This week I have begun working with two individuals who have been struggling for many years with the inappropriate and abusive behaviour of someone in their life. It set me to wondering which of my skills and tools I could use to help them make positive changes in themselves, so that they could experience a more appropriate relationship with the person causing the problem. (Let’s be clear here, I am not talking about domestic abuse, which of course should always be dealt with through appropriate support and removing oneself to safety.)
The truth is, our external experience in everyday life is like a mirror, showing us what is going on inside us. If someone is treating us less than perfectly, chances are in some way, we are treating ourselves badly too. This could be either verbally in our speech or self talk, or physically such as through the wrong foods, inappropriate amounts of exercise or overworking and putting others first too often.
For instance, how many times have you berated yourself for getting something “wrong” or being late for an appointment? How many “shoulds” do you use when speaking to yourself? “You should have left earlier and checked out the map beforehand!”, “how stupid are you, leaving your phone in the shop?” “you should be able to have a night out with friends and do your homework!” Sound familiar? You may not have been aware of this inner self talk or self-abuse until now, so just notice over the next few days the times when you do not treat yourself in the way you would a best friend.
So how can we protect ourselves from “ourselves”, and from other’s negative behaviour? And how can we protect our children from it too? I believe the solution is to:
- create what I think of as a solid pillar of self confidence inside you and/or your child, in all areas of your life, so that negative behaviour can bounce off your protected core and you have the confidence to create safe boundaries for yourself.
- where necessary, prioritise parts of your inner world for change, so that your outer world can reflect back to you the love you are learning to feel inside.
Once you have a strong inner core of self worth and worked to change your inner world, school bullies, angry bosses, grumpy family members or difficult customers can no longer affect you as they did, and indeed may begin to almost magically change or disappear, leaving your life more peaceful and relaxed.
So how can you do this? Well there are many professionals and coaches out there to help, as well as stories about people who have achieved amazing things despite very rough beginnings in books and on the internet. For starters, try this video recorded by a young person covering building your self confidence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmPMahjbIyE .
What do you do when you want to feel stronger?