you look ravishing in a new dress, or you’ve just been hit on by a guy entirely too young for you, or maybe your boss just promoted you to a new position because you are just plain awesome. For my husband it’s anytime he puts on a black shirt, which I’m pretty sure he thinks turns him into Justin Timberlake. It doesn’t matter what makes you feel confident enough to want to be your own best friend, just that you do. In a world where criticism is considered more appropriate than positive feedback, you need to develop a thick skin; enough to keep you confident when someone tries to bring you down you can chalk it up to their lack of awesome-ness.
Ego is Not a Bad Thing
A little ego goes a long way; and a little ego is exactly what you need to develop a thick skin. You want to have an ego that lies somewhere between, “I’m so much better than these hideous losers,” and “I am so insignificant compared to these beautiful creatures.” You want to have an ego that says, “They’re hot, but so am I.” The reason for this is that without a little bit of an ego – which offers you confidence – you will always take everything personally. Being told that your presentation needs a little work might make you cry and feel as if though you are not good enough without a little ego. With too much it might make you tell your boss to kiss your holier than thou behind and stop being a hater. Just enough ego will let you see this criticism for what it is: constructive and honest. Your subpar presentation doesn’t mean you’re any less awesome at your job, it just means that you can always do better.
It’s Not (Always) About You
When you think that every negative feeling your boss, mother, sister, cousin, neighbor or coworker has is directly related to you, you’re going to have a difficult life. You need to realize right here and now that sometimes people are simply angry at the situation, not at you. Think about any time you are on the road, angry because construction is going on. Are you angry at the construction worker who is busting his behind on the side of the road in heavy traffic in the heat of the day to create a more convenient, safer driving environment for you? No, you’re mad that traffic is slow, but you know that it isn’t the construction worker’s fault. Think about that the next time someone is angry at the situation instead of taking it so personally. Thinking everything is your fault will make you miserable.
Listen Like a Man
Ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The best way to develop a thicker skin is to listen like a man, which means you hear what you want to hear and ignore everything else; most of the time. You and your husband talked for 30 minutes on the way to dinner last night and despite responding to everything you said, all he heard was, “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” When you spend too much time listening to everyone about everything, you will become a people pleaser. So what if it’s your birthday dinner and your friends hate the restaurant you picked? It’s your birthday dinner, so it’s your choice. You suffer through their questionable choices on their birthdays, it’s their turn. They don’t love you any less because they hate cooking their own food at the fondue restaurant. Not everyone is going to love everything you do; hearing the compliments and the praise is a much better idea than hearing their complaints.