We’ve talked about the energy of words and how everyone in the public eye has haters, but some creatives seem subjugated to a phenomena of bullying. This is an incredibly painful experience to have in life and while it doesn’t apply to some, there are those who have been nearly destroyed by this.
If you’re one of them, I want you to know that this post is written specifically for your heart, with compassion and respect for how deep these wounds cut.
Bullying sucks the Self out of you. It denies you the right to publicly define who you are. It makes you feel powerless, vengeful, furious, helpless, and often, as if there is something inherently wrong with you, but you can’t figure out what it is.
It sets you up as all alone against the world and makes you face difficult inner choices: do you shrink, hide, and keep silent, or do you lash out, fight back, and go down fighting? It makes you face parts of your Self that you wouldn’t face any other way, including all those voices inside that tear you down.
Part of the illusion of fame is that it asserts that you don’t struggle with self-worth. Ha! Where did this come from?! High-performing creatives by nature are sensitive, open, and deeply feeling people. You got where you are in your career because of your ability to feel and express emotion.
Many creatives are also empaths, which means they are exceptionally in-tune to emotional energy and highly intuitive. You often sense and “just know” things, and pay close attention to how you are guided. Emotions are your lifeblood, and the currency of your creative profession. If the phenomena of bullying has silenced you from expressing your true Self, it’s damaging your spirit.
You most likely cannot stop the bullying; but you can stop the damage.
Here are some things your soul needs to hear:
You could not have prevented them from choosing you to bully, and
there is nothing intrinsic in you that makes them hate you.
I know you have wept more tears than anyone will ever know trying to understand what it is about you that is so bad that you deserve this. I know the question “Why do they hate me so much?” haunts you. The truth is you do NOT deserve this. You never did. No matter what you did that may or may not have instigated their negative attention.
For the most part, bullies choose people who are brave enough to be themselves. People who are different. Smart. Talented. It’s the sensitive, feeling hearts that get targeted for bullying. When you are highly successful and excel at your craft, you also get targeted for being…Different. Smart. Talented.
But sometimes, there is no reason other than the fact that you just happen to exist.
I don’t care if you did something first that seemed to cause them to target you. You still didn’t and don’t deserve it. You do believe that, right? You don’t deserve this. Sometimes you make one mistake, lash out because you see yourself being drowned, and from that moment on your mistake puts you dead center in their cross hairs.
Again, they don’t see you as a real human being. But you are one. Whatever you did does not give them the right or the cause to hate and bully you.
This is all about their energy, love, not yours.
Unfortunately, once the energy of bullying begins, it’s nearly impossible to stop it. Efforts to lash back, resist, set the record straight — only fuel them. They can’t and won’t hear you. Any move you make will feed them.
What can you do to heal from this?
There comes a point where you have to let go of the idea that you will ever change their opinion of you. It’s not a defeat, it’s a choice. To disengage from their energy; to reclaim your own. You can’t stop them from behaving as bullies and haters. You can stop allowing them to beat you up inside your own heart.
How? By letting go of the belief that there’s something wrong with you. By letting go of the belief that other people define who you are. By letting go of the need to have them understand who you are. Bullies will never know who you are, and furthermore, they don’t give a shit who you really are.
There comes a point where you have to change your opinion of yourself.
You can become grounded and centered in your Self. Your true Self. This is where the work of reclaiming your Self is so essential, because for you to heal the wounds of fame, you must have a Self to heal. And bullying strips you of that self even more so than fame does.
But the truth is that Self– that feels so gone and so invisible –it’s still there, love. It is.
Let’s take your attention off of them, and turn it back to your Self.
Let’s look at where you can reclaim your power.
Believe in your heart that who you are is not who they make you think you are.
I know your brain knows this. I know your therapists have said it. I know the clergy and spiritual leaders you’ve consulted have told you. I also know that when others believe things about us loudly and long enough, we fall under their spell. We start believing them, even unconsciously.
So until you truly believe that they are wrong about you — absolutely, completely wrong about you — you won’t get your power back.
I know you try to hide how much this has hurt you. I know you do your best to live your life. I know that you won’t let them defeat you. And I know that deep down, you’ve been more hurt by this than anyone will ever guess. But you are not a victim. And you don’t need pity, just compassion.
Break the spell of beliefs.
There are, no doubt, specific beliefs bullies have thrown at you and cast you under. Things you struggle deeply with, and try as you might to not be impacted, those beliefs still make your heart contract in pain.
They are highly personal, and often humiliating to admit. I’m going to talk about some of the beliefs you may have. Remember, these things are NOT true about you, even though they feel true.
You’re mean, cold, uncaring, a bitch, an asshole.
You’re selfish and ruthless.
Your best is never good enough.
You’re so fucked up no one real could love you.
You’re a bad person.
You’re stupid, fat, out of shape, too skinny, too young, too old, too this, too that.
Your talent is a joke. You’re a fraud.
You’re too sexy, you’re not sexy enough.
You are not a loving person.
If you weren’t so fucked up, your marriage/relationship would have survived.
You let people down.
You’re not a good parent.
You don’t know how to love.
You’ve hurt people who’ve loved you, so it’s better if you don’t let anyone really love you.
You’re lost and you’ll never be found.
If people knew the real you, they’d never want you.
All of these sound like self-talk, right? These are the kind of things your inner critic whispers. These beliefs are transmitted to us by others; we take them into our hearts as truths.
They hold their power as long as we keep believing them to be true.
Left unexamined, they will forever be true. But when you surface what it is that you are believing about your Self, they don’t seem so true in daylight. Write down everything that you believe about your self. Good and bad, but especially bad.
Now look at each phrase and ask yourself where did this belief come from? Is it true? How do you know it is true? What would it mean in your life if it was not true?
Taken down to their skeleton of words, beliefs are just strings of words that we call thoughts. Thoughts we keep thinking. We assign meaning to them based on the emotional trauma we experienced when someone first said them to us.
They ingrain themselves in us as truth because:
1) We never stop to realize that we don’t have to accept them as truths and,
2) We replay them over and over in our mind until the groove is so well worn that just the slightest nuance of the thought leads us right down a predictable emotional response.
This is why remembering what someone said to you 18 years ago can put you into a depressed mood within minutes now. It’s an automatic response.
But it only has that power over you because YOU actually believe it to be truth.
Beliefs are not solid or permanent. They have to be continually kept alive by reaffirming them and by never challenging their veracity. Once you lay them out in the open, your mind has the chance to look at the facts, to see them without the intense emotion, to open up space for the possibility that they are NOT TRUE.
You heal your heart by healing your beliefs.
You reclaim your power to own who you really are when you stop letting these nasty lies go unexamined and you make them stand up to your interrogation. It doesn’t take much time before you will realize that so much of what has been cast on you by others is simply not true, nor has it ever been true.
You set yourself free when you wake up to your power to stop believing strings of words that have never once defined who you really are.
And then you start to fill in the holes left by these missing beliefs, by choosing new beliefs that DO assert your truth.
I know it’s all easier said than done, but I also know, love, that it can be done.
Reclaim your Self from these cruel lies.
You are worth it.