‘You are too sensitive. You need to grow a thicker skin!’
If you are a highly sensitive person or an empath, you have probably heard this statement at one point in your life. But how can you grow a thick skin? And why do you need to?
According to research, an estimated 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive. However, sensitivity can either be your best or worst personality trait. On the one hand, it means that you are self-aware, feel and think about things deeply, and have a great ability to care for others, but on the other hand, being too sensitive could also mean that you easily get offended or affected by what others say and do.
Other than this, being a highly sensitive person can affect your personal and professional life negatively. For instance, you might take things personally that you shouldn’t, overreact or overthink things, and generally feel every emotion too deeply, including the negative ones.
If being a highly sensitive person starts to affect your life negatively, it might be wise to consider learning how to grow a thick skin in order to stop being so sensitive.
Growing a thick skin means becoming mentally and emotionally strong and having the ability not to be easily upset or affected by the words and actions of others. If you are wondering how you can stop being so sensitive and develop a thicker skin, here are a few tips;
6 Ways to Grow a Thick Skin and Stop Being Too Sensitive
- Identify the triggers
We all have things that we are sensitive about and situations that amplify this sensitivity. Some things that might trigger highly sensitive people include, aspects of themselves they are self-conscious or insecure about, tension, emotions, noise, and conflict.
When learning how to grow a thick skin, your first step is to identify what situations make you sensitive. You can do this by setting aside some quiet time alone to conduct self-reflection. Note down all the instances when you felt like you were too sensitive in a journal. If it is something you can control or change, you can start working on becoming less sensitive by using these next steps to develop a thicker skin.
- Don’t take things personally
One of the cons of being a highly sensitive person is that you tend to take things personally even when you shouldn’t. For example, you could jump to conclusions and assume whatever someone is saying is about you even when it probably is not. When someone criticizes your work, you might feel like it is a personal attack and like they aren’t recognizing your efforts.
Additionally, you might blame yourself for other people’s behavior. For instance, if your best friend is sad, you might assume that you did something to offend them even when you haven’t. When trying to learn how to build a thick skin and stop being so sensitive, you have to realize that you have no control over what other people think or how they behave.
Stop assuming that everything is about you because other people’s words and actions are not always about you. The world doesn’t revolve around you.
- Learn how to deal with negative feedback
No one likes criticism, but getting negative feedback affects sensitive people even more strongly. As a sensitive person, it might take longer for you to recover or get over criticism. Not only because you take these negative comments personally, but because you also overthink and feel negative emotions too deeply.
Being too sensitive can hold you back from going after your dreams because you might fear doing anything that might get negative feedback. For example, writing a book, blogging, acting, singing, or launching a product. Thus, if you want to be successful you have to learn how to grow a thick skin.
By becoming thick-skinned, it will be easier to know how to deal with criticism even as a highly sensitive person. For instance, you could avoid responding immediately, stop taking things personally, look at the situation from the other person’s point of view, and realize that criticism can also be constructive. You can use constructive criticism as motivation to improve yourself.
However, if the negative feedback is coming from a toxic person, consider avoiding them or cutting them off from your life.
When trying to learn how to grow a thicker skin and stop being too sensitive, you have to accept that you are not perfect and that not everyone will like you or your work.
- Take a step back
Highly sensitive people tend to feel all emotions deeply, even the negative ones. You might have anger issues, feel hurt easily, and could react to things without much thought.
When someone does something that offends you, taking a step back and reassessing the situation before reacting is one way to grow a thick skin and stop being so sensitive.
However, this doesn’t mean you should bottle up your emotions or be too positive about things and begin to deny negative emotions. Allow yourself to feel the emotions; then separate the feelings from the facts, re-evaluate the situation, and consider the other possible interpretations.
- Build your self-esteem and self-confidence
Some of the reasons why some people are so sensitive are associated with lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. For instance, if you have insecurities, blame yourself for past mistakes, don’t believe in your abilities, care too much about what people think about you, and always seek external validation.
If you want to learn how to grow a thick skin and stop being too sensitive, you have to look for ways to build your self-esteem and become more confident. For example, you could discover your strengths and weaknesses, learn to love and value yourself for who you are, forgive yourself, and practice affirmations for confidence or to reframe your thoughts
- Stand up for yourself
As a sensitive person, you dislike letting other people down or disagreeing with them because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Since you are always tuned to other people’s feelings, you can easily read them. The unfortunate thing is that when they are experiencing negative emotions, you might assume you are at fault even when you haven’t done anything wrong.
Many people take advantage of highly sensitive people because they care too much and like to please others. For this reason, it is important to learn how to develop a thick skin and stop being so sensitive. You have to learn to stand up for yourself and your beliefs, express your opinion fearlessly, say no to the things you don’t agree with, and stop shying away from confrontations.
Being a sensitive person has many benefits, but don’t let this trait affect your personal and professional life negatively or allow anyone to take advantage of you because of it. Use the above tips on how to grow a thick skin and stop being too sensitive. It will not be easy, but it is possible to toughen up and become happier and more successful.
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