The Benefits of Not Belonging to Any Clique

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Too many people put entirely too much importance on belonging to a certain clique. However, I want to assure you that you’re not defined by whether or not they are a member of one, and why you’re so much better off.

There is something to be said for not belonging to any particular group because it allows you to have a great degree of freedom. Anytime you are a member of a clique, club, or group, there are restrictions that come with it, one of which is the unwritten rule against associating with anyone outside of that circle.

More often than not, if a member is caught talking to an “outsider”, that person runs the risk of being ostracized and ousted by the other members. In my experience, it just wasn’t and still isn’t worth being prevented from meeting new and possibly interesting and awesome people.

Also, by not belonging to a clique, you are afforded the freedom to think freely. When you are a member of a circle, your beliefs, attitudes, and opinions will most likely have to be the same as those in your group. If they aren’t, you risk being kicked out and/or worse, bullied.

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I think this is complete and utter hogwash! There is no reason why you should not be able to associate with anyone you choose. Also, no two people are the same and you should be free to have your own opinions, beliefs and attitudes. Do what makes YOU happy. Stop trying to please or impress your “friends”. Because if you have to suppress yourself in order to have or keep friends, then these people are not friends.

Therefore, never allow a clique, or your desire to be a part of one cause you to pass up opportunities to get to know great people, who might someday prove to be wonderful assets to your life!

And never allow others to restrict you from being your authentic self! If the clique cannot respect and accept your individuality, then you must ask yourself, “Are these people really worth my time?”

Reasons Why Teachers and School Officials Often Ignore a Bullied Student’s Cries for Help

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All too often, schools ignore reports of bullying and leave victims to fend for themselves. It was the same when I was being bullied in school. Any reports of the harassment either went completely ignored, were swept under the rug, or I was blamed for it. Here are the reasons:

They’re lazy. Conducting an investigation into a case of bullying is extra work. Most school officials do not want to make any extra effort in resolving a case of bullying. Often, they take the easy way out by either denying that there’s a problem, or blaming the victim. And when parents of victims get involved, the school staff may often label the parents as “the crazy mom/dad”, which is only a cop out.

They’re afraid that the school’s reputation may be tarnished. Schools often hide cases of bullying to save face. They know good and well when a child is bullied, however, they may consider that child a threat and in worse cases, ostracize the poor victim and tell him/her to “keep your mouth shut”, in order to cover their own behinds.

They either don’t like or may even hate the bullied victim. Believe me. I was hated by a lot of my teachers and other school staff and they were supposed to be adults, who were supposed to protect me. The thing is that when a person is bullied for a long period of time, so many rumors and lies have been spread about the victim that their once good name has been destroyed and yes! Teachers hear and believe the rumors too!

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Mobbing at work concept, sketch of boss kicking his employee with red heels from behind on chalkboard

They even join in on negative gossip about the victim. Understand that although, in reality, the victim may be one of the sweetest, most awesome people you may ever meet, the rumors and lies supersede the truth and keep the victim locked in a prison of scrutiny and suspicion. Because of this, the victim is unable to be their true, awesome self because of the stress of being marginalized. In the minds of those at school and the victim is “trouble”.

Also, because of having been bullied for so long, the victim may react out of not only self-defense, but exhaustion as well. This poor, tired target has been harassed for so long that he really cannot help but to react and the bullies slyly use the reaction as further proof that the victim is either trouble or crazy. It is because of this that teachers and staff may think the worst of the poor, innocent kid.

They may also think that just because everyone seems to hate the target, there must be a reason that justifies it. In their minds, the target deserves what is happening to them. And when a teacher does not like a student, they may either refuse to help them or may secretly take pleasure in seeing the poor kid suffer. Teachers and school staff are just as capable as the classroom bullies of hating and hurting a student they deem undesirable.

This is why parents must stay proactive in protecting and advocating for their child even when it seems that the school isn’t listening. Let them know that you will not go away until the problem is solved. Go to the media if you have to.

Assure your child that his/her reputation does not equal character and that the bullies have the issues. Know there will come a time when your child will escape their tormentors and have true friends who love them for them. Constantly tell them that they are worthy of having friends and being loved. You might just keep your child’s self-esteem from completely tanking and even save his/her life!

For the Chronically Bullied: Whatever You Do, Don’t Wallow in Self-Pity!

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It all comes down to you. You are responsible for your successes and your happiness. Happiness is a choice, not something that magically happens to only certain people.

