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SELF-IMPROVEMENT: What people say bothers me

All throughout my life people have said things that have bothered me. Like 'your so oblivious to everyone around you' or 'how stupid can you be'. (Those are a few examples) I am a very sensitive person but I can be very cold hearted. How can I get over these things that linger in my mind. I can remember things forget them then at the most random time that come back and I'm just sad or depressed almost. Any advice ???

Elder Response

Am so sorry you're experiencing these feelings when people make so many inappropriate or just dumb comments, Martha.   I can relate more than you imagine.  So much of my life had folks telling me I'm this, that, and the other (not complimentary).  I was told what I should do and how I should do it by almost everyone.

This went on until my late 30's when I got some help.  Which, I am suggesting to you to do, if possible.  Talking to a therapist help me me understand WHY they were saying these ridiculous things, where I in fact was creating negativity....and when to nicely tell them to .....well, I'll keep it polite.

It takes a lot to "detach" in a way, or to, as my late mother used to say, "turn your hearing aid off".  Often what people say has more to do with THEIR fears and insecurities than yours.  You might react to something in a certain way - or maybe there's something that DOESN'T bother you that they feel should.  So, they tell you what to do.  One of the best phrases I've ever learned is the following:  "When a person says, you, you, you, they really mean, I, I, I".  In other words, their criticism is expressed because you are not reacting they way they want and instead of owning their issues - they try to make their issues, yours.

On the other hand...it also takes a lot of self-honesty.  I know there were ways that I was selfish and afraid to face what sometimes was bad behavior on my part BECAUSE I didn't want to hear their constant criticism.  It was a catch-22 in a way.  The bottom line was, I had to hold my head up more, live authentically with the most dignity and integrity possible.  It meant ignoring the nagging or unwarranted criticism.   There's a huge difference between constructive criticism and the nagging that I compare to nails on a chalkboard.  

But you have to do things to build your self-esteem.  That can be through therapy, or small achievements - in accomplishments large or small.  You can expand our horizons by taking a class or volunteering or participating in an activity group where you'll enjoy what you're doing AND get a positive response.  The more positivity you surround yourself, the more the voices of those you want to ignore, will fade.  It takes time and effort, but it CAN be done.  Good luck!

