Why You Must Take Risks

 

Too many targets of bullying grow too paralyzed with fear to make a move and take control of their destinies. Their bullies and abusers have reprogrammed them to believe that, no matter how hard they try, they’ll always be losers and failures. They’ ve been trained to believe that, to be accepted, they must always march in lockstep with the rest of society- to tread lightly and never rock the boat . And if they didn’t walk carefully, what was in store for them would be emotional- even physical brutality.

I understand because I’ve been there. I know the fear all too well.

In short, targets are taught to take the path of least resistance and stay in their comfort zones. But do you really live your best life when you choose this path instead of your own?

To see positive change in your life, you must be willing to take risks. Whether you’re working on achieving a short-term goal or chasing a dream you’ve had your whole life or whether you want to rid your life of bullies/abusers and surround yourself with better people, risk is not only expected but required.

To get something you never had, you will need to do things you’ve never done and that can be scary. To create something beautiful into your life means you will have to push through the birth pains first, it’s the only choice you have.

I took a risk when I decided to stand up to abuse. I also took risks when I wrote and published my first book, “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.”

I knew it would be risky and I was prepared for it.

In doing both, I not only faced the possibility of failure, but I offended and made many people angry. I lost a lot of people I thought were friends. But that’s alright because I look back now and realize that I really didn’t lose friends at all.

What I did was weed out the people I thought were friends- the fakers, posers, and imposters who only pretended to be but were never friends in the first place.

I also knew that the book would be painful to write because it required that I relive the torment. I chose to push through the pain. Understand that if you ever want to achieve something great, you must step out of your comfort zone and face fear head on.

Life is a gamble. Everything is chance. You can’t win the game if you don’t roll the dice.

And if you really stop and think about it, we roll the dice when we do the most basic things in life – when we get out of bed in the morning, or walk out of our houses, or get in the car to go to work every day. In life, risk is unavoidable. So why not take bigger risks and go after what you want?

Wouldn’t you much rather face the fear of risk now than live with the pain of regret later? I sure would.

After the book was published and a few classmates read it, oh boy! I got quite a few nasty, hateful, and threatening messages and yes, some of it was pretty scary. But I chose to stand strong and continue speaking my truth.

My goal wasn’t only to become a published author, but to use what I endured years ago to help others who are going through it now. I wanted to be the person that I didn’t have, and to give other targets the support I was denied.

But before I could do that, I had to be willing to take risks and to endure some pain along the way. It meant risking my time, my comfort, and my associations. I had to be willing to remove all the negative people from my life and make room for people who were positive, uplifting, and empowering. And you will have to do the same if you want to follow your passion, find your purpose, and create a better life for yourself.

You must be willing to risk it all because the last thing you want is to wake up one morning- eighty years old and say, I woulda, shoulda, coulda done this or I woulda, shoulda, coulda done that.

As for me, I don’t want to have to say, “Oh no! If I’d only done this or that,” or “I had this great idea five, ten, twenty, or thirty years ago and I didn’t act on it because I was too afraid.”

So, do it while you can and be willing to accept the risk that goes with it.

It is either do or die. Risk now or regret later!

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” – Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption

How I Healed from Bullying: Graduation and Beyond

Graduation was bittersweet. Although I was happy to graduate high school, I was sad because I would miss my classmates and teachers from Roseburg High. I felt that it ended too soon.

My first five years post-graduation was full of ups and downs. I struggled with bouts of depression and didn’t know why. I was on the rollercoaster again and desperately wanted to get off but didn’t know how.

I lived, and I worked. I was a mother of two small children but only going through the motions and surviving- existing. It felt as if I was living on autopilot. But then, something amazing happened!

In 1995, I came across a magazine article while on my lunch break at work. The article was about a kid severely bullied at school. Like me, his bullies had tormented him so horrifically that he thought about suicide and eventually transferred to another school. Also, like me, his life changed for the better. He, too, had made a complete turnaround and finally gotten the chance to experience the friends, fun, and excitement that high school was supposed to be.