It’s okay to cry when someone hurts you. It’s okay to be hurt, angry, and sad. In fact, you need to allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to get angry and to cry it out. Just don’t unpack your things and live in that dark place.

Never let the cruel words and actions of a bully alter your outlook on the world around you, humanity, and especially yourself! Know that bullies’ behavior does not reflect on you! It reflects on the bullies themselves and their issues. Although I realize that this is not always easy.

Understand that your bullies are lowlife cowards and fighting demons of their own, albeit the wrong way, and their mistreatment of you is only proof of it.

In most cases, the reason why bullies point out your shortcomings is to distract people’s attention from their own. They’re so afraid that somebody will find out what their weaknesses are. Bullies are notorious for projecting their flaws onto their targets to keep other people from seeing the flaws that they have. It’s pathetic when you think real hard about it.

And trust me, we all have imperfections. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. Distraction and projection are how bullies operate. They would be the top two tactics in the “How To Bully” handbook if there ever were such a thing. Understand that bullies bully out of only one emotion, fear!

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So, never let your tormentors decide how you should feel about yourself. And never allow them to cause you to feel sorry for yourself because self-pity is so unattractive and socially repelling! I’m telling you this because there were times when I made the same mistake, and the only thing it did was bring more misery and repel people.

Only when I began to counter my bullies’ statements with comebacks and positive self-affirmations did their words not have as significant of an effect on my self-esteem. In other words, my new, positive self-talk became a buffer to my bullies’ insults and name-calling, and I wasn’t nearly as hurt or saddened by it.

Remember that no matter what anyone says about you, you must look in the mirror every single day and convince yourself that you are the best thing God created. That you are the best, and sometimes, the best are the ones who get mistreated. If you must have this self-talk every minute of every day, then do it because any positive internal dialogue has to be consistent to sink in.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try positive self-talk and praising yourself for all your good qualities and know in your heart the good you bring to this world and the blessing you are to the people who love you. Because the more you love yourself and the less self-pity you live in, the easier it will be to find solutions.

You’re worth it! Don’t you think?

A Target’s Predictability is Another Weapon Bullies Can Use

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Being predictable is dangerous. Because if a bully can predict your reaction or your next move, it’s game over. Remember that bullies are very socially intelligent, and they tend to spot behavior patterns in their victims.

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Bullies carefully observe a potential target, looking for any patterns of behavior, habits, and weaknesses. They closely monitor your reactions to everything, what ticks you off, what makes you happy, and what excites you. They scrutinize the way you do things, even the way you arrange objects.

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They study your moods, body language, and expressions to feel out your emotional state. And in observing you, bullies leave no stone unturned.
Bullies are like bank robbers who case out a bank before pulling off the heist. The robbers get the layout of the bank, search for any vulnerabilities in the security system, and look for any patterns of patrols and the comings and goings there.

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Is it any wonder that being targeted for bullying can feel like being under a microscope? Like you’re being watched? It’s because you are!

Being too predictable is unwise when you’re bullied. Instead, make it a point to be unpredictable. Be as fluid with every as you possibly can. I know it won’t be easy because we’re all creatures of habit. It’s going to take work.

But understand that bullies fear a fluid person and will leave him/her alone if they aren’t sure how they’ll react. So, try new things every day, in everything. It will surely pay off!

The more you know, the better your defense.

Always Mirror the Bully to Disarm and Intimidate Her Into Leaving You Alone

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If a bully cuts their eyes at you, return the gesture. If she tries to stare you down, never look away because she will only take that as fear and from then on, you’ll be her new source of power. Always glare back without blinking and stand with your feet apart and arms akimbo to take up some space. This is known as a “power pose”.

You may have to stand that way and stare for a while if she sees your response as a challenge, but if you hold your position long enough, she’ll finally get tired and move on.

Understand that any time a person uses this type of body language toward you without your provoking them, they are clearly saying that they’re superior to you and attempting to dominate you. So always, always reciprocate any dirty looks and dominate or intimidating body language. Assert your power this way, and soon, the bully will get the message that you’re confident, fearless and not one she should mess with.

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It’s not what you say. It’s what you do. Nonverbal communication is over eighty percent of communication. Talk is cheap, and if your words don’t match your body language, bullies will pick up on it, and they will eat you alive!

If you’re the timid type, there are plenty of books you can read to learn confident body language and power pose. Once you read, practice and learn what nonverbal cues convey power, you must practice those poses until they become comfortable to you.

