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Lessons from my Bullies :027

I no longer curse my bullies – I thank them.

The earliest bullies of my life taught me valuable lessons:

  • There will always be an outside opinion… and it may not be true!
  • Others’ behavior is more about them than it is about you
  • It feels good to forgive before it seems necessary
  • And most of all, there are always going to be bullies, even when you least expect, the sooner you learn to deal with this, the better!

Opinion

If you’re not paying someone for their opinion and especially when their opinion is not stemming from good will, do not spend time on other peoples’ thoughts of you.

“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.” – Abraham Maslow 

A bully’s behavior is not about you. Until they become aware, people act and react according to their upbringing and environment. How they act towards you says more about them, than it says about you!

Ask, are they responding based on how they have learned how to act and respond?

 

Forgive Before it is Necessary

When I was about ten years old I was teased by a small group of boys. I was mostly teased for being chubby. I weighed over one hundred (100+) pounds, when the average child my age was sixty (60) pounds. I was also one of the tallest kids in class. My bullies were all around me in class and on the playground, but the biggest bully I only saw on the bus because he was a couple years older than me. His name ways Joey.

Most of the teasing happened on the bus. Joey, like any really affective bully not only was the primary instigator, he naturally encouraged others to behave like him.

Over time I built up so much anger and contempt for Joey and his cohorts.

 

Healing

I spent many, many afternoon and evenings in tears. Many more hours were spent in self-loathing and self-pity. I soon realized that I was torturing myself when my bullies were not around by feeling sorry for myself. This initiated a great change in me. I thought, if anyone one was going to be nice to me, it ought to be me!

Long story short; eventually I created my own boundaries mentally and physically and the bullying seemed to nearly stop.

I had grown tremendously spiritually during this time and was able to find compassion in my heart for Joey and his followers.

Things got so much better that by the fourth grade I was no longer having issues with bullies. Joey had disappeared to the middle school, or who knows where.

Soon I found out where he had gone.

 

The Guest Speaker

Once or twice a year we had guest speakers come to our tiny, country elementary school.

As we would usually do on such occasions, we children would line up by classes and sit on the floor of the small, cement gym which was also used as a cafeteria. On this day I believe grades three through five were assembled.  There we were, less than one hundred squirming kids, curious as to what had interrupted our normally scheduled day.

I recall a couple of adults talking first, and then Joey came in. I was curious, not angry or upset.

We learned that Joey had just overcome cancer.

 

It Wasn’t About me

Feeling as if I were in my own bubble, alone rather than being with nearly one hundred other kids, I sat there and reflected. Were my parents correct; that Joey was acting out cruelly because of his environment? I assumed his dissonant environment was his parents. Was he acting out the cancer that was toiling him on the inside before anyone knew of the disease? Perhaps it was all of this.

I was grateful that I had already forgiven him.

I knew that I would have felt guilty that at this point–with all that Joey had been through–I might have thought that I should forgive him. Grateful that I has forgiven him already and no longer carried any negative emotions, with no “should” or “could’ve’s” weighing me down.

 

Forgiving is Healing

Glad that I had already initiated that step in the healing process for myself; I shared a mental blessing of well-being as the special gathering came to a close. I left feeling that chapter in our lives had ended well.

 

You’re Being Prepared for Bigger Bullies

You’re going to encounter bullies. The sooner you learn to deal with this the better.

The bully might be the person driving next to you on the road, your coworker, indeed, even some who says they love you.

 

Learn to handle these situations.

The tricky thing about dealing with bullies is that they like to engage. They’re like a parasite. They have to stick on and get something out of you to survive. Don’t let them stick on; get away from them, move out of their vicinity, stay away as much as you can.

Don’t engage!

Also, be careful that your disengaging isn’t actually engaging… Once you tell them, “Get away!” or simply, “Leave me alone!” you’ve already engaged. You will likely just need to avoid them or go away without saying a thing. I know, it sounds weak to not confront them, but it’s the best use of your energy.

 

Don’t give them the gratification of knowing when they “get you”!

Going back to the parasite analogy, bullies feed off knowing that they “got you”.

Don’t give them that gratification! Don’t reward their bad behavior!

Be non-reactive to their comments. You’ll know that you’re doing this right when they comment that you’re cold or distant.

I am not suggesting that you bottle up your feelings for good. Find a good friend or counselor and let your true feelings out with them.

 

Move on

Moving on can mean different things. Sometimes your bully will move on because they’re no longer getting the charge out of you they once did. That’s the nature of a bully.

Sometimes you have to move on. This is not always convenient. It can mean giving up your house, your belonging and much more. Perhaps it is giving up a job where you see promise for your future career-wise, but the emotional environment is not conducive to you progressing. Perhaps it means giving up on what you thought could be; ending a relationship that goes against every fiber of your body, except for the one that says, “no more!”.

 

When you can Thank Your Bullies…

You’ve learned the lesson. You’re prepared for the next one! Pray that the next biggest bully need not find you, and know that you are prepared with what you have learned.

Don’t become bitter… Become better!