If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I refer to being a bullying survivor frequently. And even though I’m in my 40’s, that trauma from the past still shows up in my life more often than I’d like. From talking to other Empaths and Highly Sensitive People who are also survivors of bullying, we all have some common insecurities and issues that affect our businesses even though we’re far from the school playground.
It shows up in the form of Imposter Syndrome and fear of visibility when posting online. I received a question in my DM’s that asked, “How does a bullying past affect you as a new business owner? And how do you address these issues?” and I wanted to dig deeper into the 3 ways childhood bullies affect your business.
- It Affects Your Mind.
The fact that this is even a question means you’re still holding onto what happened in your past. You have to ask yourself, “can I move away from this?” I’d have to say, it depends.
It depends on the severity of your reaction to the abuse that you received. Notice I said your reaction. Abuse is abuse. Just because one person was punched and the other one was verbally broken down doesn’t make one less or more. How you react to it determines the level of pain your body will feel.
One of the bullies I had in high school (yes, plural. Bullies.) made it her mission to see if she could break me. I was spit on, I was hit, I had food thrown at me, I was taunted and humiliated in front of large groups of people. But the worst part was being able to feel how much joy she received from my pain.
I don’t think some people truly get that about Empaths. We feel absolutely everything! Energy shifts in the room, feelings you aren’t admitting to yourself, everything. And yes, I felt her pain, the pain she didn’t want anyone to know about, but it was the joy that really made me physically sick.
It was a truly horrible and dark time in my life.
So how did I know that I hadn’t fully dealt with my past? I’d just quit my job of 10+ years and I was struggling to get clients, but the thought of going back to another office job made me cringe. My anxiety was probably the highest it’s ever been, and I was waking up to daily panic attacks. I wasn’t taking care of myself at all and I barely got out of bed. Until one day, I just got fed up.
I had to make the brave decision to pick myself apart and break myself down to the root of my problems and figure out what the heck was going on. Where were these feelings of inadequacy coming from? Where did they stem from? And would I ever be able to move on?
Start thinking about that now. If you still struggle with being bullied in the past, do you want to move on? Can you move on?
What really began to put things into focus for me was meditation. And I was like a fiend, doing it every chance I got (in the morning, before bed, while waiting for dinner to cook) because I was in so much pain and I felt so blocked. Your solution may be therapy, alternate medicine, holistic healing, whatever you choose. Pick the one that best fits your healing.
If you don’t change how you think, you will always live in the reality you create. If you think life is hard, it will be hard. If you think you’ll never get over your past, you never will. Until you can understand that, you don’t need to move to the next two.
Your belief in yourself is what comes first. Because for so long you’ve believed what people said about you. You’ve believed you were ugly; you’d never amount to anything; you’ve believed that you don’t deserve to be loved or successful or wealthy.
You have to take your power back. Be like Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth. Tell David Bowie he has no power over you and get your baby brother back!
- It Affects Your Health
You’re basically like you’re a refrigerator. Your body is a machine constantly regulating its temperature, cooling you down when it needs to. Storing food, water, and frozen pizza rolls. Holding onto bullying trauma is like keeping that fuzzy peach in the crisper drawer. At first it just looks gross, then it starts to funk up the refrigerator, then every time you open it, everyone in the house gags. Then it starts to make all the food in the fridge taste disgusting.
You get the picture. It’s a rotting piece of fruit. That’s what you’re holding onto.
Again, you have to ask yourself:
- Why am I holding onto this?
- What good is it serving me?
- Is holding onto this pain more important than letting it go and using that hand to help someone else with my product or service?
- Is holding onto this pain more important than letting it go and using that hand to donate to charities? (Or buy a house for my family? Or chip in for rent and groceries this week?)
You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage already. You can’t hold your business with both hands if one hand is still stuck in the past.
Grounding techniques and daily affirmations should be your best friend during this time. When thoughts of the past are triggered: during a call with a client where they tell you you’re charging too much and making you question your prices, when someone at the grocery store makes you feel clumsy, whatever that trigger is, separate yourself form the situation and do some grounding.
Ground techniques can include:
- Taking a walk in nature.
- Turning on some music and moving your body.
- Painting and drawing
- Taking a salt bath
- Deep breathing exercises.
Putting these techniques into practice help ground you to the present and they’re proven to help with anxiety and PTSD.
Affirmations that you can say:
- I am safe.
- I am strong.
- My sensitivity is my superpower.
- I can let go of the past to embrace my future.
Use these affirmations, or create your own, and save them on your phone so they’re available anytime you need them!
- It Affects Your Pocket.
If you’re not where you want to be and your business isn’t making the profit that you want, that’s how you know it’s affecting your pocket. It’s fear stemming from the past and your current fear of money.
Again, we’re going back to mindset. If you don’t truly believe that you deserve financial abundance, why should the Universe/God grant you that wish? You have to WANT it with every fiber of your being, and you have to believe you already possess it.
Otherwise, when you tell me about your offer, I know you don’t truly believe in it. As an Empath, I can tell when you don’t believe in it. It’s in the micro expressions on your face, it’s in the tone of your voice, it’s in your body language. And even forgetting Empaths for a second; the population in general knows when you don’t believe in what you sell or offer.
Those bullies that told you that you’d never be successful? You’re proving them right! Why do you want to give them that much power?
In the beginning of my business, I had to get through a lot of money mind blocks to get over my fear. I felt guilty wanting to be wealthy. I felt like I had to charge pennies for my services. Yet, everyone around me was having $5k, $10k, and $20k months. What the heck was happening? I was attending all the seminars, downloading all the free content, and getting nowhere. It wasn’t until I was really niche-ing down when I invested in an Instagram entrepreneurs’ course and one of the first questions was, “do you think you deserve to be successful?”
That was like a light bulb moment. As we started going through the trainings, my relationship with money, especially money when it came to my business, changed. It stopped being this powerful paper transaction and became a transfer of energy. It stopped being a burden and started becoming opportunity for me to help more people in my business, donate to charities, help my friends and family.
If you don’t think you deserve to get paid for your services, what type of content are you putting out on social media? How are you showing up for your business if you’re not confident? Do people trust what you have to say?
To help you tackle these issues, join a support group, take classes, hire a coach, get a mentor. Someone that can help walk you through the steps as you transition to a different way of thinking. Because it will be hard. But it will be worth it!