How to become thick-skinned? Getting rid of vulnerability and self-doubt

I received a message from a reader.

“Hello, Vlad! Your blog is the only Russian-language blog that I read. I have this question. I'm 16 now, but I've been very sensitive since childhood, and sometimes my pride can be easily hurt. What to do about it? Please make an article or just respond to an email. If you use a rocking chair as a piece of advice, it doesn’t really suit me, since I’m into basketball.”

Thanks for reading. I will help you.

I will help you stop being vulnerable and sensitive like a little bitch, because no one helped me do this when I was 16.

At 16, I was also hypersensitive and emotional. I took everything to heart, and it really mattered to me.

I could lose sleep thinking about who and what said bad things about me or what I blurted out without thinking three years ago. My heart was pounding with excitement and I felt helpless.

It was as if my life depended on each person's opinion and everyone had to like me. Otherwise - anxiety, depression and withdrawal.

I, too, was a small, vulnerable teenager like you.

And I tore it the hell out of myself like a weed.

Now I sleep like a baby every night and don't think about anyone talking about me. And if I don’t sleep, it’s because I’m lying there with red eyes from excess caffeine and adrenaline, still rushing through my blood after a tough workout.

You, too, will become emotionally impenetrable, like your dad, and less sensitive, like Jason Statham.

If you listen to my advice:

Do you have strength?

An old lady passing by cursed your dress, the salesman in the store was rude, the person you hoped for did not keep his promise... Probably every woman faces such situations. But one completely forgets the unpleasant episode, while the other is so hurt that she is able to remember about it for days and even months.

What is this pathology? No, of course, increased sensitivity is simply vulnerability of the psyche. It is generally accepted that this indicates weakness of character and lack of self-confidence. In fact, this is not always the case. Sometimes vulnerability is really a consequence of some kind of complexes, as a rule, originating in childhood experiences. But often people with a large reserve of strength have increased sensitivity. After all, in order to experience vivid emotions over a minor occasion, you need to have fairly good health. Only a resilient nervous system can afford such “expenses.” In fact, is it really so important for a self-confident woman or man to think about them from a dissatisfied neighbor or a random passerby? The reason is insignificant, but the reaction is powerful. This means there is still strength. Vulnerable people should remember this and not focus on their experiences, not consider them a painful reaction, but rather a manifestation of the fullness of life and feelings. At the same time, truly weak people often give the impression of being impenetrable, because they have already forgotten how to react to the injections of others, they have nowhere to “retreat.”

Not confident in your abilities?

Be the bad guy

Are you emotional and sensitive - and want to get rid of it?

Then you need to understand what it means to be thick-skinned and how to become mentally strong.

To do this you have to become the bad guy.

Instead of thinking: “Why are they saying this about me, how can I please them more, what will they think of me?”

Think: “No motherfucker can bother me. Fuck you, you and you!”

Naturally, this logic will not work if you are a skinny and drunk Dota player who is afraid of his shadow.

I told you right away: SWING.

Swing, renounce the stupid herd and be a lone wolf - then all your sensitivity will disappear as if by hand.

You will understand: around you is a rabble of lazy idiots, whose opinion is not so important for a man who is busy with important things.

Be a wolf and don't worry about the sheep's opinion.

Treat yourself like the best creature the world has ever seen and act like it. Expand your mind, your body, hit up women instead of sitting on rotten accounts with the boys, drinking beer.

There is nothing dumber than boys who hang out only with boys, somewhere inside wanting to fuck girls at the time, but doing nothing for it.

They post pictures from their crappy accounts on all social networks, where there is not a single girl for 15 boys.

Don't be one of those fifteen boys.

Be the bad guy who doesn't give a damn and wants to get what he deserves from life.


● If you know that at a birthday party with friends or relatives you will meet an unpleasant person, you will hear words that hurt you, limit yourself to congratulations over the phone, if this is convenient, or congratulate separately, meeting without guests.

● If you see a group of aggressive teenagers, it is better to cross to the other side of the street rather than lecture them on how to behave.

● Refrain from “tram quarrels” and discussions on the subway if they have nothing to do with you. And if you really had to answer someone, limit yourself to one opponent. If the second one “connects”, immediately shut up. This is the ironclad rule of the “tram quarrel”. Otherwise, the entire angry group of passengers will start scolding you, which is unsafe.

Sensory processing sensitivity

Clinical psychologist Eileen Aron has long studied the behavioral characteristics of highly sensitive people. He eventually came to the conclusion that they have a trait called sensory-processing sensitivity. This means that a person has the ability to notice many more subtle differences in the world around him than everyone else. Highly sensitive people have increased sensitivity to sounds, light effects, colors, and so on. Any manifestations of the surrounding world can both suppress them and lift their spirits.

On the one hand, this may seem like a disadvantage. After all, what is invisible to others is a strong irritant for you. But on the other hand, Sensory Processing Sensitivity makes you a more attentive and thoughtful person. You can notice danger before others and predict the development of events.

Transfer to another

If circumstances are such that you have to constantly communicate with a rude and irritable boss, try to predict his reaction and avoid dangerous situations. If this does not work out, silently imagine that instead of you he is throwing thunder and lightning at someone else who is temporarily in your place: for example, at your nasty neighbor in the stairwell. When the anger subsides, the boss himself will be ashamed of his behavior and will be especially attentive to you. In addition, people who can be yelled at without consequences are usually highly valued in the team and any concessions are made to them - after all, they are so rare! Take comfort in this thought if you cannot change your boss.

