People often have trouble moving on quickly after someone says something to them that they find offensive, hurtful, or insulting. This has been an area of weakness for me since I was a child. I wish I knew at the time how to let insults roll off my back, but I am learning now and I want to share this with others. Hopefully, these strategies will help kids and adults learn that they someone else’s words don’t have to ruin their day.
Here are the six strategies to move on quickly after an insult:
1. Take the time to notice how your body feels.
Be mindful. Notice objectively if your heart is beating fast, if there is a knot in your stomach, etc. Observe the area and what is going on around you? Tell yourself that the feeling in your body will subside.
2. Remind yourself of your positive qualities, which will help build your confidence.
For example, you may say to yourself “I like to help others, I am empathetic, and I am a good listener.” It is not as easy to be down on yourself when you pay attention to the positive traits you encompass. What other people say will never take this away from or change who you are, and just because they said it, doesn’t make it true.
What are your strengths? What makes you such a good person that it is hard to be down about the negative stuff? Look at the list below. I am sure you can find at least five things that show you how great you are.
3. Have Compassion for Yourself and Be There for Yourself
What would you tell a friend who just got insulted and felt upset? It is likely that you would empathize with their feelings, let them know the other person’s opinion didn’t matter, say something nice to them, etc. You should treat yourself the same way. Even if you have to talk to yourself in your mind.
4. Remind yourself that the person making the insulting remarks needs to work on their communication.
When someone we don’t know very well makes an insulting remark, we can remind ourselves that they may not have the best communication skills. However, if this person insulting you is in your life regularly, and you communicate about the insults and they don’t stop, then it is best to separate yourself from that person. It is not healthy to be around someone who is insulting you regularly. You should surround yourself with people who treat you with dignity and respect. If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, pursue your hobbies and live your life. The right people will come along.
5. Remind yourself that when we are in social situations there is a risk of getting insulted.
Insulting or insensitive remarks unfortunately are a common occurrence when people gather and share thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Unless you stay alone in your house, there is really no way to avoid them. You can’t please everyone, and someone will always have something to say. Remind yourself that it is a part of life. It happened before and it will happen again.
6. Set small goals for yourself.
Notice how long you are feeling down after an insult. Let’s say it is six hours. See if you can shorten that time by following the strategies in this article. Set a goal for five hours next time. Also, set a goal to be mindful when insults occur by paying attention to how your body responds and allowing yourself to process those feelings. We don’t have to avoid negative feelings. We can learn to process them in a more objective way.
Side note: if you are being regularly harassed, humiliated, or insulted by someone, the focus should be to get yourself out of that situation and/or report it if necessary.
What do you do to bounce back or move on when someone says something that hurts you?
Rachel Wise is a certified school psychologist and licensed behavior specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also the head author and CEO at educationandbehavior.com, a site for parents, caregivers, educators, counselors, and therapists to find effective, research-based strategies that work for children. Rachel has been working with individuals with academic and behavioral needs for over 20 years and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and the adults who support them. For Rachel’s top behavioral strategies all in one place, check out her book, Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children, a Guide for Parents and Teachers. If you want Rachel to write for your business, offer behavioral or academic consultation, or speak at your facility about research-based strategies that support children, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.