They hate you. They judge you. They feel sorry for you – Do they, do they though? Let’s bully our internal bully

Let’s continue on our internal conversations with our internal counterparts. How great is it to have your internal non-cheerleader; someone to hope you fail, someone to set you up for failure, someone to be there for you when you do fail, to bring you down; “I told you so”. Your forever companion of negativity. So sad they are not on the guest list for 2022.

We’ve taken that as a fact, a given, that the voice exists, and that they know what’s up. Our world, life so far has been a series of actions from us and internal commentary from them. It goes a bit like this:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: You’re right *feeling ashamed*

We might have tried to fight them as an intermediate step, but ended with:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: I’m sure they don’t

Voice: They do though. How sad/bad is it that you just….

Me: You’re right *feeling ashamed*

Bring on the 2022 move! Let’s turn that commentary into a real debate and not let them push us around:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: Do they? For what?

Voice: Well you just… and it’s sad/bad because it is.

Me: It is what? Sad/bad because of?

Voice: It is. It just is. People will judge.

Me: Why would they even care though? If someone did that with me around, I wouldn’t care, wouldn’t think much of it

Voice: But. Sad/bad. Feel. You. Bad.

Me: Nah, bro. Fuck off. How sad/bad is it that you thought this would work on me. Ha ha.

Voice: *feeling ashamed*

Here’s what we’ll do. Internal voice making you feel bad; stop; ask it why? Stay with it, don’t accept just bad because. Make it explain itself. Stay, discuss, reflect; is it now bad, or was it pre-2022 bad. Is it actually bad at all? Does it now make sense to feel bad?

Don’t just go with the “what would others think” -scam. Think for yourself. Think about what others would actually think: do you think they would actually think what the voice claims they would? What would you think if it was you in their shoes and you in theirs? Would you think they should feel bad/sad/embarrassed? Would you care? Would you go to your friends and laugh about it? Would you make them feel bad about it? Would you remember it tomorrow, or two weeks from now, or a year from now, will it make it to your memoir?

And. How about taking a coffee shop view on that? You sitting there, having a coffee, and this happens to random people next to you? Would that matter to you? Would you care? Maybe for the moment, but after? Would that change something?

Let me give you some examples from my life. I even created an excel table for them, that always helps; I mean, who doesn’t love a good excel table. Makes it all sound scientific and shit.

What happened (facts)What I felt (feelings)What others could have thought and I should have (alternatives)My today’s take on that
2016: I was with my mum having a drink, waved at a waiter to get the bill, he understood that as a new drink order, he brought a drink, I had to correct him, he brought the billI felt ok, at first. But my mom was telling me, and for the next few months at least everyone she talked to “…even I knew she signalled new drink, how embarrassing”. So I felt like crap, with continuing reinforcement of feeling crap.The waiter? Doesn’t care. It happens.   I highly doubt the waiter went home and called up all his buddies with; “guess what happened at work today! Some stupid girl didn’t get the “can we pay” hand signal right. Let’s all laugh at her.”F you mom. That’s the story you tell from me paying for your trip to visit me? F you, you’re the one who should feel embarrassed.   And now that I think of it, the waiter didn’t even complain, certainly didn’t laugh, they turned away, took the drink back and brought the bill. It was not a big thing for them – my mom made it a big thing for me.
2018: Walked to the wrong meeting room interrupting a senior leaderThey must think I’m the dumbest of all, complete embarrassment, never to be spoken again, they will laugh at me my entire career – probably telling my manager I was a horrible hire and should be fired.The senior leader? Probably doesn’t care.

People make mistakes, and it’s not like no one else in the world has ever opened a wrong door. Who cares. I’ve been in meeting rooms where people have accidentally opened the door. They apologized, closed the door, we continued our meeting. Life went on. I certainly did not think much of it. It happens.
That manager was one of my biggest supporters. Guess one day of opening the wrong door did not outweigh 2 years of awesome work. Who would have known?
2020: Bought 2 bottles of wine from the same store on two different days during the same weekI can’t go to this store again (actually went to a different store for the next couple of weeks). The cashier must think I’m an alcoholic. They must feel so sorry for me. I bet when they see me coming they just go “oh no, this one again, how sad” and they talk about me with all their cashier colleagues.The cashier? Well, guess they could have just gone with “another customer”.  Or “can’t wait for my shift to be over”. Or “what will I have for dinner”. Or “really hope the cute new cashier smiles at me”. Or a million other things.  

While I guess this cashier could remember every single customer and their purchases, and keep track of them, maybe it’s not that realistic. They might be more interested in their own life than mine. Also, even if that cashier would remember me and me buying wine twice a week and judge me for it, should I care? Why would I care what a random person thinks of me. How would that change my life?
I for damn sure will go to that store again and buy whatever I like how many times a week I like and not feel bad about it.  
2021: Drunk texted a dude on tinder, ended up meeting him at a bar for drinks, then went to a club with him to dance, and then took him homeOn that night I felt awesome, it was a great night! But then the next few weeks came and everyday I had to deal with: “it’s so sad that you did that, getting drunk, sleeping with a stranger, I bet people from work saw you in the bar, what would they think, you’re supposed to be a senior leader and you’re there drinking and dancing, so embarrassing, everyone’s talking about it at work, they are laughing at you, they might even tell the news, it’s going to be in the local news, you’re so getting fired…”It was a Friday – people go to bars on Fridays. And what do people do in bars; they drink.  

I’m single. I danced with a single guy, I had drinks with a single guy, I hade a one night stand with a single guy.  

Who actually cares? Maybe super conservative people, but would those people be in a bar on a Friday? And how’s that actually related to my work? And what would this news article read as? “Single 30 something woman had drinks in a bar and left with a man”? Scandalous!  

Ffs.
Enough with this internal shaming! And putting additional spins on things! I’m done, so done. Kindly fuck off.    

Let’s make that our change in 2022; if and when these voices appear, make a conscious change. Have a chat with the voice, don’t just accept what comes out of its imaginary mouth, make it justify itself, watch it mumble and fail, bully it to death like it has bullied you. Tell it to fuck off.

We all have our cringe worthy moments, it’s normal. We might facepalm, feel bad and embarrassed. But what it should not do is stay with us, we should not take 50 times the damage because something internally is making it 50 times worse than it is. It should not stay with us for years and years and should definitely not have us second guess our worth or every move. Let’s not let those voices in in our 2022. Let’s stop them.

And to keep up with the scientific and shit nature of this post, neuroscience agrees; there’s a nifty trick for behavioral change, the if…then approach. IF something happens, THEN you will do x. It’s not just about saying we won’t let the voices bother us, it’s about having a clear counter-action for when they do. IF a voice is unreasonably making me feel like shit, THEN I will have a chat with them about it; so what? Should I actually care? Why? Would others think what? Why? Is that a bad thing? Do I care? What happens next? Will the world end? Oh nooooo, idiot voice, fuck off.

It won’t be easy, and it will take time. Keep on it. Here’s another scientific fact; it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, to get rid of the old and form a new. So it might well be a full 2022 thing, but be patient, keep on it. I certainly will.