One of the people who “liked” one of my recent posts has a blog called talktherapies.wordpress.com. The blog actually has the title Happiness, Health and Hypnosis when you visit. I went there, as I often do when someone new starts following me or “Likes” one of my posts. The blog owner, Sue Griffin, a UK-based hypnotherapist, had one post in particular that resonated with me – “Do you bully yourself?”
I suspect that I’m like a lot of people who do get down on themselves if they realize that they just made a mistake, screwed something up or otherwise did something dumb. Like most I immediately criticize myself, usually with the self-inflicted label “dumb-ass.” I think that is somewhat human nature and the feeling usually passes fairly quickly; unless of course what I just screwed up is a costly mistake that I will now have to replace or redo. Then I revisit the dumb-ass dungeon often until I get things right. Perhaps, that too, is human nature.
What I think Sue was writing about are those people who take this self-criticism beyond a momentary reaction to something that we’ve done and “institutionalize” it into an ongoing self-image problem. These are people who have progresses well past some temporary anger or reaction and into self-destructive behavior that then also becomes self-fulfilling. Left uncorrected it can eventually lead to depression and despair. As a hypnotherapist Sue can help with that, as can my local favorite hypnotherapist – Nicole Merline (visit MTUHyponosis .com).
Hopefully, whatever level of self-bullying or self-criticism you currently engage in hasn’t progressed to the point where you need their intervention. I find that soon after I’ve reacted to the event and called myself a dumb-ass, I usually can’t help laughing at the whole thing, especially the dumb-ass part. Whatever just happened, it’s almost always because I failed to completely read the ad or the instructions or something like that, which is pretty lame and leaves me no one else to blame; however, it hardly warrants a continued reaction and most often serves as a teachable moment for myself.
From what I have read on the topic, many people who now bully or denigrate themselves are just carrying on what they heard as children, unfortunately much of it from their parents or perhaps from siblings. The kidding that we take as children can quickly turn into bullying, even if the party doing it doesn’t realize it. Most of the time they actually do understand what they are doing, but just don’t realize the potential long-term consequences. Sometimes it results in people who grow up bullying themselves later in life; but, many times it just creates another bully who goes looking for his/her own stooge to act as their victim.
While it may not be possible to catch yourself as it happens and stop; I’d certainly recommend stopping as soon as you can to reconsider just how much self-inflicted flogging you want to meet out and for how long. The sooner that you can get a smile or laugh out of the situation, especially the inward directed anger parts, the better. I’ve found that if I go to a mirror and make a really stupid looking face
at myself, the feeling quickly passes; because, I’ve seen the face of the dumb-ass and I don’t want to be him. I usually can laugh at myself at that point.
So, don’t beat yourself up. You may have made a mistake, but you’re still standing and the world did not come to an end. Don’t be the dumb-ass. Instead go back and read (re-read) my post on “I like me”. It was one of my posts in the Three little words that will change your life series.
Have a great day and a great week ahead!