Dear Crissy

Why it’s okay to have a thin skin

Life is complicated—and we’re all acutely aware of that fact. We will all encounter tough interpersonal conflict and criticism, and unfortunately, we might even (as adults) still face name-calling that harks back to our time as elementary school students.

It happens within our families, within our social circles, and yes—sometimes between our peers in the workplace. It’s certainly happened to me, as a blogger, and the advice I invariably hear is that I should develop a thicker skin. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given that advice in my life.

Why It's Okay To Have A Thin Skin

Photo CC license ejorpin.

What I’ve come to realize, however, is that I’m okay with my thin skin. I am a very emotional person, and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve.

I understand that the thick skin advice comes from a good place when given, however, what is wrong with being affected? Furthermore, what’s wrong with admitting to other people that you are affected?

Don’t let anyone tell you that having a “thin skin” is a flaw. Your beautiful and feeling heart is a strength. (Tweet This)

Some of my favorite people have a thin skin, and most of the truly gifted, creative, and innovative people that I’ve met in my life are highly emotional and feeling individuals.

When people criticize me, I feel it. When people are right down rude or insulting to me, I really feel it. I don’t let it keep me down, because I have enough self-worth (at this age) to see ugliness for what it is—but by golly—I’ve got a super thin skin, and I’m not ashamed of that—I’m proud of it.

Have you ever been accused of having a thin skin, or of being too emotional?

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57 Comments

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  1. Tammi @ My Organized Chaos — June 10, 2013 @ 11:50 am (#)

    Great quotes, and so true! My Mother used to say this about people who criticize others ‘it says more about them than the people they are talking to/about’ and it’s so true. Thick skin and the knowledge that they are making themselves look to others, like the way they are intending you to feel.

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  2. Carolyn B — June 10, 2013 @ 11:57 am (#)

    I’m right there with you….thin skinned and proud!

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  3. Staci — June 10, 2013 @ 11:58 am (#)

    I am not typically the one with “thin” skin. My childhood taught me different. But, I am also not the type to see the good in people very often. My inner circle is small. So, perhaps by keeping the walls up I do not have to be as thick skinned. And that doesn’t sound like the solution as well… but it’s what works for me right now.

    BTW… you rock. By many standards you do. Others are jealous… and very well should be. {{HUGS}}

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  4. Faith — June 10, 2013 @ 12:00 pm (#)

    Yes, it has happened a number of times. I take things deep inside and process it all. Nothing is said to me that I don’t reflect on. Though this can be exhausting, it is also an asset for self betterment.

    It can be so challenging as a “thin skin” person to put yourself out there in the world, to be vulnerable and have others attack you. Carry on, stay strong, you are not alone!

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  5. Sandy — June 10, 2013 @ 12:02 pm (#)

    Well said!!

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  6. Chrysa — June 10, 2013 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    I really feel you on this, Crissy! The saying goes “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, words DO hurt!

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  7. Dee Dee Brence — June 10, 2013 @ 12:09 pm (#)

    I am told that all the time! My boss likes to poke at me about it. She finds it amusing. I feel I am this way because I love people, and practice the Golden Rule, and when people are mean it breaks my heart. I feel your pain.

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  8. Ginny — June 10, 2013 @ 12:09 pm (#)

    I so am right with you on this one. I have been sensitive all my life. I have been told of a story when I was little, that my family used to “joke” me trying to get me to toughen up. It didn’t work… I just feel that they were mean.
    To this day, I am sensitive, and have very thin skin. I don’t mind… I am happy with who I am.

    I love that you wrote what I have felt many a time. <3 you and your thin skin!! <3

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    • Christine Tolhurst — June 11th, 2013 @ 12:51 am

      Ginny, my family did the same thing and they still do. They think I need to just “learn to take a joke”, even when I have repeatidly asked them not to joke with me about certain things and that I am just too sensitive and “no fun”. I am actually a ton of fun and love to joke around and I am always making others laugh. It really does hurt when people you love won’t just accept you for who you are, and try to change you instead as if there is something wrong with who you are.

  9. SoberJulie — June 10, 2013 @ 12:10 pm (#)

    I have a very thick skin but too often people say you have to have a thick skin in a situation where the person doing the “attacking” or making hurtful remarks are just plain in the wrong.

    It’s not ok to bash others or make insensitive remarks, we really need to remember that each of us have feelings and are entitled to being treated respectfully. Our insular society encourages us to say what we like…and folks are missing out on common decency!

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  10. Whitney @RambleSAHM — June 10, 2013 @ 12:11 pm (#)

    I do have to say that when you are being criticized or judged you must be doing it right. With you having so many talents and strengths their are so many wanting to be you. Take heart in that! I am also a wear your heart on your sleeve type of girl so I get the hurt part as well.

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  11. Maria — June 10, 2013 @ 12:13 pm (#)

    Wearing my heart on my sleeve has always been an issue. I’m very sensitive and emotional, and I think I have a right to be. I used to keep everything bottled up inside, and that made me physically sick. So to the people that want us to have thicker skin, tell ya what….how about you learn to feel?! Thank you for sharing this experience with us Crissy, some people are just “ugly” as you said.

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  12. Jessica — June 10, 2013 @ 12:14 pm (#)

    I’ve been accused of being emotional many times. I’m just passionate though! I think it’s o.k. to have a thin skin, but sometimes I think people are LOOKING to get offended these days. I consider them two different things though.

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  13. denise — June 10, 2013 @ 12:19 pm (#)

    yes. It was considered a major flaw in corporate America. Didn’t think the bullying by male managers belonged there either. Glad I no longer work there.

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  14. Amber — June 10, 2013 @ 12:19 pm (#)

    I must admit I can relate. As a younger girl I was always told you are soooo tender hearted, you need thicker skin. I now still to this day, have that “thin skin” and I’m ok with it! I see it as a gift actually. I love that I can express my emotions. I say to those thick skinned people who think we should change…..maybe a look at the mirror is something you need. Sometimes, people tend to criticize others when they can’t be happy with the person they are.

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  15. Beverly Jordan — June 10, 2013 @ 12:23 pm (#)

    I am right there with you! Thank you for writing this!

    Reply

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you are beautiful. hope to see you soon!