How badly are you beating yourself up?

If you are like most of us, you’ve got an inner bully who is all too eager to follow you around slinging insults and calling you names.

Look what you did there, you idiot.

That was such a stupid thing to say.

You sure failed at that, didn’t you?

And what are we supposed to do?  We can’t walk away.  We can’t go tell a parent, the principal, or our boss.  WE are our own bully!  So, we are left with only two choices:

  • Do nothing and allow the bullying to continue.
  • Face it head on and put a stop to it.

Aside from the plain fact that it feels terrible, the cost of allowing the bullying to continue is that it whittles away at our self-esteem, making us feel weaker and less confident with every shot it takes at us.

So if we are ready to break the cycle of abuse, we’ll have to face it head on.

But how?

Our bully shows up when it has judged something we’ve done as a threat to our identity. 

What kind of mother loses her temper like that?!

That mistake made you look completely unprepared in that meeting!

Do you have ANY willpower at all?!

Bullying is NEVER okay.  But we know that underneath those actions and behind those words is someone in pain.  It’s no different for our inner bully than it is for the kid on the playground or that person in cyberspace.

If we are going to stop our inner bullies, we have to acknowledge their pain. 

When we hear them getting started, we can say…

I know that hurt when I yelled at the kids.

I know that was embarrassing when I didn’t double-check those facts.

I know you felt guilty when I skipped the gym.

And because the bully likes to not only berate you for things that have already taken place, but also question your capability of handling the future, we need to simultaneously bolster our self-confidence with an action plan.

So, we can follow it up with…

Don’t worry.  Next time, I’ll take a time out before I lose it.

Don’t worry.  For the next meeting, I’ll check my work more thoroughly.

Don’t worry.  Tomorrow, I’ll make it to the gym. 

By facing that bully down, you are sending the message that you won’t play in the past and you’ve got the future handled.