“You are too sensitive,” your father bellows. “Quit taking things personally,” a supervisor mutters. “When are you going to toughen up?” a coach asks. As a sensitive soul, the admonishments sting. You feel misunderstood. Family members chastise you as emotionally needy. Work colleagues disparage you as weak. In school, bullies ridicule you as soft. They are wrong. We live in world where bombast trumps self-reflection. Look at Donald Trump blustering his way to the Republican nomination. Look at an autocratic corporate executive thundering about soaring profit margins. Life is a full contact sport — or so mentors advise. And if getting ahead requires an elbow and demeaning comments, so be it. If you want to discuss your feelings, you can turn on Ellen. Lesson learned. Determined to “be tougher,” you brush past office acquaintances with a stone-faced glare. You dismiss interrupters with a brusque wave. But in this misguided attempt at toughness, you come across as stilted and rude. The
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