Don’t do that, Sweetie, it isn’t nice. Stop that, Buster, people won’t like you. You should know better than to try that stunt, Missy. How many times do we have to tell you … you’re not allow to do that?
Some of us were scolded with such words when we misbehaved as kids. Sometimes we weren’t even really doing anything wrong, but our parents were annoyed, frustrated and unhappy with their own lives, and taking it out on us.
Unfortunately, many of us incorporated the voice of the scolding bully into our own psyche, where it lives now to squash our most bold dreams and inhibit taking necessary action. If we got a lot of that kind of scolding , and if we already had a personality type that was prone to wilting under negative reinforcement, the atmosphere of constant criticism became internalized as a perpetual sense of shame.
The shame of not being good enough.
Only physical and sexual abuse are more corrosive or insidious to a developing soul than a shaming environment. It becomes an emotional prison, a prevailing energy that — as adults — it’s nearly impossible to break out of. We may do a lot of therapy or coaching to build self esteem and heal from parental influences and think we’ve conquered this demon, only to have it rear its ugly head when we least expect it. It’s a stinky onion with endless layers (to mix my descriptive metaphors).
Private practitioners who fear marketing may have some of this dynamic to fight through. The Inner Scold can act as a super strong censor for the budding entrepreneur, making us reluctant to position ourselves as an expert in the marketplace for fear of incurring criticism or ridicule from professional peers. As a result we pass up strategies to make ourselves and our business more visible and unique, and instead hide in the crowd rather than extending ourselves to be of service as a form of marketing because we are shaped by the expectation of disapproval.
If we’re not careful, the Inner Scold can get externalized, pushing some to become the peer that others fear, avoid, and lose respect for due to wielding unrelenting negative appraisals about everyone else’s business or marketing methods. We all have seen the professional bullies who like to exert their noisy power to control how others should –in their self-righteous pseudo-outrage — limit their business to what is comfortable for them.
For those who suffer the not good enough plight, the challenge is to stand up to the critical bullies in our childhood baggage, and to confront the negative, disapproving, know-it-all colleagues up there on their high horses. Each time we take these emotional risks, we shed a little bit of that not good enough onion stink. Most of the time these risks are rewards with support from other silent sufferers, and with new clients who admire our courage because it’s what they want for themselves.
To those who have let their internalized bully out to terrorize your colleagues, I say — get a mirror. Take note of how unattractive, and unattracting, your self-serving criticisms are. And see how you are damaging your own business by this energy that you project.
Tap into the empathy you’ve been trained to use, think twice before you speak, and imagine how it feels to be a target of someone like you. Then find a more constructive way to behave. You can change it, it’s not too late. We have hope for you.