Episode 28: Anti-Self Bullying

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I’m Hannah Coles and you are listening to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast, episode 28: Anti-Self Bullying

We are harder on ourselves than anybody else could ever be. For a lot of us, our go-to action is to “beat ourselves up”. We say some of the most hurtful, ugly, and painful things that we would NEVER utter or think about another human being yet we THINK it about ourselves. When I was in elementary school we’d have anti-bullying weeks where we learned to be on the lookout to help others that were being bullied. But what happens when the bully is inside? Who is there to save you from this unseen but ever-present bully? It’s time we had an anti-SELF bullying week. It’s time we learned to save ourselves and stop this self-defeating, self-loathing practice.

New Resource: Podcast Workbooks!

Hello and welcome to another episode of The confidence catalyst. So good to have you all here with me. I want to tell you about a brand new resource I’ve created for you. Listen,  I get emails and comments about those listening and learning and loving the podcast and I wanted to offer you a way to take this to an even deeper level so that you can apply and really learn how to create the life you want to live with these tools. So I created a podcast workbook. There are quotes, questions, prompts, and places for you to learn and apply your personal experiences and circumstances to this work and see how these tools will work for you. It’s so good! Come join the membership and get those as part of your membership. It will be an investment that will repay you a thousandfold. 

I’d love to work with you. Come over and check it out at members.thecatalystcoaching.com – You will love it.

What would you do?

My husband recently told me about this show he found called, “what would you do?” (I’ll post the link in the show notes). You’ve probably heard of it, it’s apparently been around for a long time, we just don’t watch much TV so we’re like four years behind but he showed me this clip about this girl getting bullied and the reactions of others to this bullying. There were three actors at this ice cream shoppe. One young teen who had Tourettes trying to buy ice cream but had these loud ticks and then there were two other young actors there making fun of her and bullying her. 

Then they filmed several people throughout the day witness this bullying and what they did about it. It was really uplifting to see that not one person ignored it. Each account shows how differently people approached the two that were bullying. Some were kind and trying to keep the peace while telling them, that’s not cool.

Others were flat out, “you just need to knock it off” and some took the parental approach and wanted to teach them about empathy. 

Revealed and Revelation

Once these people step in and respond to the scene the cameras roll in and make themselves known. They tell them it was all staged and then they talk to them about why they reacted the way they did and each one of them said something very similar, that bullying isn’t okay and needed to stop.

And I think we all feel the same way. We’re hyper-vigilant about helping others but we’re not so vigilant about the bullying that takes place daily for so many of us. The bully no one sees. That’s ever-present. The bully that knows just what to say to hurt, to keep you small, and to keep you from moving forward.

This is a DANGEROUS bully

This bully is the real bully and a dangerous one at that. Because this bully isn’t seen. We sure aren’t about to share what our bully is saying about us to others because we’re ashamed, we think she’s telling the truth. Here it is, we believe her and it hurts. So, who is there to step in when the bully is you bullying you? Who will step up and teach empathy, keep the peace, or flat out tell you to just knock it off? Who will save you from the bully that no one sees, no one else hears, no one knows about but you?

When I’m working with my clients we run a lot of mental models. I’d say a good 80% of what their actions are is to beat themselves up. They feel embarrassed so they beat themselves up. Or they feel ashamed, so they beat themselves up. They feel hurt so they beat themselves up.

I beat myself up

They tell me this action like it’s just the way it is but if you took those words and put them into a different circumstance like, I went to Target today and was beat up. People would freeze in their tracks and say, “WHAT? What happened? Are you okay?” Like that is NOT NORMAL but because it’s you and because it’s in your head, it’s totally normal. Other people are like, “yeah, I do that all the time, daily”.

Why do we want to accept that as the norm? Why do you allow yourself to be berated, shamed, guilt-tripped, beat, and emotionally abused daily?

Are you ready to learn to how to leave that action behind?

Join the anti-bullying campaign

Do you want to join my anti-self bullying campaign?

Good, let’s do this.

I want to say one more thing to impress upon you the importance of joining this cause and the dangers of allowing this bullying to continue.

Unlike other bullies that might say things that you interpret as hurtful. Remember, what other people say isn’t about you. It’s never about you. It’s also a circumstance, which means that it’s neutral. That it doesn’t mean anything or hold any weight until you interpret it. Until you make it mean something. It’s all you. You have the power there.

The bully inside

This bully, however, is in your mind. You still have agency and we’re going to talk about that but because it sounds like you, it’s in your voice, it’s in your head, it knows everything about you. You might make the grave mistake that it IS you and when you think and believe this voice IS you, you might also believe what it has to say.

