So why is Home and Spirit looking at bullying? For two simple reasons, one is that nearly everyone has experienced a moment of being bullied some time in their life. The other reason is that bullying affects us mentally and spiritually (and sometimes physically). It’s a hurtful thing to experience and one that is tough to understand. When it comes to bullying, there are several angles to look at. We need to understand what causes one to be a bully. We need to address the reasons why an indidual may be repeatedly bullied. Most importantly, we need to look at different courses of action an individual can take when being confronted by a bully.
Today’s Thought For Thursday quote is one of the best quotes on bullying I have ever read and it comes from GLEE star Chris Colfer,
“When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.” – Chris Colfer
I LOVE this quote and the reason why I do is this, when we are a victim of a bully, we need hope and something to hold on to that is empowering because being bullied causes one to feel powerless, helpless and small. This is true no matter what your age is. Bullying happens in the schoolyard. Bullying happens in the workplace. Bullying happens online. Bullying happens in nursing homes and in hospitals.
What Causes Someone to be a Bully?
There has been a lot of research into understanding bullies and although it is helpful to understand why people bully, it in no way justifies bullying. Basically, a bully’s main issue is with PRIDE. Bullies often feel small themselves in some way and they bully others to make themselves feel more powerful. If they already have a big ego, then they also try to hold onto that feeling of empowerment. Bullies are very touchy. Every little perceived afront makes them feel they have to assert themselves. If they feel embarrassed over a mistake they made or if they feel inadequate, then bullies project those feelings onto their victims. Bullies have often felt bullied themselves in some way and deep down they don’t want to feel that they are at the bottom of the pecking order so they ‘peck’ on others to feel a bit more ‘normal’.
This is one of the hardest things to address because of course you are not at fault. While I was researching this topic, I found quite a lot of contradictions. You’re bullied if you’re pretty or ugly, smart or stupid, shy or social, fat or skinny, quiet or assertive. There is no reason for meanness unless you actually provoked it by being mean first. A bully may say otherwise but their words have no ground here.
What Action Can a Victim of Bullying take?
If you are at the moment being repeatedly bullied, then the first course of action to take is to remove yourself from the bully if you are able. In most cases, you should be able to do this. In other cases, you may need professional help such as if the bully is your child or you are the child being bullied by your parent. If you are being repeatedly bullied in your school or workplace, then it is better to retreat and report. Take yourself away from the situation (change jobs or schools) but report it as well so others are on their guard. You may find yourself called upon in the future to be a witness when someone else has been bullied by the same person who bullied you which may be a real aid for self-empowerment and freedom.
If you have been bullied and/or are suffering from some form of PTSD and don’t know where to start to begin self-healing then make Chris Colfer’s quote your mantra. I don’t mean to just say the words over and over to yourself but use it as a learning tool. Ask yourself how you can take what has happened to you and learn from it. What is it teaching you about yourself? About the bully? Is there an opportunity to use it to become more ‘polished’ or wise? Is there something you would like to change about yourself – not for others but for yourself? If necessary, seek help from others or from a professional. Write your thoughts about your experience in a journal to help you gain insight. Ask questions while you write and then listen for gems of wisdom from your higher guidance.
And the next time you are bullied, study the situation you are in carefully. Don’t mirror the bully or get confrontational and please don’t defend yourself. That only legitimizes the bully’s actions. What you can do is say something quietly like, “Stop using me to feel good about yourself.” Or “Please don’t project your inadequacies onto me.” Or ” I think you should build up your self-esteem some other way.” Or simply, “Stop it right now.”