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Many of us unfortunately face a bully. I can assure you, I faced many in childhood and adulthood. Some of the meanest and most damaging bullies were those I encountered in the workplace. Bullies can do a lot of damage to your self-image and calling on reprogramming techniques can be a saving grace. The truth is bullying whether on the playground, in the classroom or in the workplace can cause depleting damage. And if we begin believing their unkind acts and hurtful words it can literally destroy us.
My experience with bullies in the workplace lasted almost a decade. Though, the story is quiet interesting I am not going to share it with you today, however, I’ll tell you I felt powerless, overwhelmed, isolated, ashamed, humiliated and ugly. I felt like yesterday’s trash! Feelings I had never felt even as a child that knew the feeling that goes with abandonment, abuse and living in environment addictions point is I get it! By using the bully analogy I can help you face a truth about bullying. That being at times we bully ourselves. Don’t try to tell me you don’t do this. And just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about ask yourself these questions. How many times a day do you complain about your hair, your thighs, your wrinkles, your cellulite, your nose etc…?
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m stupid, I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m soooo?” You get the point. To verify my claim I’ll share this as a counselor I found this particularly true with those that desire to make physical changes such as losing weight. The people I counseled daily bullied themselves so much that they didn’t need help in lower their self- image. As stated earlier many of them convinced themselves they were bad or not good enough. With this kind of self-talk it’s difficult to like yourself and achieve success. Think about it this way, if you tell yourself you are a failure chances are you will create that destiny. If you tell yourself you can’t lose weight, you more than likely won’t lose the weight. If you tell yourself you are going to fail the test you more than likely will fail.
The reason for this is that you begin to believe these ideas. Thus, you become your own worst enemy by allowing such negative talk to control the true you, which sets negative action in motion. Whether intentional or not your thoughts become forms of action. You are sabotaging yourself. This may be by way of the company you keep or simply by your own company of self. It is also my belief by putting yourself down lowers your standards and by ignoring your strengths you are slapping your God, your spiritual guide in the face. Furthermore, you are slapping your self in the face and those that have come to love you. By allowing other’s to control your beliefs you are insulting and negating any positive feelings that others may feel for you. Now, that’s not very nice is it?
So, stop allowing others to bully you and stop bullying yourself and look yourself in the eye and reclaim your awesomeness. Tell yourself ten times a day if you have to that you are worthy, wonderful, witty, bright, beautiful and talented. Do whatever it takes. Just stop the bully! This is why this simple technique is essential in creating change. The secret is being present while doing self-talk. Another part of this ingredient is to keep the self-talk in present tense (“I’ am…” It is…” etc.) This keeps you in the moment. Being present is best explained as not allowing outside forces distract you. My children both played sports. Both are very competitive and enjoy the thrill of a win, but more importantly they enjoyed their sport.
The ability to stay focused while on the ice, basketball court, volleyball court or softball field required being in the moment each and every second as well as being completely focused on what was transpiring at the time, at the moment, at that second. They didn’t have time for the outside distractions like fans and screaming coaches. They were focused on the game. They were present. This is what helps create winners.
Another example of being present involves communication. Again, I’ll use my children, because I think most of us can relate to this. If you can’t relate then replace children with a friend, significant other or anyone you may be trying to communicate with at the time. After school my children almost always were hungry, full of energy and conversation. Many times while in the middle of conversation the phone would ring. A sudden break in conversation would occur. This distraction caused their voice to lower and the sparkle in the eye to dim. When this happened my heart would literally break. After all they were sharing their day with me and an outside force broke that. The momentum was lost. We allowed the present to be lost. Because this disturbed me I worked diligently in getting the present back by apologizing, looking them in eye and providing them with the knowledge that what they had to say is important. This worked most of the time, because I made sure they heard me tell the person one the line I would call them back after I finished with my kids. This demonstrated to them their importance.
When you are talking to yourself you need to follow the premise of being present. Be conscious of you. You are important and you have to allow yourself to know that. So, when you are looking at yourself in the mirror or meditating beware of this. Knowledge of this will help you focus and communicate better. It will also help you start seeing the amazing you. Looking you in the eye and being present with yourself is essential if you are to believe in you and your abilities. It also is essential in helping you develop a healthier self-image.
