I want to touch on a subject that is very real for many of you girls in school. With all of you facing a new school year, the subject of fitting in and bullying is a hot topic for many anti-bullying campaigns and Anti-Bullying organizations across the web.
Bully-awareness and intolerance is becoming a new focus, and I’m really glad that it’s finally getting some attention. But it has been around for generations, and many people (like my mother) were not as equipped to handle the harsh words back then. Understanding the mind of a bully is going to be YOUR biggest asset in being strong, getting through the difficulties and staying true to your beautiful self.
It’s important for me to express this for anyone reading: The problem is NEVER about YOU when it comes to bullying behavior from others.
I’m going to say it again: It’s has nothing to do with you. You are beautiful, talented and amazing just as you are. You may not fully see that right now, but you will (I promise).
What makes a person bully another is a sense of powerlessness. It may sound strange but it is the truth. A bully finds a target, for whatever reason it may seem like on the surface, and attacks because it makes her/him feel safer, better, more powerful (in control) or significant. The underlying emotion behind most people who bully is fear and insecurity. It’s a reaction to an inner turmoil that they are personally experiencing. We don’t always know what’s going on at home to cause the bully to lash out, but more times than not, there are issues.
I was lucky enough to not be the one bullied quite so much in school, but my sister did and I had close friends who were. I do remember a time in the 7th grade when a boy thought it would be cute to make fun of me because I was on the free school lunch program that year. What he didn’t understand was that my mom was a single parent, raising two girls on her minimum wage job. He was a kid who seemed to have a good life, with means, but who knows what he was going through internally or at home. Perhaps his family was having financial difficulties and he was afraid this could be his reality someday. Over the years I realized that most of the kids who bully others are fighting their own insecurities and needs for significance in a place where significance seems to be everything. It’s human nature to want to feel significant, so when a person feels an inadequacy in their lives, they lash out to easy targets: People who may not fight back, people who seem to have less, people who they think are “different”, people they are jealous of.
Bullies only reasons to hurt others is generally because they are feeling hurt, scared, or insecure. When asked, some Bullies replied:
- Because it makes me feel stronger, smarter, or better than the person I’m bullying (insecurity, significance)
- Because I’m bullied at home (learned behavior; sense of powerlessness)
- Because it’s what you do if you want to hang out with the right crowd (the need for acceptance, significance)
- Because I see others doing it (the need for acceptance, fear of not fitting in)
- Because I’m jealous of the other person (Insecurity, feelings of inadequacy)
- Because it’s one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me (fear, the need to feel power, sense of powerlessness otherwise).
The girls I was friends with in school who were bullied were (are) amazing girls with talents, smarts, loyalty, depth, charm and sincerity. There was never a moment in my friendship with them where I thought anything less of them than perfect. They were the ones who may have been misunderstood in school, but in my mind, they were the ones who shined the brightest. For anyone reading this who may be going through a difficult time with cyber-bullying or bullying in your circle of friends or a peer at school, just know that you are perfect the way you are. People say mean things because that is what they are experiencing internally.
Create distance from people who are bullies, negative, possessive, mean-spirited or disloyal. Understand that their words created by their own fears belong to only them, and the road ahead in self-acceptance for them may be a long and hard one. Their internal battle is not yours to fight or deal with.
For more information on this subject, or to get involved, visit StopBullying.gov or STOMP Out Bullying
STOMP Out Bullying™ The leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention organization for kids and teens in the U.S.