When you think the people around you are judging, dissing, or rejecting you, these 8 tips will help you deal with those negative feelings and fend off you inner critic.
“You’ll worry less about what other people think of you if you stop and think how seldom they do.” That remark has been attributed to various sources from Mark Twain to David Foster Wallace, but I think its true source is the eighteenth-century sage and literary genius, Samuel Johnson. He wrote some 250 years ago, “If any man would consider how little he dwells upon the condition of others, he would learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself.”
Such a sensible perspective often eludes us, especially those of us who have attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). The condition really is a mixed bag, composed of advantageous elements, each of which has a disadvantageous flip-side. One advantageous element is uncanny intuition and sensitivity — the ability to know what other people are feeling and thinking before they do. The flip-side is that you may be wounded by what you perceive to be negative judgments of you by other people.
So what can you do, other than remind yourself that other people do not think about you much at all? What can you do when you feel perpetually put down, rejected, judged, found wanting, and dissed by people? Here are 8 lifelines to use in the face of perceived rejection:
- Try not to give a s**t. If you need help doing this, there are books out there that can help.
- Don’t feed the demon, the default mode network (DMN), by paying attention to negativity. When you enter into that trance of perceived rejection, don’t feed it by paying attention to it. Focus on something else, like your breathing or making a sandwich.
- Listen to loud music, which can drown out demons. Soft music works also, but loud is more fun.
- Whistle or sing. It is almost impossible to sink into a funk of perceived rejection if you are whistling or singing a song.
- Talk to another person who knows this crazy, sensitive side of you. That person can help you snap out of it. Never worry alone.
- Get the facts. If you feel brave enough, ask the person you imagine is judging you if they actually are. Nine times out of 10, the answer will be no. If the answer is yes, you can talk it out constructively instead of brooding in silence.
- Snap out of it. Lighten up. This is what other people should say to you, but they are too polite to do so. So say it to yourself. It’s not all about you. Let it go. Life’s too short. You know the sayings, so use them on yourself. Give yourself a pep talk.
- Give your brain and body what they need: good sleep, lots of exercise, don’t overdo the alcohol, meditate, eat healthy food, and, perhaps most important, get daily doses of “the other vitamin C, vitamin Connect.” Make a point of interacting with human beings every day in a positive way. These things will make you calmer and more confident.
Final Tip: Get a Dog!
This is my solution to most of life’s problems, because a dog will give you unconditional love. You will never feel judged or rejected by Fido. Get a dog, love your dog, let your dog love you, feed your dog, walk your dog, play with your dog. The next thing you know, you won’t be caring as much about what other people think of you. And remember, they rarely think of you!