The Bully Within

Do you often find yourself being attacked by a bully? I don’t mean the one at the office or the obnoxious one sent by the government to harass you. This bully waits inside you, usually until night when you’re in bed trying to sleep. He sneaks in with memories of your past trangressions (especially the embarrassing ones) using them to shame you. with. You try to chase him away but it doesn’t work. Your face grows warm, becomes buried beneath the covers.

Once this bully has your attention, it’s hard to get rid of him. “There’s nothing I can do about that now,” you say. “It was a stupid thing I did (or said). I suffered because of it.”  Or “It was an accident. I didn’t know a piece of toilet paper was stuck to my skirt. You should’ve told me instead of snickering to each other about it and pretending you didn’t see it,” Etc, etc. The things this bully has collected to shame you with knows no end. What do you do?

If a friend were to confide one of these incidents to you how would you respond? Would you feel compassion for your friend, assuring him or her that we all make mistakes and it was nothing to be ashamed of? How come it’s harder to express compassion for ourselves? Everybody needs support in healing and growth, so why shouldn’t it come from inside us?  You need to be a friend to yourself, getting rid of the bully who is set on shaming you.

The inner bully is a by-product of the lack of self-compassion. We struggle with shame and self-doubt until we are able to bridge the difference between how we treat our friends and how we treat ourselves. So kick your bully out in an act of compassion for the person you’ve become.

Bragging Rights

Bragging Rights

Since this is my blog it occurs to me I have bragging rights.  Today I want to brag about my son Justin.  Not only is he a wonderful son, father, brother, etc., he started out life with a great attitude, that he was born with the ability to make his own choices in life.  He realized this at a very early age.

My brilliant son at the tender age of five came home from his third day in kindergarten.  “Well,” he said with satisfaction, “I learned all I want to know.”  I explained that he had only begun his education and there was much more to learn.  He was still insistent that he “had learned all he wanted to know.” He had no intention of returning to school.  I didn’t want him to feel he had no say in the matter, that school was something which was forced on him.  I wanted him to see it was a journey just begun and look forward to learning more.  To be honest I was bewildered.  It was one thing, I thought, to hate school as some children may say they do, but another to think they have learned all they wanted to know after three days in kindergarten.  I wondered if I’d given him the impression that school was like Tot Lot, which he’d attended for a few weeks the summer before. I talked to the Principal and he thought my son may need some special attention.  He would come offer him a ride in his little red sports car.

My son did not act impressed when the Principal came but agreed to go with him.  I don’t know what the Principal did or said but my son did return to kindergarten and became a happy brilliant student. He grew up to become a wonderful adult with a career in the Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He recently returned to his hometown and began a new career.  You can see why I breathe a sigh of relief.  For an intended kindergarten dropout, he has done exceptionally well.