Bullies thrive on weakness. Not their own. But the momentary weakness of others. They intimidate the temporarily weak because they fear those that are permanently strong. They envy those with heart and integrity because they have neither of those things for themselves.
Bullies are small and want others to be small like them. So they break them down, instead of building them up. That’s how the bullying of others work.
But what about when we bully ourselves?
The part of us that is small, cowardly, weak and scared—we all have that part hidden somewhere within us—senses an opportunity. When we are down, defeated and depressed, our inner tormentor sniffs a chance to do damage. So it begins to taunt us.
“You’re not good enough.”
“You can’t do this.”
“They’re saying you’re worthless. And they’re right.”
“You’re a coward. You’re weak.”
“All those ideals? All those principles? They’re just words.”
“This is who you really are. Nothing. A nobody.”
This can continue for weeks, or for just a few minutes. But in both cases, like all bullying, it ends when we respond with strength.
In real life, bullies cease their bullying when the object of their aggression stands up to them. Which could mean holding your ground when threatened. It could mean showing the bully that their words have lost their power over your feelings. That strength could manifest itself in the form of a fist connecting with the bully’s jaw. This strength can be shown in many ways.
And it’s the same with the bully inside of ourselves. It responds only to strength. We only stop making ourselves feel small when we plant our feet, raise our head, look into the eyes of our tormentor and say, “enough.”