How do we deal with the criticisms we receive?
For some time now, someone around me has been blaming me a lot. Various and varied reproaches, on my way of doing things, or even on how I have to manage my relationships. This person knows everything better than me, finds that I have everything wrong about almost everything and often repeats to me that she would have done better. Yeah, well, you see... We all know people like that, and we've even been it ourselves much more often than we think. Thinking to know better than others is specific to human beings, it is specific to the ego, it is what allows us to be protected, to reassure us. But it's not because it's almost innate that we don't all agree that it's useless except to piss off.
So, beyond learning to stop doing it myself (because, yes, you have to stop, and that will be the subject of another column), today, I would like to learn (and share with you) the methods to manage the reproaches which one makes to me. BECAUSE OTHERWISE I WILL BREAK EVERYTHING. (And, yes, no, I know, that's not the solution.)
Don't react instantly
It's been my big problem all my life. I don't know how to react to attacks and I have always responded with violence. Verbal violence, eh, but hey, violence all the same. And of course, it has always served me well. We get angry, the tone rises, and we say things, or we make decisions, that we will regret later. Reacting under the influence of emotion is NEVER the right solution (repeat 3 times). Obviously we hear (or even feel) the reproach, obviously it affects us, BUT let's pretend otherwise, let's take a deep breath and take the time to analyze the situation and calm down before reacting.
But react anyway
Not reacting immediately does not mean not reacting at all. Unless it's a stranger whom we don't have to see again (and therefore, there, I want to say: "baleck, let him talk") we are obliged to make the person understand that his remarks do not help us in any way, at the risk of having more and more reproaches and ending up one day exploding (that's it, like me, absolutely).
While I am in the middle of a transition and trying to change, I first tried the method: "I don't care, I don't listen". I honestly thought it didn't affect me when in fact it did. At the first remark I should have gone to see this person to make him understand that his reproaches touched me and that I would have liked him to stop, instead I went from one extreme to the other. From expressing myself too much, I went to not expressing myself at all. And that's not the right solution either. No, saying nothing is not a sign of maturity but rather a sign that you don't get respect. It's putting ourselves down, it's letting the other crush us and it's just as devastating as reacting with violence.
Learn to communicate
Learning to communicate is above all about expressing what you feel, setting your limits, gaining respect or even verbalizing your expectations, without being overwhelmed by your emotions. Getting angry or crying will always make us wrong, whether we're right or not, will hurt us more than the person who hurt us and can also hurt the person in front (and hurt, even that we believe deserved, it's not good in real life, huh! It's still better to be a good person, isn't it? Well, you got it).
To learn how to communicate well, there's a super cool method called non-violent communication. Non-violent communication can be learned, there are podcasts, books, you can even go see a shrink for help, for those who don't know, I really advise you to find out. Basically, it's saying what you think but without pointing the other. We don't point the finger at what the person did but what we felt, there are turns of phrase to adopt, you really have to take the time to think each time you speak, etc... Frankly, I'm not going to hide it from you, it's a super long and tedious job (and I'm far from getting there), and then, at first, we look super stupid when we practice it, but I really believe that it is THE solution to all the (ego) problems of humanity.
Personally, it's always when I'm stressed that I can't manage my emotions. So for me, managing your emotions comes first and foremost by managing my stress. And I understood this year, that to manage my stress I have to set myself limits. Something that I absolutely did not do in this case. To please, for fear of disappointing and not being perfect, I put more and more pressure on my back instead of accepting the fact of not being able to (and not wanting to) endorse everything. . Yeah, I went back to my old mechanisms again, what... (Ah, well, Rome wasn't built in a day, huh.) In truth, it doesn't matter what people expect of us, it doesn't matter what is asked of us, no matter who we are compared to, no matter the reasons and the excuses, to give too much is to make myself suffer and I will not be caught again. Let's always think about what we are able to give without it costing us and if we don't feel capable, let's say so and, above all, without feeling guilty. Our mental and physical health matters much more than all the remarks that can be made to us.
Meditation, breathing, or even walking, are good ways to put things into perspective and refocus on your real needs and abilities. When you take the time to do things, when you think about each act, when you don't put too much on your shoulders, you don't stress and you don't overreact. CQFD.
Gain self-esteem, don't over-adapt
Questioning ourselves is not listening to everything people tell us, whether positive or negative. The only person who knows who we are and what we are capable of is us. If we are pushed to surpass ourselves and we are never happy with ourselves despite our efforts, it is not us the problem, but them.
If when the reproaches started I was in a good mood because I was relaxed, and so I was able to take a step back, with the growing stress I ended up listening to them. Fatal error... If listening to others when you ask them for help can get you ahead, gratuitous reproaches that do not solve the problem do no good except undermine your morale. If they would have done better in your situation, good for them, we are all unique with strengths and weaknesses, and to err is human. Don't feel guilty for not being perfect. The main thing is to know that we are doing our best and to get closer to the people to whom our best suits. Gaining self-confidence means accepting not to meet everyone's expectations and above all not to over-adapt to please them (which anyway, generally, for this kind of person, it will never be enough.)
Wondering why people blame you
Reproaches are often the means for the people making them to reassure themselves. And I know what I'm talking about, not so long ago I was still the queen of derogatory remarks. To reproach is to believe that one knows better, that one is able to help the person even though they do not ask for help, it is to place oneself in a position of superiority, of savior, c is to give importance, it is to need to prove (and to prove) something, in short it shows, that in reality, we hide great fragilities...
Generally, people do not mean harm and really believe they are helping, so even if it is hard to bear and you have to make it clear that you do not accept them, understanding that they are not ill-intentioned allows you to be more tolerant. Once the work is done, it will be felt in the way we manage our emotions and communicate.
And remember: it's okay not to be perfect!