A set of self-help guidelines

Editor’s note: This article is from the WeChat public account “Mr. L said” (ID: lxianshengmiao) author: Lachel.

If we list our daily happiness and worries, you may find an interesting thing:

What brings us happiness is often thanks, encouragement and affirmation from others. They will give you a lot of motivation and make you full of passion throughout the day.

In turn, what causes most of our troubles? You will find that most of them come from “unpleasant communication” with others.

For example:

  • A colleague disagrees with your proposal at the meeting, making you feel “Does he have an opinion on me?”

  • A few thorny words from the customer make you feel like “Is he dissatisfied with me”?

  • The cross-departmental partners speak yin and yang strangely, making you think “Did I make him angry”?


More commonly, posting opinions and spitting on the Internet, but evoked a few weird or hostile replies. Opening your mouth means “nonsense”, “just this”, “stop nonsense”, or lianzhu There is a string of rhetorical questions…

Actually, are these things serious? If you look back, these are trivial things too small and will not cause you any actual harm.

Even, we may “reasonably” know that the other party is probably unintentional and did not deliberately want to irritate you or target you-he is just used to speaking like this.

But at the moment, these little things can easily ruin our good mood for the day.

In severe cases, it will even make you angry, and you will lose control of your emotions for a while and it will be difficult to suppress.

People are so amazing. Many times, a simple thank you from others can make you happy for a long time; conversely, an unfriendly word from others can also make you depressed for a long time.

I think many friends have had this experience: because of a word from someone else, they felt “especially unpleasant”. They either attacked on the spot or endured it, but they were always indignant and it took a long time to calm down.

If you also have such troubles, I hope today’s article can give you some inspiration.


Why are we so sensitive to the attitudes of others?

The reason is that: our brains are inherently easy to respond to “social”.

The reason is simple: our ancient ancestors did not have the ability to live alone and hunt other animals. Therefore, we must live in groups to better survive and multiply. In order to maintain the communication and survival of ethnic groups, individuals with stronger “social potential” are naturally selected and allowed to reproduce from generation to generation.

This is the “social brain” hypothesis put forward by psychologist Dunbar and others in 1993.

This hypothesis holds that the brains of humans (and other higher primates) will reflect the complex computing needs in the real world and be used to adjust themselves to evolve in the direction of “being able to better adapt to society.”

One of the most famous examples is the “Dunbar’s Law” proposed by Dunbar himself: the upper limit of the circle that a person can keep in contact is about 150 people (this is also the classic “Dunbar number”). In other words, Dunbar believes: Our ancestors are probably also active in such a large-scale ethnic group, so our brains were shaped like this.

So, under this premise, our brains are prone to a phenomenon: to give higher learning and response weight to social scenes and stimuli.

An interesting example is the “Watson Selection Task”: There are four cards in front of you, with E, K, 4, and 7 written on the front. Now, the experimenter tells you that there is a rule that says: “If one side of a card is a vowel, then the other side must be an even number.” Here comes the question: How many cards do you need to flip to confirm whether this rule is correct?

An obvious answer is to flip E. If the opposite of E is an even number, then this rule is correct; if it is odd, then this rule is wrong. this is very simple. In the results of the experiment, about 50% of people chose to turn E.

But most people may ignore another possibility: turn 7. why? Because if the back of 7 is also a vowel, then it violates this rule (one side is a vowel, the other side must be an even number). In the results of the experiment, only about 5% of people would turn over 7.

However, psychologists have made a very interesting modification of this question: the front of the four cards read: beer, coke, 19, 16. The rule becomes: “If a person wants to drink beer, he must be at least 18 years old.” Then I would like to ask: How many cards should we turn over to confirm whether this rule has been violated?

It’s obvious: Turn over the two cards “Beer” and “16”, right?

You will find that the two questions are essentially the same. But just given it a social scene, the correct rate soared from 5% to 75%.

This classic realityWhat does the test show? Our brain is not good at abstract logical thinking. In turn, it is particularly good at understanding and processing social situations.

