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If you feel insecure about your love for adult coloring, don’t be. Here are a few things you can do to guard yourself against hurtful comments.
They don’t really care
For this article to make sense, there is one simple truth you need to keep in mind. Other people care much more about themselves than they care about you. It’s part of human nature and it’s a good thing! Super important for survival.
But it is also the reason for a drastic disproportion. Others think about us much less than we think they think about us. 😉
So you’re in a social situation and you are afraid to speak up about coloring. You may think that people will consider your hobby childish or that they will think less of you. Who is actually thinking it?
Well, you are. At the same time, they are focusing on what you think about them. Whenever you feel these negative thoughts creeping up on you, tell them: Hey, stop!
The hurtful remark
Once you internalize the principle I have outlined above, you’ll realize one thing. Most of the time, people don’t make very thoughtful comments about you or adult coloring.
They likely took a minute or less to form their spontaneous opinion. Their negative comments and remarks, as hurtful as they might be for you, carry very little value for them. Which is why some people find it so easy to say hurtful things towards you. They simply don’t feel as strongly about what they said as you do.
Hurt people hurt people
Which brings me to an important point. Some people are spiteful because they are hurting.
If someone goes out of their day to make a negative comment about your hobby, don’t get angry, feel sorry for them.
Do you know someone who tends to share very hurtful comments? Believe me, when I say, they are not about you. They are not judging you or your hobby. They are reflecting through the pain they feel.
So what do you do?
Unless you know what this person’s pain is and you can help them ease it – distance yourself. Sometimes it means unfriending someone on Facebook. Sometimes it means unfriending them in real life. Sometimes it means distancing yourself, setting boundaries.
As difficult as it is, you will feel lighter without people pulling you down.
Self-esteem is a thing
Another big reason why some people say hurtful things is because their own self-esteem is low.
Please know that this is not healthy or normal. This is a toxic way of making themselves feel better by making you feel bad.
If this happens to you, again, all you can do is feel bad for the other person. Don’t let those types of insults get to you, don’t give them power. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but the best thing you can do is raise above the insult.
If you sense that this might be the case for the other person, think of how you can spin this around and make it about them.
So when they ask you what you like to do in your free time, you could say:
Adult coloring. I actually think you would love it!
This is a really good way to stop hurtful replies. A person with low self-esteem is very unlikely to criticize something that you made about them. Remember, they want to lift their own social rank.
Communicate what you want them to think
This part is my bread and butter because as many of you know, I spent a few years studying communication design.
What I learned about communication is this. We make decisions and form opinions based on our instincts. Sounds very mysterious, right? In reality, an instinct is nothing more than a quick analysis, run by the brain. But we can only work with the data we receive.
Think of the brain as a super-computer. It analyzes two types of data. First is the information we already have. So maybe your conversation partner has already tried coloring. Or maybe they know someone who has. Maybe they read an article about it. As soon as you say the words adult coloring, the other person’s brain runs a brain-wide search for these.
The second type is the data we receive in real-time. The brain analyzes every signal it receives, including the tone of your voice, the way you looked up or down.
When you speak with someone you cannot control the type of data that they are browsing in the background. It’s out of your reach, it’s already there.
What you can control is the type of data you are sending. At that moment, during your conversation about your hobby, this is the more important part.
If you think about it, more than 50% of the other person’s opinion is based on the signals that you send!
Words have power
First, let’s package your message in the right words. The way you speak about adult coloring will shape the other person’s opinion the most.
You may be saying something like:
I like coloring books. Like the ones for children, except more intricate. It’s very relaxing.
And with that, you send a certain message. As soon as you say the word children, it’s very easy for the other person to arrive at childish. On top of that, the word relaxing is dangerously close to effortless or lazy.
Keep in mind, the other person is not analyzing this on purpose. All of this is happening in the subconscious part of the brain. They may not arrive at these associations. But why give them a chance at all?
What if you said this instead?
I’m a coloring artist! I take these insanely detailed coloring pages and turn them into colorful works of art. It’s actually a great way to let emotions out on paper.
The words artist, insanely detailed, works of art all send a very clear signal: I am serious, it is a big deal. Then, instead of the word relaxing, I used a phrase that doesn’t suggest that coloring is easy. After all, you pour your heart into these illustrations.
Now let’s design the rest of your message.
To put it simply: If you are anxious to talk about your hobby, the other person will sense it. Their brain will take it into account in their analysis.
But you are awesome! You are an adult colorist! If you say it proudly, with a smile and excitement – they will be more likely to be happy for you.
For what it is worth…
Me, Anna, I am super happy for you.
I admire everyone who spends their free time on adult coloring. It requires precision, focus, and a lot of creativity. These are some of the things I value greatly.
Finally, there’s one last way you can guard yourself against nasty comments. Consider joining adult coloring Facebook groups and connecting with like-minded people. Most of my current friendships have started online and I love it. The internet gives you a chance to find people of the same beliefs and interests, so don’t be afraid to use it. It’s 2020 and it’s perfectly fine to make friends online.
I hope that you never find yourself needing these tips, but if you do – I hope they will be helpful.
If you know other great ways to deal with hurtful comments, please share your ideas below. I would love to read about it!
PS. If you like reading, here’s a list of books that can be very helpful in crafting the right message: