Have you ever had someone tell you that you need thicker skin, meaning that you are too sensitive and respond to insult way too easy? If so, I totally get it! Before I continue, I want to suggest you embrace your sensitivity and all of the good things about it. If you are sensitive it means you are compassionate, empathetic, and that you care about all that brings goodness in this life.
If you are too sensitive it means you can easily react out of your wounds. This is not all together a bad thing, so if this is you, don’t fret! It means that it points to where your wounds are and that can help you heal a lot.
Here Comes the Story!
First, before I go further, you KNOW I have to tell a story. Yep, I have one for every message I put out there! When I was taking classes to become a medical assistant way back in the stone age, we used to use an orange to do injections on before we practiced on our lab partner. There is a huge reason for this! The orange has a thick enough skin to protect the inner part of it, yet it is pliable enough to allow the healing benefits of the injection into the interior (or the heart) of the fruit. The skin around an orange protects the inside from becoming bruised. Once the fruit has a bruised exterior things can effect the heart of it.
In the same respect, we need to have thicker skin in this world but pliable enough to allow healing to still reach our hearts. Thicker skin does not mean a hardened heart. It means we have learned to discern experiences outside of ourselves before we allow them to hurt our hearts. So how do we do this? How do we have thicker skin?
- Learn the truth. When people shoot insult toward us it is more about THEM than it is about US. That person is responding out of their wounds, their own opinions, or their own experience in the way they see situations. Repeat, it really is NOT about YOU!
- Take time to process before responding. This is a learned thing for all of us and some are better at it than others. Be slow to speak means to back off and think first. Remember #1. Its more about them than about you! Even if you have to leave a situation or leave the room for awhile before responding than do that!
- Not all things require your personal response. This can be your opportunity to be the observer and just let the issue be laid in the lap of from whom it came.
- If it is a situation that has occurred, remember that God is your advocate. You need not respond right away or sometimes not at all. If it is an evil done to you than leave it with God. Pray. Leave it. Pray again, and repeat.
- Remember you don’t have to take everything into your heart. You can know it, hear it, experience it, understanding it, but you don’t have to BECOME it. When you allow every experience into your heart it becomes a part of you. REMEMBER THIS! It will help you keep from reacting when you want to spew out against other opinions, situations, and issues that you probably can’t do a thing about.
These are just a few to start you off. I bet you can think of a few more if you really sit down and consider all angles. Be good to yourself. It takes practice! It’s alright if you mess up now and then. Just remember what messing up has cost you. Sometimes it costs precious time we could have spent enjoying life a lot more. If an issue is getting you down and you need time before dealing with it, then take a detour and do something enjoyable first! It will enhance your life and give you a better perspective before you respond. As always, cling to God. He will help you heal, become stronger, and live better!
Loving you from here,
Dr. Jenine Marie Howry