Sadly, as most of us already know, Dusty Hill of ZZ Top passed away just the other day. I feel as if this is the end of an era. During the last few years, many great musicians have left this world- Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, and now, Dusty Hill.
Like writing, music was another thing that helped me survive bullying years ago. It was one of my escapes and I don’t know what I would’ve done without either one.
So, here’s my tribute to ZZ Top and to the music I’m so blessed to have grown up listening to!
Love the people in your life and love making them feel good about themselves and about their relationship with you. Spend as much time with them as possible. And know that, second to only God, they are more precious than gold.
When people talk of tolerance, I immediately cringe. I don’t find the word very attractive because let’s be real here. The word itself has a bad smell. To put it bluntly, it sounds downright gross!
Sadly, many targets of bullying are so afraid of being alone that they settle for friends who aren’t friends at all. And the people the target associates with may keep the target under the impression that he’s being accepted when, in fact, they may only be tolerating him. And you can tolerate someone without accepting them.
I know a few who assume that acceptance and tolerance mean the same but they don’t. The difference between the two is huge.
For example, you’re in polite company and the guy sitting next to you, (who happened to scarf three huge bean burritos for supper last night, then put away three eggs for breakfast this morning) covertly eases forth a silent but deadly fart. You catch the first nauseating whiff but can’t hold your nose nor leave the room without seeming rude to everyone else in the room.
Instead, you only sit there, trying to keep a poker face, and nonchalantly hold your breath until you’re sure the smell has dissipated. That’s what tolerance is.
Tolerance means that people allow the target to be around but secretly wish he’d go the hell away. And it has a way of seeping through in how they think of the person, how they act around him, and how they behave toward him.
So, how is the target to know if he’s being tolerated?
Here are the signs:
1. The target will be excluded from any events or social gatherings.
If you’re the target, you’ll often hear the rest of the group talking about the barbeque or sleepover they had over the weekend. You know, the one that none of them thought to invite you to? Show these morons you have a modicum of self-respect and walk away. You don’t need them.
2. The target will feel left out because the other members of the group will be communicating with all other members except her. You’d much rather be alone than to be lonely. Alone is when you’re physically by yourself. Lonely is when you’re among people, yet you’re still alone because to them, you don’t exist. You can be alone but not be lonely. Realize that if you ever feel lonely and you’re in a group, that’s the time to tell them to go kick rocks and be on your way.
3. The target will feel as if he’s tagging behind the group.
Again, if they seem to always leave you behind, eighty-six them and bid them goodbye.
4. Other members of the group will voice their hatred of the target anytime he isn’t around to hear it. The target will then hear about it later. If they stab you in the back, it’s time to ditch them. You’d much rather be by yourself and keep your dignity rather than stay among those toxic people and lose it.
5. There’s always that sickening “elephant in the room” feeling.
Feeling awkward around these people is a sure sign that they don’t deserve your friendship. Understand that this is only your gut trying to warn you about these people. Listen to it!
If people tolerate a person, they only permit having them around when there’s no other choice. And they’ll take every chance of voicing their seething hatred of the person when he/she isn’t around to defend themselves. They allow the person to be around because there’s no way they can make them go away or say anything without looking like a heel. When the tolerated person is present, the rest just grin and bear it.
Here’s why the target should drop these people:
1. By continuing to be around people who tolerate him/her, the target decreases his value as a person. That’s right. Anytime you must crawl behind people who don’t give a crap about you, you make yourself look like you have no other options. People who see this lose all respect for you and think you’re weak and worse, desperate. Therefore, your value will drop like a meteor!
2. You’ll risk being used and abused. Any time you’re desperate to have friends, you’ll settle for any crumb of human connection. You’ll be willing to put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone.
Users and abusers will take notice of this and hang around only to get something from you. And those who are decent people and would otherwise be good friends will want nothing to do with you because desperation is so off-putting and only repels them.
3. You’ll only embarrass yourself and further erode your self-esteem. If you don’t have respect for yourself, no one else will either. No one respects anyone they deem pathetic.
You need to muster up some pride and stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself! Begin rejecting them and have nothing more to do with them. Then watch your value rise again and see how much better you feel about yourself afterward.
Tolerance just plain sucks! For both parties! It sucks for the others because they don’t want to be around the target but don’t know how to get rid of them without looking like a bunch of jerks. It also sucks for the tolerated person because he/she in a place they’re not welcome and in a situation in which they’re mistreated and even abused. It sucks for everyone involved because the energy in the room is bad.
