If you want to hone your ability to bounce back after life challenges or adversarial interactions with others, consider the following strategies:
- Release past adversity. Harboring insecurities from the past is not helping you thrive today.
- Focus externally. Thin-skinned people often are internally focused, but focusing on others can help you see the adverse situation more clearly.
- Accept advice. Build relationships with a support network you will trust to advise you when obstacles arise. Thin-skinned people often have a defeatist mindset, but if you have a close network who will tell you the truth, they can help toughen you up.
- See the big picture. In the “All-In” book and sessions, I talk with people about seeing the bigger picture of their day, tasks, work, lives. When we are focused on the mundane, or negative situations, they can overtake everything else. Seeing the big picture helps people stop sweating the small stuff. It also helps people focus on their own goals instead of others’.
- Think positive. No, skipping up and down the halls whistling Zippity Doo Dah will not help thicken your skin. But, recollections of triumph can. When you’re down and out, recall other successes and let those inspire you to work through the current situation.
- Reframe the situation. Instead of dwelling on the adversity for the challenges, reframe it so you see the possibilities. Draw a vertical line down the center of a sheet of paper. On the left, list the parts of the situation that are not going well or that you do not like. On the right, list the possible outcomes and the benefits of going through this. Use that sheet to help you position the situation for solutions instead of failure.
- Develop scar tissue. A great way to get thick skin is to be in situations that require you to use thick skin. So, seek advice and feedback from others. It is not easy hearing criticism, and some people are not great at delivering it, but it will help you toughen up.
- Apply what works. Although the criticism or setback can sting, consider what would be useful in moving your forward. Take the parts you can use and let the rest go.