I can be a bully sometimes.
It’s not something I’m proud to admit. I mean, who would be proud to admit that?
There are plenty of things to be proud of. Like receiving a good grade on a test you studied hard for, completing a home project, running a marathon (or half, or 5K…..or for some, simply running at all), earning a degree, baking a cake from scratch – the list is long and varies from person to person.
Being a bully is not on that list.
I don’t want to be a bully. It’s not something I intentionally do. Sometimes, it just happens. It doesn’t show up in the form of physical abuse – it arrives in the form of words.
“You can’t do that. What’s the likelihood you will succeed? Slim at best.”
“Why did you say that? That didn’t make sense.”
“You look old.”
“Look at your legs. You should do something about those. You should workout more.”
“I know you want to follow your dreams and do something you’re passionate about, but honestly – you’re not that good. You should seriously consider finding a real job and give all of this up. Who wants to hear what you have to say, anyway?”
“You’re not a good mom. You’re not a good friend. You’re not good at this. You’re not good at that.”
Ouch. Those words hurt.
Who’s the victim?
Me. That’s who.
I would never in a million years think to say these words to another human being. So why in the world is it okay to think them about myself? These words tear down. They are good for nothing.
Yet, at times, this is my self talk.
Thankfully, these thoughts don’t take up residence in my mind as often as they used to. I usually can recognize when I’m going down this path and nip it in the bud pretty quickly. Not so much when I was younger. When I was younger, I regularly fed myself the lie that someone was mad at me, or didn’t like me. That I said, or did, something wrong. That if I could do more, if I were a little smarter, a little more funny, a little more whatever than……what? I really don’t know.
Because I didn’t need to be more of anything. I just needed to be me.
That’s all I’ve ever needed to be.
That’s all any of us need to be.
If you find yourself heading down the path of negative self talk, I hope you can stop yourself and realize how wonderful you are. You are a unique person with special gifts and talents. You bring your special something to the world every day, just by being you. Not by pretending to be someone else. Not by living up to someone else’s standards. Not by trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t belong to you.
Just be you. Embrace the wonderful you that God created. Embrace your flaws. Your weaknesses. Your strengths. Your talents.
Strive to be the best you that you can be. Not the best someone else you can be.
You have gifts to give and people will be blessed by them.
God can use you.
I am determined to silence the bully within. She doesn’t show up much, but when she does it is very sneaky. A quiet little lie being whispered in my ear. A lie I can choose to believe, or to reject.
And I’m choosing to reject.
It is time to replace negative self talk with truth.
I no longer need to be concerned with what others think of me. I am not defined by other people’s definitions of success. Some people will like me and others won’t – and that’s okay. My weight and age are just numbers. The number of likes on my posts or number of followers I have on my page does not define my worth or my talent. The kind of car I drive or clothes I wear doesn’t make me – me.
I am defined by God. I am His child. His daughter. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. He has created me to do good works that He has prepared in advance for me to do. He knows me. He has a plan for me. He loves me. Always.
It’s time to start living more for God, and less for the world. It’s times to start being less concerned with my own personal agenda, and more concerned with His.
Not only am I going to pay more attention to how I speak to myself, I am also going to pay attention to how I speak to others. I am going to try to use my words to build up, and not tear down. To encourage. To compliment. To love.
The more we use our words for good. The more we let people know how special and important and valued they are. The more we share the love of God. The more these things happen – the more I believe the internal bullies will be replaced by something beautiful and wonderful and good.
Words matter. To myself. To others.
I can be a bully sometimes, but you know what I decided? Not anymore.
I am developing a zero tolerance bullying policy.
Starting today. Starting now.
Who’s with me?