Love Your Haters: How to Deal with Judgment in a Healthy Way
Feb 21, 2017
From childhood to adulthood, we all feel the need to be validated. Psychologists even say that the more appraisal we lacked as little kids, the greater the urge to get that appraisal during our later years.
It’s somehow logical and justifiable to continue seeking things you never got in the past, but dealing with people’s feedback is a slippery slope to climb even for the best-equipped and fiercest individuals out there.
Some people have a long history of criticism in their lives – their parents might have been judgmental people who always complained about everything their offspring said and did, constantly comparing them with other kids. And while the truth is that every person is unique, with qualities and imperfections that derive from birth to how you grew up, family members tend to overlook this and point out those traits in you that are in their opinion less than ideal.
As a matter of fact, whenever you are facing judgment you are confronted with someone else’s opinion which happens to be highly subjective and insufficiently understanding of you, your actions and intentions. But whether it comes from a parent, a friend, a spouse, a client, or a boss, criticism is equally hurtful because it is perceived as a negative energy instead of the positive, loving vibe that we all long for.
Expert studies have shown that you are more likely to remember negative feedback than praise. Interestingly enough, when it comes to your brain it takes about five positive events to make up for one negative incident. But science has also proved that our brain has to ability to swipe between different “folders in the archive” and change focus.
If you are tormented about a certain person’s comments to you, you can make the conscious effort to switch off that voice and tune in to another, gentler and more favorable one. That is, in effect, what the power of positivity is all about: selecting whatever is useful and makes you happy out of a big pool of filthy stuff.
What’s on Your Mind?
Let’s remain in the head for a little while longer. Indeed, your brain is the ultimate computer that processes information and gets to decide what is saved and what goes in the trash. But what if one of its programs starts presenting running errors? Like you thinking and obsessing over being judged, while in reality hardly anyone does that to you.
This is not happening every time we think we are watched, pointed out or even talked about. It could be that a colleague at work stares at your new boots and not (as you might think) at your big calves, or that a stranger in the coffee shop laughs at your accent because he likes you, not because he doesn’t. It’s important to differentiate and correctly interpret other people’s reactions, because the “negative” sometimes resides in your head.
Don’t Fight Fire with Fire
In other words, when judgment does take place, it’s rarely productive to respond to haters by throwing hateful words back at them. Usually, hateful people simply criticize and then move on; projecting their own negativity is their way of overcoming their own fears, doubts and anxieties. When someone has a negative comment and makes sure that you hear it, use the power of positivity to recommit and refocus on your path: judgment can either stop you or just slow you down.
Negative opinions and judgmental people are toxic and detrimental to your personal growth and progress. Instead of answering with negativity or suppressing your feelings, try to implement these new measures. That way, you can fight judgment in a way that allows you to thrive.