How do I take criticism less personally?

Being offended was yesterday: How to manage not to take criticism personally

Mobil-e: Dr. Wolf, why do some people feel offended faster than others?

Dr. Doris Wolf: How quickly one experiences certain words or behaviors as offensive is closely linked to our self-esteem. Those who consider themselves unlovable and inferior will also see the behavior of others towards them through these glasses. This means that he is looking for evidence of this attitude in the behavior of the other person. And even if the other person asserts that he did not mean it offensive, the person affected sometimes sticks to his negative point of view. Because offense comes from our evaluation and not from the other person.

Mobil-e: How can you determine whether a criticism was actually too harsh or whether you simply reacted very sensitively yourself?

Dr. Doris Wolf: Each of us has our own standard when we rate something as "too harsh". Our evaluation depends, for example, on how close the relationship is to a certain person and how much they mean to us. “Too harsh” is an assessment that we make ourselves. Of course, other factors also play a role, such as our current condition, our expectations of the other person and what reasons we suspect behind their behavior. We can get a small indication of whether we are correctly classifying a comment by asking third parties whether they see this behavior in a similarly negative way and would react in the same way as us.

Mobil-e: And how do you best deal with it when you feel offended?

Dr. Doris Wolf: At the moment of mortification, the first thing to do is to create security for us. When we stand upright and breathe deeply in and out, we signal to our body that there is no danger to life and that it can calm down. Then we are more likely to have a clear thought. After that, we have to check our evaluation to see whether we have interpreted it incorrectly or exaggeratedly. For example, we can ask the other person: “What exactly do you mean by that?” Or “When exactly did I behave like this?”. It is also helpful to put yourself in the other person's shoes in order to better understand their behavior.

Mobil-e: How can one generally better deal with offenses?

Dr. Doris Wolf: In the long term, it is helpful to relate the offending behavior to all that we have already gained in terms of experience with the other person. Do we really want to make this one reaction more important than all the positive experiences? We can also ask ourselves whether we really want to feel bad about this one event in the long run. By shouting to ourselves to stop and brooding over this negative experience, we can also relieve ourselves.

Mobil-e: How can you make it clear to the other person that his behavior was offensive?

Dr. Doris Wolf: Here I would like to differentiate between coping with the inside and clarifying the relationship. First we have to do the work internally and bring ourselves back into balance. This can happen, for example, by first getting out of the situation. Then we can consciously decide how we want to react. If the person is important to us and we want to keep in touch with them, then we have to clarify the whole story. It is best to speak to her in a quiet moment and explain to her in first person how we received her comment or behavior and how we felt: “I felt ... as you ... to me said. “We should refrain from accusations and reproaches. Then we can ask the other to act differently in the future.