...that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month? Of course you did...pink (the color of breast cancer awareness) is everywhere! But did you also know that October is Bullying Awareness month?? Probably not...I just found out last evening ,from a late night radio show I was listening to. As I was lying in bed pondering the overwhelming statistics of bullying amongst school-aged children...I started thinking about bullying on a larger more dramatic scale...one that encompasses us as grown adults...and most importantly...us as women.
Is it any wonder that bullying is reaching epidemic proportions...when we women frequently talk to ourselves in deprecating and self-negating ways? Think about this for a moment: bullying is defined as unwanted or aggressive behavior that is habitually cruel or overbearing, behavior that is meant to intimidate, demean, or physically and emotionally harm someone. Sound like anyone you know?
I want you to take some time and think about the words you frequently use to talk to yourself. I want you to think about what you say when you look in the mirror...when you try on clothes...when you sit down to do art...when you open that bag of potato chips...what are the words you speak in the critical confines of your mind?
In my work with myself and other women...I find that we are quick to put ourselves down...quick to list all the ways that we don't measure up as women, wives, mothers, professionals, artists...we are too fat, too skinny, not pretty enough, drive the wrong car, have an ugly house,stink at cooking and keeping house, not good at art, have no talents, etc. etc. The words we use when talking to or about ourselves are horrifying! If we were to talk this way about others (and I know that we do) we could be labeled as bullies! Scarey huh????
Negative self-talk is more dangerous and damaging than we could ever imagine. If we don't feel good about ourselves...then we make it easier for others to put us down and to act to us in demeaning and hurtful ways. In my latest Mindfulness, Musings, and the Moon group post I asked members to think of the 5 people they spend the most time with and then to think if those people are helping them to move forward on their paths towards wholeness, healing, and authenticity? I want to take this a step further...think of your interactions with others...do you often find that you are at the mercy of others and that no one cares about your opinion? Do you find yourself stopping what you are doing or changing your plans so that you can accommodate others and their plans/needs? Do you feel like no one cares about you? Do you feel like your feelings don't matter? Are you a doormat?
If you can answer yes to any of those questions...then I think it is time for you to really sit and think about the relationship you have with yourself. Do you engage in self-talk that is "habitually cruel and demeaning"...do you engage in behaviors that are "physically or emotionally harming"? If so, then I say you are guilty of bullying yourself...I get that it can be subtle and we may not even be aware that we do this...and we can try to deny that we are self bullying...but when you act and speak in a way that is physically and emotionally demeaning to yourself...you are basically bullying yourself...and when you allow yourself to be harmed in this way...it makes it much easier for you to allow others to treat you in a cruel and demeaning manner.
I know this is tough stuff...but sometimes we need to stop sugar coating things...and call it what it is...and it is bullying...of the worse kind...because it is self inflicted...and because we...WE... WE allow others to treat us in thoughtless and demeaning ways. However...you can change this...you can stop the pattern of being a door mat by FIRST stopping the behavior towards yourself. I challenge you to get a small pad of paper and keep it with you throughout the day...then every time you find yourself talking or behaving in a way that is inwardly cruel and demeaning...I want you to write down the words or behaviors you are inflicting upon yourself. Yikes, inflicting...isn't that a little harsh? I don't know...is it? I think not...maybe, just maybe...if we started viewing ourselves as a bullied child...we might start treating and talking to ourselves in a more loving manner.
Once you have spent a couple of days making a list of the things you say to yourself...you should be able to have a better awareness for the words you speak that cause you harm...that are meant to demean...to put down...and then you can set about the task of stopping them...and eventually changing them. We are at a critical juncture in our evolution as human beings and a society of world wide peoples...it is crucial for us to operate from a place of love...however, in order to extend love outward...into the world...we must first extend this love inward...towards ourselves...you deserve to be surrounded and supported by people that inspire you, challenge you, lift you up...and you start by being your best, most loving and supportive advocate!
And so...as I continue to be challenged by my mentor to use my voice...I challenge you to pay attention to the way you use your voice...in the messages you send to yourselves...and the messages you send outward to the universe...there is no room in our lives for bullying...won't you help me to stop this growing trend?