From Shame to Destiny Part II – Bye, Bye Bully!

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There is much talk these days about bullies and how we can stop the bullying in America.  Some blame it on the TV or movies.  Some blame it on music.  Lots of blame going around.  I don’t hear anyone talking about changing themselves…

I grew up in a stereotypical Greek & Italian family.  Loud voices, quick tempers, huge bear hugs, and great food.  Unfortunately with the quick tempers came the slap, the punch, the intimidation and the humiliation.  There were no boundaries around anger and rage.  Screaming happened in private and in public.  Hitting, like yelling, was a normal way of life.  Here is your first truth:  Bullies create bullies.

So, hi, my name is Cindy Battino, and I am a Bully.  It’s kind of like admitting you are an alcoholic – acceptance of your behavior is the first step to change.  But the Bully is not my TRUTH.  My truth and DESTINY is the softness that lives in my heart.  The reason I am a bully is that I am protecting my heart from betrayal.  Most people see me as self-confident and tough.  The truth is that I am NOT tough.  I am sensitive.  But I don’t show it because that would be showing a weakness.  But this type of thinking is what I am choosing to leave behind.  My heart – my gentleness, kindness, generosity,softness and LOVE – is my future and my Destiny.

I tell people that I am a like a desert rose.

Anger is my default or coping mechanism.  If something scares me – I get angry.  If something makes me sad – I get angry.  It is so primal and instinctive that I don’t even feel the initial fear or sadness – just the anger. With the anger comes the Bully.  With the Bully comes my hard edge and my need to verbally strike out at another before they hurt me first.  And this would be fine except for my heart.  The knowledge that my bully hurts others – with my anger, lack of boundaries, callousness, and truth without compassion – makes my heart grieve.  The reality of the pain given and received sinks in.  This is where shame lives.

Here is your second truth:  If we want the bullying to stop, we must all change and step into our truth and destiny.

Moving from shame to destiny…

First step – Accepting the truth of your behavior.

Step Two – Forgiveness and Acceptance:  When I look in the mirror and see me as an adult – as a bully – I have a very difficult time forgiving myself.  However, when I look in the mirror and feel the true terror of that young child that was helpless against the rage and violence.  The child that learned to survive by begging and when that didn’t work –  trying to fight back – and when that didn’t work – cowering and allowing the attack.  The young Cindy that watched the older ones do what they were taught:  Strike first before you are hit.  When I see her, I know that when she gets angry and is a bully, she is only doing what she knows.  It is easier to forgive that little one who is filled with terror and shame.  She is still a part of me.  By forgiving her and embracing this young wounded piece of myself, I am allowing the shame to melt away.  By forgiving myself I can forgive others more easily.  By accepting myself I can accept others more easily.  By releasing the shame from the Bully, I take the power out of the Bully and move forward.

Step Three – Changing the behavior:  I have learned to use my curious witness to help me.  If I feel my anger rise, I am learning to pause before I speak or react.  I ask myself the questions:  “Why am I angry?  What is here?  Do I not feel safe?  Am I sad or scared?”  All of this happens within seconds.  Once I observe and ask, I can bring in discernment.  Discernment allows me to step into my heart fully and unprotected because it gives me choices. Discernment might say that this person is not trustworthy or that this situation is safe.  No matter what, discernment helps me make the choice to soften my edge and not verbally strike out.  I can be vulnerable and show my heart.  I might walk away.  I might change the conversation.  I have many choices.

Step Four – Stepping into your Destiny:  Standing in your truth and speaking your longing, day after day.  It has become my mantra:  “With my partner, friends, family, and clients I long to be:  soft, gentle, kind and compassionate.  I can be strong AND sensitive.  I don’t need to hide my heart.”

I long to live my life like the desert rose.  The brilliance and the beauty in the dichotomy of the desert scrub and fragile flower.  Beauty and softness can be created out of harsh climates. I am living proof.

Here is your final truth: When we change, the world around us changes.

Love to you.