How to Develop Thick Skin

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

I am very sensitive

I Get so many emails from people who complain about the fact that anything can hurt them. A word said in a rough way, an unfriendly remark or even an unpleasant look can make some people really sad.

The first thing you need to do to develop a thick skin is to find out why certain words hurt you while others don't. Even if you believe you are very sensitive am sure there are certain types of comments that don't really hurt you or make you feel bad.

In other words the first clue you need to find is why do certain statements hurt you more than others. Most probably you will discover that you feel really bad when you are very needy.

The more you need to be told something or the more you need to be accepted in a certain way the more will a negative comment hurt you. Because you were too desperate to hear a good comment the bad one hurt you so much.

Why are we vulnerable to certain comments?

Sarah always believed her father didn't love her and because of that she developed a low self esteem. When Sarah grew up she always tried to compensate for that missing love from her friends. This is why she gets hurt very easily when any of them becomes a bit unfriendly.

For Sarah this bit of unfriendliness meant that they don't love her and this reminded her of her old wound. In other words the negative reaction of her friends didn't just make Sarah feel bad but it also made her feel unloved and worthless.

Does this ring any bells?
You become sensitive the most when someone comes near one of your old wounds. The closer someone gets near one of those wounds the more his words will hurt. Now compare this to a comment that you didn't care about. That comment must have targeted an area where you have no wounds and this is why it didn't hurt at all.

How to develop thick skin

In order to develop a thick skin you need to become less dependent on others and less needy. In other words you need to become less dependent on people to cure your old wounds.

Most people aren't even aware of their psychological wounds and that's why their emotions run on auto pilot mode. The first thing you need to do to develop a thick skin is to become aware of those old wounds.

In the case of Sarah she must work on building her self confidence and believing that she is worthy even if her friends weren't so loving. She must also realize that even if her father didn't love her still this doesn't make her unworthy.

By getting deeper into the past and fixing the beliefs that caused an emotional wound that wound can be healed. And once the wound heels completely it won't hurt anymore to be reminded of it.

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