Sincerely,

Good-Listener

Letter ID Letter Title
409845 DATING/RELATIONSHIP : Should I go back?
409842 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Crazy long distance drama
409830 FAMILY: My sexuality and religion
409784 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: I want to confess a kiss
409745 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Getting over a crush
409730 MARRIAGE: How to heal after husband's infidelity
409682 SCHOOL: Borrowing for Graduate School
408957 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Crush at School
408933 FRIENDSHIP: Help me keep this friendship.
408899 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Shall I start gymnastics?
408882 CAREER: The young man and the sea
408853 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Help me be okay with changing
408786 DATING/REATIONSHIPS: Reconnect with Ex-girlfriend?
408783 FAMILY: Unknown identity disaster
408279 Best friend hates new boyfriend
408270 Marriage and Mother In Law
408186 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: What people say bothers me
408094 FRIENDSHIP: Personal problems straining friendships; Friendships straining personl problems
407659 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Don't Want My Boyfriend Looking at Porn
407618 FAMILY: Walking On Eggshells with My Stepdad
407589 FRIENDSHIP: How do I move on?
407236 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Not a fan of my boyfriend's daughter
407062 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: How Do I Start a Conversation with a Beautiful Girl on Twitter?
406939 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: He keeps looking at other women
406795 FAMILY: Getting Nasty Facebook Messages from In-Laws
406789 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Paranoid Boyfriend
406784 CAREER: Feeling Defeated by the Mistakes from My Last Job
406035 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Relationship in the dark - figuratively and literally
405921 OTHER: Is A Band Satanic Because Some Members Are Gay?
405911 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Can't Seem to Get Over the Trauma
405889 SCHOOL: Advice for Making Friends at New School
405888 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Feeling Shy with New Boyfriend
405886 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Hard Past Is Affecting My Future
405855 FAMILY: Mom treats us differently
405823 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: I'm 15, He's 45
405496 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: My 45 Year Old Boyfriend Is a Mama's Bou
405494 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Feeling Numb to Life
405450 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: How do I ask a girl out?
405441 OTHER: Feeling Horrible About Kicking My Dog
405369 FAMILY: Grandma Is So Hard On Me
405156 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: It Hurts Too Much to Stay Friends
405122 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Get Her to Fall In Love With Me Again
405072 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Pregnant with My Ex's Baby
404961 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Should we stay friends after breakup?
404959 SCHOOL: Feeling Pressure to Stay In Sport I No Longer Like
404926 FRIENDSHIP: Friends are leaving me out
404917 FRIENDSHIP: Just Want to be Friends, But He Wants More
404906 CHILDREN: Help My Daughter Deal With Questions About Her Birthmark
404461 FAMILY: Parents Not Communicating Well
404075 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Want to Get My Lfie on a Better Path
403840 FAMILY: Confront Stealing Sister?
403740 MARRIAGE: Fiance Has a Drinking Problem
403720 FRIENDSHIP: Best friend distancing herself
403718 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Can't seem to move on
403713 OTHER: Excited, But Anxious, To Move To New City
403708 FRIENDSHIP: How To Avoid Inviting Friend on Trip
403580 FRIENDSHIP: Breaking Off a Friendship
403557 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Go with new guy or get back with ex?
403537 FRIENDSHIP: Worried My Friend Relapsed
403468 FAMILY: Suspect Dad Owes A Lot More Child Support
403117 FAMILY: He Wants His Mother to Move In
403095 OTHER: Not Sure If I'm Gay, Straight, or Bisexual
403080 FRIENDSHIP: Backstabbing Besties
403077 SCHOOL: Nervous About Important Test
403068 CAREER: Boss Doesn't Understand I Have A Life Outside of Work
403067 FRIENDSHIP: My friends never listen to me
403054 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: He's Back With His Ex, But I Can't Let Him Go
403046 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: I think my partner is using me for my money
402948 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: His silence is killing me
402657 FRIENDSHIP: Friend Isn't Very Friendly
402587 MARRIAGE: Regret Saying Yes to His Marriage Proposal
402545 CHILDREN: Deciding Whether or Not to Have Kids
402472 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: So Many Regrets
402446 FAMILY: Being honest with strict parents
402321 MARRIAGE: Husband Won't Talk to Me
402306 FRIENDSHIP: Invitations from friends have dropped to zero
402235 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Worried People Will Make Fun Us for Dating
402225 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Want to Explore My Sexuality
402179 OTHER: My Dog Is Attacking Neighbor Dogs
402114 SCHOOL: University or travel?
402056 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Transitioning from Lazy to Motivated
402032 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Do I Just Miss Being Single?
401971 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Trying to get my ex back
401372 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Nervous About Asking a Boy to a Dance
401216 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Rough Past and No Family Support
401181 FRIENDSHIP: Upset About Friend's Lack of Manners
401175 FAMILY: Is It Wrong To Keep My Pregancy Secret From Family?
401122 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: My Ex Was My Entire Support System
400858 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Heart Isn't In It, But Feel Obligated to Try
400833 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Help Me Stop the Negative Thoughts
400783 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Why Did He Leave Me? How Do I Get Him Back?
400685 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: His sexual history bothers me
400653 FAMILY: Selfish, Self-Centered Sister
400651 MARRIAGE: Husband Sending Nude Pics to Other Men
400614 OTHER: Trans Woman Tired of Living a Lie
400176 FAMILY: Worried My Little Sister Is Cutting Herself
400175 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Is this love or friendship?
400162 CAREER: Office Gossip
400145 SCHOOL: How Can I Motivate Students Who Do Not Seem To Care?
400120 SCHOOL: Feeling Unmotivated and Disappointed in Myself
400114 FAMILY: Do I Have to Reconcile with Grandma?
400113 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Boyfriend is Friends with My Enemy
400097 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: My Moral Compass Is Breaking
399985 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: How Can I Avoid the Friend Zone?
399895 FINANCE: Spend Money to Repay Friend on Take a Sorely Needed Vacation?
399879 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: The Guilt Is Weighing On My Chest
399826 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: I think I may have an eating disorder
399823 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Feeling Targeted Because of My Race
399734 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Apparently Everything Is My Fault
399673 FRIENDSHIP: Torn Between Betraying Trust and Helping My Friend
399580 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Her Parent Don't Want Her to Date Me Because I'm Black
398242 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Will It Always Be Heartache and BS?
398092 CAREER: Single Mom Having Trouble Finding Work
397717 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Wracked with Guilt from Sleeping Around
397630 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Feeling Stuck In Relationship Due to Money
397595 OTHER: Help - My Girlfriend is Depressed and Cutting
397506 DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Can This Online, Long-Distance Relationship Work?
397466 FRIENDSHIP: Think I'm Going to Be Left Out by Two Best Friends
397448 FAMILY: Want to Tell All Family I'm Transgender and Invite Them to My Wedding
397326 MARRIAGE: Husband Mistakenly Thinks I Planned to Cheat
397236 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Feeling Overwhelmed by Meetings, Classes, and Demands
396216 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Help Me Communicate With People
396161 FAMILY: Having Trouble Accepting That I'm Adopted
396142 CAREER: How to Choose a Career Path?
396095 MARRIAGE: Broken Marriage, Broken Dreams
396078 FRIENDSHIP: Feeling Excluded By Friends
396048 OTHER: How to Say an Embarrassing Thing Without Embarrassing the Person
395288 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Cruel Words Are Stuck In My Head
395130 FRIENDSHIP: Fifth Wheel Is Derailing Our Group Friendship
395111 FAMILY: Feel Like Mom is Choosing Her New Husband Over Me
394474 FRIENDSHIP: Can This Friendship Be Repaired?
394398 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Failing college and looking for passion
394359 OTHER: Neighbor Has Me Worried for My Family's Safety
394322 CHILDREN: Daughter Doesn't Know I'm Her Biological Father
394218 FRIENDSHIP: Best Friend Is Mad At Me Over Untrue Rumor
394213 SCHOOL: People Make Me Feel Like a Loser
394119 FAMILY: Who do I take to show - Hubby or Son?
394116 FAMILY: Worried My Brother's Wife Is Ruining My Nephew
394001 FAMILY: Mom Won't Let Me Date Until College!
393948 OTHER: How Cold Is Too Cold for a Dog?
393702 CHILDREN: Behavior Problems
393458 FRIENDSHIP: How can I move on?
393444 FRIENDSHIP: Friendship Since Kindergarten BROKEN!
393431 FRIENDSHIP: Cruel Words From Someone I Thought Was My Friend
393398 CHILDREN: How Hard Is It Being a Single Mom?
392978 FAMILY: Should I Let Mom Live With Me After Her Rehab?
392973 CAREER: Feeling Stuck In Work I Hate
392919 FAMILY: Brother-In-Law Stealing From Me
392169 FAMILY: Tell Dad That Mom Is Cheating?
392140 SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Scared of the Future

 

    

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- "John," Advice Seeker

 

 

 

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- "Gillian," Advice Seeker

 

 

 

“ I feel relieved and better able to do the right thing now... Thank you for providing a gentle sense of direction for me.

- "Deb," Advice Seeker

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