What happens when YOU are the biggest bully in your life

Bullying is a traumatising experience for anyone who has been through it. But what if the bullying isn't coming from an external source? To quote a classic horror movie, "What if the call is coming from inside the house?"

It might not sound like a real thing but it’s possible that YOU are your own biggest bully. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Telling yourself that you’re not smart enough to do something

  • Thinking you’re not cool enough to hang out with certain people

  • Saying you’re not talented enough to do the things you’d like to do

  • Putting yourself down in front of other people

  • Imagining other people badmouthing you or laughing at you

  • Watching social media and feeling like it’s pointless to create anything because it won’t match up to what’s already there

Self Talk

Think about how you talk to yourself when things go wrong or when you make a mistake.

Do you call yourself an “idiot”, berate yourself for being “so stupid”, or say that your friend or sister or classmate would have “seen it coming a mile away”?

If you do any of these things, ask yourself why. You would never dream of saying any of those things to someone you care about so why say it to yourself?

Loving yourself isn’t just a trite or corny thing parents and teachers encourage for no reason. It’s a crucial part of life. If you don’t love yourself or back yourself in the things you do, how can you expect anyone else to? 

You teach other people how you want to be treated. So be kind to yourself.

Self Awareness

If you’re feeling sad or unhappy about yourself, your life or who you are becoming, that’s okay. It’s normal to question things and to feel confused or even trapped by the boundaries of your daily life. 

Firstly, self-awareness of how you’re feeling is always a good thing, as is the ability to reflect on your situation. Be proud that you’re able to do this. 

Are there specific triggers that make you feel worse, like social media or being around certain people in school?

It’s good to know that not everything you see on social media is true and there are so many tools people can use to edit their images and videos.

Also, just because someone is confident or seems popular at school, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect for them either. We have no idea what other people are dealing with behind closed doors which is why we should always lead with kindness.

Self Care

Forget bubble baths and manicures and any other superficial things social media has told you is self care. 

Yes, these things are fun to do but they don’t equate to looking after your mental wellbeing. 

Have you heard about the concept of resilience? Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversities that we may face in the course of our lives. Here are some basic things that we need in our daily lives in order to build a foundation of resilience and to maintain our wellness:

  • A good night’s sleep; using a mindfulness app can help with trying to settle racing thoughts

     

  • A balanced approach to food; what we eat directly affects how we feel
     
  • Water; keeping hydrated can help reduce feelings of tiredness

     

  • Being outdoors; natural sunlight and fresh air can help to lift our mood

     

  • Movement and exercise; exercise can release feel-good chemicals in our brain that boost our mood and energy levels

Embracing our Differences

When we see fashion, beauty or travel influencers on social media, it’s very easy to feel less than or wish that we looked like them or had their body/home/lifestyle/hair etc. 

But, if you think about it, how boring would it be if we all looked the same? Or if life was picture perfect all the time? We need the rain to appreciate the rainbow. We need the cold depths of winter to appreciate the warm, sunny heights of summer.

Each one of us is unique in our own way, and this is true of our bodies and our personalities. It can be a good idea to take the time to identify and focus on the things we like about ourselves and our bodies, and to work on not comparing ourselves to others. 

Talking it Out

Sometimes speaking with a trusted adult can be helpful. They may be able to offer support and advice for dealing with your feelings around what is going on for you right now.

This trusted adult could be a parent, teacher, aunt, uncle, etc., whoever you feel comfortable with and that will take the time to listen and help you.   

Childline is here for you anytime – we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The services are free and confidential. 

If you are not yet ready to discuss it with your trusted adult, you can talk to Childline by phone on  1800 66 66 66 or through our web chat on www.childline.ie

3 ways to stop worrying about what people think of you

A cardboard egg carton with eggs showing different facial expressions such as worry, laughter and a frown drawn with a black marker.

Overthinking and worrying about what other people think of us is something we all do. However, some people do it more than others.

This is a very draining activity and at the end of the day, is completely pointless and detrimental to your wellbeing. 

It affects your mood, it affects your sleep and most importantly, it can stop you from doing what you want to do. 

The 3 R’s

Here are 3 ways to calm your mind when it starts going into overdrive about other people’s opinions of you: 

1. Record – Try writing down the thought that you have in your head. An example “Mary didn’t say hello, she must be annoyed with me over the joke I made last week” Here you have recorded what is going on for you, what your mind is telling you is going on.  

2. Rationalize – Take the time to truly examine the scenario and try to see what actually might have happened in the scenario. For example: “Mary actually laughed at the joke at the time, and we talked every day since”. 

3. Replace – Look at replacing the negative thoughts that we often allow into our head to take over, and call it out; tell it you don’t need it and then replace it with a more positive thought (which is often the reality anyway). For example: “I was standing behind something and Mary obviously didn’t see me. When I shouted hello, she didn’t hear because she had her ear pods in. Mary isn’t ignoring me; she isn’t annoyed with me”.

Remember, it takes a bit of time and a bit of practice, and you will need to learn how to train your mind to see things in a more fair and balanced way but keep at it and no doubt you’ll feel the positive effects soon.  

The hidden cost of worrying too much

While some of us worry about others will think of our goals or dreams but do them anyway, many of us let our fear of how others might react scare us out of ever doing the things we want to do. 

Because that’s the key thing – it’s your ‘perceived’ idea of what others think that is holding you back. Unless you’ve put your ideas on social media and others have commented on them, there’s a good chance that you don’t actually know what others think of your plans. They might love them! 

Think of everyone on social media who has started their own business or brought out a line of clothing, makeup, fitness or lifestyle products. They all had to start somewhere. They were all at the mercy of what others would think of them. But they did it anyway. 

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzki

Be true to yourself

It might sound corny but this is important: when you truly see yourself for who and what you are and become comfortable with this, what others think won’t matter.

We can do certain things to boost our self-esteem:

  • Take time to look deep within ourselves and examine ourselves in a balanced way, with fairness and honesty.

     

  • Make a list all the wonderful traits you have. This will help take away the worry you have about what others think of you because you know who you are and appreciate these qualities about yourself. People who matter will appreciate these positive qualities about you as well and for those that don’t, chances are you’re better off without them in your life.

     

  • Remember that thoughts aren’t facts. You may think that other people are thinking negative things about you, but it doesn’t mean that they are, and it doesn’t mean that their thoughts are true.