Remember that bullies always target someone they perceive to be unconfident, timid, and insecure because that person is least likely to fight back. To look confident, fearless and secure, practice open body language.

Stand with your feet apart and arms uncrossed (crossed arms are closed body language and make you look insecure and untrustworthy). When a bully confronts you, never look down or away. Always look the bully in the eye, and she will see that you aren’t afraid and likely move on to someone else.
The more you know, the better you protect yourself

5 Things Bullies Tell Others When a Target Stands Up to Them

Young girl bending down covering her face with her hands trying to protect herself from mens' fists, finger guns and hands pointing at her.

Any time a target gets tired of the abuse and calls a bully’s bluff. The bully will more than likely justify their behavior to others. Here is a list of the most famous statements you’re likely to hear, from most popular to least.

1. “She’s crazy.” or “She’s unstable.”

2. “He’s just mad because I called him out!”

3. “She’s so fake.”

4. “She’s too sensitive.” “She’s overreacting.”

5. “He’s a crybaby.”

6. “She doesn’t want to admit when she’s wrong.”

7. “I was just trying to help you.”

8. “She’s just jealous of me because of…”

The better you’re prepared…

Kicking Toxic People Out of Your Life

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Toxic people! They’re the people who are ungrateful, who are notorious gossips, complainers and whiners- the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers of the world. People who are toxic undermine your accomplishments and successes and stun you with backhanded compliments. In a nutshell, they suck the oxygen out of the room with their negativity and make you want to run for the nearest exit when you see them coming.

I can’t stress enough the importance of giving these happiness thieves the old heave ho and the things it can do for your self-esteem.

As tweens, teens, even in our twenties, it is only natural that we all want to be liked, be cool, and be accepted by our peers. However, when you are a target of bullying, those wants can be hard to attain due to lies and rumors that bullies may spread, all for the purpose of keeping their victims isolated and alone.

You see? The last thing a bully wants is for anyone, and I mean ANYONE to like you or want to be friends with you.

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Often, bully targets will become desperate for friends- for ANY human connection with ANYONE their age. As a result, they may get involved with the wrong people-people who only tolerate them. But because these new people in the target’s life are not directly abusing them (hitting, shouting, name-calling), the victim may mistake this as a friendship and latch on. Or they may feel that it’s the best they can do and there’s nothing out there for them. But targets can do better. They just don’t know it.

And while the targets’ back is turned, his “new buddies” at school or at work are rolling their eyes and talking through their teeth. These people are no better than the bullies. They only feel sorry for the target.

These people are toxic. I understand that being alone is tough. I have been there. But wouldn’t you rather be alone than to crawl up behind people who only tolerate you? I know I would.

Be selective of who you call “friend” because a smiling face does not a friend make. And anyone who makes you feel bad does not deserve the privilege of knowing you. So, get rid of them and fast!

You may be friendless for a time but I promise that you will meet new people and make friends. You are worth it! For now, just spend time with family and do the things you enjoy. Better people will be placed in your life when you least expect it.

It pays to be your own best friend.

Life Secrets I have Learned

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Beautiful cloudscape over the sea, sunrise shot

1. Positive thoughts equal a positive mind, equals positive actions, which bring positive opportunities, which lead to positive results, which bolsters confidence, which gives you a positive and extraordinary life!

2. Tenacity equals positive change and eventual success.

3. Negative people will never see success, only hollow victories from time to time.

4. The reason most people find ways to discourage you and tell you that you CAN’T is because they’re very much afraid that you WILL.

5. Resting on your laurels equals stagnation and repels growth.

Therefore, with each major goal accomplished, I’ll raise the bar, continue to challenge myself and flex those mind-muscles even more.

I will set higher goals and I will reach them.

To Successfully Deter a Bully, You Have to THINK Like a Bully

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Most people who become targets of bullying are genuinely good-hearted, pure, and sweet-natured and would never dream of hurting another human being in any way.

Bullies, on the other hand, are consistently thinking up newer and more sophisticated ways to inflict harm on others. Their hunger for power is so that they have left a long line of victims in their wake and are always on the lookout for new targets.

The reason most good-natured people become targets of bullying is that bullies are notorious for taking kindness for weakness. Sadly, to protect yourself from becoming the next target requires that you adapt the bully mindset. You must think as they do but not act as they do.

I realize this can be difficult because the mind of a bully isn’t a pleasant place to be. It’s downright ugly!

