Life is noisy. I am constantly bombarded with intrusive noises and sounds all the time, whether it’s from planes, cars, sirens, alarms, smartphones, or my (loud) kids, sometimes it’s hard to find a quiet place to think and write. When I finally do find the space to do what I love, the quietness is suddenly filled with another intrusive sound. As I sit and stare at a blank page, the sound of my inner voice begins saying: you’re not cut out for this, nobody cares what you do, you’re not worthy, who do you think you are?
It catches me off guard and puts me down big time. This inner critic is not nice. She tries with all her might to keep me from moving forward, and is determined to wreak havoc on my spirit. She makes me feel doubtful of my capabilities, anxious, sad, and insecure.
How did she ever get into my mind?
She is cruel. She is a bully.
I have to admit that over the years, especially during this wonderful Rocking Over 40 decade, I’ve managed to silence her and tear her apart when she dares comes near, but that hasn’t always been the case, and every now and then she resurfaces with a vengeance, and still gets to me, but not for long.
The irony is that ever since I had my kids and they started going to school, I have been extra sensitive about the topic of bullying. Always super vigilant of it, checking in with them, listening to them, asking about their day at school, understanding their concerns, and telling them how to stand up for themselves and others if it happens.
I detest any type of bullying with all my heart.
I remember being bullied as a kid myself for not speaking the language fluently after we moved from the states to another country, which in turn made me feel anxious and insecure.
Fortunately, nowadays, there is a growing awareness of the issue and several initiatives to prevent it in the playgrounds.
But that is not always the case with our inner bully. Why do we allow her to talk to us that way?
My “a-ha” moment came to me, loud and clear, when I began associating my inner critic as a type of bullying inflicted on me, by me.
I needed to build in preventative measures to keep it from happening again, in my own psyche.
Here’s what has worked for me:
- Learn to see her coming. Your cues are when you begin questioning yourself, when you are easily distracted, when you feel insecure, or you begin to feel out of energy, or just plain blah. She is hovering closely waiting to take a big shot.
- Stop her right in her tracks as soon as she starts. Acknowledge that this is your inner bully trying to take control and make you feel bad. Take a deep breath, and put those negative thoughts in a small box and ship it away with no return address.
- Take away her power and regain your own true voice. Replace those overly blunt statements with more realistic and inspiring ones. Tell her you disagree, one thought, one moment at a time, then simply walk away from it.
So my lovely Rocking Over 40 friends, if you find yourself dealing with an inner bully, it’s time to stand up to her. Don’t let her steal your dreams and break your heart. While she may have been a big part of your life and your story, she never really defined you…