Self-talk must always be directed to achieve your objectives in a healthy and beneficial way. This means you must always direct self-talk in a safe way. This is because the subconscious mind does not know right from wrong and the point of doing this exercise is to help create a better you. What we tell ourselves about our problems will affect our actions and what others say or do to us can be even more damaging if we allow ourselves to believe them.
Earlier I alluded to bullies in the workplace, but I didn’t get into many of the details, however, I did share with you that I felt powerless, overwhelmed, isolated, ashamed, humiliated and ugly. In short this is what transpired.
I was a tenured teacher at a Montana Middle School with a successful work history of nearly ten years. I was approached and harassed in my classroom by a mentally challenged and dangerous person during school hours. His speech and actions caused me fear that I would be raped, or worse. The administration’s less-than-positive response to the situation eventually caused me to file a sexual harassment and hostile environment complaint. After making the complaint and following the chain of command within the school system with no results, I filed a Montana Human Rights Complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau. This was a dual filing with the EEOC.
Upon returning to work the next school year, I found hard-core pornographic emails on my school computer. When I reported these emails to the proper authorities, their response was that “keep quiet”. When I asked them to trace the pornography, the administration replied that it couldn’t be done. As I pressed the issue, the administration’s reaction was to try to find a way to get rid of me. They embarked upon a series of closed meetings with students and parents in an attempt to discover anything and everything they could use to build a case to terminate me.
Students were taken from their class for meetings with the administration and were told to keep the discussions “a secret”. While I was never allowed to meet with parents or students to discuss what were obviously fabrications, rumors were rampant. Administration leaks were prevalent although I was continually told to keep silent I also received letters from administration threatening termination. These letters lacked a basis in fact and were simply threats.
Such a campaign can take a toll. Admittedly, my teaching suffered. I was afraid to discipline any student in fear that such an action would result in more closed meetings and threats of termination. Grades were questioned. Parents called and met with members of the administration. These meetings were either scheduled for times during which they knew I could not attend or simply held without notification. I was totally isolated. These are only the highlights of a year of harassment and intimidation. Naturally, my health suffered. At one point, I weighed 90 pounds and my physician prescribed medication for stress. In fact, he recommended that I take a leave of absence.
When I returned from that leave, my classroom was bare. My personal possessions were boxed. Student work had been removed, was missing or destroyed. Grades had been awarded in my name that I had not authorized. In response to all of this and other forms of harassment, my union representative said simply “They can do what they want. They’re administration.” Finally, I was terminated.
While doing discovery, I learned that members of the Montana Human Rights Commission, members of the school district’s law firm, the Montana School Board Association and Montana Teachers Union all had political ties with the superintendent who terminated me. To make matters worse, he chairs the Board of Public Education. All of these people met to discuss my complaints against the administration. These meetings were not publicized and I was not in attendance.
During the same period in which I was under daily scrutiny and discipline, male employees were allowed to use corporal punishment, have inappropriate relationships with students and drink alcohol on school sporting trips. Other topics brought to the attention of the administration during this same period included the treatment of a Native American paraplegic paraprofessional and her Native American students as well as the use of derogatory names referring to women, ethnic groups and special needs children. All these were dealt with behind closed doors. The public was never informed and no other teacher lost his job.
Even though I received a settlement, I have been blacklisted and cannot be employed in my chosen career. Sadly, I have lost my passion for classroom teaching and find myself fearful of those who work as administrators in the field of public education. This entire scenario could have been avoided had the school administration been willing to discuss openly and frankly the events that led to my filing the first grievance. It was filed only after the administration refused to listen to my concerns and only after I was told to “keep quiet”. At one point, the administration represented me as a hysterical female whose problem might be “hormonal”.
All this was done with union knowledge and while I was under a Collective Bargaining agreement. The union was in contact with the administration and was contacted by the administration. They did not protect me nor did they stand up for me. I believe this would not have happened had the Union done their job and not breached their contract with me. Again, these are only highlights.
