If you’re an author, a marketing director, an accountant, a celebrity, a career professional, or a business owner, you’ve had to dodge a few insults in your professional lifetime. Everyone has. Now, I’m not talking about constructive criticism; I’m talking about hurtful remarks intended to sting. These insults can really stink and despite the intent of the wielder, they burn for a long time in your memory.
Insults will come no matter what you do for a living or who you are as a person. This is just part of life. And yes, when insults happen in person or the cowardly way, online, they hurt and that hurt can last for a while, unless you do something about it
Here are seven tips that may lesson the sting of insults and help you grow stronger and more successful moving forward.
- Buckle Up. Hey, “Shock and awe” style advice is sometimes incredibly useful in jolting us out of a funk. Artfully phrased challenges have their place in our culture and sometimes that’s all you need to move past your pain. Great reads like No Excuses by Brian Tracy and You’re Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget are tough, in-your-face, truth tellers designed to shock you out of the victim mentality and back onto the success train.
- Be Curious. Explore whether the hurtful comment was really intended as an insult or a poorly worded but good-nature ribbing. We are all guilty of not being as clever as we want to be in the moment. Backhanded compliments and poorly worded encouragement should not cause you to throw in the towel. Instead, be curious. What does this statement really mean, does it warrant consideration, or was it just a faux pas?
- Get Strong: Look for resources that will build you up and help you grow strong and resilient so insults roll right off. One must-read book that will help build your resilience against insults is 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. In this book you’ll learn how to combat your fears and build your self-esteem. Morin also gives you proven strategies and exercises to build your emotional strength while training your brain for happiness and success.
- Acknowledge It. Let me be clear, acknowledgement of an insult doesn’t mean it’s fair or spot on. Rather, it means, accepting it for what it is and letting it go. Yes, if there is any truth in it and is there room for improvement, perhaps you should look for ways to make improvements. Then acknowledge that this person has the right to express their feelings (whether we like it or not) but it doesn’t mean they are right. Simply acknowledge this to yourself privately (and only for a moment) and then let it go and be done with it.
- Be Mindful. Words can hurt but they are just words. Most likely, you don’t even know the person who’s wielded the insult or what fear inspired them to make the comment in the first place. Be mindful of the fact that there is a lot of pain in this world and sometimes the only way people work through their hurt is by hurting others. This doesn’t mean it’s right. But it does mean it’s not about YOU. Dr. Sandra D. Wilson is a therapist, spiritual leader and an expert in helping people overcome challenging life obstacles. In her book Hurt People Hurt People, she shares how you can work through pain, heal past wounds and build stronger relationships.
- Chill Out. Please don’t fuel the fire by reacting. Most likely, the insult doesn’t deserve a response. But if you must respond, tread carefully. Reacting in the heat of the moment could severely damage your professional reputation, not to mention start something that could take a turn for the worse. And please don’t let this comment affect your blood pressure. Focus on letting it go, chilling out and accepting the fact that “hey, if you have haters, it means you’re doing something right.
- Get Motivated. Here’s your chance to prove naysayers wrong. Take this motivation and turn it into something brilliant. You have been fueled by all kinds of motivation for your past successes, so why not throw this coal on your fire and get rocking and rolling. Success is the sweetest form of revenge.
Images courtesy of William Morrow/Harper Collins and Our Daily Bread Publishing (formerly, Discovery House)