Humiliation can hurt us very much. Sometimes the it hurts so bad that vengeance is the only thing that seems to be able to heal our injured self-esteem. We may even be shocked about ourselves. “Is that really me, who harbors such thoughts of revenge?” How is it possible that humiliation of any kind can hurt us that much? And what can we do about it?
We are the product of millions of years of evolution. Though living in totally different circumstances than our prehistoric ancestors, we carry almost the same body with us – and that means also the same brain. For a very long time in the history of mankind our brain evolved in an environment that was threatening and dangerous. Survival was the basic imperative. And danger was everywhere for our ancestors: The saber-toothed tiger was just lurking around the corner, a mammoth might stomp on you while crossing the street, the neighbors could come for an unannounced visit and the cave was not properly dusted, etc. Peril was to be expected at all fronts; it had to be anticipated and avoided.
This program of the stone-age is still alive today. The hurt we experience is the alarm button our subconscious watchdog presses each time it perceives a rejection. Sure, our survival today is far less dependent on other people. But it depends on your level of sensitivity how much you are affected by slights or a nasty remark of your colleague. The more sensitive you are, the more humiliation and disrespectful behavior of others hurt you.
And your personal level of sensitivity correlates with your self-esteem. If it is more or less low, slights, criticism, and humiliation will hurt you badly, if your self-esteem is robust and healthy, those remarks will only be “barking at the moon.” In the long run, the best you can do is to work on your self-esteem. But for the time being, here is what you can do immediately:
- Expect to encounter impolite, rude, critical, or snubbing people as soon as you leave your house. Wait for the blow and…