How to grow a thick skin to cope with nasty comments

thick skin

Many people who suffer at the hands of trolls and other undesirables on the web could be termed as having a thin skin. Therefore if you are to survive, it may be necessary for you to develop a thick skin instead.

Not having a thick skin will leave you vulnerable to getting distressed from all sorts of engagement and interaction. Some of this could be construed by you as being horrible, because your thin skin has allowed sufficient negativity to penetrate you to make you upset.

It's not easy to grow a thick skin. It may even take you a long time. But in the meantime, being aware of why you should develop one, via the infographic below, may help you on your social journey:

How to grow a thick skin to cope with nasty comments

And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

It's not all about you

Without sounding horrible, I want you to take a good look at yourself. How important are you to the social world? Unless you are a celebrity or an influencer, it is most likely the majority of people won't know who you are.

This means that when you think you are targeted by a troll, you probably aren't. The troll is probably scattering his comments far and wide in the hope that some may fall on fertile ground. And you have turned out to be especially susceptible in attracting his form of abuse.

Be thankful you are not famous. It is exceptionally difficult to be so on social media. But I also hope you have gained a loyal fanbase of good friends who will look out for you, give you lots of encouragement, and pick you up whenever you are down. These are excellent armour against any troll.

No permission granted

The First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”. You can take this quote and adapt it towards creating a thick skin. If you haven't given permission to anybody to be horrible to you, they have no authority to do so.

There isn't anybody on the social web who has the right to throw negative comments at anyone. Unfortunately this doesn't stop them. But it also means there is no imperative to notice or accept them in any shape or form.

It's a waste of your time and energy to worry about what others have said about you. Also there is no need to adapt what you do in an attempt to stop them. As long as you aren't being untrue, libellous, illegal, unkind and troll-like yourself, there is no need to worry about your activities online.

Criticism isn't always bad

Criticism can be looked at as something positive. You could view it as constructive and helpful points provided to improve you or help you solve a problem. As long as it is delivered in a friendly and encouraging way, there is no reason why you should repel critical comments.

People without a thick skin will find it hard to accept comments which are anything but seen as nice. But it may be necessary for information or a response to a project to be offered which may not meet the criteria of being positive and good. You need to learn how to take the rough with the smooth.

However, criticism which is unwarranted and unnecessary shouldn't be swept under the carpet. This falls into the category of having no authority and should not be tolerated. You have every right to get angry rather than upset about this.

Wear something repellant

I wrote a post about Greta Thunburg's healthy approach towards hate and her ability to cope with nasty comments. She is definitely a celebrity which gets her fair share of trolls. But for her it has been her Aspergers which has held her in good stead and given her a thick skin.

Now we all can't be like Greta and treat hateful comments like water off a duck's back. But you can make your new skin more water-proof than it was before. Focus on allowing anything horrible to slide back into the swamp where it came from, and not give a moment's thought towards it.

Thinking like this can give you a sense of lightness and contribute towards less stress or worry. There is no need to let these incidents cloud your day. Assess their importance to your world, and if they are at the bottom of the barrel, it's time to jettison them into oblivion!

They just aren't worth it

If you have the stomach to analyse the horrible comments you receive, you will probably find they contain very little substance. Trolls are very clever in using trigger words, designed to provoke the response they desire. But their comments usually say very little.

This is because these sort of people know nothing about the subject you are engaging on. They disguise their ignorance with their nastiness. But if you have created a thick skin, you will have the power to counteract their claims with the facts and figures missing from their comments.

However, I don't advise replying to trolls. They just aren't worth the bother. Also they are much cleverer than you at twisting what they say to their advantage, which will make you feel worse again. Best treat them as non-grata and ignore them. They will soon give up and go away.

Consider your present circumstances

It's always a good idea to take stock of where you are and what benefits you have when you are feeling low. Remember the good things you have: a roof over your head, good food to eat, clothes on your back, lucrative employment, a loving relationship, and many other material things to make your life more comfortable.

Standing back to look at the bigger picture helps towards ignoring nasty and unkind comments coming from complete strangers on social media. There are plenty of more important things to focus on than some off-the-cuff response to something you posted.

Gaining a thick skin shouldn't change who you are. It should just make you more tolerant towards horrible engagement which is unnecessary and unwarranted. Avoid adapting yourself into something else, or you will only confuse your friends and existing fans.

Gather your friends around you

Having a close, supportive network is essential for anyone, even for those with any kind of skin, or whatever social experiences you have on the web. Your friends are the mainstay of your mental health, and should not be forgotten and regularly communicated with on a daily basis.

I say daily, because this is how social media performs at its best. I could go on about how the algorithms reward consistent engagement, but really it makes sense to check in to see what's happening and start interacting positively on other people's posts. The idea is to encourage them to reply in return, resulting in relevant and exciting discussions.

This is the beginning of creating a community with your closest friends. Dependable conversations on common ground everybody can relate to, will certainly give you a necessary boost. And your community can also give you valuable advice on how to grow a thick skin as well as help restore your equilibrium against undesirable comments.

Focus on positivity instead

In a world full of negativity, why not counteract it with positivity instead? Good over bad, light over darkness, all that sort of thing. Think of the alternatives to trolling, such as kindness, consideration, tolerance, altruism – go on, I'm sure you can think of many more.

Then set an example by showing the social world how commenting should be done. Foil nastiness with words of encouragement, look at the bright side rather than of woe, tell a story which will make someone laugh or feel better. Before you know it your skin will be thickening, but not in an unsightly way!

Changing how you view the world, especially in a more positive light, can certainly be rubbed off in how you interact socially. And people will love you all the more for it! It's so much nicer to read a happy, positive comment which stands out above all the mire.

Have you got a thick skin?

Let me know in the comments below your story about how you acquired a thick skin. Or whether you are still in the process of thickening it. The beauty of comments is it allows readers to express their views and spread their knowledge to help everybody else who reads them.

Or let me know what you thought about this post or the subject matter. Did it encourage you to create a thicker skin? Could this information be passed onto a friend who may need it? What instances have you experienced or seen about how people react to negativity and nastiness on the net.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Alice Elliott
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