Because November 16 through November 22nd is Bullying Awareness Week, and I want to Stand Up To Bullying, I decided to share an article I wrote that was featured at the Living The Dream Magazine, titled “5 Ways You’re Teaching Your Child To Be A Bully And Don’t Even Know It.” Enjoy:
Statistics show that 77% of our self-talk is negative. I call that obsessive, unceasing, and untiring voice in my head the “inner bully.”
Partly because the inner bully has always been constantly nagging at me, and partly because I am an avid learner, I decided to study its patterns, which allowed me to identify the top 5 ways we bully ourselves.
The discovery in itself was enlightening, yet not dramatically surprising; however, I was really alarmed in realizing that when we bully ourselves, we teach our kids to bully themselves — and others!
I am proposing an unusual way to end bullying: start with the [wo]man in the mirror.
1. COMPARING – Stop comparing yourself to others and stop comparing your children to their siblings or friends. Comparison is a disease and it has been labeled the thief of joy. The inner bully wants you to focus on your “shortcomings,” and when you choose to CELEBRATE your uniqueness, and that of others around you, you are automatically shushing the inner bully.
2. COMPETING – Society and culture wants us to be “super moms” who raise “super kids.” I am a firm believer that it takes a village to do just about anything, and we must COLLABORATE and partner with each other to achieve our desired results in all areas of our lives. This is a great lesson to teach our children because having the courage to seek help stops the inner bully in its tracks.
3. CRITICIZING – We all fall into this trap and our children are sponges, and master of internalizing. By being subject to constant criticism, even the most confident person may adopt it as a belief. Do you want your child to believe the criticism you utter when you’re angry? Do you want them to judge others as you judge yourself, only finding the negative? If you answered no to any of these questions, then crush the inner-bully and make it a habit to COMPLIMENT yourself, compliment your kids, and find a way to pay at least one honest compliment to each person you encounter.
4. COMPLAINING – I admit it seems impossible to stop complaining. I declared my home a no- complaint zone, because if you can’t make it better, it’s useless to complain and if you can make it better, then you must CONTRIBUTE, instead. The latter is more productive and empowering, too.
5. CONDEMNING – We all unfairly judge a book by its cover sometimes, and it is usually so spontaneous that the kids are watching, listening, and…learning! When we make time to find out more about someone’s story and find understanding, in most, if not all cases, we end up with a desire to COMMEND that person. Praise is such a powerful tool of love.
Comparing, competing, criticizing complaining, and condemning are poisonous habits and they are contagious. I don’t know a person who has completely slain the inner bully, but you can consciously catch yourself and stop right at that moment. When a negative thought comes over you, you can choose to refocus and move forward.
If you are comparing, competing, criticizing complaining, and condemning yourself and others,then you are teaching your child to be a bully. Make a list on how you can celebrate, collaborate, compliment, contribute, and commend yourself and others, so you can reclaim the JOY you were created to have… and maybe flip the statistics.
Do you struggle with any of these? How do you do to slay your inner-bully?