These words hold weight

This is especially dangerous because these words do hold weight. These thoughts create how you feel. These thoughts CAN and DO hurt you. These thoughts also create a chain reaction to what you’re creating as your life. You might not go and do things you wanted to do because this bully tells you that you can’t. And you believe her so then you feel lacking, insecure, and not enough. When you feel insecure the last thing you want to do is put yourself out there. You’re not going to go and do. You’re going to go and hide. Your actions will always create your results.

Going and doing vs going and hiding

Think about the difference in results from going and doing vs going and hiding.

This bully needs an adjustment.

Okay, here’s the thing. What you think isn’t always you. You are NOT your thoughts. Dr. Daniel Amen said, “don’t believe everything you think even in your own mind”

Detach from the bully

The first and most important thing you need to do is to detach yourself from the bully. You can’t change what you’re not aware of. 

This is quite possibly one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself in your life. Learn to detach yourself from the thoughts in your head. You are not your thoughts.

Eckhart Tolle, “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over…Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” 

Observe, wonder, and question

Instead of listening to that bully and immediately believing that voice we need to step back and observe that voice, observe that thought. We need to meet it with curiosity. “I wonder why my brain thought that?”

Just like listening to a friend talk, or watching a movie even we think sometimes, “I wonder why they think that?”

Especially when that friend is talking down about themselves. We think, “How could they think that?” And we observe. What we don’t do is  jump in and start berating them too. We want to understand where they’re coming from which leads us right into the second thing you need to do. So first is to realize you are not your thoughts and then second, meet that thought with curiosity and wonder. Now we’re going to trying and understand it.

Understand it

This isn’t as lengthy as it might seem. What this means is knowing a little about why your brain is offering those thoughts in the first place. 

Your inner bully really isn’t trying to be a bully. It’s not trying to be malicious or mean, it’s just doing its job which is to keep you alive. It’s operating from old, primitive wiring and there was a time in our biological evolution where thoughts like that was necessary and helpful. Everywhere you looked there was a potential danger. There really was a saber-toothed tiger lurking about and so it offered thoughts to keep you from doing something that might put you in danger. 

It was helpful…once

These thoughts did serve a purpose. They kept you alive but the problem with it today is we don’t have those same threats. Your nosy neighbor really isn’t a tiger and you don’t have to hide from her. You also don’t have to operate from survival mode anymore. This line of thinking will keep you alive but it won’t help you to thrive. It won’t help you to grow, evolve, or become.

Understanding and authority

So this is where you meet it with understanding but also with authority. Any time there’s something new, your brain will want to shut it down. New is unknown, unknown its scary and potentially harmful. So I, brain will say and offer anything I can to get you to stop what you’re doing, to stay with what’s known, even if what’s known feels terrible – that verbal abuse cycle – because you’re still alive so something must be working. 

And as the observer we can start to see how this happens, the thoughts that come to mind, the harsh comments, the labels -all of that isn’t because it’s mean and you’re terrible. It really means that your brain is afraid and it’s trying in the only way it currently knows how to keep you alive, again, not thriving, just alive.


So here’s where the beauty of agency comes into play.

We detach, we observe and meet with curiosity, we understand it’s motives, and now we take the reins. 

Because you are not your thoughts you get to decide what stays and what goes. You have the authority, power, and control to veto thoughts. As the leader you get to make the final call, you get to make the final cut, you get to train, to lead, to teach your brain to work for you in a way that serves you.

Be intentional

You need to be intentional, deliberate in what you want to stay in your mind. Your brain is amazing, a superb instrument. It has the capacity to rewire itself under your direction. That bully doesn’t have to be a bully when you learn to observe without attachment when you can question what it’s offering to you, when you can meet it with compassion, and then teach it what will help you thrive, what will help you grow, and become.

So how do you to that? How do you teach your brain to do that? 

Name your inner you

With my clients I have them do a fun exercise. We name our inner voice and then we observe, listen, and try to become as aware of her as we can. We personify her, we put a visual with the voice and then we talk to her.

My inner voice is Lois, and I adore her. We were at odds for a good chunk of my life but when I learned to do exactly what I’m teaching you, we started to become friends. She evolved to go from a critic to a coach. She still offers a dish of crazy from time to time but it’s not making me feel anything. I observe I greet it with curiosity, I acknowledge her and the reason she’s offering that thought to me, and then, as the leader in charge, I make the final cut.

