“You need to get thick skin bud” (Guest Blog written by my son Dalton Anderson):
When I was a kid, I was bullied quite a bit. Just typical schoolyard bullying, so nothing out of the ordinary, but I remember once complaining to an adult about it. Instead of receiving sympathy, I was given a piece of advice that profoundly changed my life. “You need to get thick skin bud. There are mean people in this world, and there will always be someone ready to tear you down. You can’t control others, but you can toughen up and develop confidence so that others can’t affect you negatively.”
I was seven, but I remember that advice like a fresh memory. I didn’t want to listen and accept those words at first. I really just wanted to wish bullies away entirely. I think we all want to wish bullies away some days, but quite frankly, I think we’ve all been a bully at some point in our life. I have bad days. You have bad days. We all have days when we say something insensitive or hurtful and wish we could take it back. While it would be great to never say a hurtful thing, I accept that it’s part of the human experience, and instead focus on improving every single day.
Seven-year-old me couldn’t accept the advice to get thick skin initially, but overtime I did learn to accept it. It was a process, but I ultimately developed some incredibly thick and rugged skin (emotionally speaking). In fact, one consequence as an adult is that I often miss subtle negative or rude comments made at my expense because I’m not looking for them. Because I’m not seeking to be offended, I usually miss the offense entirely. I may be made fun of for being oblivious in this regard, but I’m an incredibly positive and happy person because of it.
How does this help you? Take a moment to reflect on yourself. If you find yourself getting offended on a regular basis, even if offense was absolutely intended, I give you the same advice offered to me. “You need to get thick skin bud,” because as you learn to let words and opinions roll off your shoulder like the waste that it is, you will find in yourself a strength and confidence that lifts you over negativity. You will be happier, have deeper relationships, and find that you attract great people to you. It will also make you more positive and enjoyable to be around, because you won’t be attracting negativity into your life.
In giving this advice, it’s still important to stand up for others, and be an example to everyone. As for yourself, recognize that developing thick skin provides benefits for your confidence and self-esteem that are priceless. It was tough advice to accept when I heard it, but I’m tremendously grateful that I listened.
~Dalton Anderson (son of Amy Rees Anderson, author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )