Because we protect our identities. We’re hard wired to.
A thicker skin isn’t the answer, in my opinion. How tough your armor is fails to engage with the issue. Here are some alternatives that I’m working on:
- Intent first. If I can be confident in my intent, then feedback that I didn’t achieve it (or did and it wasn’t valued) is helpful information, but doesn’t speak to my identity. Only my intent speaks to my identity.
- I can go unseen. As a healing Enneagram 4 this is a core struggle. I long to be seen and understood, yet try hard to hide. (What the freak!??). Anyways, if I can let go of being seen and understood, feedback doesn’t ruffle my ego because my ego isn’t involved.
- They’re a toddler. This one’s cheeky but it helps me. If a 3-year-old version of one of my kids gave that feedback would I be crushed? No. They could say “you’re stupid!” and I’d just think it was funny. Why? It hurts when we expect that people know us well, but doesn’t hurt when we know they can’t yet—then we can focus on their perception.
I have a thin skin. Sad, but true. (Hey look, feedback to myself from myself). I don’t know how to “grow” it another way. But there are plenty of tools to help me realize that what’s happening isn’t poking my skin in the first place.