Tiny, Bruiser & Neville Are No Friends of Mine

by Joel Levin, Western Australia

It has taken me some time to track these guys down, but I can now put a name on some characters who do everything in their power to stop The Way of the Livingness becoming my way.

What is The Way of the Livingness? It is simply a way of living that is in deep connection and respect of yourself – so that you bring that same depth of connection and respect to others and everything you do.

The first character that tries to get in my way of living is not very nice and not very easy to get along with. ‘Tiny’ is his name. Tiny just wants me to fit in, to not make waves, to not feel wonderful and to not enjoy the simplicity of life. Tiny is great at using fear and comparison. He baits me with simple questions like ‘what if ‘x’ happens?’, ‘why aren’t you ‘there’ yet?’, ‘you’re not as good as x’…. I’m getting much better at not getting hooked into answering Tiny’s questions. I’ve noticed that if I start answering these questions, it doesn’t take long before it feels like he has put one hand on my head and one on the base of my spine and squeezed me tightly. Tiny is good at making me feel tiny.

I can sidestep his games by appreciating myself more and noticing a similar appreciation of others. Tiny feels tiny… when I let myself feel how huge people can truly be.

This is when Tiny brings in his backup partner. Let’s call him ‘Bruiser’. Bruiser is bit of a bully and likes to push me around, call me names, and make sure I focus on every fault I have.  He also likes to remind me of all those things I ‘need to get done’ or haven’t done yet. It can be a real drain to live with him and it can feel like walking through mud on the day I decide to march to his tune, rather than my own.

Strangely, getting around Bruiser can be easier than Tiny because his approach is so forceful. On the days I remember to move at a pace that works for me, it’s easy to see him coming. It doesn’t stop him from trying, but by moving at my pace, and not his, it seems to create a wake around me that Bruiser just can’t cross.

On the days that neither Tiny or Bruiser have any effect on me, they call on their boss, ‘Neville’ (I have just decided to call him Neville to make him sound less sinister). Neville has a lot of pride, and plays every and any game in the book – the ‘wise’ sage, the helpless child, the repentant son and even the willing student.

Neville is tricky and will tell me whatever I want or need to hear, so that I back-off feeling myself, thinking for myself, or enjoying myself. My success in getting around Neville is fleeting, but becomes more of a reality each day I remember to feel myself first.

The moment I feel first (both me and the rest of the world), I know what is true and what is part of his game.

From time to time, these characters and their games still catch me out. After all, they are aspects of me that I created and have chosen to live with – in the strange belief they were somehow there to help me. The cleverest trick of these internal bullies is their ability to make it seem that they are more powerful than me – but all they ever had over me is my own choice to play the game they were offering. All they have had over me is a mis-held belief that life is better when you’re locked in some kind of internal struggle.

Everything I have ever needed to set myself free from this struggle has always been inside of me. It is the deepest truth I have ever felt – my own love – and my own willingness to live that love, and the joy that comes with it in a world where people are battling their own versions of Tiny, Bruiser and Neville.

166 thoughts on “Tiny, Bruiser & Neville Are No Friends of Mine

  1. Thank you Joel I love the way you have given names to these different aspects of yourself ‘ that I created and have chosen to live with – in the strange belief they were somehow there to help me.’ Great reminder that we always have a choice to live the love that we are and not get side-tracked by the voices in our head trying to sabotage us.

  2. Joel this is awesome to read, to name the voices in our head that are ready to sabotage us and create an inner struggle. To know we also have the power within to stop these sabotaging thoughts and to choose thoughts that are truly loving and support us. This is a beautiful reminder to take into my day – thank you.

  3. A brilliant description of the internal personalities that have the potential to pull our strings if we let them, exposing the fact that it’s just through choice that we allow them to have a hold over us because we believe life should be about struggle rather than a surrender to that deepest truth – our own love – and our willingness to live it and simply experience the joy it brings.

  4. This is a totally awesome blog Joel! I too know Tiny, Bruiser and Neville well but you have reminded my of the fact that the wisdom we all have within and can choose to connect to at any time is far more powerful than any internal bullies can and will ever be.

    1. Yeah and there is also the other one ‘its not possible for me’ who sees themselves as different to others and thinks that others can be like that but not me, a total denial of who you are.

  5. These three fellows seem to have good advise, but I can only be fooled when I follow the believe that I am not already everything I need to be. In Shamanism these false friends appear as animals and are called ‘power animals’.

