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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

SELF-IMPROVEMENT: What people say bothers me
Letter #: 408186
Category: Other

Original Letter

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!

Best Regards,



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