I was my own worst BULLY
bul·ly1 /ˈbo͝olē/ - noun 1. a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable. synonyms:persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, browbeater, intimidator, coercer, subjugator;
I was my own worst bully
I was bullied in school...it was hard! everyone just wants to be accepted...fit in...be valued..
I didn’t wear the “right” designer clothes - my hand me downs and bargain store fashion obviously offended the affluent masses. I was a little quirky...weird. A nerd. My difficult home life consistently contributing to some form of anxiety. And everyday they found something to point out or pick on. I was an easy target.
I didn’t get it...what was wrong with me? Was I really that weird, ugly, odd, sub par?
Bullying leaves scars that linger....often permanent; some can disappear with deep, thoughtful, inner work.
How many days did I spend crying, sad, disheartened asking why, why why me? What’s wrong with me?
I waivered between blaming the “mean girls” to blaming myself. ( to be honest-the boys teased me just as much). I was constantly surrounded by the message “ I am not good enough”. Not only at school, but this also carried over at home...”why wasn't this C+ a B?”......”you cant do that” , or simply not just being heard...dismissed...an inner fear I still struggle with at times to this day.
I continued to blame the people that teased and bullied me...they were just mean, they didn’t really know me... I blamed my self esteem issues solely on the people that put me down. It was their fault. They did this.
And then I realized ...I WAS MY OWN WORST BULLY. The constant inner dialogue, at times at a deafening volume...telling myself i was stupid, ugly, worthless. A non-stop recording...like one of those mean girls parked on my shoulder, pointing out anything I did that wasn't “cool” , smart, skillful.
Your own inner bully can develop from many things....messaging received as a child from peers or family...a negative attitude, adverse events in childhood such as abuse, divorce, moving ,frequent punishment / harsh parental standards, being bullied / boycotted, lack of praise / warmth/ affection, and anxiety / depression disorders. Many things contribute to your limiting beliefs and fuel the inner bully.
Ultimately - the bully voice comes from a place of fear. Fear to attempt new things, speak your mind, fail. It assaults you with phrases such as “you're going to fail”, “you’re worthless”, “you cant do that”, “you’re fat / ugly”, “you're stupid”, “no one likes you”.
This inner bully can hold you back in relationships, career aspirations, social interactions. It will prevent you from being truly yourself. It will convince you not to follow your dreams, to play it safe, not grow or change - to remain stuck.
If it really takes charge, it will lock you in a box of despair, depression, isolation. It may even make you sick - causing or contributing to autoimmune, and other chronic health issues.
So what can you do to silence that inner Bully?
the key isn’t to “SILENCE” the bully - the key is to acknowledge what she / he is saying, and respond with compassion and love. Thank her for her opinion but respond back with a reminder that she is speaking in fear, and you are not afraid. That you love yourself. That as humans, we will try and fail and thats OK. Failure isn’t a reflection of you being a less than stellar human...it is just a reminder that maybe you need to take a different approach or find something better suited to your natural talents and abilities .
It doesn’t matter if you are fat, skinny, tall,short, ...you are uniquely YOU. True beauty is not your physical attributes - it comes from within. Focus on being grateful and kind, and your inner beauty will shine. There are many people in this world that appear physically beautiful on the outside, but in reality are struggling within. Your physical attributes do not make you a better or happier person. Those perfect people depicted on social media are really all smoke and mirrors- an illusion. Don’t compare your self to them. Love who you are.
Drop the expectations and learn to live in the moment and observe and go with the flow...when we put expectations on ourselves and others - we invariably are going to be disappointed. Our inner bully will then launch an assault on ourselves.
Be gentle on your self. Would you tell your best friend that they “suck” or are a “loser” when things don't go their way? Then why are we telling ourselves that? When you hear that inner critic talking smack about you...ask yourself ... how would you respond to your best friend talking this way about themselves ? You’d show support, compassion and provide loving encouragement. You'd be kind.
Become your own best friend. The only constant in life is your relationship with yourself...YOU aren’t going anywhere...other people come and go...you will always have YOU. Love yourself.