Friday, August 5, 2016

What the others think of you reflects what they are, not who you are


The Sioux had a very interesting proverb, “before judging a person walks a mile in his shoes”. They were referring to the fact that it is very easy to judge, understanding is a bit more difficult and having empathy is much more complicated. This can only be achieved if you lived similar experiences.

However, often we state that the others understand us, understand our decisions and share it, or at least support us. When they don’t do it, we feel bad, misunderstood and even rejected.

Of course, it is not our fault, we all need that in some situations somebody validate our emotions and decisions, it is perfectly understandable. But sobordinating our happiness to the acceptance of the others or take decisions based on the fear that others do not understand us is a big mistake.

Because, what others think of you, actually says a lot more of them than of your, it reflects who they are, not who you are.

When someone criticizes a person without being able to put himself in his shoes, without showing a shred of empathy and without trying to understand his point of view, he’s simply exposing his way of being. With his words could shout out to the world that he thinks you're a bad person, but with his attitude is just proving that he's an insecure person, with a rigid mindset and full of stereotypes.

We criticize what we don’t understand or don’t want to accept

The truth is that behind a destructive criticism almost always hides ignorance or denial. In fact, many people criticize because do not understand your decisions, they didn’t put themselves in your shoes, don’t know your story and don’t understand what prompted you to take this road. Many people criticize from a deep ignorance and, above all, by ignorance, from an arrogant posture that makes them think they own the absolute truth.

In other cases people criticize because they see reflected in you own certain characteristics or whishes who do not want to recognize. In this regard, the French writer Jules Renard said: “our criticism is to reproach the other of not having the qualities that we believe we have”. For example, a woman who is abused by her partner can criticize divorce, thus reiterating its position: repeats to herself that she must continue to endure this situation. And the curious side of it is that the harder is the criticism the stronger the denial at its base.

In practice, sometimes the destructive criticism is nothing more than a defense mechanism known as “projection”. In this case, the person casts on other such feelings, wishes or impulses that are too painful or that he’s not able to accept, so that perceives them as something alien and punishable.

How to survive criticism?

Nobody likes to be criticized, especially if the criticisms are transformed into real verbal attacks. Unfortunately, we can not always avoid these situations, we must learn to live with them avoiding to get excessively damaged.

How we can do it? Here are some uncommon but very effective strategies:

1. Put yourself in the place of those who criticize you. Empathy is a powerful antidote to anger. We can not get angry with someone when we understand how he feels. So the next time you criticize someone tries to put yourself in his place, even if that person is not able to put himself in your shoes. So you'll see that it is probably a short-sighted person who has not lived your own life experiences or who accumulates a lot of bitterness and resentment. Then you will notice that it is not worth worrying about his words.

2. Accept that is just an opinion. What others think of you is their reality, not yours. Those people judge you based on their own experiences, values ​​and criteria, not according to yours. If they were put in your shoes and traveled your path in life, they’d probably think very differently. Therefore assume that these criticisms are really just opinions, neither more nor less. You can consider them, to see if you can take advantage of it, or you can simply reject them.

3. Return the criticism gracefully. When it comes to a destructive criticism, the most convenient thing is usually pretending not to hear, because that person is usually not open to dialogue, if he were, instead of judging and attack would show a more respectful attitude. But there are cases where you need to put a limit to the situation. After all, when it comes to desperate times, you have to resort to extreme solutions. In such cases, answers without getting angry and with concise sentences that do not give rise to a reply. For example: “I don’t accept that your opinion about something you don’t know” or “I think you didn’t understand, and that you don’t want to, so I don’t accept that you criticize me”.

Do not criticize without thinking first

In general, people judge more with their eyes than with their mind, as everyone can see, but few understand what they see” said Niccolo Machiavelli few centuries ago. We can make our own these words making sure that when we criticize the criticism contains the seeds of change and be constructive. Criticizing just for the sake of it simply means that our tongue is disconnected from the brain.


Keep feeding your neurons

What the others think of you reflects what they are, not who you are
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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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