So, many times it is very difficult for you to learn a field; but it is much easier to comprehend by composing a story for it, writing a novel, and integrating knowledge into the story.

Under this premise, our “mental world” is particularly easy to put the evaluation and feedback from the society in a more important position and give them more weight.

So, we often say: Don’t care too much about others’ opinions. But why is it still so difficult to do? It is because: the evolution of our brains is to “caring more about others”.


In this case, it is easy for us to produce a mechanism: link our evaluation and sense of existence with the attention and attitude of others.

Everyone has a most essential need: the need to clarify the value of their existence. That is to let ourselves feel that “my existence is meaningful” and “I have the ability to achieve my goals”, otherwise we will lose the reason and foundation of existence.

This need is called “self-esteem” in psychology (self-esteem, note that it is not the same as self-esteem in everyday life). There are high and low self-esteem. High self-esteem means you think you are valuable and capable; low self-esteem means you think you are worthless and incapable.

Under normal circumstances, self-esteem is measured and judged internally by the self. For example: you are good at writing and gain a sense of pleasure and accomplishment in the process of writing. You can objectively and rationally compare your work with other people’s works and judge their pros and cons, even if no one reads what you write. At this point, you are also confident enough to know “I write very well.”

This is a kind of “healthy high self-esteem.” It is a normal and ideal state.

But in real life, because the brain will subconsciously tilt in the direction of “socialization”, this leads to: the establishment of such high self-esteem is easy to “skew” and develop in a direction that is not healthy enough stand up.

This is what psychologist Michael Kernis calls “heterogeneity of high self-esteem” (also known as “fragility of high self-esteem,” hereinafter referred to as HSE).

This heterogeneous high self-esteem can generally be divided into the following four categories:

1) Unstable type: Unstable evaluation of oneself. One feels that I am great, another feels that I am useless.

In this situation, there is often a comparison with the outside world and changes after comparison, and there is a lack of a stable evaluation standard.

Therefore, such people are more afraid of new environments and new challenges, and prefer to stay in a familiar environment, because they worry that after changing the environment, the evaluation criteria will be updated accordingly, and feel that they are “useless”.

2) Defensive type: I am particularly afraid of negatives from the outside world, and will try to maintain their image at all costs.

Such people usually cannot handle criticism well, and tend to reject negative reviews and only accept positive reviews.

In life, we often encounter people who are particularly stubborn and can’t listen to others’ opinions. Even if you clearly give evidence that “you are wrong,” he will stubbornly defend his position. Because for him, his position is part of “self-worth.” Denying one’s position is equivalent to denying part of oneself.

3) Dependent type: Corresponds to defensive type, which requires external affirmation in particular.

Such people put “satisfying other people’s expectations” in the first place, and it is difficult to accept rejection or disappointment.

The most typical examples of this situation are “vanity” and “face-saving”. Even if their economic strength does not allow them, they still have to buy luxury goods, and they have to go to high-end occasions to show themselves “bright and beautiful”-because they want the affirmation and appreciation of others.

4) Inconsistent type: The high self-esteem “disguised”, their external and internal are separated.

This kind of thing is a little more complicated: they are actually inferior in their hearts, and they don’t like their true self, but they are keen to show a confident and powerful image in front of others, in order to maintain their social evaluation of them.

Of these four HSE classifications, a person may only have one or multiple at the same time. The degree may be high, or the degree may be slight.

But in any case, this is a bad state-because it means that you give the right to judge yourself to others, not yourself.


Further, if a person has a certain degree of HSE, what will it cause?

Research shows that heterogeneous high self-esteem has two notable characteristics: (Kernis et al., 1996, 1997, 2000)

1) It is easier to notice negative reviews and interpret neutral and vague reviews as negative.

2) It is easier to ruminate negative reviews more deeply;

You will find that this is a negative cycle: the first point allows HSE to be exposed to more negative reviews, and the second point makes these negative reviews have a greater and longer lasting effect on them, making them continue to Tormented by outside evaluations.

