Targets of Bullying and Critical Thinking

Having been a target of bullying in the past and spoken to other survivors of bullying through the years, I’ve noticed another factor that marks people for bullying- a virtue that bullies, authoritarians, and despots despise in others- virtues that make targets, well… targets.

People like us tend to think critically. We’re not like most people. Never do we blindly trust, follow, and obey authoritarian types who think they know more than we do. We question authority. We automatically ask ourselves, “If we follow along, what’s in it for them?” Then, we figure out what their possible motives are.

We Question Everything!

Those like us aren’t too lazy to read the fine print or do our research and figure out the facts. Also, we’re also superb at reading between the lines- reading subtext and deciphering context, non-verbal communication, and probing for incongruousness. If something feels “off,” we’re automatically suspicious of it. Moreover, we know that 2+2=4, not 5! And we know when someone is trying to manipulate us. We practically have a radar for manipulation.

We question narratives and probe the status quo. Also, we do things differently and make it a point to live life on our terms, not someone else’s. Therefore, we’re willing to take whatever comes with it. We refuse to be controlled by feckless fools who are drunk with power. We know all too well that power corrupts because we’ve been victims of it. Everyone is at some point.

People like us are not likely to be ruled by fear. We follow our own intuitions and are very creative with new ideas. We consistently search for better ways of doing, living, and being. Consequently, most people despise us for it. Why? Because most people are trained to follow, and they fall in line and take the safest way through life.

We’re Not Afraid to be Different!

However, we’re not afraid to be different. Again, bullies loathe us for that! And the unspoken messages we get from every direction are clear:

How dare you?

You dare to question those in power?

How dare you scrutinize the beloved and timeless status quo?

How dare you think that you can live your life your way?

Who do you think you are?

How dare you presume to know what’s best for you? Better than peers, teachers, supervisors, institutions, media, governments, and other entities of the ruling authority?

How dare you think that you know more about yourself than we do?

We’re the experts! Not you!

We have the degrees and credentials! Not you!

Oh, the nerve!

The audacity!

The chutzpah!

How dare we?

We Don’t Mind Rocking the Boat!

Oh, yes! People like us get those subliminal messages every day. Nevertheless, when we see that it’s all to their benefit and not ours, we’re not afraid to give the rule-makers a proverbial middle finger. We may not come out and say it, but we show it in our calm and quiet disobedience and refusal to go along. We do it by simply continuing to live our lives the way we want and in a way that gives us advantages.

Bullies hate us because we don’t walk lightly. We’re not afraid to make waves. We’re willing to rock the boat if we don’t like something. We don’t mind going against the grain if we suspect that “the rules” might harm us. Why? Because we cherish freedom, autonomy, and self-determination. And we’ll die before we give them up.

Only we can possibly know what’s best for us and no one else. Only we can determine what makes us happy and what will make our lives better. Also, only we can choose our individual destinies. And only we can define our individual inner realities. Nobody else in the entire world is privy to these things.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

The Nerve! The Audacity! The Chutzpah!

So, you have the gall to think for yourself. Make no mistake! People will hate you. They will demonize you. Others  will consider you a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a riffraff! People will deem you a crazy person who’s “mentally imbalanced.”

Thinking for yourself or being an independent thinker, whatever you prefer to call it, is such sweet freedom. Yet, most people have always been afraid to do it because it’s much safer to follow the leader.  Safety and comfort always come with doing as you’re told without question or without even thinking about it.

Most choose to take the easy path- the safest route and follow the lead of a person in power. And they’ll do it, even if that person hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. Moreover, they’ll comply, even when there’s evidence that the influencer is leading them to their own demise!

The Human Tendency to Allow Others to Lead You to Your Demise

People automatically take orders from someone deemed superior or powerful without ever asking themselves what the person giving the orders has to gain from their compliance.

There’s much truth to the old saying that people are less afraid of death than they are of ostracization from society.

I can certainly understand the fear of bullying, shunning, and ostracization. No one wants others to oust them from “the social club.” Because human beings are hardwired by God and nature to be social animals. Living as a part of a tribe was how we survived back during prehistoric times.  Whereas, anyone who wasn’t a part of a tribe risked starvation and extinction.

The Powerful Urge to Conform

However, it’s easier for the shunned to survive today. And I’d much rather have my freedom. Freedom requires the ability to pick, choose, and think independently despite what others may think of us.

Moreover, when you think for yourself, you step out of your comfort zone and open up unlimited possibilities for yourself. Thinking for yourself means trusting your gut and following your instincts. It means knowing that your gut will always tell you when something doesn’t sound or feel right.

Realize that there’s a reason people have intense hatred toward a person who thinks independently. It’s because the free thinker is least likely to be controlled or to fall for any tricks and manipulation.

The Freedom to Think for Yourself 

The person who thinks for himself is more likely to see right through smoke screens and fakery. Also, independent thinkers know themselves well. They think critically, and, again, they listen to their gut instincts. In that, they refuse to engage in anything that feels unhealthy or dangerous.

