Bully, back off

14 Nov

Bullies. We know how you work. You choose your victims wisely. They are smaller or weaker than you and that makes you feel big and important. You steal their lunch, call them names, intimidate them. Because you can. No, no, no, because you think you can. You steal their self-esteem to get self-esteem, but it doesn’t work, does it? You don’t feel any better about yourself. You feel strong for a little while but soon you need a new victim.

The bullies have different reasons for their actions. Even if they tried to be honest about their motives, they themselves may not be able to answer the question. The violence is a reaction to a feeling of inferiority and if people don’t know better, the abuse is the only answer. It is easy to pick on someone smaller who will be overwhelmed by a sheer size and age of a bully. But it doesn’t mean they are the only victims. Other victims are those who look different, wear different clothes, are shorter/taller, have only one arm, a girl who likes Science or Maths, the reasons who and why to bully are endless. Even a bully is often bullied.

It is very hard to be immune against the fear the bullies provoke in their victims. Ignoring these hateful individuals is less than helpful, the anxiety grows and grows and when it overgrows, then what. The bully has won. We don’t want them to win.

Would a fight help? I don’t thing so. Violence is no answer to any problem. It just brings on more violence. Plus we may not be aware of the weapons they secretly carry, we all know about knife crime. How can we be sure that we will not end up badly injured or worse? And also, no pacifist would go into a physical fight anyway. What to do then? Talk to someone. Every school has the anti bullying policy that ensures that the pupils are safe in the school environment. Talk to the teacher you trust. Contacting a helpline is also a helpful step. If you have a problem, excluding yourself is the worst you can do. Be brave. If I may use the words from a TV ad – because you’re worth it.

A simple strategy how to repel bullies is assertiveness. Although people confuse it with aggressiveness, these two are so far apart like white chocolate being chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa, so simply, it is not chocolate! So what does being assertive mean? It means that you can stand up for yourself, that you are able to say no if you want to say no. First step towards assertiveness is confidence. Now you can argue that you have none but I’ll tell you a secret. It is a skill and as any skill, it can be learnt. At the beginning you will have to act, but luckily our bodies and minds are connected, they send signals to each other and if you can win with your body language, soon you’ll feel it inside, too. So, stand up, your back straight, your head up. Pretend for a few weeks that you are confident and in no time your new posture will be as natural to you as breathing. And you will be a strong, self-assured person inside out. Look the bully in the eye and say to yourself I am not scared of you. Your composed glance will melt away any power their tiny egos have. They will back off. You will win.

By Zdena

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