“Youtiful”

A state of being.

That amazing combination of being yourself and being beautiful.

Be you.

Be beautiful.

Be “youtiful!”

You’re Not a Victim, You’re a Target.

During the last year, an epiphany has occurred to me and I’ve begun to stray away from the word “victim.” More and more, I have replaced that word with the word, “target.” I’ve come to realize that, yes, I was a target but, was I ever a victim?

I want to tell you that if you’re being bullied, could it be that you’re not a victim but a target? And could it be that you’re a target not because you’re weak or inferior, but because you’re a threat? Because your voice and your very being are powerful?  So powerful, it scares them to death?

If you survived bullying, you’re no longer a target. And it could be that you never really were a victim. But you are a victor! That’s right! You’re a winner because you’re an overcomer!

Victim mentality is the downfall of many survivors of bullying. It keeps you down, keeps you defeated, keeps you oppressed, and keeps you a “victim.” This kind of thinking also keeps you dependent. It breeds laziness and the attitude that the world owes you something. Or it leads to resignation, hopelessness, and the attitude of defeat. It’s the root of a condition termed, “Learned Helplessness.”

Do you know what’s worse? It also has the undertones that you’re somehow inferior. You’re not!  When you have the victim mentality, you’re afraid of taking back your power because to do so requires personal responsibility.

Taking back your power means that you make your own reality and make your own decisions, your own path, and your own successes, all of which require that you take risks and risk the possibility of failure.  And yes! It’s scary!

You must create your own happiness and whether you know how to do that, the responsibility is still there and always will be.

Again, the victim mentality requires that, subconsciously, you feel inferior and I want you to know with every fiber of your being that, you’re inferior to no one! It dictates that you think that you’re nothing without the consent of another person, entity, or higher power and that’s wrong!

Who is anyone to decide who you are or what you can do?

I’m not a victim. Yes, when I was young and being bullied, I felt like a victim and thought I was. But was I really? Although the memoir about the bullying I endured is entitled, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying), was I really a victim? I’ve come to realize that I was a target. I was never a victim!

I say this because I had the victim mentality when I was young, and it almost ruined my life. Please don’t let it ruin yours. I realize that being a target of bullying is one of the hardest things a person can endure. But one thing your bullies can’t take is your mind unless you allow it. Please don’t allow them to change your thought patterns because that’s what they want and you deserve better- much better!

I was fortunate that my eyes were opened and that I managed to shed negative thinking and adopt a winning attitude. But many victims stay stuck in a self-defeating mindset, continue to have the worst luck, and lose all hope.

In closing, know that no matter how bad things get, there’s always hope. Hold on to it.

Thanking My Bullies for Lighting a Fire Under Me

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you. You inspired me to journal and to write everything down, then to save those journals. Thirty years later, I was able to dig those journals out and write my memoir.

It’s what I’d been planning all along. I waited until the time was right, then wrote and published my book. Then published more books, fiction, all with bullying in their plots. I thank you for inspiring me to become an advocate for the bullied and published author- to help others who suffer. You always said I wouldn’t, but I did!

I thank you for giving me passion, purpose, and goals to work toward. And let me tell you, I enjoy what I do!

It’s funny, isn’t it? How easily negatives can be turned into positives? How yesterday’s pain can become today’s strength? How victims can become not only survivors, but victors?

You made me a fighter, a winner, a conqueror! And I’m glad because if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have a purpose and would probably still be searching for the path I was meant to be on.

Cheers to all of you! There’s more to come!

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

Exposing Bullies And Protecting Yourself From Future Attacks

Here’s a list of several things you can do to rip the mask off and keep yourself safe.

1. Know your enemy. How you do this is to stand back and always OBSERVE the people around you, but without looking like you are watching them. Pay close attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. This is how you find out who the trouble makers are.

If you see another student or coworker gossip and make trouble for others, you can be sure that in time, they will do the same to you. This is how I now know who to avoid at all costs. However, be advised that avoidance will not work if you have a determined bully after you. If a person wants to get to you badly enough, they will seek you out until they find you.

2. Document everything! As it has been said, “if it isn’t documented, it never happened”. Keep a journal and write down everything. I did this in junior high and high school just in case one of my bullies either hurt me bad enough to hospitalize me or worse…killed me.

