By: Aryan Wangdue Roka
There is no one that has escaped the existential and unnecessary negative judgment about their character, body structure, experiences, and many other things. When you begin to take account of what is actually being said to you, it does actually affect you. When I began to understand the negativity that people cast on me, I used to try and change myself so I wouldn’t hear why people didn’t like me. I sunk into the abyss that is “trying to please everyone”. I suppressed a lot of my individuality to make other people like me. I was a nobody. I lost the personality I bottled and there was nothing more to my uniquity beyond my name. It took a lot of guidance, reflection, and realization to understand the dilemma I had drowned myself in. It is very unhealthy to succumb to negative judgment. Your mental health, fulfillment, and happiness will deteriorate if you don’t understand how to accept and channel negative judgment to your advantage.
To begin with, you need to differentiate constructive criticism from negative judgment. All criticism isn’t bad. The lines between good and bad criticism are often blurred. There isn’t much to what makes a judgment positive or negative, but a general rule that I use is if you are criticized about something that is out of your control (like, skin color, race, religion, etc). Then, that is usually negative and depreciating. But if the criticism is about a decision you made or how you could do something better, it generally isn’t said with mala fide intentions.
There is no textbook method on what you should do to develop an emotional firewall to negative opinions, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier to deal with negativity. If you haven’t done this yet, find things that you like to do, things that help you unwind and release built-up stress, anxiety, etc. Finding things that help you destress will make you feel happier and relaxed. Another thing that can help is getting enough quality sleep, I can’t emphasize enough how proper sleep helps you maintain your physical and emotional well being. A big thing that can help is expressing your emotions, I’ve often seen people bottle up their emotions and suppress their vehement feelings in hope of it just pushing them away. It can be mentally taxing and strenuous. Instead of this, you should express your emotions even if it is by crying, throwing a fit, venting to a close friend, or maybe even breaking something. Whatever works for you.
Finally, the thing that will help you the most is embracing your individuality. What people often judge you for is something that is different/unique to them. Learn what makes you different and cherish it. One thing you need to constantly keep in mind is you are the best at being yourself. It is cheesy but very true. You are a unique individual. Your experiences are unique and what you’ve struggled with is a testament to your character. What others say will become irrelevant when you embrace what makes you different.
To sum things up, what others say about you shouldn’t be affecting you no matter what it is. When someone judges you, it is them stating that you’re different from their own perspective. You should be able to move on from what someone has said, irrespective of what it is.