Monica Lewinsky PSA Warns Us Not to Bully Ourselves

We're our own worst enemy

Monica Lewinsky has launched a campaign for Bullying Prevention Month that flips the script on standing up to tormentors. Because, in this case, one's ultimate tormentor is oneself. 

It's often said people are their own harshest critics, and data supports such assertions. Seventy-four percent of adults believe this to be true; they also feel that negative thoughts impede avenues to success. This campaign seeks to reframe the way we speak to ourselves and learn strategies to manage our inner critics.

Stand Up To Yourself

"We all grew up learning the golden rule: 'Treat others the way you want to be treated.' But what happens when you treat others better than you treat yourself?" says Dana Buckhorn, ACD at Mischief, the agency behind the campaign. "We realized most of us would never say something mean to someone else, yet we say a million mean things to ourselves every day."

The 2-minute video shows unscripted moments where people read negative, hurtful and cruel things to someone they know. Descriptions like "loser," "attention whore," "needy," "bad mother" and "garbage" abound. Emotions run high and tears are shed.

But, in a twist, these words are not aimed at folks seated across the reader. Instead, they refer to the readers themselves. When an off-camera voice asks if the subjects would ever berate others in such fashion, each responds with a resounding "no."

"Self-bullying is still bullying. Stand up to yourself," says the vid at the end, steering viewers to a website, created by Dini von Mueffling Communications, with tools to help navigate and combat negative self-talk.

Prior to arriving on set, participants were asked to write down—word-for-word—some of the harsh things they say to themselves. Participants had no idea, however, how the scenario would unfold.

The ad debuted on the Today Show yesterday, in tandem with a Lewinsky interview. Moving forward, it will run on social media channels.

This year's campaign—part of ongoing efforts from Lewinsky (who doesn't appear in the spot)—supports The Childhood Resilience Foundation, The Diana Award, Project Rockit, Ditch The Label, Sandy Hook Promise, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Heartmob, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Children Mending Hearts and The Tyler Clementi Foundation.

"Up until recently, there hasn't been a lot of talk about negative self-talk," Tanner Thompson, ACD at Mischief, tells Muse. "There's no age-old proverb or handy saying that helps you deal with it. So we wanted to get out the simple idea that, if you wouldn't say it to someone else, you shouldn't say it to yourself."

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