A simple example:

You messed up a task and got scolded by your superiors. Back on my seat, I saw other colleagues stealing whispering. Normal people may not take it to heart, but an HSE is likely to think of “Are they laughing at me?” so that the experience of mission failure will be regurgitated once again in the heart, and the pain will be experienced again…

This is a very uncomfortable experience.

It is precisely because most HSEs often suffer such pain in their lives, so they often adopt some subconscious strategies to avoid suffering.

One of the most typical examples is narcissism.

The psychology community defines narcissism as “a high degree of self-attention and expecting others to pay attention to oneself” (Baumeister, 1996, 1998). Simply put, it is easy to have this kind of mentality:

I am very good. You just haven’t noticed it for the time being.

Moreover, when narcissists have made some achievements, they will be particularly eager to share with others, especially to get affirmation and recognition from others-this kind of positive feedback will give them great satisfaction.

Research found that among different types of HSE, “inconsistent HSE” is most likely to lead to narcissism (Zeigler-hill, 2006).

In other words: Narcissism is probably a variant of low self-esteem. In order to cover up low self-esteem, narcissism is born.

Further, if this narcissistic mentality continues to be threatened by the outside world (such as denial, ridicule, indifference), another strategy may be developed: externalization.

What is externalization? It is to establish a barrier between the outside world and the self, dividing the “good” to oneself and the “bad” to the outside world. This is the common mentality of “Everyone is drunk and I am alone.”

Common examples such as: “I said you don’t understand” “No one can understand me” “A genius like me is destined to not be appreciated”…

On the other hand, many studies have found that narcissists are often the most aggressive (Twenge, 2001).In other words: when a narcissist suffers social rejection (negation, etc.), it is more likely to “hold grudges” and “retaliate” consciously or unconsciously-including speaking badly about the other party, giving a lower evaluation to the other party, etc. —— It may even point to an unrelated third party, which is to “vent anger.”

Furthermore, narcissists have a very strong competitive demand, which leads them to speak stingingly and aggressively even if they are not threatened. Because they are eager to prove that “I am superior to you” to satisfy his HSE.


So, having said so much, what better strategy can we have to deal with and deal with the problems at the beginning of the article?

It should be noted that although HSE is unhealthy, it is not a particularly serious problem. Most people have a little bit more or less. What we should pay attention to is:

1) Don’t let HSE continue to evolve, be aware of it and adjust it.

2) Try not to let HSE develop into narcissism.

Share a few simple tips, hoping to help you solve some troubles.

1. Principle of tolerance

The principle of tolerance is a philosophical concept, which refers to: in the process of communication, maintain the utmost kindness to trust the other party, believe that the other party is positive and positive, and wants to solve the problem.

To understand the principle of tolerance, you need to talk about the basic attribution fallacy.

We will have a cognitive bias: when we succeed, we tend to attribute it to the inside (I am great); when we fail, we tend to attribute it to the outside (bad luck). Conversely, when others succeed, we tend to external attribution (he is lucky); when others fail, we tend to internal attribution (he is not capable). This is the basic attribution fallacy.

So, the first basic rule is: When the other party makes some “uncomfortable” behavior, if it can be attributed to the external environment, try not to attribute it to the inside.

For example: Occasionally there will be classmates in the wisdom camp asking questions that have been repeated many times. Some students will think this is a “reaching party” (internal attribution), but what is a more reasonable idea?

These classmates are very busy at work, and there is no time to read the Q&A and summary in the group. I don’t know these questions can be found, so I asked them again. This is an external attribution.

Another example: When someone blames you for no reason, instead of thinking that “he is deliberately embarrassing you” (internal attribution), it is better to think that “he has a misunderstanding of you” (external attribution), and then think of a way to go Solve this misunderstanding-this would be a better approach.

Further: Even if the external cause is not established, we can attribute it to the internal, and it can be divided into twoClass: Ability issues, and intention issues.

The second basic rule: If you can use the insufficient ability to explain, try not to rise to the intention.

Take an example: the other party said some thorny things. Instead of thinking that “he has an opinion on you” (a question of intention), it is better to think that “he has no EQ” (insufficient ability). Then the coping strategy is: solve the problem first, and then help him point it out friendly when he is free.

