Do any of these sound familiar?
- “You gained five pounds—you’re a terrible person with no willpower.”
- “You didn’t understand that article—you’re so stupid.”
- “He didn’t call you back—you’re completely unlovable.”
- “Your credit card balance is out of control—you’re going to be in debt forever.”
We all have a voice in our heads that tells us we aren’t good enough. This voice in our heads, The Bully, takes objective statements (you are five pounds heavier than you used to be) & twists them so that they become moral judgements (therefore you are a terrible person). We berate ourselves, get down on ourselves, & completely bully ourselves into thinking that these moral judgements are somehow true!
Part of the problem stems from the pedestals we put people on. “Because so-&-so has this thing I want, or are the way that I want to be, they must be happier than I am.” I’m here to tell you to stop the madness. This is simply not true. Whoever it is that you have up on a pedestal, keep it in perspective that they are not any different from you. When I used to compare myself to other people in high school, my mom used to tell me, “They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you do.” It took me until my 30s to really internalize it—no matter how successful someone might appear to be, that person is just a person. They are excited to live, yes, but they are also vulnerable, have issues, struggle with self-esteem, get sad, & beat themselves up.
See, you have something amazing to give. If you keep comparing yourself to others to the point that the criticism overwhelms your life, it steals breath from your day & prevents you from doing the things that you were put here to do. Your calling in this life isn’t to be perfect. You are called to chase progress, not perfection.
Stop living your life in a series of if/then statements. “If I get down to my goal weight, then I’ll buy myself some new clothes.” “If I just find a partner, then I’ll go on vacation.” “If I just make $50,000 a year, then I’ll be happy.” Stop living in a state of suspension. If you do this to yourself, you are living a partial life.
Here’s a little exercise. Right now, I want you to take a piece of paper & write down 5 criticisms you’ve made about yourself today. Anything at all. Then, I want you to read them out loud in the tone that The Bully would use on you.
Now, here’s the tricky part: call someone you care about & say those things to that person. If you tell yourself, “I’m so fat & my stomach is disgusting,” call someone you love & tell them, “You’re so fat & your stomach is disgusting.”
You’re not going to actually do this. I know you’re not. Because you would never dream of talking to another person the way The Bully talks to you. Not to mention you would never allow yourself to be talked to like that by anyone else! I do encourage you, however, to say these statements out loud to yourself in the mirror. Allow yourself to be taken aback by the cruelty. Surprise yourself with how mean these statements are.
Here’s the things about The Bully: it sounds so much like you that you believe it is you. The Bully convinces you that you are speaking the truth to yourself. The Bully takes all of your strength & passion & turns it against you. The Bully has a unique way of blending objective truth with moral judgement, & leaves you feeling defeated & weak.
Learn this: The Bully is a liar. It is an abusive voice, & any kind of abuse is not okay.
If you can’t get The Bully out of your head, you will never be able to forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself.
But you can do this. You can tell The Bully to hit the bricks.
Come check the blog out on Saturday. I’m going to give you seven strategies to knock The Bully out.