In Study U Abroad I talk a lot about how to manage your Inner Bully. It’s that critic that lives inside your mind and creates all the negative chatter and self-doubt. You may think that these voices only live at home and that going on Study Abroad will be a clean break, but your Inner Bully can go wherever you do.
Your Inner Bully’s job is to make you feel bad and avoid taking risks. Seeing as how Study Abroad pushes you outside your comfort zone into a land of unknowns and newness, your Inner Bully sees this as major risk! It will do everything possible to keep you from doing all these new things, or at least make you feel like an idiot while doing them.
Here are three ways to know your Inner Bully is in control and what you can do about it:
1. You constantly compare yourself to others.
Are you one that starts to feel jealous or worse about yourself after seeing a friend’s status update or pic online? Are you doing things with the hope of appearing better than those around you? Your Inner Bully loves to have you compare yourself to others and conclude that you aren’t good enough.
Study Abroad examples: You compare your language ability, living situation, or weekend excursions to those of your classmates’ and you feel inferior/superior. You constantly have an eye on social media to see what your friends and family are up to back home.
So stop! Stop worrying so much about what others are up to and comparing yourself to them. Your worth is not dependent on what others think of you and certainly not tied to how many likes you get on your status update.
2. You’re scared of making a mistake.
The Inner Bully has you believe that making a mistake will have dire, irreversible consequences or make you look incompetent. You’re taught from a young age that mistakes are bad and should be avoided. As a result we’ve got a planet of perfectionists being driven by their Inner Bullies.
Study Abroad examples: You are worried about speaking in your second language for fear of making a mistake. You avoid certain situations because you fear looking foolish.
Celebrate your mistakes! Being human means being imperfect. The most learning occurs when you make mistakes and fail. Try celebrating the next mistake you make and learning to laugh at yourself. You may even discover that life goes on and you’re just fine.
3. You play the role of victim.
Victims go through life blaming others for their problems. Your Inner Bully wants you to feel powerless and small. Victims love to get others to feel sorry for them and often create a lot of drama around them. They also feel like life happens to them. “Why does this always happen to me?” you might here them say.
Study Abroad examples: Roommate drama, friend drama, family drama…drama! Relaying all of the crazy things that happen to you on your travels.
Take responsibility! You’re in the driver’s seat of your life and it’s your choice to play the victim or not. Practice letting the drama go and accept that you have the power to change things. Your Inner Bully will then take a back seat and you can be more free.
All of these are about developing awareness of the Inner Bully. Without knowing the Inner Bully exists or how it’s showing up you can’t do anything to change it. Study Abroad goes by quickly so don’t waste time feeling ‘less than’ or fearful.