Reading this article was a turning point for me, and finding it was one of the best things that happened. This piece in the magazine answered so many questions and confirmed that none of the abuse I’d suffered at my classmates’ hands was my fault. The article was also validation that there was never anything wrong with me. It only cemented the truth I’d always known deep down inside- I wasn’t to blame for their abuse.

They were the perpetrators.

They had the issues.

I was being held responsible for problems that were theirs, not mine.

With this confirmation came my empowerment!

During those years, many people, including a few well-meaning family members, had often told me that the bullying I suffered was all in my imagination or wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Many more had said to me that I brought it all on myself. Deep down, I knew better.

blame accuse pointing finger

In my heart, I had known the truth years before I found this article and held on to it. Maybe this personal knowledge was why I resisted my bullies and fought back, even if it meant getting hurt. And perhaps it was why I suffered so many physical assaults. Nevertheless, I needed confirmation- a second opinion of sorts, and the article was exactly what I needed.

At that moment, everything fit together like a perfect puzzle! I cannot express the relief I felt. It was as if the article had lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders. My heart began to soar!

For the first time, I was able to see the bullying for what it was- abuse!

I began to thirst for even more knowledge of bullying and the human predator/prey dynamic. From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on- magazine articles, essays, books, online articles, everything that pertained to bullying and peer abuse.

There were so many unanswered questions:

“What was it about me that made me a target?”

“How had my bullies been allowed to get away with their brutality?”

“What was it about my bullies that made them so charming and good to everyone else?”

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

“What were the ingredients to their charm and allure?”

“Where had their intense hate, mean-spiritedness, and sadistic natures come from? What had precipitated it?”

“Had they too been abused, or were they just spoiled, coddled narcissists infected with schadenfreude?”

So many questions haunted me and increased my curiosity. So, I continued digging for information, like a police detective eager to solve a case.

During the late nineties, I came across Tim Field’s BullyOnline.org and hungrily read every one of his articles. The website was massive, and it took a while to read. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb. If I had questions, I emailed Tim, and he would always reply in a timely and courteous manner.

Sadly, Mr. Field is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer years ago.

It’s been 25 years since I found the article that changed my life, and I cannot tell you how many sources of information I’ve poured through. I can’t measure the truckloads of knowledge attained and how much just the knowing has empowered me.

Between experience and two and a half decades of reading, research, and study, I’ve gained insights that have empowered me even more. That article back in 1995 set me on a path to greater knowledge and a passion for helping other bullying targets through writing and advocacy.

I’ve found what I love to do, and it is so rewarding!

I thank God for placing that article in front of me that day at work. Otherwise, I might still be wandering in the dark and trying to find my way.

That magazine article truly changed my outlook on the bullying I suffered. I no longer see it as something that ruined my life. No.

I see the bullying as an event that gave me a fiery passion for speaking out about my own experiences and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained to help people who endure bullying today. It showed me my life’s work and, through that, gave me eventual confidence and happiness.

I do not need to hate my bullies, nor to take revenge. Turning abuse around to the benefit of others is how I turn victimization into power! And that, my friends, is the best revenge a person can ever take!

If you’re a target of bullying, know this:

What’s happening to you is wrong and it isn’t your fault. You never asked to be brutalized, you do matter, and you are enough!

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

positive happy confident peace hope

Like always attracts like. Everything begins with a thought.

Positive expectations produce positive results

What’s in your head can become your reality.

To get what you desire, you must first think of it.

Thoughts can become things.

A negative mind produces a negative life.

If you predict defeat, you will see it.

A spirit of lack can only bring more lack.

A spirit of abundance will bring abundance.

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Replace negative thinking with positive and watch great and marvelous things flow your way.

Know that a positive and fulfilling life comes from a positive mindset.

When you predict success, you’ll eventually achieve it.

Know that self-fulfilling prophecies are real!

If you think of something, you get more of the same.

When you change your thoughts, you change your LIFE!