3 Ways to Develop a Thick Skin - wikiHow

Опубликовал Admin
10-11-2022, 13:00
Do you tend to overreact when someone says something hurtful? It's normal to feel a sting when someone criticizes or insults you. However, if you tend to lash out in anger, cry, or feel upset for days, you may want to focus on developing a thicker skin. While there's nothing wrong with being sensitive, it's no fun to get knocked off balance by a casual comment. By learning to look at the bigger picture, having a positive attitude and building confidence, you can stand strong the next time you feel insulted.

Handling Insults

  1. Don't take it personally. Insults, unlike criticisms, are often delivered with the intention of hurting. Sometimes the insulter is just callous. Whether someone insults your looks, intelligence, skills or something else, it can feel like a personal attack. Since insults are in no way constructive, you don't have to take them to heart. Unlike with a criticism, there's nothing positive to do with the information. Give yourself permission to reject the insult instead of factoring it into your view of yourself.
    • Remember that an insult is opinion, not fact and it can only hurt you if you believe it. If you don’t see what the person said as part of your self-view, then it will be easier for you to let it go. For example, if someone calls you unattractive or unintelligent, you can easily reject this if you don’t see yourself that way.
    • After feeling the pain the insult brings about, try to let it go. Put it into context as a barb that can sting for a minute but ultimately holds no weight.
  2. Realize it's about the other person, not you. People who insult others often do so because they have their own emotional baggage, misplaced anger, personal issues, or personality flaws. If you're feeling good about yourself, you don't go around telling others what's wrong with them. Take a step back and realize that the person who insulted you is the one with the problem.
    • Look for the emotion behind the insult. The person who made the comment may be sad, angry, or upset in some other way. Some people have trouble expressing emotions so they take out their problems on other people.
    • Use this information to help yourself take the insult less personally. It may have hurt your feelings, but it was just a disguise for the person's real feelings.
  3. See if you have a deeper wound. If you tend to take the least negative comment as an insult, you might be the one with confused emotions. You might have deeper feelings of inadequacy that make it difficult to bear callous comments. Recognizing this can help you feel less insulted and develop a thicker skin.
    • For example, maybe you've been feeling insecure about your intelligence ever since starting a difficult new class. Someone calling you "silly" or "dumb" may cause you to feel more deeply insulted than the person intended.
    • The solution is to work on the feelings of inadequacy that are leading to the tender, sensitive spot. When you feel more confident about your intelligence you'll be able to let such comments roll off of your back.
  4. React nobly. Resist the urge to counter the insult with one of equal force. It won't make you feel better about yourself. Resorting to a counter insult will only cause worse feelings to arise. Instead, react in a way you can be proud of when you think about the situation later.
    • You have every right to ignore the insult. Just pretend like it wasn't said, if that seems like the best solution.
    • Or try lifting your chin, making eye contact and telling the person "you're wrong; that's not true."
  5. Defend yourself if you need to. If you're being insulted frequently, you may need to go further to put a stop to the situation. Some people get pleasure from making other people feel pain. If you feel the insults are going too far, consider one of these options:
    • Have a face to face confrontation. Tell the person that you expect him or her to stop insulting you. Sometimes just calling the person out will put a stop to the behavior.
    • Seek outside help. If you feel you're being bullied, a one-on-one confrontation may not help. Talk to your teacher, principal, supervisor, or someone else who can help you deal with the situation quickly.

