Calming Your Inner Bully

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2016 1 Dec

a man is yelling and pointing his finger at the viewer

Rare is the school without an anti-bullying campaign. We know how easy it is for children at the receiving end of such behaviors to be devastated by them. The same is true for adults. Interacting on a regular basis with people who belittle and malign us is hazardous to our emotional health. Who wants to be around someone who communicates their contempt, with or without words, indicating that they think us boring, bossy, stupid, flaky, weak, inconsiderate, ugly, insensitive, worthless, or a failure?

But what if the bully is you?

I’m not implying that you bully other people. But, truth be known, some of us have a habit of bullying ourselves. Here are a few examples of things we might say to ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else:

What an idiot!
Why can’t I do anything right?
God hates me.
I’m worthless.
Nobody likes me.
I look awful.
God won’t forgive me.

Researchers estimate that we have, on average, seventy thousand thoughts in the course of a single day. It’s inevitable that some of them will be negative. But when our negative thoughts greatly outweigh our positive thoughts, we have a problem. Many of these thoughts come to mind unbidden, operating just below the surface of consciousness. Writing them down can help us become more aware of them, forcing them out into the open so we can challenge their accuracy. Once we become aware of these internal dialogues, we can replace them with milder, neutral, or even positive statements that affirm the truth of who we are and what God thinks of us.

Why not spend some time paying attention to your thoughts today? Try writing down the negative ones, and then take each one to God in prayer.