Dear Dr NerdLove
Since I was a kid I was always very sensitive, and would tear up or outright cry whenever someone said something even slightly mean about me. I was bullied a lot when I was younger.
I’m 23 now and at least when someone says mean things about me, I know better to laugh it off, or quip something in reply.
However, despite all the advice I’ve read that says to “not take it so seriously” or “not let it get to me”, I just can’t help but feel hurt inside at that point in time (almost similar to me as a kid, just that I’ve gotten better at hiding it). After thinking about it, I realized that I feel the way I feel because of either of 2 things:
1) Automatic thoughts. Sometimes, when someone says something mean about me (no matter how absurd the insult may be) I would still get an automatic thought inside going “Hey, there may be SOME truth to it, no smoke without fire”. This would be quickly followed up with “If you were a better person, they wouldn’t have made fun of you like this in the first place”.
2) Their words unintentionally making me remember a time when I had actually screwed up in a similar manner and thus making me relive the embarrassment/humiliation/etc of that past occasion.
So I would like to ask, the next time I find myself in this situation, what should I do instead to maintain an unflappable attitude?
No More Tears