“Who do I believe is the greatest bully in my life?” was not a question I was willing to address in the past. Think about it… who wants to deal with denial anyway? However, when my life became so painful that I had no other choice but to face my past behaviours with a mentor, it is then that I truly started seeing the truth for myself.
Let me take you back…
My house is for sale, I have a 3:00 pm showing, and it is now noon. If I hurry, I will have time to finish cleaning my 4,000 sf house, do a full groceries and put it away, as well as mow the one acre lawn.
Heaving a big sigh, I wash the 500 white tiles in the kitchen at record speed. I make sure there is zero clutter on the kitchen counter and fresh pink flowers are decorating the dining table.
I look at the clock… I better hurry up…
… A full load of groceries later piled in the back of the car, I park in the driveway. I calculate how long to put the groceries away and mow the lawn next.
I am angry, “How could I agree to something like this?” Oh, I am not blaming the list of chores I have created for myself, of course not! I am blaming the real estate agent and the potential buyers coming for a showing!
Frustrated, I grab eight full bags of groceries. I can already feel my blood circulation cutting off in my hands, but ignoring the pain, I grab the big jug of milk by the little pinkie, and head towards the kitchen.
The milk jug drops and bursts open on the driveway. I anxiously watch a milk river leak down the sloped driveway. “Do I have time to pressure wash this?” I wonder.
Ignoring the birds singing and the hot summer sun caressing my cheeks. I put the groceries away and look at the clock again.
I pull the lawn mower out of the garage. With a heavy sigh, I yank the cord, it does not start. I check the choker and yank the cord again… still does not start.
I am now so pissed off that I yank the cord with all the anger I have inside of me, and before I realize what is happening, both of my feet leave the ground banana peal style and I land in a massive thud in the driveway.
The wind is knocked out of me… I am seeing stars… I cannot breathe properly…
I try to move, but my arms and legs feel they are disconnecting from my spine.
I am in so much pain I cannot even make a sound to cry. Silent tears drop on my cheeks.
A neighbour runs over, “Are you okay? Do you need me to call an ambulance?”
My mouth forms an “oh”, but no sound is coming out.
“What happened?” he asks.
I try to sit up, but I think my spine is broken or something. “I… I don’t know….” I feebly answer, “so sorry… to trouble you… can you please help me up?”
He looks at me like I am crazy. “Anne, did you hear the thud you made on impact? What happened?”
He goes over to shut off the lawn mower engine (it did start!) and he slips. “What the hell!” he exclaims.
It turns out the spilled milk had dried in the summer sun and created some kind of black ice. I try to get up. “I am okay, really,” I say while trying to stop my teeth from chattering.
He pulls me up gently and I can hear some of my bones screaming in agony. I look at the lawn and wonder where my garden gloves are. My neighbour says, “Let me mow the lawn for you. Go inside, you look ghost pale.”
“I’m fine!” I say with finality. “I am so sorry to have disturbed you.”
He looks at me shocked, then shrugs his shoulders, “If you need me, you know where to find me.”
“Thank you so much. Will do.”
When I knew he was gone, I let out a wail of whining and streaming tears. How can a body freaking hurt so much???!!!
I look at the clock, what time is it? I have wasted so much time!!! Now I have to work faster!!! I lock my jaw and mow the full lawn, willing myself every step of the way…
This event, as horrific as it may sound to you, was how I basically used to live my life. This is what I knew, what I had been taught growing up: that I did not matter.
Did I ever once believe I was the greatest bully in my life? Absolutely not! In my mind, bullies were ‘always’ others, ‘never’ my own self.
How can we identify if we are our own bully?
Here are some clues:
- Unwillingness to address our emotional hurt… mostly because we do not know yet how to cope with past hurt. Kindly know that help is always available, especially if we are willing to look a little bit deeper…
- Packing schedule with tasks or massively procrastinating. Both are extremes and prevent a healthy expression of the self because of creating stress, anxiety, and worry.
- Looking for perfection at the cost of happiness. Like the old me, self-bullies are deeply anxious individuals looking to please and get validation from others.
- Worrying about what people might think… as if believing self-worth is tied to others’ fleeting approval? The thing is, it is absolutely not. Self-worth is a personal choice, choosing to believe we deeply matter.
- Consistently ignoring one’s needs. When we ignore our physical and emotional pain, we get to abandon our self over and over, thereby proving to self others were right all along to abandon us… Vicious cycle.
- Feeling responsible for everyone and everything. Self-bullies constantly apologize or blame others for their misery.
How can WE STOP BULLYING OUR SELF:
- Address emotional hurt. It is okay to ask for help, no one does it alone. Talk to a school counsellor, a trusted friend, call a hotline, visit a youth organization, …, or email one of your mentors here at TheTeenMentor.com, we are here for you.
- Create a schedule with reasonable expectations for self. Set goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you accomplish something you deem hard for you.
- Start a Big Book of Compliments for Little (put your name here). Every day, give yourself a compliment and write a short paragraph about it. For example, “I am gentle, I am gentle when I smile to myself in the mirror, I am gentle when I greet my classmates or colleagues in the hallway.”
- Ask yourself, “What do I truly need right now?” and take immediate rightful action. I believe we either live as a victim or we take charge of our life with love and compassion in our heart.
As for me, I am pleased to say that after three years of deep mentoring, I have greatly stopped bullying myself. I finally can honestly say that I deeply love me and have tremendous compassion for the child inside of me and the world beyond me.
In conclusion, just like my mentor once shared with me,
“We do not know what we do not know…”
Now that you may know, the question becomes,
“What are you willing to do different?”
About the Author: Anne BEAULIEU is one of Your Monthly Mentors, an international speaker, empowering coach, and thought leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence and the Founder of Walking Inside Resources Inc. based in Vancouver, British Columbia. As an accomplished author and community builder, Anne is a powerful catalyst for positive change and embodies successful life strategies that keep empowering men and women across the globe. Read More…