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We start off being kind to ourselves, but what happens later? 10-month-old Grady likes what he sees in the mirror at the beach cottage. Dam Neck, Virginia, June 2014

We start off being kind to ourselves, but what happens later?
10-month-old Grady likes what he sees in the mirror at the beach cottage.
Dam Neck, Virginia, June 2014

“The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts.”
Bryant McGill

Does any of this sound familiar?

She doesn’t really like me.

He never cared about me.

I’m too fat/skinny/short/tall/pale/dark/quiet/loud/dumb/nerdy/old/inexperienced.

I never feel like part of any group I’m with. I don’t belong anywhere and never will.

I give up. I fail at this every time I try to do better.

I could go on and on, and I’ll bet you could too.  The ways in which we taunt ourselves might differ slightly, but the underlying messages are identically destructive. Why do we do it?

On the other hand, bullies don’t just say overtly cruel things.  Sometimes they lie to us by pretending to be friends, tricking us into doing what we wouldn’t normally do, or creating false hopes destined to be dashed.  We can bully ourselves in this way, too.  Does any of this sound familiar?

Everyone else does it; why shouldn’t I?

I know it’s bad for me to feel such anger toward someone else but hey, I’m only human.

Nobody will ever know about this but me, so it can’t possibly hurt anyone.

Mae West was right– too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Oh, who cares?  One more doughnut/drink/purchase/cigarette/gambling loss isn’t going to make much difference now.

I think there are very few of us who have not been bullied at least once in our lives by a cruel person.  Even if they hit us with words instead of fists, it still creates damage.  But I agree with McGill that most of us take far more abuse from our own thought patterns than from others. Perhaps mean people were the ones who trained us in the art of putting ourselves down, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue their pattern of spiteful talk.

Today, let’s stand guard over the bully in each of us, and not allow anything ugly to win the day. Most of us learned to be pretty good about curbing our inhumane talk to others, although we may need to work on what we say behind their backs.  But I think our most difficult struggles will be against the bully inside our own heads, telling us we deserve the self-defeating thoughts we repeat.

Celebrate Be Kind to You day today! I think we could all use more kindness, and if we begin inside our own heads, it’s bound to spread beyond us.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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