Nobody likes bullies. They’re mean, they taunt, and they torture.
Yet, every single one of us is a bully.
Yes, even YOU.
“Who are you to think you can make that promotion?”
“What makes you so special? If you get up there and make that speech, everyone will laugh at you.”
“You are NEVER going to get all of this done! You just don’t have it in you.”
Recognize any of that?
Your Inner Bully is your inner critic. Others may call it your Inner Mean Girl, Inner Bitch, or just your Ego.
It’s that harsh voice that beats you up and tells you that you aren’t good enough or strong enough or pretty enough or thin enough.
It’s the voice that makes you play it safe and not go for that promotion or shy away from taking that risk.
You think you’re helpless to these thoughts, but you’re not. You’ve just forgotten that you’re in control and have the power to ignore it.
The key to being stronger than your thoughts isn’t to try to kick your Inner Bully to the curb...it’s to learn to use it to your advantage.
Where our Inner Bullies Come From
Your Inner Bullies come from your past (and I use ‘bullies’ because, yes, there’s more than one in there!).
It might be the long ago past of your childhood, or something as recent as last week.
The longer they’ve been around, the stronger they are, and the more power they have over you.
They stem from a situation where you were hurt, embarrassed, publicly humiliated, or some other trauma to your ego. You likely don’t even remember when it happened, but in that moment, an Inner Bully was born.
Its sole mission is to make sure you don’t experience that pain again. So, calling it a ‘bully’ may not be fully accurate.
But, that Inner Bully that’s trying to scare you into playing it safe doesn’t realize you are no longer that small embarrassed child. It doesn’t know that since then, you’ve built up the skills to deal with what life throws your way.
They’re crafty, though. They will go to whatever lengths it takes to make you feel their fear and not put yourself at risk. They’ll tell you lie after lie to try to make you believe that you’re not good enough, or the likelihood of failing (or being embarrassed or getting hurt) is very realistic.
They’ll reinvent themselves and hide around corners so they can pop out when you least expect it.
How Your Inner Bully is controlling you
Right now, your Inner Bully likely has total control over you.
It’s strong and powerful because you’ve believed everything it’s told you and you’ve played it safe.
You haven’t taken the risks you would’ve liked and you haven’t put yourself out there to take a chance. You’ve believed you weren’t ready or smart enough or skilled enough simply because your Inner Bully told you so.
Think about that - your Inner BULLY is calling the shots for you.
Isn’t it time for you to be in control of your life?
How to Deal with Your Inner Bully
Other articles or coaches will suggest you shut your Inner Bully down and drive it away. That’s a great idea, but that’s not how it works.
The Inner Bullies will ALWAYS be there! They are part of you and they have a purpose and goal. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be your purpose or goal.
You simply listen to them and acknowledge them.
We all want to be heard and understood and that goes for your Inner Bully. If you try to ignore it and cast it out, it’ll reinvent itself (and they’re sneaky!) because it wants to be seen and heard.
That doesn’t mean believe it - just acknowledge it.
Listen to the fear behind it and thank that part of you for trying to look out for you. Then, use that information and fear to motivate you to do it anyway.
Your goal is to prove your Inner Bully wrong. When you prove it wrong, it’ll shrink and get quieter. Keep in mind, though, it won’t go away and it will pop back up every now and then, but use that as fuel.
When you hear the chatter from your Inner Bully…get excited. Don’t believe what they’re telling you, but get excited that they’re paying you a visit because it means you’re onto something really good. Then...go do it.
Our Inner Bullies are hardwired in us from childhood (and sometimes even adulthood). We can’t get rid of them, so we have to learn to use them to our advantage.
Understanding where they come from and their goal gives you the leverage to turn it from a block to a push. Be stronger than your Inner Bully and remember - you don’t have to believe every thought you have.
If you want to get a hold of that Inner Bully and show it who's boss, let's work together to figure out where it's coming from and what to do with it!