In summary: When someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, follow this order to understand:

1) What does the other party mean? Is it possible that I got it wrong?

2) Is it possible that this problem is caused by the constraints of the objective environment and conditions?

3) Is it possible that this problem is caused by the opponent’s insufficient ability?

4) Is the other party questioning, denying, or attacking me?

Under normal circumstances, read in the order of 1→2→3→4, and try to keep the positions 1, 2, and 3. Unless there is conclusive evidence, do not easily transition to 4.

This approach can solve most of your worries very effectively. You will find that many of the criticisms and denials you think are actually just your misunderstandings and do not really mean that they are “bad”.

2. Principle of Equivalence

Simply put: What kind of evaluation the other party gives you, you must show equivalent evidence. Otherwise, this evaluation is meaningless and does not need to be bothered at all.

I will divide a person’s rebuttals into two categories, invalid rebuttals and effective rebuttals.

What is an invalid rebuttal? Generally speaking, it refers to a rebuttal of “only opinions, no arguments.” Including: denying the other party without reason, seizing the minor points and omitting the key points, misinterpreting or taking the other party’s position out of context, etc.

Conversely, an effective rebuttal means: being able to come up with reasons and arguments to support what you say.

What is the best state? It is similar to this:

I fully understand your position (based on full understanding), but I disagree with one of them (point out a clear weakness) because (with argument)… I think it would be better to do this (with a solution) )…

If you encounter an “invalid rebuttal” in your life, the best response is: don’t care about it at all. Because there are more meaningful and valuable things in life that are worthy of our attention, there is no need to spend energy in such places.

3. Three Steps of Fire Fighting

In life, we will inevitably encounter this situation: a few words from the other party make you very uncomfortable, very annoyed, and very uncomfortable. What to do at this time? How to restrain your emotions?

You might as well take these three steps to calm yourself down immediately:

1) Divert attention. Don’t respond, don’t worry about him, immediately turn your attention to any other task, do it first, think about it, and come back later.

2) Third party perspective. Think about it: What would the other person think about what the other person said to you? If you have a seizure, lose your temper at him and lift the table, what will others think? At this time, how do you respond so that others will feel “appropriate”?

3) Depersonalization. Treat yourself and the other party as a machine, pull out the “self” and let yourself imagine that the other party is not pointing to “me”, but an individual that has nothing to do with you. Then, think about it, is there a process or step that can be used in this occasion? If so, follow the process; if not, just draw one, and follow the process next time.

This approach can effectively free you from emotional control and prevent yourself from continuing to be irritated by the other party.

4. Firewall Law

What is firewall law? This is a very effective self-defense strategy, also called Compartmentalization.

In short:

1) Diversified identification: The self-concept and self-worth of “I” are composed of multiple aspects, not one aspect.

In other words: the so-called “me” may include me at work, me at home, me in the eyes of my neighbors, and me in the eyes of my friends… These I may be different. Together, they constitute the whole “I”.

2) Isolation: At any time, other people’s evaluations and judgments of “me” only refer to the present situation, and they are only “part of me”, not “all me”.

3) Integration: I may not meet my standards and requirements in one aspect, but I can meet the standards in another aspect, so that the overall “I” can be maintained in a reasonable position.

The active firewall method can make oneself more psychologically flexible, so that the attacks and denials received can be kept in a small block without affecting your overall evaluation.

5. Surpass the outcome

I have always emphasized one point: the fundamental purpose of the argument is not to win or lose, but to get closer to the truth.

So, in life, when you encounter others denying you or questioning you, try to divert your eyes: Don’t think about “I lose and you win”, but think:

  • “What is the point he wants to express?”

  • “Where is his disagreement with me?”

  • “How does his and my views combine from the bottom?”

  • “How can his views enrich, improve, and correct my views?”

This is a higher-level thinking habit.

Even if you look at it from the perspective of winning or losing, this habit is very effective: it will make you always invincible.

Because of those who are obsessed with winning, they lose at the beginning;

The winner is the one who can see further than the victory,

Because they will always gain something.