This “witch hunt” made life very difficult for my family and I. We experienced financial, personal, emotional and physical scars and bruises. Some of which are stored away deep inside of each of us, but never completely forgotten or lost.
My files contain mountains of paperwork including depositions, declarations of truth, notarized documents and exhibits resulting from an arduous legal process that finally ended when the Havre (Montana) School District settled two lawsuits – a Federal suit and one filed in State District Court.
The point I am trying to make is that others can cause us to lose control emotionally especially if are put in a position where we can easily be sabotaged, manipulated or are in a weak and vulnerable state. In this case, I subconsciously allowed these ugly believes and damaging words to control my emotions. This was extremely dangerous. I went down a path of darkness paved with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and deep depression. This was something I had never experienced. This experience while very horrific forced me to face many truths that laid dormant for many years, something I will not get into in great detail in this book. I am saving it for another.
This four-year battle, reminded me that in darkness there is light and out of belief in one’s self comes empowerment, commitment, courage and strength. It also reminded me of the heroine, Anne Frank and the introduction in the novel, Anne Frank The Diary of A Young Girl written by Eleanor Roosevelt. These particular statements made a profound impression, “living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly by themselves, made me intimately and shockingly aware of war’s greatest evil the degradation of the human spirit. Despite the horror and the humiliation of their daily lives, these people never gave up. Anne herself and most of all, it is her portrait which emerges so vividly and so appealingly from this matured very rapidly in these two years, the crucial years from thirteen to fifteen in which change is so swift and so difficult for every young girl.”
The courage and strength of Anne Frank and others that faced this persecution should remind us out of evil does come goodness and out of darkness there soon will come light. Don’t surrender your power. Turn it to empowerment. Find the Anne Frank in you and have the courage to combat, that which tries to draw you into darkness and break your spirit.
And while I use Anne and her story as an analogy I confess my torment was not as vile and evil as that of the holocaust, it was a battle, which did involve negative, despicable tormentors that tried to break my spirit. The isolation and abandonment along with the hatred and vigor vengeance, which they used in their efforts to control and destroy me, created self-doubt, loss of self-image and self-esteem. It nearly cost me life, something I hold precious.
And while I was tormented by a mob of bullies, I didn’t help the situation by beating up on myself. So, again I implore you to stop the bully and stop bullying yourself. Surround yourself with people that lift you up and help you face truths in positive and supportive ways. Get help from professionals if you need. Do not be ashamed. Stop the denial. Start looking yourself in the mirror and using positive self-talk daily. You are worthy, unique and only get one go at this wonderful thing we call life. So, face your enemies, your bullies, your battles, the weasels, the wars, and stop whining, suffering and feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t allow outside forces and internal battles to clip your wings, to break your spirit. Fight back and reclaim yourself. Face your self and get real, get honest, get moving and take action and tell your self how wonderful you are. Realize positive self-talk is essential in helping you create a healthier and happier you.
Stop the internal obsessing and take the steps towards resolving your problems. Get help! Help yourself! Take it one step at a time. Please stop the internal beatings and allow the bruises to heal. Positive self-talk is not the complete answer, but it is a start. Choosing healthy self-talk helps to provide you more strength to face your nemesis, no matter what it is. It offers you opportunity to help your emotional intelligence and look at the situation with more clarity, because you are not allowing the outward or inward vicious words bring you down. The bully’s mission is to make you feel insecure, overwhelmed, ugly, fearful, powerless, unworthy, and ashamed and etc. You need to combat these feelings. You need to take out the fire extinguisher and distinguish the burning ugliness that tries to control your world inside and out. Take charge and create change with the help of positive self-talk.
For all practical purposes, self-talk should be simple, to the point, practical, and honest. This is not saying that self-talk can not be utilized to help you create attainable goals.
Simple self-talk is essential in that it provides a clear picture of what it is you desire. It opens the door of possibility. Realizing you are reading this book leads me to assume you desire to be better. Thus you mustn’t speak in the negative and only in the positive. Below you will find examples of negative and positive self-talk to help you better understand how to put your thoughts in the positive and present tense. Below these lists you will find self-talk statements, which can be utilized in building a better self-image.