  6. What a cool blog, Joel and I love the way you express and get the message out there. I can relate to your three little “hangers on” as they come poking around my life as well at times. I am learning that in my choices I can tell them to “get lost”but they can be tenacious and challenge me to hold myself in stillness and presence which is actually a good thing, reminding me of what I am not!

  7. Thanks Joel – I also have my own versions of Tiny, Bruiser and Neville. But I am getting much wiser at noticing when they are wanting to take over and I recognise them as just parts of a being who is actually awesome overall. It helps to remind myself that these parts are in much need of nurturing and love rather than loathing. As I work on offering myself this, I am finding that the parts back down and are actually very accepting of the tenderness offered.

  8. Great read Joel – I’ve always felt to battle these inner detractors but more recently am feeling their surrender to the gentleness – and I remember that to surrender is not to lose the battle.

  9. I just love this blog Joel, so much light-ness in the truth you are sharing. I too can relate to the 3 characters as I have my own versions of them playing around from time to time; life need not be a struggle, but a surrender to our own love, if we so choose.

  10. Thank you Joel for playfully outing these three and exposing their game. If we stay connected with ourselves they don’t stand a chance.

  11. It is great to realise that there is no need for struggle and there is no need for doubt. We can have the awesomeness that is us right now, it is all there.

  12. Thank you Joel for naming the bullies that are constantly trying to sneak in and sabotage our connection and appreciation of the love that we naturally are. When you know your enemy you can look it in the eye and watch it shrink.

  13. Tiny has been my friend for way too long, but what I’ve come to realise was that keeping small simply doesn’t work for anyone, not for me and especially not for you. We play a vital part in the universe, imagine if the stars played small – it simply wouldn’t work and we would have no navigation or guide at night or in the darkest of times.

  14. I am used to having the tough guy, I can deal with anything act going on. I find it difficult at times to let this go and open up in case I get rejected or hurt but what’s crazy in this is that I then never fully live as I hold back. I am coming to learn its better to be all of you than half of you.

  15. I love the way you have named Bruiser and the game he plays. I have spent a very long time beating myself up and much time trying to figure out how to stop . Your write up of bruiser and his traits allows me to see that if I simply do what is true for me I will deprive bruiser of his material. Thank you.

  16. Such a timeless blog Joel. We are all indeed battling our own Tiny, Bruiser and Neville, but calling it a battle only gives power to the struggle. As you have shared, when you go at your pace they can’t cross your wake, so our belittling, stress-full, doubt-full thoughts can’t enter us.

  17. I certainly have my own versions of these characters and it requires me to be super vigilant not to be caught out by them and find myself veering off course, steering away from my purpose and true love.

  18. You are right in saying we all have our own version of Tiny, Bruiser and Nevile and we are indeed battling trying to live with their presence. But as we designed them out of some kind of misguided protection, we can too let them go knowing they are not needed … and free ourselves from the internal conflict and the separation from our true selves that they create.

  19. “All they have had over me is a mis-held belief that life is better when you’re locked in some kind of internal struggle.” And when we can see this for what it is we can stop struggling and allow ourselves simply to be. No expectations, no demands, just being ourselves is limitless.

  20. Brilliant depiction on the inner struggle most of us live with, and the very practical relatable ways in which we can squish these ‘so called’ friends and make true friendships and relationships with who we are and who others are. I love this Joel, it’s so real… and reveals that there is so, so much more to us and life then the limited forms of struggle we have been sold and bought into.

  21. These characters in our heads only have power over us if we give it to them. When I hear those voices I have a choice – to listen, contract, and feel powerless – or pay them no attention and feel our true power and love. The more I do this the smaller the voices have become – one day they will be gone forever.

  22. Great article Joel,
    All of the stuff we allow and play ball with that we thought was normal everyday life, so is not when we choose to feel our bodies, and everyone else. Everything changes and we again become divinely powerful.

  23. Coming back to this blog, I love the simplicity of it and how powerful it is to see life for what it truly is and the games we have all played in giving our power away in order to delay our return to the love that we truly are

  24. I think these are similar characters I have had in my own life too. Then there is also the- your not good enough character who I have allowed to visit way too much. I am learning not to let this character in.

  25. Reading your blog Joel is a reminder to me to be observant of the sub-personalities I have created and who try to sabotage me from living in harmony with myself and the world around me.

  26. Well called Joel. I have my own travelling companions to contend with, who are certainly no friends of mine either, different names of course but my Wilma Worthless, Debbie Downer and Betty Betterthanall sound like mates of your tag alongs – Tiny, Bruiser and Neville.

