By KRS Edstrom



Dear KRS,
I am going through a problem right now and I’m hoping you can help me out.

THE PROBLEM: When someone wrongs me (unsolicited advice, criticism I do not find constructive, rudeness, patronizing me, etc.), I feel that if I do not stick up for myself beyond positive self-talk, it makes the offensive comment true! It is a very frustrating feeling, and I do not know what is causing it. I feel like I have to always refute the other person when they put me down. I feel this strong drive to be assertive, insult others back who have insulted me, justify my choices, and to try to offset possible rumors the criticizer may be spreading about me.

I am stuck in the irrational mindset that I always need to speak up to make my personal opinions be heard. I know it should be possible for my own opinion to count just as much even if I don’t voice it. I am having trouble achieving this and really need some help.

Also, I know that in some situations, such as at work, it isn’t always in my best interest to speak up (even if I am right). How can I develop the skill of keeping quiet, but not feeling as if what the critic is saying is true?
Sensitive to Criticism

Dear Sensitive,
Even Ghandi probably felt a twinge when untruths were spoken about him. So, I’d like to first suggest that you lighten up on yourself regarding your negative reactions to criticism. It is a normal human response to feel hurt when negative things are said about us, whether they are true or untrue.

Low self-esteem can heighten one’s reaction to criticism, because on some level you believe the criticism to be true. In other words, the “truth” hurts, whether it is true or not as long as some part of you believes the untruth to be true. Harsh words from others hit an insecure nerve in you which produces a response to raise your voice to deny and hopefully eradicate the perceived unflattering truth.

On the other hand, if you are self-confident and know the criticism to be completely false, you will react with less volatility knowing others will see the truth as you do. If this rings a bell with you, work on building your self-esteem, for example with affirmations such as: “I know who I am and I accept myself unconditionally.” When doing affirmation work be sure to use affirmations that truly resonate when you say them.

It is also acceptable to correct untruths when you hear them. The challenge here is to communicate your feelings in an enlightened non-attached manner, leaving angry emotions behind. Practice new language such as “It hurts me that you say those things.” Showing your vulnerability is perhaps the most effective skill you can implement when communicating but it is also the most difficult emotion to expose when you are feeling attacked.

Finally, consider doing some writing about your negative feelings and let your wiser self comfort and counsel your insecure angry self. Express your negative feelings in your writing but then let your higher self bring reason, love and calm to your inner storm.

This is an emotional challenge that has big payoffs in spiritual growth and personal development. Acknowledge the little victories along the way and don’t be upset by occasional setbacks. It is all part of the journey. Hang in there and work through it. It is worth it.

Dear KRS,
I love to snack. Because I work I am able to control what I eat during the day but when I get home I am starving and love to eat snacks all night. Unfortunately, I love carbohydrates and they seem to be the only thing that makes me feel full. I eat healthy foods and seldom eat junk food. I have yogurt for breakfast and turkey sandwich or yogurt for lunch. What else can you suggest that I snack on that won’t put on pounds?
Loves to Snack

Dear Loves to Snack,
Limited, healthful snacking is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, snacking can help keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable so you won’t be as likely to overeat at meal times. However, it sounds like you may be doing a little “sport snacking” in the evenings, which can lead to weight gain. The question to ask yourself before each evening snack is, “Am I really hungry or just bored?”

Most importantly, be sure that you don’t come home “starving” at the end of your day. This sets the stage for bad decision making in regard to food. Have a balanced lunch (not just yogurt) and, if needed, eat a snack in the late afternoon.

Eat a healthful dinner, a little at a time if you like. This may help curb your urge to “graze” on carbs all night long. Set limits on how many snacks you allow yourself in the evening. Stock up on snacks that don’t tempt you to go back “for just one more.” Carbohydrates are fine as long as they aren’t refined, such as sweets, crackers and chips.

There are a lot of healthful snack options and I would encourage you to explore the shelves of a good health food store. Some suggestions: lightly toasted rice cakes, turkey slices, raw almonds, raw vegetables dipped in yogurt spiced with your favorite herbs. Fruit is a good choice but may not satisfy you for as long as other selections.

Dear KRS,
Can drinking coffee before swimming decrease my performance? Avid Swimmer

Dear Swimmer,
If anything, the stimulating effects of coffee may enhance your performance a bit. Caffeine tends to temporarily increase energy so I wouldn’t worry about it ruining your performance. However, I want to warn against using caffeine or any other stimulant for the purpose of boosting exercise performance. Let your body set its own limits by using its natural energy and inherent wisdom.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at www. AskKRS. com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: 

Return to the September/October Index page