Negative / Positive
I can’t do math. / I am capable of learning math.
I can’t remember names. / I am able to remember names.
It’s going to be another bad Monday. / It’s going to be a great Monday.
I’m so stupid! / I am intelligent.
I’m too shy. / I enjoy meeting new people.
Positive Image Building Statements
I am special. I like who I am and I feel good about myself.
I am unique and there is no one else like me. That’s amazing!
I am glad to be me.
I am intelligent. My mind is capable of learning. My mind is clever, quick and alert.
I am interested in learning and doing new and different thing.
I am organized and in control of my life.
I am kind, sincere, honest and genuine. I am all of these things and more. And all these things make up me. I like who I am, and I’m glad to be me!
Something to Think About:
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Attitude is defined as the position or bearing as indicating action feeling or mood and it is our actions, feelings or moods, which determine actions feelings or moods of others towards us and which, control our success or failure. Everything operates on the law of cause and effect.
Something to Think About:
It is our attitude towards life that will determine life’s attitude towards us. ~Anonymous
-Good attitudes beget good results.
-Fair attitudes beget fair results.
-Bad attitudes beget bad results.
The truth is we have the power to control our life. We do it everyday. We are just not always aware of it. I’m not saying we have the power to control life, but the power to create our world. Granted bad things happen. Trust me I have experienced my share. It’s what we take from those experiences that are important. It is our attitude that breaks us, that can clip our wings. Each of us has the power to control our attitudes. We have the power to look at our world as full of color or as beige. I personally went through a beige stage. I even purchased beige furniture. I really have no affinity towards beige, so this surprised many of the people that have known me for years. It even came to surprise me. Granted it’s neutral and safe, but I have always been a person that likes purple, pink, yellow and green. Plain and simple, I am not a beige person nor have I ever been.
The point is the color beige has come to symbolism stress, pain and sadness to me. My attitude towards this color has to do with the fact that shortly after purchasing this very dull furniture of beige my life was whisked into a world of chaos, distress and filled with miserable hardships. My attitude towards this color was negative and brought me down. I allowed this color to darken my heart, put me in states of sadness and remind of a horrific people and times. My attitude of living in a beige environment stifled me. It made me feel insignificant and empty. I felt faded and dull. Unable to take me as beige, I decided to purchase color paint. To ensure that I followed through I spoke with a good friend that works in the home decorating business. She suggested I take a brush and slap the paint on the wall. ” I guarantee it will empower you.” She said.
Taking her advice I took the bold move and slapped a deep red colored paint on the biggest wall in my living room. Low and behold she was right. Just taking action sparked courage and energy I desperately needed to get through the mountains of lies that the defense team made up about me. It changed my attitude. It also helped my attitude towards beige.
The point is I possessed the power to change the color and more importantly my attitude towards it. Just as I had the power to change my attitude towards beige you too the have the power to create the change you desire. It’s this simple; you need to alter your relationship with yourself. You need to learn to like yourself again. You need to find the person in you that bring smiles and happiness into your life. You need to change your attitude about you. You have the power to alter your attitude towards you. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy as a matter of fact I didn’t saying anything about this was easy. It is your attitude towards change that is key. Try using some of these techniques.
-Talk about that which reminds you of happy times.
-Surround yourself only around positive people.
-When confronted with a negative experience see through the darkness and see the positive and light out of it.
-Stand outside and take a look around. Now close your eyes for two to five and hear the whispers of the earth. Slowly open your eyes and see world’s beautiful vibrant colors.
-Stand in thanksgiving everyday.
-Do something unexpected for someone important in your life. Better yet, do something nice for a stranger.
In short, people get a good attitude by conducting themselves with a good attitude. Life is beige only to beige people. Life is dark when we only choose to see darkness. Change your perception, your attitude. Next time you find yourself feeling dull or beige color your world. Use the techniques above. If those suggestions don’t work order yourself some beautiful vibrant flowers. Seriously, I do this. My florist just laughs.
write by kim