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  • Writer's pictureStacey Crescitelli

Silencing the Inner Bully: A Journey to Self-Acceptance

We are living in a society that has become hyper aware and uber vigilant of bullying; constantly on the lookout for bullying in school, in the workplace, even among our own children in their sibling relationships. We've gone so far as to consider misgendering someone or using pronouns that someone has decided they no longer identify with, bullying. There's road rage and random acts of violence from stranger bullies. All this to ask a very direct question: Are YOU guilty of bullying?

I am sure most of you shook your head emphatically or possibly even rolled your eyes. Good! You're the kind of people I want here! But ask yourself again, and this time, add one word...add the word "you" to the end of that sentence: Are you guilty of bullying YOU? 🤔🤔🤔

Most of us are guilty of bullying ourselves to some degree. This inner critic who just can't pipe down. This harsh scolding of ourselves; the belittling, the trash talk. This voice who so assuredly tells us that we will never achieve this goal or accomplish that dream...Who IS this bully??!!??!!

Yes. That's exactly what this is: BULLYING. Why do we tolerate it within ourselves when we are so adamantly against it everywhere else? Take for example, that maybe you are trying to reduce your drinking, but this past week at work was a tough one, and you had an argument with your spouse, and the chores that didn't get done during the week have now piled up. So you had a glass of wine. Or two. Or a bottle. Or two😳. And now it's Saturday morning and oh boy is it rough. And you immediately start berating yourself: Why did I drink so much? Why do I KEEP doing this to myself? Why am I such a failure at this when I'm so disciplined in other areas of my life? I'll never lose weight if I keep this up...and so on.....

Sound familiar? You're not alone. When we embark on a journey of habit change, we often find ourselves being our harshest critics. This tendency stems from various factors, including societal pressures, unrealistic expectations, and deeply ingrained patterns of self-criticism. We may internalize external standards of success and perfection, leading us to set impossibly hight standards for ourselves. Additionally, fear of failure or judgment from others can intensify our self-criticism, causing us to magnify every setback or mistake. Our own inner dialogue, shaped by past experiences and negative beliefs about ourselves, can fuel the cycle of self-judgment. It's crucial to recognize that this tendency to be hard on ourselves is a common aspect of the human experience. But it's also one that can be addressed with self-awareness, self-compassion, and a willingness to challenge our negative self-talk.

Give yourself a hug and acknowledge your efforts. Speak to yourself the same way you would a small child. Catch yourself in the act of bullying yourself and re-write the words you are saying to yourself. We say this so often, but let's REALLY get intentional about giving ourselves GRACE. 🪷

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