Do You Bully Yourself?

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Do You Bully Yourself?
How many of the thoughts that you dedicate to yourself can be considered bullying? I’m talking about the smack talk that goes on in your head, from the moment you are aware that it’s a brand new day. Think about it: you start your day complaining about all the crazy things in your calendar and telling yourself that you are too tired to get them all done. Then you look at yourself in the mirror and that’s when you pick things up a notch. What’s up with the nasty bags under your eyes, and that new fricking wrinkle and your hair is… ugh!

Then you strip off your pajamas and briefly scan your body. “I’m never gonna lose the weight,” you say to yourself. “I’ve tried a dozen times before and I just know it won’t happen. As soon as I get hungry again, I’ll give up, like the weak idiot that I am.” Between this moment and the moment you get to work, you will most likely have a few hundred thoughts, some of them about you, and most of those negative and self-sabotaging. And that’s just the first few hours of the day.

The way most of us think about ourselves is so negative, that it can be considered downright nasty. Some of the talk smack is so bad indeed that if you were to say it to another person out loud, you could be accused of bullying or worst yet, verbal assault. Think about it! “You’re such an idiot.” “What is wrong with you?” “You are impossible.” “You can’t fit anywhere, you loser.” Imagine what it does to your emotional state and your self-esteem to constantly be attacked in this way.

The reason why we do this are as varied as they are complex. You may have failed before and the experience may have scarred you into believing that you could never rise above. Perhaps you have a need to be in control or feelings of unworthiness. There is also a big chance that you have been a victim of your own poor habits. You may have slowly (and perhaps unconsciously) built a library of negative thoughts and phrases that you repeated to yourself over and over for years and now they have become part of your psyche.

How Do you break a self-bullying cycle?
Most of us don’t really mean to be bullies to ourselves. It’s not really something that you consciously and willingly decide to do. In fact, you may recognize these habits and wonder why are you doing this to yourself. Do not despair! You weren’t born in a self-sabotaging state, which means that you acquired those habits and behaviors. And if you learn to self-hate, you can learn to self-love.

Start with a love letter:
In my practice as a wellness coach, I often ask my clients to write a love letter to themselves. It sounds silly at first, and chances are it feels that way because it is not as easy at it seems. The part of your brain that is used to the self-bullying will start to play tricks with you but if you stick to this first step, it can actually become a powerful tool. Write a page-long letter explaining what is beautiful about you, how you make yourself happy and why you love yourself. It is also very useful to learn more about yourself.

Create a list of affirmations:
Make this a short list of phrases, in the present tense only, that you can memorize with relative ease. The phrases can be generic in nature like: “I feel strong and healthy,” or “I am worthy of the very best in life,” or you can create phrases that speak to your own specific needs and desire. Why memorize them? Because you want to slowly start replacing all the negative ones that you have been repeating yourself for years with these new, positive, empowering ones. Use them like a mantra and repeat them in your mind as often as you can.

Use a “snap out of it” phrase or word:
This is a technique that coaches and motivational speakers use quite often, with different names. The premise it’s simple: every time you consciously hear a negative or bullying thought in your head, use a phrase, like “thank you” or “unlock” (I use unlock personally, but you can use whatever you’d like) to bring awareness to yourself, start recognizing when the thoughts creep in and become aware of the hear and now. As you do this throughout your day, you will use that phrase to bring yourself back to a state of conscious awareness, where it will become easier to replace the negative bullying talk with positive, more empowering one.

Practice “I love you”:
When was the last time you said to yourself “I love you”? Seriously, be honest! As soon as you are done reading this article, walk to the nearest mirror, look at yourself and say “I love you.” This is much harder to do that it may sound. Even the most confident person will have a moment of hesitation doing something considered so “silly.” At first, you may not mean it but if you repeat this phrase to your image in the mirror long enough, eventually you will start to believe it.

