When I was a child, we attended the high school football games where my father was once a football star. Not only did we have season tickets for the home games, we traveled to all the away games as well. I didn’t really understand the game so my attention was often drawn to the cheerleaders. I still remember some of those cheers, learned from sheer repetition. One that resonates with me today goes like this: “Whup ’em up the side of the head, hey, whup ’em the side of the head, hey, hey, hey!”
Do you have a person in your life who is a negative cheerleader, someone who constantly points out your shortcomings and negatively impacts your self-image? A person who, in effect, “whups” you up the side of the head whenever possible.
Following are some ways to deal with the ongoing negativity of an adversarial person:
Think Before Responding
Many times, when confronted by continual critiquing and negative comments, it’s tempting to fire back with words equally as critical and negative. As difficult as it is, resist responding out of anger. Often, igniting your ire is the main goal of a critic. When you exhibit control, and do not respond in anger, you win. And if you go a step further, and find something for which to compliment your adversary, or simply say “thank you” to a criticism, you score extra points. Critics are stunned by a positive comment and do not know how to respond.
Remain on Guard
Not responding to an adversary doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat and allow this person to continually bash you. Guard your areas of weakness. Avoid situations where you are alone with this person, or leave the conversation as soon as possible. Your greatest weapons are wisdom and discernment rather than a sharp tongue. Once you know a person’s bent toward criticism, negativity, or verbal abuse, don’t assume they will be different the next time you encounter them. You do not have to submit to abuse. Be on guard and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Don’t Believe the Lies
Satan thrives on lies and critics are his mouthpiece. Stop listening to the ones who are telling you you’ll never succeed, criticizing your efforts, challenging your wisdom, threatening you with some nebulous consequences, or defaming you in any way. Your self-worth is not determined by those who ridicule you. Remember what you know to be true about yourself and your abilities. Block out negativism and seek others in your life who affirm, encourage, support, and speak truth.
Remember the Jealousy Quotient
Many times, the person with the most negative comments directed toward you is the person who is the most envious of you. A common tactic of a jealous person is to tear down your self-esteem, and what better way to do that than to continually point out your faults. When someone never compliments and always criticizes, you can be sure envy and insecurity are the motivators.
Utilize your Gifts
Each of us has God-given gifts and talents, but many times, when you’re enduring a difficult situation or you’re under attack from an individual, you forget these gifts and talents. God knows the challenges you currently face, and are going to face in the future, and equips you to handle them. Forgetting your gifts and talents is like tying one hand behind your back. Remember God’s faithfulness and how he has equipped you in past difficulties. Then utilize all God has given you to navigate current trials, remembering you are valuable and greatly loved.
“Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal.” Proverbs 12:18 TLB
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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