Sticks, Stones and Self-Esteem

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” There’s truth to this old saying. You can choose to accept another’s criticism as true, or false. You can thank them if it’s true, and ignore them–or counter them–if it’s false. Truth or falsehood determine the validity of criticism, not the mere fact of someone saying it. Sometimes it’s not criticism. Sometimes, people are hostile. Maybe they’re trying to put you down to feel better about themselves, in comparison. In this case, you have a choice, too. You can choose to see this for what it is. It’s not about you; it’s about the insecurity and hostility of the other person. In other words, it’s biased and nonobjective. Bottom line here: It’s what you think and know about yourself that counts. If someone tells you something about yourself that needs improvement, and you agree–well, all the better for you. But you don’t have to give the emotional time of day to hostility or unfounded judgments. This applies both to the judgments others make about you, as well as the ones you merely think they’re making.