Stop Bullying Yourself

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

Stop Bullying Yourself and be your best cheerleader so you can better align with your goals.

We can be so tough on ourselves, can’t we? We do something well, and others praise us, but we end up saying to ourselves “ I could have done better” “it’s not good enough.” We feel sad, frustrated and beat ourselves up, not enjoying and feeling proud of our accomplishment. And that’s when things are going well! What about when things are not going your way in life? I shudder to think about that inner dialogue!

So what’s going on? You inner commentator is seemingly no cheerleader and is super negative. It’s a wet blanket on anything you do or try to accomplish. Why is this? As with pretty much anything you do, it’s actually all there to help you survive. I’m sure that seems strange but let me explain how this works. As we are pleasure-seeking animals, we will always create our world to go for what we want. We will always make the best choice we can.

You can witness this with children, who are very obvious and clear with their wants. If it suits them, then they comply or are even enthusiastic with what you want. If it doesn’t suit them, or it scares them, then one needs to offer great powers of persuasion (treats and cajoling for positive reinforcement or yelling and removing toys for negative reinforcement) to get them to do what you ask. No matter what, they are always operating on getting what they want: to be happy, safe and to survive their surroundings in the best way possible.

Multiple times a day, we make decisions for our best possible survival, starting from the very first moment we wake up. And if our decisions worked, then we keep that program installed until a better option comes along. As an example: If I ask nicely, I get a cookie. If I don’t and I stomp off, then I don’t get the cookie and I’m bummed because I really want that cookie. How would you act if you wanted the cookie? Or approval from your parents, or that A in class, or that job, or raise, or not get hurt or harmed in some way. We think and behave accordingly to get what we want.

But we don’t ever consciously go over all our choices and behaviors and beliefs and update them to our older wiser selves. So what happens? The old stuff remains in place and we keep using them for current situations (yes, even many many years later).

So, how does this relate to our inner bullying? When we are tough on ourselves, what good thing comes to us when we do it? We never do something where there is no payoff. Look for the payoff, the golden ticket that makes you light up. Actually, look back in time to the first payoff, because that is where it all started. Think back onto all the tough words we heard growing up, and how it made us feel.

It was no doubt often used to make you stronger (survival skill!), or it came from an impatient or unkind caregiver but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you came away with; that you felt horrible and small and powerless or even something else. You know how it made you feel. And THOSE feelings felt horrible. How did you choose to solve that problem? Perhaps in a nanosecond, you said to yourself, “I don’t ever want to feel that way again when someone yells at me, so I’ll yell at myself so they don’t have to. If I have to hear it from someone, it feels better coming from me.”