Our brains are wired to pay more attention to threats than to normal everyday things. While this is great for natural self-preservation, it can also make us unduly sensitive to negative comments or criticism. If your day has ever been ruined by one negative remark, you know what I mean.
Psychologist Dr Marlo Archer explains how we tend to ignore the hundreds of remarks people make all day long when they don’t pose any threat. “That is so funny.” “How are you feeling?” “Here are the TPS reports.” They just pass over us, even if they’re positive.
But if you hear one negative comment (“That’s a stupid idea” or “You need a haircut”), you’re likely to think about it all day, maybe even start doubting yourself, because that negativity is threatening.
The solution, according to Dr Archer, is to put it into perspective:
Take all the positive in and use it to balance the negative. Think about negative comments in a balanced way. Evaluate them objectively to see if they even have any merit or not, and if they’re really more about the person who said them, and not really much about you, then just let them go and move on.
If you’re just dealing with a negative person, you’ll have to figure out if the advice is worth listening to or not. It’s possible that the negative criticism is valid and you do need to change something, but it’s probably not as bad as it might seem. Work on the negative things you have to, but don’t forget all the praise and positive things you’ve received as well.
Fight the Negative Focus [Dr Marlo Archer]