We all know the cliche sayings; “They are just bullying you because they are jealous of you”, “They only bully people because they have low self-esteem” etc.
How many of you have heard these, or similar, sayings? Probably most of you, if not all.. And how many of you that has had these sayings said to them thought “Yeah right, whatever”, accompanied by a roll of the eyes and possibly a shake of your head? Again, I am going to guess and say probably most of you, if not all.
But, I say this with 100% sincerity, they are both accurate, they are both correct. Again, I can almost hear the collective sigh as you read this. But bear with me on this, because I dont say it lightly; bullying is a real problem in society, across most age brackets and in all different forms and levels of severity.
I have, like most people unfortunately, been a victim of bullying. I am currently 28, and I honestly still get it at times.. Yes, at 28. If you are in your teen years reading this I with great sadness inform you that even though you age through years, not everyone matures and “grows up” with age. Whilst kids and teens can be cruel, adults can be just as cruel. I wish it werent the case, but in my experience, it is true.
By why would that bully be jealous of me? What do I have that they dont? They have everything in life and I dont. And on the list goes; they are prettier/skinnier/taller than me, they have nicer hair/eyes/skin tone/complexion, they are better than me at sports/maths/literature skills/people skills and popularity, they have more money than me/my family, they have a better job/house/car/spouse than me…. Human envy has no ending. But see how easy it is for your brain to point out how and why they are better/better off than you?
So is it really that much of a stretch to think that others have the same thought processes and journeys that you do? That you can look at them and see good things about them and their life, even if they have an “ugly” side, that they are currently displaying to you. Different people have different ways of dealing and coping with different things. Some people unfortunately use putting others down as a method of making themselves feel better. The theory behind this? If they make you feel like crap, its easier to make you feel even crappier (like wearing you down, the more they push you down the quicker and easier you go down), and when they cant pull themselves up they find it easier to push you down. And when your down, they are up, right?
Depending on the bully, and your relationship to/with them, you may or may not know what about their life isnt so perfect. And it could be any of the things I mentioned above. Or it may be something else entirely, something else I havent even thought of. But this is the important thing – you dont need to spread or increase the level of hatred that exists in the world by then feeding on what they are bullying you with, and responding to their bullying by bullying them back.
As well as being the important thing, its also the hardest thing. Believe me, I get it. It is all to easy for us to listen to what they are saying; we are our on worst enemy. Seeing our own flaws and imperfections and faults is second nature. So when others tell us that we are inadequate we just believe it. Whether its straight away, or whether it eats away at us.
We also have the fight or flight instinct. Which means that another natural response is to become angry. Which also then increases our chances of lashing back at them in a self defense move. But you know what? That makes it harder, makes it worse. Because you then activate their fight response, and around in circles it goes. And goes. But where does it end?
It will take practice, and I feel that it is easier when it is an ongoing issues (due to the re-occurrence), but you can let it go. You can let it not affect you. And once you get to that point, you will feel so at peace. And maybe you do this by recognizing that their life isnt perfect. That they have flaws. That they have things that are unhappy about with themselves. That they arent perfect beings. So long as in doing this you DONT then become the bully yourself. This isnt about doing to them what they are doing to you by throwing it back at them, but by reassuring yourself that whilst you arent perfect, neither are they.
Or, maybe, when you are having a good moment, on a good day, you can sit and write yourself a reminder list of all the things you like about yourself, and all of your successes. Or start the list and build upon it as time progresses. And it could be anything. A physical attribute, and achievement, even how you felt when you helped someone else. And draw on that positivity in these times. Remind yourself what you are proud of, what makes you happy.
And let their negativity just float past you. Like cars on the other side of the road to you; it approaches you, you see it, and then it is behind you.
And remember, this will take practice to master. You wont get it the first time, but if you practice, you will get it.
On a last note – if you need help, ask for it. From friends, family, loved ones, professionals. There are so many resources available to those who need help. It is never ok for people to make you feel any less of how amazing you are.