The bully is afraid

It’s a powerful practice. So often when bullies bully it’s because they’re afraid. They have so many fears and insecurities that they react and take it out on others but after they’re reprimanded and stopped they’re sent to counseling, to get help, to be taught how to cope and respond instead of reacting.

Your inner bully is afraid and everything it does, says, offers really is in attempts to keep you alive. For example, when it tells you you’re not enough, you’re not as good as so in so, you’ll never be enough. It’s not because it believes that, it’s because it’s afraid that if you go forward you might fail, failing could mean rejection, rejection used to mean death in primitive times. They needed the safety of the group to survive. So people-pleasing tendencies surface, we don’t move forward because she’s right, I’m not as good as so in so. And so even though you didn’t grow or push forward, you’re still alive.

agent in charge

Understanding this helps you, the agent in charge to meet your inner voice with compassion, understanding, and kind teaching. Talk to your inner voice, talk and teach a lot. All the time.

TALK to your inner you

Author, Jon Gordon wrote in his latest books, “I once met a man, Dr. James Gills, who completed six double Ironman triathlons. That means he swam for 2.4 miles, rode his bike for 112 miles, and ran 26.2 miles. Then 24 hours later, he did it again. He was the only person on the planet to do this six times. When I asked him how he did it, he paused for a moment and said, ‘I have learned to talk to myself instead of listening to myself. If I listen to myself I hear all the negative thoughts, all the complaints, all the fears, all the doubts, and all the reasons why I shouldn’t be able to finish the race. But if I talk to myself I can feed myself with the words and encouragement I need to finish the race.’ He told me he would memorize and quote scripture, and this kept him going and fueled him toward the finish line.”

Are you talking or listening?

Are you talking to yourself, teaching yourself, feeding yourself encouragement more than listening to yourself?

When you’re listening to yourself, you’re listening to outdated programming. Right now your default, auto-pilot is to listen. It’s your inner voice piping in and telling you all the things, beating yourself up, worrying but what if you could change this so that your default is talking to yourself instead. Think about this, when you’re listening to yourself you’re not sure what that voice is going to say, what it’s going to sound like if you’re going to like what it has to say. 

So this way instead of waiting, kind of afraid even, and then doctoring up what it tells you, changing some of it, redirecting it to make it helpful – you’d instead take control and just give yourself something positive and helpful, intentional to listen to.


It’s really brilliant because when we’re listening we’re not sure what we’re going to think, what the inner voice is going to say and that creates insecurities and breeds worry and anxiety. But this way, you’re taking charge, your empowered, you know exactly what to expect and what feelings you’ll create for yourself ahead of time.

This means that you always have control, the ball is always in your court instead of just questioning what it is telling you. Do you see the difference and how significant this is?

It’s huge because you get to be deliberate. You get to be intentional. You get to decide what you WANT to think. This is really fun too because the more you talk to yourself the more you’re going to like the conversation. The more you’re going to want to continue talking to yourself and growing and connecting to your inner voice.

Bully to bestie

It is absolutely incredible to evolve that relationship from a bully to a bestie. I talk to myself all the time and I  crack myself up. I love my inner me but it took a conscious effort to get there, lots of practicing and changing the default from listening to talking. From being dragged along to directing and from avoiding to engaging.

I saw this shirt once that I’m pretty sure I need that said, “of course I’m talking to myself sometimes I need expert advise!”

You have wisdom and light!

You have so much wisdom and light to share but maybe you’ve been letting the fearful bully lead you along and that’s okay because now you know a better way, a more helpful and serving way. 

Now I want to say one last thing because this is important. Those negative thoughts still pop up. They will probably always pop up and it’s okay. It’s still afraid and scanning for potential negatives – totally fine but it becomes a problem when you believe them when you buy into it. 


Just like your bestie might indulge in crazy talk sometimes and you just look at her like, “What?” And in that moment, she slyly smiles and realizes, “yeah, I’m off” and then it opens it up to a healthier conversation. So just know that our brains will still offer us thoughts but ultimately you are in charge. You get to direct the energy and you get to create the feelings you want to create. 

Build that relationship

Learn to talk to yourself. Give your inner you a name, a face, and build (I love that word build because it takes time and effort, one brick at a time, one forward action at a time, one positive thought at a time) a relationship with her. Talk, teach, and create an inner bestie and leave the bullying behind. 

Okay, that’s what I’ve got for you, my friends. Until next week!


Check out the membership HERE: members.thecatalystcoaching.com



Link to book quote: 

Talk to Yourself instead of Listening to Yourself


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