How Beating My Inner Bully Makes Me a Better Friend

During my second year of high school I became friends with *Ashley. One of the first things she admitted to me was how she didn’t like me the year before; she thought I was a bitch and standoffish because I was quiet and shy. I remember being surprised and semi-insulted when she told me this because her perception of me was so opposite what I felt inside. I considered myself a friendly, caring, open-minded person and felt unfairly judged. When I reflect on this now it makes perfect sense.

careful

When we invest in the belief that we aren’t worthy we are forced to live and act as though we are worthless. It’s pretty hard to act like a friendly, caring, open-minded person if you have to act like nothing you think or do means anything to anyone. I’m beginning to understand the true impact low self-confidence, self-worth, and self-love have had (and continues to have) on my actions and the way I come across to others.

Someone really helps me out and it means a lot to me. I want to tell them how helpful they’ve been, compliment them, and thank them wholeheartedly. But do I? In the past the answer would have been a resounding no. I’d hear that voice inside say “Why would they care what you think? A compliment coming from you is probably worthless to them, it might even be seen as an insult” so I kept my mouth shut. Now I’ve become better at seeing this voice as a reflection of that old “I’m worthless” story and I try my best to ignore it, or drown it out with my commitment to authenticity.

insecurities

It has been intriguing to learn how much my self perception is affecting my “friendliness”; a few scenarios I have noticed thus far have been a hesitation to give hugs, compliments, express opinions, and extend invitations. I’ve even heard this voice pipe up when I go to “like” someone’s facebook status. Oh, and eye contact… can’t forget that one *insert fake laugh* !

When I fail to make eye contact with others I’m sure the conclusions that are being drawn about me are not in keeping with who I truly am, but a mere reflection of the constraints my Inner Bully has me under. ~Insight on my semi-social nature walk

I’ve been practicing eye contact when passing strangers on my walks lately. It’s quite a funny experiment. The rush of self doubt and judgement when I see someone approaching is enough to make me laugh- I mean, they are strangers! People I will probably never even see again! Is there any better way to truly understand that this it totally my own shit?! It has also been interesting to see people’s reactions with the understanding that that’s all them. I admit that I have had moments where I was offended and even judged people as unfriendly for their lack of response – much like Ashley did with me back in high school. Understanding myself better has helped me understand others as well.  What’s true for me is also true of them; how others react to my some-what forced greeting is truly a reflection of how they feel about themselves.

treat others

Realizing these consequences of having the “not worthy” mentality has made me even more motivated to tackle that old story. Being authentic and a good tribe member is vitally important to me – I refuse to let myself stand in the way of that.

 

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