We all hate the thought of one human being bullying another. There are entire campaigns dedicated to eradicating bullying on campuses. We’ve read stories about young people actually ending their lives because they were bullied on a social networking site. There are also stories of teenagers who were so tortured by bullies that they snapped. They took guns to school and killed students and teachers. Unfortunately, these stories are beginning to lose their shock value. Would it shock you to discover that we can all be bullies? We literally bully one who is very near and dear to our hearts. We bully ourselves! Thoughts such as, “Nothing will ever work out for me,” or “I am so stupid,” or “I am ugly,” are common things we tell ourselves. This keeps us mired in the mud of negative emotions and increases our suffering. Sometimes the thoughts come fast and furious, and we feel as if we cannot shut them off. I’ve learned a new mindfulness exercise I want to teach you. You can print it out and add it to The Anywhere Any Time Mindfulness Toolbox: 10 Quick Ways to Reboot Your Brain on the Fly (pick up your free pdf copy of that by clicking here).
The Space In Between
- First, identify a negative thought you use to bully yourself.
- Change that thought to a more positive, truthful thought (an affirmation). For instance, let’s use the thought “Nothing ever works out for me.” Let’s change that to, “Things work out for me much of the time.”
- Close your eyes and picture the first word of that affirmation in front of your eyes. Think of the word “Things.”
- Next, imagine you have moved the word “Things” over to the left. Now imagine the word “work” right in front of your eyes.
- Now move the word “work” over to the right. You now have both words, “Things work” sitting on either side of your head. There is a blank space in between, right in front of your eyes.
- Be in the empty space that is in front of your eyes. Breathe.
- Bring the word “work,” which is to the right, over to the left with the words “Things.” You now have “Things work” to the left and an empty space in front of your eyes.
- Now bring the word “out” and imagine it is right in front of your eyes. When you have a strong image of it, move it over to the right. You now have an empty space in front of your eyes again. Be in the space. Breathe.
- Next move the word “out” to the left. You now have “Things work out” to the left. Imagine the word “for” hanging right in front of your eyes. Repeat the above until you have imagined and moved all the words of your affirmation to the left. Sit with the empty space left in front of your eyes.
This may seem a funny thing to do but according to my clients it is so helpful in two ways. First, it gives them something positive to say to themselves instead of the negative message their “bully” has taunted them with. Secondly, it slows down their thinking and calms and soothes their spirits.