You're at a party, and someone takes a verbal swipe at you. One of those insults disguised as a compliment. A euphemism, meant to hurt. And yes, it hits its target. You shrivel, feeling thrown off-balance and insecure.
What do you do?
You wish you had a great comeback. That zinger that you think of at 2:00 a.m. while you are lying awake, reliving that embarrassing episode, over and over, in your head.
You don't realize it, but you are ruminating to lower your own anxiety while trying to figure out what you did wrong. But that won't help you get it right. If you reach for that inner, wounded child who doesn't have the capacity to help you, you will only feel vulnerable and incapacitated. However, by stepping out into your "adult" self, you gain both power and control. Instead of letting someone else control how you feel about yourself, it allows you to not just be cool, but to stay cool and centered, by not taking other peoples' projections personally. Then, you can win.
Because it's not about you -- it's about the insecure person who hurled that sugar-coated insult your way. It's about that guy or gal who is projecting his or her own disowned feelings of shadowed-inferiority, onto you.
If you hold the tension of your own feelings and don't react to the insult, don't take the bait -- you will remain self-contained at your core. This is how you can value and validate yourself, and not take on someone else's problem. This strategy helps strengthen and grow you, so that you gain respect for yourself and others.
Remember, life is messy and people are complicated... and those nasty, manipulative and hurtful euphemisms that diminish your sense of self can be defeated if you take your power and not let anyone put you down.
It's never about "what it's about." People that need to diminish you so that they can feel better have their own problems... let them keep them.