I am easily affected by people’s feelings about me. If someone says something negative about me or puts me down, I start worrying a lot about it, and as a result, I get headaches and I am unable to concentrate on anything. I feel it so much that I cannot sleep at night as I keep thinking about what happened. How can I overcome this problem?

Hi dear, you are sensitive to others’ feelings about you. This makes you overthink what happened, which affects your emotional and physical health, and your sleep.

When someone criticises you, first calm yourself. Breathe and count backwards from ten to one. Or notice any five objects of different colours in the room. When you are calmer, question these negative remarks. Are any of them true? What is the evidence that they are true? What is the evidence that they are not true? If they are true, you can use them as feedback to improve. If they are not, then you know the other person is probably expressing their opinion or their frustration.

Reflect on what affects you when someone says something negative or puts you down. We usually feel affected because we want to be seen as ‘nice’ by everyone and often don’t respect ourselves enough. So, instead of thinking ‘I am not good enough’, say ‘I am learning and growing’. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and accept, love and respect yourself as you are. Befriend people who respect you and learn to say ‘no’ to those don’t. Participate in youth activities that help develop your personality and your leadership skills.

When you feel more confident, firmly let people who pass negative remarks know that you find their statements too negative; and it is best that they only give you feedback you can work on. Show them that you are fine with yourself the way you are. Stand up for yourself!

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