Sadly, we live in a culture of bullying- one that demands that we deny our God-given sixth sense. It’s easier to allow others to pressure us to follow along, even to our own detriment. Bullies in power demand that we deny our own needs and human rights. They send the unwritten message that we have no right to defend ourselves nor our families. They decry that we should put them first and ourselves and our loved ones last.

Power Corrupts

Therefore, they use people of great power and influence to persuade us to do their bidding. They pay Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, politicians, and media personalities to convince us. Their message is that we should go along with them and their way of thinking, living, and doing things.

On the other hand, individuality is strongly discouraged, ridiculed, and even severely punished, as is creativity, originality, and meritocracy.

Simply put, bullies in power demand that we do not think for ourselves but only the way they want us to think. And sadly, they successfully hoodwink the majority of us. They dupe us into believing that, just because the people giving the narrative have great power and influence, they automatically know what they’re talking about and “only want what’s best for us and the rest of humanity,” when, in most cases, the exact opposite is true.

Even Powerful People are Fallable 

Remember that these people are not gods. They are human just like the rest of us and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. Understand that they are just as fallable and capable of error.

We must realize that power corrupts, and it takes a special and unique person to not be corrupted by power. We must understand that the vast majority of those in power do not have our best interests at heart but are only out to use us to fulfill their own agendas and end goals. And once they feel that we’ve served our purpose and they no longer need us, they will discard us like dirty diapers.

People in power, who are corrupt, often use beautiful-sounding words and phrases, such as, “for the common good,” and “for the good or betterment of humanity.”

The Masks Evil People Don

They often portray themselves to be the saviors of humanity or warriors and champions for social justice, all while working behind the scenes to destroy the very groups of people they claim to represent and care about.

In short, they hide their evil intentions behind the veneer of philanthropy, love, and goodwill.

Remember that Satan never appears as an ugly red devil with horns and a pointy tail, he always comes as our biggest dream come true, whether it be the man or woman of our dreams, or a sweetheart of a deal that’s hard to refuse. The devil always comes as an angel of light. That is why we should keep our focus on the person’s actions and not their words.

Dare to Think Independently 

That’s why it’s so important that we think for ourselves. We must also understand that there will be sacrifices for it and we will more than likely endure a truckload of hatred and vitriol from countless others, even those we think are friends and allies. Finally, we must trust that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, it will all be worth it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullying Is a Form of Theft- Getting Back What They Stole From You

By nature, children are happy and carefree. Their only responsibilities are to obey their parents and guardians and to complete homework and a few chores. Outside of those responsibilities, they engage in play and pretend, or they’re supposed to.
Bullying has a way of stealing everything that matters from you.

Bullying steals your happiness and takes the joy out of life.

It strips you of your confidence and self-esteem, and with them your sense of safety, security, and peace of mind.

Bullying takes away your dignity and respect, and with it your pride.

Bullying gags you, silencing your voice and overall ability to communicate.
It robs you of self-expression.

Bullying snatches away love and belonging.

It steals your ability to think for yourself and forge your own path in society.

After a while, it tires you out, wears you down, and zaps you of energy.

Bullying steals your childhood and causes you to grow up way to fast. It takes away your innocence and faith in humanity. If you’re a bullied adult, it takes away dignity, respect, and good-standing in a community.

In a nutshell, it robs you of power, of autonomy, and of freedom!

But!

As with anything that is stolen, you can always get it back! And how you get it all back is by keeping company with those who love and uplift you, indulging in your hobbies, displaying your talents, focusing on your goals and dreams, and reciting affirmations every day! You also get it back by working on yourself. You do it by changing your thinking!

Here’s a quick note: I’ve found that when I focus on my goals and where I want to go in life, I don’t have time to focus on any bullying or negativity! Try it! You’ll love it!

I won’t lie to you. It will be tough, and it will take a while. But nothing worth anything is easy or quick. Right?

You’ll never get back the years they bullied you. But if you put in the inner work needed, you’ll eventually get back your confidence, your dignity and everything else they took from you.

I promise you! It’s worth it in the end and you’ll be so glad you were patient and put in the work!

There Are Benefits to Not Belonging to a Clique

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 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, some restrictions 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.

confident blonde teen standing in front of the clique

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.

Any unwritten rule that forbids you to associate with anyone outside of a group is 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 to have or keep friends, these people are not friends.

freedom

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?”

A Deeper Explanation of Power

Everyone wants to have power. You, me, everyone. It’s human nature to seek power. Because to be completely powerless is hell on earth. That’s why I say, everyone wants power, if only a little of it.

When a person is totally powerless, they live their life on autopilot. In essence, they are as a leaf being blown around in the wind. They’re a sailboat without a sail- being blown on whatever course life dictates for them. And it’s a terrible way to live because, without power, you don’t live. You only exist!

Really stop and think about it for a moment. To have power over nothing! Can you imagine it? It’s hard to, isn’t it? It would be the worst thing that could ever happen to you!

Normal people do not have to hurt others to achieve power. They feel powerful through making accomplishments and achievements. They get power from being able to control their own lives, not someone else’s.

