One of the reasons why I love yoga so much (and most recently hot pilates) is that I can go into a room and think about nothing except moving my body and my breath for an entire hour. It’s one of the most freeing hours of my day.
Partially because I’m so grounded that there’s no room for my inner bully.
You know, that little negative voice – that we all have – that pops out every now and then? And sometimes way more than we’d ever care to admit or acknowledge.
If you’re a human being, I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about…
That voice that tells you you’re not smart enough.
That you’re not pretty enough.
That you’re not good enough.
That you failed … again.
That love just isn’t in the cards for you.
Or, the voice that oh so many of us know: you’ve already eaten half the bag, why don’t you just polish off the rest?
It’s the voice that brings us down and out.
And let me tell you just because I’m here talking about “the voice” doesn’t mean I don’t have the voice.
In fact, the only reason I can talk about the voice is because I’ve spent many years battling it. And it still shows up to this day.
You wanna know why?
Because I’m a human being.
But today it doesn’t take me down. And if it does, I get back up pretty quickly.
For one very simple reason. Because I’ve learned to acknowledge and make space for my inner bully. I’ve also – as weird as this may sound – have learned to befriend her too.
Below is the exact process I use to feel more confident no matter what crazy, mean thoughts are running through my head.
Now, you can use it too.
A 5-STEP PROCESS TO QUIETING YOUR INNER BULLY & FEELING MORE CONFIDENT
1. Name your inner bully
First and foremost, you’ve got to name your inner-bully. It may be as simple as “that voice,” “my inner bully,” “my inner critic,” or it could even be a real name, like Martha. Choose a name that works for you. By naming your inner-bully, you’re allowing yourself to put distance between her and you. So when your inner critic shows up, you can clearly identify her, “Oh! There’s the voice again. Trying to come back and take me down.” By doing this you’re essentially reminding yourself that your thoughts are not necessarily your reality. Which personally has always been very comforting.
2. Name what you’re feeling
When your inner bully shows up. Acknowledge she’s there, but also name the emotion that you’re actually feeling – anxiety, sadness, insecure, anger. Here’s a feeling list, if you need some help here. This is important. Because when you allow yourself to name what feeling/s are coming up for you, you own them. Owning our feelings – even if they’re crappy- gives us a sense of empowerment. For example, “Oh! There’s the voice again. Trying to come back and take me down because I’m feeling insecure and like everyone else is further along than I am.” By naming it and addressing it, you hold the power in what’s coming up here. You don’t let the feelings own you. BIG difference.
3. Move through the feeling
I often say to clients, if you you want to get out of your head, you’ve got to get into your body. If you want to get out of your body, get into your head. What I mean by this is if you’re in your head, listening to your inner-bully, getting into your body by going on a walk (even if it’s around your office), deep breathing, or simply feeling your pulse can help you move through the anxiety (or whatever not great emotion) you’re feeling. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable in your body because of something you ate or didn’t eat, or a mean comment that was said by your inner bully or someone else, getting into your head by using journaling, writing, painting, or one of my favorites, mantras can allow you to recenter and feel better. Here are some of my favorite mantras: I am worthy of kindness and love; I am choosing not to focus on people or comments who bring me down; I heal quickly and easily. Experiment and see what feels right to you.
4. Get curious on why those funky feelings and your inner critic showed up
When you’re in a better space (and please know this will be a practice and doesn’t happen overnight), allow yourself to get curious about why what came up for you came up for you. And if you don’t know why your inner critic showed up, that’s OK. But by bringing it back up and throwing the pebble into the ocean of your mind (when you’re ready), you’ll eventually understand (even if it’s a couple months later) why that negative voice showed up. And from that place of understanding, you’ll be able to make choices that empower you. It’s pretty amazing at what happens when you get to know yourself.
5. Show your inner bully some compassion
Guess what? This is the most important part of this process. That negative voice inside your head that tells you you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough or whatever enough? She’s a part of you too. And when you acknowledge her, you allow yourself to accept and honor that part of you too. And you don’t get so wigged out by her. Because the reality is we all have self-doubt, insecurities, and fears. It’s a part of being a human being. So the more we face those things and allow ourselves to show up, get curious, and move through them (however uncomfortable they may be) the more we start living the kind of live we want to live.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty groovy to me.