Dealing With Criticism

  1. Think before reacting. When you receive a negative comment, your first reaction is probably defensiveness. The urge to react in anger or run to the bathroom and cry might arise. You may even blush or begin to sweat. Letting yourself think before acting puts you in control. You can't control how a comment makes you feel, but you can control how you react to it.
    • Take a moment to let the first wave of emotion wash over you. Let yourself feel it, then wait for it to subside. Do not react until that initial flush of defensiveness is gone.
    • It may help to actually count to ten before you say anything. If you're alone, you can count out loud. If you're with someone else, count silently. Ten seconds is usually enough time to clear your head.
  2. Separate criticism from insult. A criticism is usually related to something separate from you. For example, your teacher might tell you your writing needs improvement. While it might be hurtful to hear this statement, it doesn't imply that there's anything wrong with you. It is important to learn to take constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve. An insult, on the other hand, is when someone cuts you down for who you are. It's usually related to something you can't change. Criticism serves a positive function, while insult is meant to cause pain.
    • Take the context of the comment into account. Did the person who said it mean well? Was it delivered by a person you respect in a position to critique you, like your teacher, boss or parents? Or was the person trying to hurt you?
    • Confusing criticism with insult commonly leads to overreaction. Being able to separate the two will help you develop a thicker skin at school, work and in other places where valid criticism can be given.
  3. See if you have room for improvement. Did the person who criticized you have a point? It's hard to swallow, but maybe the comment was valid. If you know that there's truth in the critique, try to accept it instead of getting defensive. Accepting criticism with humility instead of instantly rejecting it may help you improve.
    • It's also possible that the critique is dead wrong. Still, there's no need to overreact. It's just one person's opinion, after all.
    • Speaking of opinions, it might help to get a second one. This can help you establish whether you actually have room for improvement.
  4. Look at the bigger picture. Having perspective will help you get through the day without getting too emotional. Remember, there's nothing wrong with feeling that initial wave of anger, sadness or defensiveness when you first receive a criticism. However, you shouldn't let emotions drag you down for the rest of the day. In the larger context of your day, week, month or year, one comment isn't going to mean much.
    • If it seems impossible to put it into perspective, just tell yourself to wait it out until tomorrow. The pain really will fade after a day or two.
    • In the meantime, distract yourself. Spend time with a friend, watch a good movie or exercise the thoughts away.
  5. Resolve to make it into something positive. The best possible way to react to criticism is to use it as an incentive to take action. If you can't get it off of your mind, decide to do something about it. Replace those negative feelings with feelings of accomplishment.
    • For example, if you received a critical review of a report you wrote, consider revising the report with the critique in mind.
    • Without dwelling on the criticism, keep it in mind and resolve to do better next time.

Building Lasting Confidence

  1. Be proud of your strengths. When you feel good about your natural abilities, your personality and your other strengths, negative comments have less power to hurt you. You can take criticisms with a grain of salt and use them to improve. You can see right through empty insults. Building confidence is the best way to develop a thicker skin.
    • Do you know your strengths? Try making a list of everything you admire about yourself. Having a firm grasp on what you're good at will bolster you when you're feeling down.
    • Get good at what you do. Spend time practicing, learning and always working to get better. That way you'll have a core knowledge that you're good at what you do. A criticism or insult won't have as much power to bring you down.
  2. Don't try to be perfect. If perfection is your ideal, every little comment can floor you. It's OK to have things you need to work on. There is no way to be excellent at everything you try, every time. It's not that you have to lower your standards for yourself. Just realize that trying your best is what counts, not perfection.
    • Being a perfectionist may seem like a good thing, but perfectionists tend to have thinner skin than those who allow themselves to fail sometimes. Perfectionists are also highly critical of themselves. Low self-esteem is often brought on by self-criticism, so be compassionate towards yourself.
    • To let go of perfectionist tendencies, challenge yourself to learn something new. Try a new skill, sport, language, or anything else that interests you. Starting from scratch is humbling. It will help you realize that perfection is impossible. It's the journey that counts.
  3. Spend time with positive people. Maybe you're surrounded by people who are critical of you. It can be difficult to see yourself clearly when others are holding you to impossible standards. The solution is not to try to change, but to spend time with people who accept you for who you are.
    • Pay attention to how you feel after hanging out with certain people. Do you feel refreshed and happy? Or do you feel worse about yourself?
    • When you're with people who accept you for you are, you don't have to worry about being too sensitive. After building trust, you'll learn that your true friends will love you even when you feel insecure.
  4. Practice good self-care. Self-confidence is hard to come by when you aren't taking good care of yourself. Having a good self-care routine will help you feel healthier both mentally and physically. Your state of mind will improve, and you'll be less likely to worry about petty comments thrown your way.
    • Eat healthy and exercise. You've heard it a million times, but it helps. Make sure you're eating a well-rounded diet and exercising at least 30 minutes each day.
    • Get plenty of sleep. Being tired heightens emotions, leaving you more prone to taking things the wrong way.
    • Include meditation or yoga in you daily routine. These activities can help you to be more accepting of yourself.
  5. Seek outside help. If you can't seem to shake the feeling that people are out to get you, it may be time to talk with a therapist. Depression, anxiety, and other afflictions can make it feel all but impossible to handle negativity. Make an appointment with a counselor to discuss your situation and get help.
    • Talk therapy can be very effective when it comes to building self confidence and a thicker skin. You may also come to accept that it's OK to be sensitive.
    • If chronic depression or another disorder is troubling you, medication can also help. You'll need to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss the best options for your situation.


  • It takes patience and practice but it's worth it.
  • Sometimes what we are most sensitive about are issues we are afraid to face about ourselves. By having the courage to face them either through change or self-acceptance you will find more confidence in the long run.
  • Understand that no single person in history has been without critics. Some of the most successful people in history have had more than their fair share of critics.


  • Do not think that having a thick skin means being rude or indifferent.
  • Not all people who criticize you, want to hurt your feelings. There is a difference between constructive criticism and plain rudeness.
Users of Guests are not allowed to comment this publication.