One of the things we contend with in our daily interactions with people is how we are being treated. It could be among our loved ones, friends, colleagues or even associates. Often times we get less than what we deserve or expect. This makes us feel disappointed and sad. However, while we may have little or no control over the kind of treatment meted out on us, we could actually have control over how we react or respond. The ball is in our court. This is why developing a thick skin becomes necessary.

Simple observation has shown that those who afflict others with ill-treatment through their actions, inactions or words feel a sense of accomplishment when we become negative or feel bad. We make them feel happy, powerful and influential when they know that they are the source of our misery, sadness or disappointment.  It now behooves us not to continue giving them the key to our happiness and hope. This is why developing a thick skin is necessary.

Looking at how a ship or ferry operates on the sea will give a clearer insight. The ship is usually surrounded by water-whether behind it, in front or sideways. However, the ship barely gets sunk or capsized until the water gets into it. This suggests that when people haul insults at us through their actions as well as inaction, we can minimize the effects on us if we do not allow them to get into us. This can be achieved by developing a thick skin.

I recall in my secondary school days when some students were extremely beaten but they refused to cry or show any sign of the pain. It is not as if what they were subjected to was not painful. It is just that they developed a thick skin. Guess what, in such

Guess what, in such cases, the teacher often feel bad when he or she sees that the student did not bulge. The same thing applies to those that take delight in treating people the way they like. The moment we make them understand that they are not the source of our frustration, anger, disappointment or misery.

I recall a former colleague. During our monthly performance review, our boss would take him to the dry cleaners but immediately after the meeting, he shakes it off. This is not to suggest that we should not be concerned about what people say about us.

One of the ways we can develop a thick skin is when we can consider people’s action and inaction towards us as a feedback. We should not take it too personal as it could be for our good at times-constructive criticisms for instance. 

Another way is for us to be conscious of the fact that everybody has his own monkey to feed. Everybody is plagued with one challenge or the other. For some, making others feel bad is a way of relieving their frustration or anger. For instance, some bosses wake up from the wrong side of the bed and when they get to the office, they transfer the anger or frustration on their subordinates.

More so, it can also be achieved when we feel offended by someone and we assumed that the person has apologized, and then move on. Sounds crazy? Yea, you can do it at least for your own good.

Everybody has a sense of pride and it actually takes great courage and humility for an offender to apologize while you are still embittered by their actions as well as inactions. To save yourself that energy for preserving that negativity, you can just move on for your own good by assuming that the person has apologized.

In some instances, the offender may be unaware or oblivious that they hurt us.

Furthermore, we can develop a thick skin if we do not expect much from people. As somebody would say ‘blessed are those that expect less for they shall not be disappointed’.

Cheers,
Emmanuel Onoja

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