In the previous article we looked briefly at what bullying is and we also briefly looked at some of the harsh and real impacts it can have on people. In the next two articles I want to share with you some simple tools to help you take say “it is not OK”; “enough is enough”; “I am worth more than this”.
If you are ready to walk away from bullying – once and for all. Put these steps into practice – make them become a habit so you can start to build the life you want to lead:
Step 1 – Decide you want things to change NOW and declare it
The first step is getting to the point where you really want to change. Accepting you cannot change other people’s behaviour – the only control you have is to change something inside of you. What we know is that by doing that – you also change the system within which you live and work.
So – first things first – make a clear decision that enough is enough. Say out loud to yourself “this bullying stops here and now”.
By saying it out loud it will be processed in a different part of your brain and this helps to re-programme your Reticular Activating System (RAS) to move you towards a new future. The RAS acts like a filter that determines what you pay attention to and what to ignore (it’s is like your own internal ‘tom tom’ setting the direction for your life).
Step 2 – Create a question to move you towards what you DO WANT.
Often when we are having a hard time we focus on what we do not want – what we want to move away from. While this can be a useful initial form of motivation, an even more effective motivation can be to find something you want so much that nothing will stop you driving towards it.
So – what is it you want? Use this knowledge to write a question to say daily to yourself – because saying this out loud every day (maybe several times a day) will create a new neural pathway in your brain (yes it changes the structure of your brain) which is the most powerful thing you can do to move you beyond the old way of being bullied.
Questions might be:
- How many ways can I show people I believe I am more than enough today? (thinking of specific ways you can put into action)
- How can I compassionately stand up for myself in an appropriate way today?
- How I can be authentically me today and know that I am valued and accepted?
Choose one of these, or create your own – something so meaningful to you that you will make it a habit to focus on it daily. Commit to saying it out loud daily so that you set your RAS to solve this problem for you in a compassionate, safe and effective way. Neuroscience has shown us that by resetting your filters you make new choices and new neural pathways which will generate you different results – regardless of what is going on around you.
Step 3 – Watch your self talk – and change it
We are often our own worst enemy and harshest critic. Start to be aware of any self talk which is not supportive – do whatever you need to do to change that. Imagine you are talking to your best friend – how would you talk to him/her? Now become your own best friend and talk to yourself with the same love and respect.
Have you ever thought you can change your self talk to change its impact? For example you can change the voice to a cartoon character (Donald Duck for example) so you cannot take it seriously. Try it – say something negative you would often say to yourself – but say it like Donald Duck. It changes the way you perceive it doesn’t it? What about if you turn it down, or change the speed? Changes its impact doesn’t it? What if you create a stop sign that comes up as soon as you say anything negative to yourself? STOP! Pause and smile, recognise that was the old you (or indeed maybe someone else’s voice who used to criticise you). Then, decide what you (as your own best friend) want to say instead. Initially you may not believe the new words – say them anyway. Over time, you will become even more open to this new way of thinking wondering how you used to accept those old ways of talking to yourself.
These 3 simple steps when practised daily, will totally transform how you are experiencing what is going on around you. Begin to honour and respect yourself so much – that it changes how others see you too. This does not negate their behaviour. Bullying is wrong – plain and simple – but until we find a way to eradicate it – the next best thing you can do is find a way that it doesn’t bother you – that it no longer controls you – that it no longer gets inside your head.
In the next and final article we will look at three more steps to ensure you have more than enough tools in your tool box to really step into the confident you who has reconnected with how awesome you are.