Bullying doesn’t only happen to school-aged children and teens and you don’t have to be a member of any certain age group to fall victim to it, nor to be a bully. Bullying can happen at any age, from the very young to the very old. There is school bullying, but there’s also Workplace bullying and yes, even bullying among senior citizens. And as statistics show, those whom are bullied in school are most likely to become bullied adults.
But while this is certainly true, it doesn’t mean that all victims of school bullying are destined to be bullied their entire lives. I’m living proof!
Here’s how I ceased to be a victim:
1. I began giving to others the very thing I was denied during junior high and high school- respect, validation and love. I learned that people…all people, have an innate desire to feel valued, important, respected and loved. Dale Carnegie was dead on when he stressed in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, the importance of making the other person feel good about themselves.
2. It took the realization that my bullies were actually just as scared as I was, if not more more so. It makes sense that they were more afraid than I was because they had so much more to lose than I did. Why else did my school bullies continuously strain themselves just to be someone that they clearly weren’t? Why else would they go out of their own way to keep up the charades and fake personas, which helped them attain their popularity…the consistent posturing, the beating of their own chests in hopes of looking tough, the false bravado, the constant showboating, and the having to lie and put on the act of having more than they did, when in reality, they didn’t have as much as a bucket to pee in? Bullies are pretty much the same and work very hard to keep up the fake alter-ego which generously rewards them a spot in the who’s who section of the yearbook. And sadly, most of my former classmates are the same today…trying to keep up with the Jones’ and covertly trying to convince the rest of the world that they’re better than most.
When I finally came to this epiphany, I was no longer afraid of not only my classmates, but any bully. Any dig, any taunt, any insult they threw at me, did not bother me but only slid in my right ear and out my left, rolling so smoothly down my back that it lost the effect it once had. Today, it’s easier not to acknowledge anything that comes out of their crooked little mouths because not only do I know the secrets they and every bully tries to hide.
3. I’m okay with myself and the people around me. I love and accept myself and I know who I am, what I want and know where my boundaries lie. I realize that it’s perfectly okay to say “no” and to refuse to be treated with negativity. I know that I need no one’s permission to be myself, to be safe and to be happy. And lastly, I waste no time, if need be, kicking toxic people out of my life when their toxicity begins to effect me or those I care about and I can do it without a modicum of guilt.
It took a while to get to this place…this place of peace, love and self-acceptance where everyone I meet accepts and loves me. However, I’m here and I want you to know that, if you’re a victim of bullying…if you struggle to make friends and keep them, if your reputation has been tarnished, know that it doesn’t have to be this way forever! You can’t turn it around to your benefit! Like me, you too can go from being a social outcast to being a social butterfly. Don’t you dare give up!