Feeling hurt or upset because someone is criticising you, calling you names or bullying you, is natural. It can make you doubt yourself, feel that you’re not enough and feel low. And that is exactly what the person who is hurting you wants.
Why do they want you to feel bad? It’s certainly not because of who you are. It’s because of how they are feeling.
People who criticise others actually feel so bad about themselves that they have to let it out on others. By calling other people names and putting others down, it reduces their internal voice calling themselves names and putting themselves down. They want to stop their own hurt.
I know that it doesn’t seem like it on the outside. They look as though they have it all. They may have friends, be popular, be cool, be great at sports, but these are all external aspects of their life. Nobody can see inside them and hear what they are saying to themselves. They are wearing a mask and they need to maintain it, because if it falls off, everyone will see the person underneath that they think nobody will like.
Think about it like a seesaw. Gina and Sarah are both on the seesaw. Gina feels that she is not good enough and she hears herself criticising herself in her mind. She is lower than Sarah on the seesaw. She wants to become as high as Gina is and is fed up of feeling negative, so she starts saying aloud the critical words that are in her mind. She criticises Sarah with the hurtful words that she says to herself. This makes Sarah feel hurt and upset and so Sarah starts going lower on the seesaw. As Sarah goes lower, Gina goes up higher. This encourages Gina to say more hurtful things to Sarah to raise herself up and to be more powerful and accepted.
If you don’t like yourself, you don’t like others. And Gina didn’t like herself so she didn’t like Sarah. It had nothing to do with Sarah’s personality, Sarah’s looks or Sarah’s talents – it was all to do with Gina’s feelings.
When we are being criticised or bullied, we tend to think about how we feel and not about how the bully feels. But, if you take a step back and realise that the person who is hurting yourself is actually hurting more than you, it will help. They won’t show it, but I assure you, that they are hurting.
So, if someone is hurting you, in your mind think ‘You must feel really bad/unhappy/insecure about yourself to be like this.’ If you can, try saying it aloud to the bully. They may not show it or say, but they will know that your words are true.
Never do or say something to a bully that tells the bully ‘I want you to like me.’ It never works. Don’t change your behaviour to try and please a bully. It won’t please them and it won’t stop the bully because they will still have the power.
Instead, you actions and words should tell the bully ‘I like myself and I don’t need you to like me.’
Be yourself, know that you aren’t the one with the issues, know that the critic/bully is hurting and don’t change yourself to be liked by someone who wants your power.