People who aren’t bullies get their sense of power through having success in their jobs, their family life, their talents, their finances, and their physical health.  Therefore, people start their own businesses or do strenuous workouts every day. It’s also why they display their talents and gifts. And it’s why they take pride in their families.

For instance, a mother gets her sense of power from her ability to create a good home for her babies. A comedian gets his sense of power from doing stand-up comedy and his ability to make people laugh. A singer gets her sense of power from her ability to entertain people with her beautiful voice, through song. An athlete gets his sense of power through competing in and winning at a sport, and a student gets her sense of power through making exceptional grades, getting diplomas/degrees, and winning titles, such as Honor Roll, Summa Cum Laude, or Magna Cum Laude. And they all do it without stepping on others.

Understand that getting power this way doesn’t require hurting others and there are no winners and losers. There’s equality, cooperation, and mutual respect. This kind of power is known as personal power.

In her book, “The Abusive Relationship,” Patricia Evans puts power in two categories- personal power and power over.

Personal power is power over your life’s trajectory. It’s the power to direct your own path- to choose your own wants, having the autonomy to make choices and decisions for yourself, and to do your own thing. There’s no need to harm another person because you are already the director of your own life-movie. Having personal power puts you in the driver’s seat of your life and you are the one who chooses your destination and which route you want to take to get there.

You are the captain of your own ship. The winds may change and blow you off course, but with personal power, you have a rudder to steer your ship back on course. You may have to take detours, and yes, you may have to take the long way to your destination, but you know where you’re going, and you eventually get to where you want to go.

Sadly, bullies cannot achieve personal power. Why? Because bullies are incompetent fools who have no intelligence (social or otherwise). They also have no sense of responsibility, no talent- no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The only way bullies can achieve satisfaction, happiness, success, or self-actualization (power) is to inflict harm on others. The only way they can achieve power in their jobs, families, finances, etc. is by steamrolling people. Bullies are so inept they can’t even survive in this world without hurting others. This kind of power is called power over.

Power over is lording it over another person through force, coercion, and trickery. Power over violates boundaries. It shows no respect or regard, and it seeks to oppress and block the target from all the good things in life- love, peace, success, happiness- freedom. In power over there is a winner (the bully) and a loser (the target). Power over is a zero-sum game. Always!

Power over is against personal power and it only takes it away.

If you’re a target of bullying, it’s so important that you begin taking steps to take back your personal power. Only then will you be free. You will finally begin living instead of existing.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

You Should Never Let Bullies Tell You What to Do

A crazy young man in a white shirt standing and screaming at a woman in a pink dress. Women don’t care and looking at the camera with a toothy smile—indoor studio shot, isolated on light brown background.

Targets should never give in to their bullies’ demands nor requests, no matter what. And they should never let their bullies talk them into anything. I know, I’m one to speak because many times, years ago, I caved in.

However, knowing what I know now, I’d take a beating before I’d give in to them because I realize that I’d more than likely have to take a beating anyway. Bullies are known for constantly changing their rules and demands to fit their needs and narratives.

Understand that bullies may give you empty promises and false incentives. They may sweet talk you, or they may threaten you with even more exclusion, more smears of your name, and more bullying.

But here’s the thing. Here’s something that targets don’t think about:

You can’t lose something you never had. Your bullies already hate you, and they already want to hurt you. So, it’s not like you can lose any ground with them because you never had it in the first place.

So think about it. Dig deep and think.

Bullying Is A Form of Theft. But You Can Always Get It All Back!

By nature, children are happy and carefree. Their only responsibilities are to obey their parents and guardians and to complete homework and a few chores. Outside of those responsibilities, they engage in play and pretend, or they’re supposed to.
Bullying has a way of stealing everything that matters from you.

Bullying steals your happiness and takes the joy out of life.

It strips you of your confidence and self-esteem, and with them your sense of safety, security, and peace of mind.

Bullying takes away your dignity and respect, and with it your pride.

Bullying gags you, silencing your voice and overall ability to communicate.
It robs you of self-expression.

Bullying snatches away love and belongingness.

It steals your ability to think for yourself and forge your own path in society.

After a while, it tires you out, wears you down, and zaps you of energy.

Bullying steals your childhood and causes you to grow up way to fast. It takes away your innocence and faith in humanity. If you’re a bullied abult, it takes away dignity, respect, and good-standing in a community.

In a nutshell, it robs you of power, of autonomy, and of freedom!

But!

As with anything that is stolen, you can always get it back! And how you get it all back is by keeping company with those who love and uplift you, indulging in your hobbies, displaying your talents, focusing on your goals and dreams, and reciting affirmations every day! You also get it back by working on yourself. You do it by changing your thinking!

Here’s a quick note: I’ve found that when I focus on my goals and where I want to go in life, I don’t have time to focus on any bullying or negativity! Try it! You’ll love it!

I won’t lie to you. It will be tough, and it will take a while. But nothing worth anything is easy or quick. Right?

I promise you! It’s worth it in the end and you’ll be so glad you were patient and put in the work!