The Bully In My Head
We've all probably heard of the self-critic. When was the last time you heard anyone refer to this inner voice as a bully?
Self-reflection is a key ingredient to our personal growth. At times the things we say and do to question our behaviors, choices and future thoughts are simply necessary. There are other times when it goes too far and it becomes more detrimental to us than beneficial. It is at these times that our inner-voice, our self-critic, simply becomes a self-induced bully.
When most of us think of a bully, we can refer back to the kids in grade school who picked on people and made their lives pretty miserable. We may also think of a manager or co-worker who had the same bully tendencies and felt a need to oppress someone just to inflate who they were. In these instances, we usually know what to do about these bullies. Whether in a school setting where teachers and administrators deal with the bullying issue or on the job where human resources staff are tasked with the bully concern, there are usually some protocols in place to at least TRY to help diffuse the situation.
In the case of the internal bully, there is no outside source involved to mitigate the damage unless we choose to go and seek help Depending on the depth of the issue we may seek a therapist or in other cases a coach such as an emotional intelligence coach to help with vocabulary exchanges and developing new habits. The one question I would propose you ask yourself the next time the internal bully shows up to call you things like an idiot or tell you that you were stupid for making this choice or that choice would be “Would you be ok with saying those things to other people?” I’d bet in most instances the answer would be no. So then the subsequent question would be “Why are you ok with talking to yourself the way you would not talk to anyone else?”
By asking yourself those questions, you begin the process of self-awareness which is a staple in the practice of improving your own emotional intelligence. By doing so you then hijack the negativity bias you have towards yourself with more rational thinking. That thinking leads to better self-talk which can then lead to better outcomes. These outcomes are part of continuous quest most of have for effective communication; however, we forget that we also need to communicate with ourselves.
So the next time the inner bully shows up, tell him or her to hit the road!