Question submitted via Formspring:
“What's up with the anti-bullying stuff everywhere, and kids killing themselves? Are things really escalating and getting more frequent, or are things just being reported more frequently?
Either way, what do you think is the best way to deal with all this?”
We talked about this question on a recent episode of Rise Up with B. Dave Walters, along with:
How to stop ruining your life, how to stop driving people away, Emotional Intelligence: what it is, and how to get it; can the Law of Attraction get your ex back, prostitution, bullying, healing, and more.
So now, let us look at this in a bit more detail. First and foremost, I don’t believe that bullying is actually getting any ‘worse’, but there is a lot more media attention being given to it.
However, the internet age has created a generation of people with extremely stunted social skills, and attacking anyone who disagrees with you, or is different than you are, with zero repercussions has become disturbingly common. The internet is the closest thing we have to world-wide telepathy, so it is sad to see some of the things written on there.
It’s also true that some of the old ideas that might have kept this sort of thing in check have faded away. For instance, the idea that suicide is a mortal sin that will send you straight to hell is probably not something too many people truly believe anymore. And, social acceptance of certain alternative lifestyles has increased; in the 80’s it would have been hard to find a school with any openly gay students, in this day and age it is probably hard to find a school without one.
Even though we’ve already talked at length about how homosexuality is not a sin, and these social breakthroughs are generally positive, mixing in alternative lifestyles to the mess of hormones, insecurity, and general confusi-on of youth can have disastrous consequences.
Of course, not everyone who gets bullied is because of their sexual orientation, just like not all bullying ends in school! As for how you deal with it, there are a few different things to do.
First and foremost, begin with the person who is getting bullied; do any and everything you can to boost their confidence and love for themselves. Help them to understand that there is nothing wrong with them, and that they are already perfect just the way they are. Remember, people’s words have what power over you that you give them; yes, they may say mean things, but what difference does it make? Bullying is a predatory phenomenon, and the more confident a person is, the less of an easy target they make.
Also let them know that no matter what they are going through, it is temporary. School will end, annoying coworkers will move on to new jobs, or they will. Try to find examples of people who were like them, or went through something similar; the people who were too fat, or too skinny, too tall, too short, or whatever that grew up to become happy and successful. The real tragedy of suicide is it is a permanent solution to temporary problems; keep putting one foot in front of the other, and things will get better.
The last thing, believe it or not, is compassion for the bully. We have spoken many times about the need to forgive the people who hurt you, but it’s especially true here; anyone who is harassing another person for being different, is running from some pain themselves. It’s virtually guaranteed that they don’t have a stable, happy, home life with loving and supportive parents or family. Rather than label the bully as some sort of monster, remember that they are acting out of their own pain; this doesn’t justify inflicting that pain on others, but it does give a clue where to begin the healing process.
Once you gain some insight into what they are going through, you can begin to help them break the cycle.
The main thing to remember, is that the person being bullied may not have control over what the other person does, but they have total control over what they make it mean; and as Eleanor Roosevelt said: “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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