Who is the biggest bully you have ever run across?
When I consider this question, I have to humbly say that the answer is “me.”
I say this not because I’m a bully to other people. In fact, I consider myself to be just the opposite.
I say that I am the biggest bully I have ever run across because when I’m in a certain mood, I will pick on myself, call myself names, and just be all around down-right mean to myself.
Have you noticed times when you bully yourself?
I guess a more polite way to say this is “we are our own worse critics.” HOWEVER, I don’t know about you, but my own worse critic often seems like Internal Bully. And to make matters worse there is nowhere to go to avoid the situation when my Internal Bully is doing his bullying because, well, my Internal Bully is part of me.
Maybe the first step in dealing with the part of ourselves that can be a Big Internal Bully is to realize that, just like negative attention from another person who is bullying us, when we give ourselves negative attention, it hurts.
Giving ourselves negative attention can be very seductive because it can come under the guise of motivating ourselves towards self-improvement. However, we know that negative attention is not an effective teaching style. We don’t tolerate it in our education system, so why do we tolerate it when from our Internal Bully?
Understanding that you have little interest in giving yourself negative attention and a great interest in giving yourself positive attention is crucial when you encounter your Internal Bully.
The second step is to notice when your Internal Bully is up to his or her shenanigans. Think about what bullies do—distort, outright lie, name call, makes lots of noise and threaten. Internal bullies are capable of all of these underhanded maneuvers (and unfortunately much more). Become skilled at catching your Internal Bully red-handed in the act of bullying. (Note – If your Internal Bully is anything like mine he or she will have a wide variety of shenanigans, some obnoxiously blatant and others sinisterly subtle.) (Another note – I like using the word shenanigans.)
Once you acknowledge that your Internal Bully is in action, the third step is to ask yourself if there is a nugget of truth, which you can use in a constructive manner, in what your Internal Bully is communicating. Sometimes there will be a useful nugget and other times your Internal Bully will just be bullying.
The final step is, now that you are on to how your Internal Bully is operating, to CHOOSE to focus your attention on that which brings you joy, self-confidence and peace.
Game of the Day
What are your Internal Bully’s favorite ways of harassing you?
What are you going to do the next time that your Internal Bully starts giving you negative attention?