Repeat, repeat, repeat:
Speaking of repeating things long enough, for these techniques to be effective, you must incorporate them into your daily habits. And, since we now know that it takes the average person 21 to 28 days to build a new habit, repetition is key. None of them will require too much time preparing or even executing, only a few seconds of brain power each time. But if it becomes too much, start with one and repeat it several times a day for a month before moving on to the next one. Let them become second nature and they will become part of you.

If nothing works, get help!
In my experience, these simple tools can make a significant difference in your state of mind and your outlook in life. But if you have honestly tried them and they don’t seem to work, you might want to look deeper into the reasons for your self-sabotaging. Perhaps the issues you are facing are deep-rooted enough or maybe they are hard to be handled alone. It is better if you recognize and agree that help is needed than to become part of the “wait and see game.” Get help from a coach or from a health care professional as soon as you can.

What Can Happen When You Mindfully and Compassionately Send Criticism or When You Don’t
I wrote an email yesterday that I didn’t want to have to write. After three weeks of back and forth with someone I hoped to hire for a project, her most recent response was a total bait-and-switch. Her proposal and the manner in which she delivered it was unprofessional and I felt the need to tell her so.

I worded the email very carefully as not to unnecessarily hurt her feelings while still expressing myself honestly. I wanted to offer her feedback that I thought could really help her in the future, but I didn’t want to be cruel. Even after I finished it and triple-checked for its tact, I still considered not sending it at all. What was it really going to accomplish? It wouldn’t undo the past or change the future. It wouldn’t get me what I needed, and I wasn’t sure it was what she needed.

In the end I sent it because I thought not sending it was worse. The alternative was to blow her off entirely, make up some lie, or agree to her terms that felt wrong to me — which definitely would produce a worse outcome. But after I hit send, I felt like crap at the idea of ruining someone’s day.

She replied shortly after, recognizing the validity of what I had said and explaining her reasoning for her actions. She didn’t seem to be phased by what I had written and also didn’t seem to be phased at the idea that she wouldn’t be getting my business. Her understanding and acceptance of the situation she created validated my decision to tell her how I really felt, while her lack of hurt feelings validated my considerate approach.

If I hadn’t written that email mindfully and compassionately, things could’ve gone a different way. Maybe I could’ve been another Kelly Blazek, Cleveland’s “Communicator of the Year” who blasted an up-and-comer Diana Mekota for her unsolicited request in a callous email that has since gone viral when Mekota posted it online.

Blazek’s intention was to give feedback on an approach she considered poor judgment. Instead she demonstrated her own poor judgment when she let her emotions get the best of her.

“You are quite young and green on how business connections work,” Blazek wrote. That may be true, but name-calling never helps. Mekota knows she’s young and knows she’s less experienced than Blazek, which is why she reached out to her in the first place. “In my experience, it’s best to meet someone in person before making this sort of request” might have been the sort of feedback that actually helped Mekota improve her networking skills while taking her feelings into account.

” …a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.” Is that even true? Every single one of us can benefit from the innocence of youth just as much as the wisdom of elders. One thing Mekota had to offer her was a lesson in the power of social media. “Unfortunately many people have taken advantage of my resources while offering me nothing in return. Perhaps we can find a way for you to help me with this project,” might have been a better tack.

Blazek’s words were filled with sarcasm. “I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy Denying your invite.” Painting her with a broad brush, and a negative one at that, demonstrates Blazek’s lack of empathy for Mekota’s unique situation and uniqueness as a human being. Whatever bad experiences she may have had with people in Mekota’s age bracket has little to do with Mekota herself.

We start to get a bit of insight into what’s really going on with Blazek when she writes, “I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait — there isn’t one.” She has worked hard to build this list, she has worked hard for these connections, and part of her feels exploited by Mekota’s request. She’s hurt. And instead of centering herself and being mindful of her word choice in return, she wants to cause the pain she was caused.

“You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year.” Little did Blazek know when she wrote those words just how true they would become. Through her own inflated sense of self and disregard for another, we all learned a lesson in the importance of kindness and respect.

No one expects you to be a doormat, but there’s no need to be a matador instead.

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