What I Say I See is What I Get…

For the past couple of months I’ve been challenging myself to write every day without any theme or goal.

To just let the words fall out of my fingertips like they fall so quickly into my mind.

As soon as I start thinking too hard about what to write, the harder it is for my fingers to start moving. I’ll take anything as inspiration, as the hardest thing seems to be just to take action. To just start.

As soon as I start judging myself on the topic, or I think the writing is horrible, my fingers stop moving, and my mind looks for distractions.

I’ll get up, make a snack, go to the bathroom, check email. Chew three pieces of gum. Literally, I will put in a piece of gum as I stare at my screen, chew for a few minutes, take out the used gum, and eat a new piece. Anything for a burst of stimulation and distraction. And just like that, I allow myself to avoid the process of just starting.

I’ll distract myself from the activity that feels most inspiring.

It’s that ironic? I’ll avoid the act of creative writing…An outlet that has noticeably made a huge impact on my life…Makes me happier and more creative, and seems to attract more connections into my life that are deeper and more present.

Yet, I let this inner judgement, an “inner bully” take control. And like a game of tug-o-war, I feel like I am fighting back and forth with this bully.

On one side, the intuitive creative writer wants to be free of judgement, responsibility, or anything that feels like an assignment. The bully wants to feel heard, be seen, and ultimately, redirect attention to a task or a goal that has a desired outcome, or a measurable plan.

Ironically, as I write this, I realize that even acknowledging the situation as a game of power is a judgement on the process. That damn bully. She’s everywhere.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” Anaïs Nin

I’ve trained my mind to interpret certain meanings.

My personal experiences over my life have transformed into little stories that I’ve given meaning, and have helped to shape my identity and outlook. The good and the bad. And *gasp* there are a lot of things that I do in my mind that are not always empowering or helpful.

Courtesy of Giphy Images

This “inner bully” is a perfect example. I’ve associated this bully as being negative, living inside me, and attacking me when I’m happy. I’ve certainly seen this bully elsewhere in my life narrative, and it isn’t self-serving.

Yeah, I’m the bully.

…Unless I Decide to Say it Differently

But It’s not about getting rid of the bully, it’s about asking myself to consider how I can change my perspective on this situation. And perspective is a key word, because I’ve allowed the bully to live inside me (in this case, my mind), versus seeing it as something outside of me.

If I catch myself being a bully, I can pause, get some distance, change the narrative of the story all together, and hot damn, maybe even improve my health at the same time:

Our brain has given us the potential to communicate in extraordinary ways and the way we choose to do so can improve the neural functioning of the brain. In fact, a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. If we do not continually exercise the brain’s language centers, we cripple our neurological ability to deal with the problems we encounter with each other.”
Words Can Change Your Brain by Dr. Andrew Newberg

Boom. Problem solved. Life better. Next problem that needs solving, please? Yeah, I wish it was that easy.

My goal is retrain myself to change my state of thinking quickly, so I don’t react to the bully. Bullies love attention. I have to separate myself from the bully completely.

In fact, according to Tony Robbins’ “Transformational Vocabulary” theory, the word “bully” needs to be eliminated from my emotional vocabulary all together:

If you want to change your life, if you want to shape your decisions and your actions, shifting your emotional patterns are the key. One fundamental tool that can change it faster than anything else is consciously selecting the words you’re going to use to describe how you feel. This is how you create a level of choice instead of a habitual reaction. — Tony Robbins

And nobody puts Mr. Robbins in the corner. Not even those real bullies from my middle school in Seattle.

This is the beauty of being mindful, and letting behaviors like “an inner bully” see the light, and get a little air. By simply writing about this challenge, I’m developed more self-compassion, and can now take steps towards feeling more capable of change while in the moment.

It’s time for a little “Find & Replace” with my own emotional vocabulary, and I know I’m not alone in this.

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One Last Thing…

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