By Steve Beseke, senior vice president and doctor of life resiliency at think2perform (formerly Lennick Aberman Group)
I was very recently speaking at a couple high schools about a variety of topics, including managing emotions, life resilient strategies and anti-bullying approaches that I found effective in counteracting challenges when I was that age.
As some of you may know, I have a lifelong physical disability known as Cerebral Palsy. This “difference” allowed me to master many of the tactics I talk with students (and adults) in overcoming manipulation and bullying in one form or another.
My main message in schools and corporations/groups, which I have written several articles about on http://www.resiliencyfirst.com, is that you need to stand up, and never give up the power and control of yourself to anyone. If you do, there is significant danger that you’ll slide down that slippery slope of despair, regret, frustration and loss of hope.
I cannot express what bullying/manipulation can do any better than the example below from a teacher in New York who was explaining to her students about the effects of bullying. What is really profound is this “crumpled paper” example can be applied to students, and really any of us in the workforce across the world.
I will have a couple comments after the following “spot on” illustration…
"The teacher gave each student a clean crisp sheet of paper. She then instructed the class to crumble up the piece of paper, toss it around, get angry with it, and stomp on it.
“After which, she told the students to return to their seats (with their piece of paper), flatten it out on the top of their desks, making it as flat and perfect as they can, and finally, apologize to the paper.
“When all the students had done their best to iron out the paper and apologize to it, the teacher picked up the paper on the first classmates desk, held it up so the entire class could see it and said:
“If this crumpled piece of paper had been another person, and you had done all those things to him or her, by making them feel less (through your words or actions), these are all the scars you would leave behind.
“That person would never be the same and the scars may never go away, no matter how many times you tell them you are sorry, no matter how many times you try to smooth things out...
“The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her that the message hit home.”
While her message was students, there are some of you reading this piece right now who have emotional scars from other adults in the workplace or life.
Please stay strong and resilient, and please never lose the respect for yourself even though you may have had a few crinkles in the paper like me.
As I mentioned, I make such anti-bullying and managing emotions presentations in schools. If you’d like me to speak at your child’s school or even at your workplace, please e-mail at email@example.com, or call me at 651-341-9826.
As I am, I hope you are enjoying life to today!
Photo by Christopher Fletcher