The gift or curse of sensitive people - how to stop being an emotional sponge?

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Does communicating with certain people drain you and exhaust you? Does other people's emotional pain affect your physical well-being? When you are flooded with feelings, do you feel a lump in your throat, a burning sensation in your chest, pain in your back?

But no matter how painful it is to feel the full weight of the world, you will not trade the depth of feelings and the ability to empathize for anything else. Empathy, which is associated with high sensitivity, is a precious gift if you know how to use it.

We need more kindness and compassion if we want to heal this world. Sensitive people have a natural ability to express empathy.

Deep empathy gives them a valuable superpower - the ability to subtly feel those around them. When we truly empathize, we understand the other person in a way that they may not understand themselves. Our openness allows us to establish deep, sincere relationships. Close communication provides an opportunity not only to deepen the sense of connection with another person, but also to get to know ourselves better.

If you want to stop absorbing other people's emotions, start by taking care of yourself - physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

When our immune system and energy are depleted, we become the perfect sponge for absorbing other people's negative emotions that can poison us. We must be able to take care of ourselves so that we do not consume everything indiscriminately.

When you notice negative emotions emerging, name what you are feeling.

By naming our feelings, we take a pause, which will allow us to distance ourselves from strong experiences.

How do emotional vampires create stress?

Ask yourself: “Are these my feelings or someone else’s? Or maybe a mixture of different emotions?

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. If you suspect that these might be the other person's feelings, draw an image of them. What color is it filled with in your imagination? Then go back to your own experiences and see if you feel the same way.

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Grief experiences for sensitive people are often mixed. You may be suffering, but when your loved one begins to calm down, you realize that much of your sadness is also going away.

Once you determine that the emotions you are experiencing are not yours, take action.

Try to focus on how you can support the person instead of getting caught up in other people's emotions.

Take a deep breath and notice where in your body you feel calm and confident

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Most often these are the feet or fingers! Bring your attention to them. Try to feel solid ground under your feet and ground yourself as you release any feelings you may have absorbed from others. Often, one “oasis of peace” in your body is enough to make it a source of calm while the rest of your self feels overwhelmed with emotions.

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Psychological violence, recovery from abusers and narcissists, breaking up with an abuser, changing abusive behavior, self-esteem, the “no longer a victim” program, relationships, loss of meaning, nice (comfortable) person syndrome, age-related crises, existential problems, loneliness, relationships “adult children” – parents,” and more...

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Bring back other people's emotions

The suffering of another person is not your responsibility. Carrying a heavy load on yourself will not help anyone. Tell yourself, “I am letting go of someone else’s pain and letting it go right now.” Another person must go through his own path and learn to overcome difficulties in order to develop as a person.

Use visualization to release negative emotions

For example, imagine a waterfall flowing through your body, releasing you from any emotional debris you may have collected.

If you are a sensitive person, your empathy is a gift the world needs. Show compassion to yourself to maintain your health and strength of mind.

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This is a blog on psychology from a professional psychologist, in which significant attention is paid to the topics of psychological violence - abuse, narcissism, relationships, personal crises, taking responsibility for one's life, increasing self-esteem, existential problems. The cost of consulting a psychologist is 3000 rubles/hour, in person (Moscow, Maryina Roshcha metro station), or via Zoom About us/Make an appointment

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The power of humor

In critical situations, a sense of humor will not hurt. Imagine the person who offended you in some ridiculous outfit, for example, short pants or an Indian feather headdress. Then the significance of his statements addressed to you will decrease significantly and you will be able to look at the situation from the other side and not “get hung up” on it. What not to do

● Mentally respond to offensive words - thereby you allow negative information to circulate in your mind and become stronger in it.

● Trying to punish the offender - you yourself will become a source of aggression, which will not improve your psychological state.

● Look for a negative reason in yourself - you should not allow others to shape your internal state, you will somehow figure it out yourself!

Concentration and fatigue

They also have some problems with focus and concentration. Any loud sound, strong smell, or even a change in temperature can unsettle them. Sensitive people also experience increased fatigue. Emotional outbursts weaken them.

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Awareness is the Key

In order for high sensitivity not to interfere with a person’s life, he must himself be well aware of his vulnerability and accept this quality in himself. In this way, a person will be able to adjust both himself and his environment accordingly. If a person does not understand the characteristics of his personality, he may think that something abnormal is happening to him, and this will only increase his suffering.

By accepting the fact that you are a highly sensitive and vulnerable person, you can adjust the environment in which you find yourself. You can normalize your emotional background and remove irritants from your life as much as possible.

Social perfectionism

This means that we cannot bear the idea of ​​others seeing our shortcomings or mistakes.
Thinking that we must always look good in the eyes of others, we constantly worry about what people think of us. And then we inevitably begin to take everything too personally. But it's okay to make mistakes. And it's quite normal to worry about what others think. After all, we are a social species and our main advantage lies in the ability to coordinate and cooperate. It's no wonder that the opinions of others are so important to us. The main thing is not to be too critical of yourself. See how close your fears are to the truth, rather than judging yourself.

Fear of being proud of yourself

Christian morality teaches us that pride is bad, and even sinful. But being proud of yourself does not necessarily mean putting yourself above others. It's enough to just accept your strengths. From a psychological point of view, having a healthy sense of pride in yourself is very useful.

When we take things too personally, we overestimate other people's opinions and underestimate our own. A healthy sense of pride can help deal with unfair criticism—just take a moment to remind yourself of your good qualities.

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