Calm Your Inner Bully

Man! I can’t believe I flubbed the presentation so badly. I hung my head.

Then as the day went on, I got pissed at myself.

How could I flub my presentation?

Why didn’t I relate better?

What is wrong with me?

This last question put me into a spiral of self bullying that I’m ashamed to admit to you.

I went into a depression for weeks. I masked it well, but I was really hurting inside. I felt like I broke my own heart.

As the weeks passed I got some emotional distance between me and my messed up presentation. I could look at it through a more compassionate lens.

I could see a scared man who really was afraid to look stupid. I still have flashbacks of this moment. And I practice forgiving myself.

I’ll say to myself:

“Yes, you messed up, but you learned how to give better presentations.”

“You didn’t try hard because you were afraid. It’s ok to be afraid. It’s not a switch you can turn off inside of yourself. It’s in all of us to try to protect our status in our tribe.”

As I’ve watched my inner bully rise up I no longer push him away. I thank him for wanting the best for me. I give him the attention he needs. I call him Arnold because he is now my friend. Not a good friend, but a friend that deserves attention.

This is what all bullies need. A friend who will listen to them. Appreciate them for who they are. And not push them away.

I’m sharing this with you because you have an inner bully inside of you that is trying to hold you back in so many aggressive and subtle ways. You can push him away or make him your ally.

You might never be best friends, but that’s ok. Just being curious and understanding your inner bully so you can bring more compassion and empathy to your day to day existence is all that matters.

I suggest that you start with a gratitude journal. It’s the best way to start listening to your thoughts. You are building neural connections that help you with the bigger struggles with your inner bully.

Start by writing down what you are grateful for. Use the “what” and “why” technique. What are you a grateful for and why are you grateful for it. Try this for 30 days.

It will look something like this:

  • I’m grateful for my shoes because they protect my feet from stones and keep them warm.
  • I’m grateful for clouds on sunny days because they are always beautiful.
  • I’m grateful for my family because they help me feel love.

Then you can keep a Self Gratitude journal for 30 days. This journal will help you grow your confidence, which will help you appreciate your inner bully. It’s much easier to fail and get back up when you are able to remember all the positives you’ve accomplished recently.

A Self Gratitude journal will look something like this:

  • I’m grateful that I stumbled in my presentation because it showed me that I have a lot of room for growth.
  • I’m grateful for my hard work on an email I wrote to my boss because it was detailed and it demonstrated my work ethic.
  • I’m grateful for my willingness to take on new projects because I want to grow my stories.

When you do this every day you put your focus on what you did well in your day instead of only focusing on what didn’t go well. We need to remember these things because we are wired to focus on what went bad and try to avoid it for next time. It’s why our inner bully can be so powerful. He reminds us to stay safe through any means possible.

That’s why we must work on things that help us strengthen our resolve. Then we are on equal footing with our inner bully. We can have a productive conversation instead of being pushed around.

How do you build a better relationship with your inner bully? You need to build internal dialog awareness and improve how you ask yourself questions. Check out the Bring Gratitude card deck that helps you practice asking yourself more positive and encouraging questions so you can grow more resilient.

Image from Andrea Piacquadio