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Another sad truth is that to think as a bully takes a certain degree of identifying with the person to be able to predict what they will most likely do next. And if you can figure out what their next move will be, you can stay a few steps ahead of the bully and protect yourself.

Though it won’t be easy, as the mind of a bully can be a real cesspool, sometimes you must wade through a ton of crap to keep yourself safe and your name and reputation clean.

How I Turned A Fierce Bully Into One of the Greatest of Friends

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Shelly(not her real name) had been one of my most vicious of bullies during school. Every time we passed one another in the halls, at a ballgame, anywhere and we would not hesitate to exchange nasty sentiments as we passed, “Bitch!”, “Whore!”, “Skank!”. Thinking up ways to degrade and slut-shame each other was always top priority during these little meetings.

Fast-forward twenty years, in late 2007, I went to a karaoke show, which was held in the Moose Lodge club on the outskirts of town to celebrate my recently having the courage to break off what had been a 2 1/2 year long abusive relationship. I truly had not known my own strength until this point and I was ready for a fun girl’s night out.

When I arrived at the Moose Lodge with a few friends in tow, the first word I heard was, “Oh my God! Not that bitch!” Honestly, I thought the verbal assault was directed at someone else until I looked up and saw her. There Shelly stood, pool cue in one hand, the other hand resting on her boyfriend’s back as her eyes and brows narrowed into little slits in her face and bore into me like a sharp object.

I had not seen her in so many years and wondered how it was that she’d managed to drag around so much hate for so many years when I had completely forgotten about her amid juggling bills, a job and family and other adult priorities. I’d soon learn that that night, Shelly was going through the lowest point in her life. Life hadn’t been kind to her.

It seemed that on her part, even twenty years, marriages and children hadn’t been enough to erase the teenage animosity she still held. We lived in a small Southern town and in small Southern towns, very few people ever forget the past and it’s very easy for the reputation you once had in your teens to follow you for the rest of your life. Sadly, this is how it is in a small town.

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Having always loved music and had vocal talent, I got up and sang one of my favorite songs and everyone cheered once I was finished. After I sat down, Shelly sat down beside me and was very impressed with my performance. She told me that she admired my voice and that she’d always known I could sing but didn’t know I was that good. At first, I was flabbergasted. This was the first positive remark I’d heard from her but nevertheless, I was grateful.

I smiled and gave her a gracious “Thank you. It’s good to see you again after all these years.”

We continued to talk and she took some pictures out of her purse to show me. Pictures of what was her talent- woodwork and paintings, the most beautiful work I’d ever seen. This lady was very talented and I couldn’t or wouldn’t deny it. I truly loved her work and could not stop looking at those pictures and complimenting her. She truly was an expert at wood working and oil painting.

It was at that point that the dynamics of our relationship changed for the better. We exchanged phone numbers and soon began calling each other and texting cute little funnies back and forth. Then we began to invite each other to family outings, cookouts and meetings in town for lunch.

We soon became the greatest of friends and I grew to truly love this lady. We would often talk about how we missed out on what could have been a wonderful friendship years ago. But since the past cannot be changed, we are content to go from the present and make our friendship as fun and drama-free as possible.

The moral of this story is this: It is always possible to turn a bully or enemy into a friend. Nothing is impossible. All it takes is to break down that wall and show the other person genuine interest. Everybody loves it when you are interested in them, their likes, and how things are going in their lives. Even the coldest and meanest of people.

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As humans, we all have a certain degree of selfishness. We all want the same things- to be loved, appreciated and respected. Everybody also has a void, waiting to be filled and if we can fill the void- whether it’s by making the person feel loved and respected or giving the person some sense of who they are and where they belong, it can be the difference between gaining a friend or keeping an enemy.

Through our many talks, I found out that this poor young girl, whom I thought was so cruel, yet totally in control and didn’t need anyone was really a girl who didn’t feel loved by anyone. She was just as sad as I was but had put on a tough exterior. Also, she had suffered incidences of bullying herself, though not as severe as I did, it still hurt her immensely.

Sadly, my beautiful friend Shelly passed away two years ago from Cancer. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her and think of her.

I’ll never forget that night at the karaoke club, the night Shelly and I became close friends. And we remained like sisters until the day she died.

By showing her genuine interest, without fakery, I was able to turn one of my most resistant bullies into one of my best friends.

Fly high, Shelly! Until we meet again on those golden streets!