Anytime a person in a group of people is only tolerated, everyone feels it.
Tolerance includes resentment. It’s gritting your teeth, sitting there with contempt on your face, and drumming your fingers until the person finally leaves. Tolerance makes the tolerated person feel crappy because it’s begrudging and there’s suffering on the part of the tolerating people.
We tolerate people we find disgusting and abhorrent.
Acceptance is a much better term. With acceptance, people are at least willing to see the value the disliked person brings to the table although he’s a person they wouldn’t have chosen. It’s receiving the person and allowing them a degree of freedom and respect despite differences.
Acceptance is sitting quietly and letting the person just be. It’s embracing her good qualities regardless of your dislike of him.
With that said, understand that you don’t deserve to be around the people who only tolerate you. Better yet, they don’t deserve the privilege of even being in your presence. It’s much better, not to mention healthier, to be by yourself until you meet people who will not only accept you but celebrate you.
I can’t stress this enough! You deserve to be among those who love you and who care deeply about you. Never, ever settle for people who only tolerate you just to keep from being alone.
Sometimes life tests us and we must be alone for a while before it finally rewards us with people who are meant to be in our lives. In the meantime, use this time of solitude for a deep self-evaluation and for getting to know yourself again. You just may discover strengths and qualities you never knew you had!
Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.
1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.
2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullied taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.
3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.
4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.
5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.
6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”
Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!
There is no better feeling in the world than the feeling of being totally at peace with yourself and the world around you. To get to this place, you just have to give it all up to The Lord and go with the flow and be thankful for what you have and the people in your life who love, value, and support you.
Everyone has both positive and negative experiences with others, which can determine the level of confidence and self-esteem. The trick is to keep the positive either equal to or higher than the negative.
When targets of bullying feel hopeless and pushed to the breaking point, it means that they’ve had so many negative experiences with people that any positive experiences they once had become irrelevant.
Think of confidence and self-esteem as a bank account. If others bully a child nonstop for long enough, their positive account can quickly be depleted, then go into the negative.
If you’re a parent and your children are targets of bullying at school, it’s imperative that you and others who love them continue to deposit “money” into their banks every day with words of encouragement and love. You also contribute by teaching them the importance of confidence, and creating plenty of positive experiences for them.
Positive words, actions, and experiences must equal or, better yet, outnumber the negative ones they get from bullies at school. Only then will the self-esteem be prepared, and the victimized child begin to regain that confidence.
Finally, once confidence is restored, the child will be better able to combat bullies and, ultimately, cease to be a target.
Understand that, although talking about the abuse they suffer and getting it out in the open does help with healing, it only does so much. For any target of bullying to keep their self-esteem and confidence from completely tanking, we must, at the very least, help them create just as many positive experiences as the negative experiences they get from being the target of bullies.
We must help them establish friendships outside of the bullying environment and create wonderful memories. That is the best kind of therapy there is.
Add that with encouraging the target to open up about the abuse and being a good listener, then you have a sure-fire way for them to restore their confidence.
If others perceive you as weak, you can use that to your advantage! Allow me to explain further.
My classmates thought that I was weak, and, at times, I used it to elicit sympathy from others. I knew that if I could appear too vulnerable, and tempt my bullies to become “too aggressive,” I would gain sympathy from others and paint my bullies as the bunch of sadistic psychos they truly were.
It was in these cases, although few, that my bullies only created a martyr and got called out by a teacher or another member of school staff for the vicious snakes they were.
Don’t Show Your Cards words on a pair of aces kept secret from your competition and negotiating partner so you get the best deal possible
Therefore, there are times you must expose your bullies by appearing “too weak.”
For example, if you have a disease or disability, you can use it to get sympathy and make your bullies look barbaric. And who wouldn’t be outraged to hear of or see someone picking on a person who’s too sick to fight back?
Here’s another example. If you’re a female with a tiny build and you’re a target of bullying, you can milk it for all it’s worth if you know how to. You’ll have allies and protectors coming out of the woodwork and in droves.
Or, if you’re a typically charismatic guy and a peacemaker who doesn’t like to fight, you will also have people come to help you out.
Even naivete can be used as a weapon if you know how to use it properly.
Use what are perceived to be your weaknesses as weapons! Once you learn to do this, you’ve won the battle!