  27. I supposed I chose my own cast of characters that bossed me around and influenced my every mood, action and decision, not realising I was handing over my life choices to these guys who took ultimate responsibility away from me and despite that I still thought I was living my life, truth is I wasn’t, I was a puppet and they pulled the strings. What an awakening to now recognise these guys for the wayward path I allowed them to lead me down, and now living in the responsibility of making my own choices with a clarity that exposes their game. It’s great to be back and to know my true connections.

  28. These are definitely characters that I have had in my life and am learning to let go of. I am observing them much more and making a more conscious choice not to choose them.

  29. These characters certainly make every effort to run my life and try to make me think that, they are who I am. However through The Way of The Livingness I have discovered that when we live in connection to who we are within this lot don’t stand a chance. As from our hearts we know we are the greatness of love through which the steadiness and wisdom of our love is powerful beyond measure. When we embrace the love we are within we can live our joy-fullness freely, as the room for these bullies to manipulate no longer exists for they can only dominate with loveless-ness.

  30. Love what you have shared in a light and simple way Joel. These certainly are characters that are and have been in my life, it is interesting how you give them names which I feel gives a degree of separation to be able to see and feel them more clearly and be able to not choose to go with them.

  31. Revisiting this blog is a timely reminder of the games we can play that are simply distractions that take us further away from who we truly are.

  32. I know these three all too well, but reading this blog was a great reminder that I also know equally well how to counter their chatter that distracts me from the love that I am and how amazing life can be as I continue to choose to not play their games. Thank you Joel.

  33. Love the awareness you share here Joel of questioning what our thoughts are actually feeding or impulsing us to behave like. We may have certain ways of thinking that we identify with (like Tiny, Bruiser and Neville) but it doesn’t mean that they are from our true expression – I know that tuning in to get a sense of how my whole body feels helps me to recognise what thoughts are or aren’t helpful.

  34. I am very familiar with these guys but it is Neville I have to watch. I find he can be very clever and subtle in getting his own way. I have to be brutally honest when he is at play. Even when I think I am feeling me I can be deceived by him. Feeling me first and the rest of the world as Joel mentions in his blog, is a great marker offered that I will put into practice in my day to catch Neville at play. Thank you Joel for sharing your great wisdom with us.

  35. I love how you have not accepted these characters as who you are. How often to we think that our selection of behaviours are just part of ourselves? “oh that’s just me” You have seen them for who they are very clearly and have a way of living that does not allow them (without perfection) to take hold.

  36. Joel I love your playfulness, and I suspect we all have had a Tiny, Bruiser & Neville that live within us if we allow, guiding us along a path we would rather not walk, and when we no longer give them a voice we are able to clearly see and feel where we are going.

  37. I think many can relate to what you have shared here – of having ways of being with yourself that focus on the ‘what is not’ rather than getting behind and backing what is true within yourself.

  38. The embracing quality of love… that dissolves even the harshest thoughts of self-saboteur we may find ourselves experiencing. Great to give no quarter to these dudes, for by their very way their intent is exposed in full.

  39. The games we play with ourselves and the quality of thoughts that we listen to, or not – all of it is a choice, in each and every moment. The more I focus on staying present and feeling my body, the easier it is not to get caught up in the momentum of old thought patterns, and see them for what they are – thoughts that have no power over me, unless I chose otherwise.

  40. Familiar characters Joel. Beautifully explored too. This Neville seems to be a rather evil character – which is interesting because it is the heart of his name. How true it is that evil can so often be subtle and just nudge us off track rather than present in more obviously abusive ways. Sometimes it is the ‘nice guy’ we need to be most aware of.

  41. The genius in what you offer that I really appreciate is that you present it like a story, and it is a story that we allow to have repeated and not real, as are all its characters, and this makes me appreciate that no matter how strong my/their attempt to stop The Way of The Livingness becoming my way might appear at times, when the truth is chosen, their hold will no longer have any power over me.

  42. I loved what you have shared Joel, we all have versions of the three characters you spoke of, thinking that is who we are but as you shared, “all they ever had over me is my own choice to play the game they were offering.” Once we become aware of their attempt to separate us from the Way of our Livingness these characters lose their power over us.

  43. The only way to beat those nasty guys is to not compartmentalise yourself to those thoughts in the brain, as you say Joel, and feel your whole body and listen to what it has to say.

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