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Do you suffer from micro-aggressions? Here's your armor. EN

Carmen López

Psychologist. Master in Human Resources.



Looking for talent doesn't mean that you have to read a lot of curriculums, but to follow the trace it leaves: An excellent work. Because the most important thing is not what you learn, or the companies in which you have worked in. The most important thing is what you do. 

You need five things to make your work exceptional: Energy, focus, time, creativity and an total commitment to quality. 

Behind these five pillars there's just one thing: Motivation. Motivation is the difference between the world champion and the second classified. Motivation makes a runner run to the finish line when he has no more stamina left, a climber reach an impossible summit, a creator fight against himself until his work is perfect. With motivation you find time where there's no more time, motivation keeps your energy level and your focus at the highest level, and makes you see the world differently. When you are motivated you are capable of throwing away an almost finished work and starting it again until it is excellent. 

The motivation is generated by the necessity. It's clear: If someone is hungry, no doubt he will put all his mental, physical and time resources to satisfy that necessity. The necessity is the motive; the necessity shoots the motivation up. This isn´t new. In the 1930's, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory about the human needs. According to it, the people who mobilize their resources do it on account of a necessity: Eating, sex, money, belonging, acknowledgement or self-realization. 


But to find the source of Talent we have to look beyond the necessity. There´s no doubt that the physical needs subjugate the rest: Hunger, thirst, to avoid pain... but in developed economies, these needs are very often covered. Most of the people are motivated by the superior needs in the Maslow Pyramid: Money, power, belonging, freedom, acknowledgement or self-realization. And how the marketing experts and the sales people know very well, the needs can be created, changed or slanted. You just need to control one thing: the beliefs. If someone is absolute convinced about something he becomes unstoppable. 

The beliefs are the origin of everything else. 


We've all had a co-worker, a boss or a family member who tries to make us feel inferior with his comments.

When someone undermines your self-confidence, courage or ability to control, you suffer stress, and that state can last from hours to months, deteriorating your psychological well-being, your quality of life, self-concept and your productivity. In many cases it can lead to depression.

The best way to defend yourself is to build a psychological armor. Follow these steps:

Acknowledge the attack. Many times micro aggressions are very subtle and come disguised as irony, making us feel bad minutes later.

Relativize the attack. If the micro-aggression affects your performance or your ability, remember all the successes you have achieved in your life so far. If you have made a mistake, think that everyone makes mistakes. If you don't master an activity, think that everyone needs time to learn.

Recognize the attacker. A few people around us are usually the responsibles of most attacks. Minimize the time of those interactions and put their comments into perspective, they are not important to you.

Don't let him make you feel bad or inferior. No one is perfect. If you review some aspects of their work you will see that they also have made mistakes or unfulfilled goals, it is normal, we’re human.

Respond assertively. Here are some examples: "Speak to me with respect" "As much as you insist on what you ask is impossible now, the day after tomorrow you will have it" „Don't speak to me with that tone, we understand each other better with a friendly tone" "We all make mistakes, including you". If the attack continues, repeat your sentence in a loop. Control your emotions, don't lose control. You have to be an impenetrable wall.

The ideal is to respond to these micro-aggressions at the moment they occur, assertively, calmly, firmly and if possible with a smile. In time you will learn to do this, but especially in the beginning it will be very complicated. I help my clients with strategies to detect micro-aggressions, rebuild self-esteem, accelerate the process of building psychological armor and train assertive responses.

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