The Bully in My Head
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This post is a part of a series about bullying.
“What was I thinking? I knew I couldn’t possibly do that.”
“I never get things right.”
“I’m so lazy and fat.”
We talk to ourselves continuously and sometimes we say not so nice things to ourselves. The bully in my head tells me that I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. There’s no use in trying. The bully in my head encourages me to give up before I even try. Sometimes the bully tells me I’m greedy if I get too successful. Or I’m selfish for wanting a really great life with really awesome experiences and lovely things. I don’t want to be greedy or selfish so I decide that it’s best that I not pursue my dream life. I bully myself into settling.
How many times have you told yourself “no” when you weren’t even the decision maker? “No, you can’t have that job”, but you’re not the hiring manager. “No, that guy would never want someone like me.” Yet, you’re not that guy. We make decisions for other people all that time. Every time we bully ourselves into not going for that opportunity or asking that person out, we’ve essentially make a decision against ourselves.
Don’t tell yourself no. Let them tell you no. – Charlene Dior
Maybe you bully yourself into working really hard to become really successful. “If I don’t make x amount of money I’m a failure.” So, you’re always stressed and anxious trying to fulfill the requirements the bully in your head convinced you we necessary in order to be worth something.
In my article, The Bully in My Bed I mentioned some of the effects of bullying. This includes insecurity, low self esteem, and little self confidence. This is true even if you are your own bully. It tends to be this vicious cycle where you are insecure about something, let’s say your looks. So you tell yourself that no one will ever want you. Maybe someone in your past told you that no one would ever want you and you came into agreement with that statement about you. Now, because you tell yourself that no one will want you you avoid romantic relationships. Since you don’t date a lot due to your avoidance of romantic relationships you are insecure. You reiterate to yourself that no one wants you. You strengthen that belief by showing yourself “proof” based on the fact that you never date. The cycle just keeps going until you break it.
How to Break the Self Bullying Cycle
- Identify your bullying – First, you have to identify the bully in your head. You have to know what they sound and what things they say. How does the bully make you feel? When does the bully show up? Once you know this you have the opportunity to face this bully head on.
- Ask yourself is this 100% true? – A lot of times we know the negative things we say to ourselves are not really true. We accept them because it’s easier or they make sense to us and they explain the unexplainable. “Why can’t I meet a man? I must not be attractive enough.” Logically we know that’s not true, but we run with it. It’s answer we grasp.
- Develop new proof points – You have to purposefully look for new, positive and productive proof points. How do you beat a bully? By knowing who you are. A bully can’t tell you you’re ugly or unsuccessful if you already know that you are. This goes with step number two. Tell yourself, “I am beautiful because…..” Or “I am successful because….”
- Replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts – Give yourself an alternative statement. I talk a lot about affirmations. Repeating positive statements about who you are and what you can do can literally change your life. When you start to hear the bully in your head immediately switch to the thought to a positive thought.
- Repeat as needed – This isn’t a quick fix and you will probably always have some negative self talk. Repeat this again and again whenever you need.
- Be kind to yourself and love yourself – Show yourself compassion, love and kindness. Just like you would encourage a close friend if they were feeling down, encourage yourself. Be kind to you. Love yourself.
If you find that you have a bully in your head, download the complimentary workbook, The Truth About You. This workbook will help you increase your self confidence, identify who you really are, and help you mitigate the bullying that goes on in your head. Bullying is never okay (even when if it comes from your own head).