You must write down the names of your bullies, the names of any bystanders or authority (teachers, principal, or any member of authority) present at the time the altercation took place, the date, time, place it happened, what happened and if possible, why it happened. Also, record what is said and by whom. Document every… single… detail!!

3. Do not reveal any information about yourself that you would not want to be told to anyone. Including your friends! If you do, you’re asking for trouble because if you are the target of a bully, you can be sure that your bullies will, at some point, either try to pry information about you out of your friends or they will turn your friends against you altogether.

4. Keep a low profile. Don’t do anything that may draw attention to yourself. And stay away from places the bullies may gather. Think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Just don’t make it obvious to your bullies that you are ducking and dodging them. I avoided several confrontations by simply laying low.

5. Save any threatening texts, emails, and/or voice mails for evidence. And if possible, set your cellphone to record during any altercation brought on by a bully, provided it is hidden in your pocket. You certainly do not want the bully to know what you are doing. keep your composure and be sure not to tarnish the recording by yelling or using foul language.

Schools are now becoming more aware of the issue of bullying. If you happen not to have a cellphone, keep a digital recorder handy (if possible) and be ready to record as soon as the torment starts.

6. NEVER brag about any evidence you have against a bully. Not even to your best friend…PERIOD! Again, bullies have a knack for prying information out of people, even your friends. They can also turn your friends against you, making them more than happy to volunteer the information. Don’t do it! Anytime you are a target of bullies, you are in no position to trust anyone!

7. Call the bully out in front of an audience. This is risky and could bring retaliation. However, the bully will also know that you are on to him/her and you just might intimidate them enough that they will leave you alone. It happened for me on a few occasions.

But keep in mind that this doesn’t happen for everyone. Calling the bully out in front of people can also humiliate the bully and make that person more determined to get you. So access the bully’s personality and the situation carefully before you decide to do this.

Ripping the mask off the bully…layer by layer.

You’ll See It When You Believe It

I’ve always heard people make the statement, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The problem is that our attitudes shape our perspectives and perspectives shape what we see. Put another way, our perspectives can blind us to a lot of stuff, even to what’s right in front of our faces. Because, if you have the mindset that you’ll believe it when you see it, the chances are that you never will see it.

This is the reason many targets are bullied. It’s the reason why innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. It’s also the reason why many bullies and criminals are promoted to high positions. Because of others’ attitudes!

We often base our judgments of others on our attitudes towards them, by what we’ve heard about them, or whether we like them. Many times, we judge others too harshly because we can’t see past our dislike or hatred of them.

We also do this with our own lives as well. If we’ve had a string of adversity throughout our lives, we usually come to expect more of the same. And sadly, we end up getting just that!

We come to see ourselves as unlucky, undesirable, unlovable, and incapable of success. As a result of our thinking, we get more and more adversity because our attitudes and perspectives about our lives will blind us to opportunities- opportunities that are, more than likely, right in front of us- opportunities that others may see and seize. Then, we’ve missed out once again and thus, the cycle begins, yet again.

Case in point, our attitudes and perspectives have ways of shaping and influencing our lives, the things that happen in our lives, and where our lives take us. They attract people and events.

This is why we must do the inner work to change our thought patterns. We must check our attitudes and work to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The only way you will have a positive life is to have a positive attitude, then a positive perspective, which can only develop by having positive thoughts.

I know it’s hard to do when it seems that adversity is coming at you from every possible direction. Believe me, I understand because I’ve been there.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But I promise you this. If you start now by catching each negative thought and replacing it with a thought that’s positive, you’ll be surprised at how much better your life will get!

“What if it doesn’t work out?” Oooooh! But “What if it does?”

It worked for me and it’ll work for you too!

Targets, You Can Be Dangerous to Your Bullies

Having a moral compass and a strong sense of self is a huge threat to bullies. Why? Because those are things they don’t have. Bullies know that anyone with these qualities will see right through them and, even worse, blow the lid off the dirty secrets they try to hide.

Also, such a person is a threat to their popularity and social status. Anyone who has a moral compass and a strong sense of self is also more likely to be trusted and well-liked by others. They outshine bullies and make them look (and feel) like the losers they are. And they do it without trying! They do it simply by being their natural selves.

Should it be any wonder that these people attract so much hatred? Is it at all surprising that they have so many people who try to tear them down?

Know that if you’re a target of such vile behavior, it isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s because there’s something right with you!

So, hold on to that!