If you witness bullying…

stop bullying

… don’t do nothing. Because doing nothing is still something. And we might not understand the gravity of standing by. Bullying can range from name calling and teasing to violence, intimidation and harassment, and can manifest at school, at work, or online. So if we do witness bullying, here are a few ways of doing something about it:

  1. Don’t make assumptions about the bully’s motives or the victim’s feelings. It might seem as if the bully’s words are meant as a harmless joke and it might seem as if the victim brushes them off, but that may not be the case. And even if it is, that’s not an excuse to ignore it.
  2. Don’t encourage the bully. It might be tempting to laugh at a bully’s remarks or gossip about someone behind they’re back, in an attempt to fit in or avoid being bullied ourselves, but if we keep encouraging it, we keep normalising it. And bullying has too serious consequences to ignore.
  3. Call it out. If you see the bully in action, in person or online, and you feel safe enough to do so, confront them. Sometimes a bully needs their sense of power to be stripped away. They can thrive on the idea that nobody can stop them. Tell them that they’re wrong. But be careful not to confuse calling out the bully with becoming a bully yourself.
  4. If standing up to the bully is too frightening, focus on the victim instead. Ask them how they are. Listen to them. Offer them the support they ask for. Befriend them. Invite them to sit with you at lunch times. Whatever you can do to make them feel less alone. There’s strength in numbers and it gives the bullied something to look forward to in a usually hostile environment.
  5. Tell someone. Sometimes we might lack authority over the bully, for example if we’re classmates or colleagues. We need find help from someone else, like a teacher or someone in human resources – whoever you feel comfortable talking to and who you can trust. Just make sure you’re sensitive and careful about anything you share about the victim.

Got any other advice? Leave it in the comments!

For more advice on dealing with bullying, visit this post: http://wp.me/p2Q5YU-3C

(Image: Tumblr)

Advertisements

Three things we should act on

Follow your heart quote

There are so many limitations we place on ourselves that make it more and more difficult to act. But as life is for living, here are three things I believe we should always act on:

  1. Dreams – It’s a beautiful feeling to have a dream. But dreams shouldn’t be stored away inside our minds as an escape from reality. Dreams should be our vision for ourselves and the world and we should do everything we can to transform them into reality. Dreams are the way we make life better, for ourselves and for others.
  2. Bullying – When we see a person verbally or physically assaulting another person, we shouldn’t be watching on the sidelines. It can be daunting to put ourselves in the firing line, but nobody should be forced to live in the fear, the insecurity and the hate that a bully inflicts on them. By standing up to bullying, we’re standing up to the control negativity can have over us.
  3. Instincts – We should always follow our senses, our gut feelings, our instincts. Because at the end of the day, we know ourselves best and what feels right for us, more than anyone else can. And if that lead us astray into a pile of mistakes, even better. That means we’re actually living and not just breathing.

What do you think is important to act upon?

(Image: Pinterest)

Song of the Week: Steven by Jake Miller

steven jake miller

Jake Miller may not be everybody’s taste, but the reason why I listen to so many of his songs repeatedly are their messages. ‘Steven’ tells the story of a boy who is alone in the world: he’s bullied by his school friends, ignored by his mother, beaten by his stepfather, and set a bad example by his brother. He has no outlet and has nobody to talk to. This isn’t a story with a happy ending, and although I am a strong believer in positivity (and thats what I base my thoughts and messages on), I think it’s important to raise awareness for some of the darker things in life. The danger about bullying or treating someone badly is that you can never know what is going on in other parts of their life, you can never know how far your words and actions go, whether they only prick the heart or whether something new, something darker begins to grow inside them. They begin to believe what you say, they believe that they’re not worth anything. They feel like there is no way out. And I find it to be so tragic and so heartbreaking that a child or an adult would feel that the only solution to their problems is suicide. We need to be more aware of what we are putting out into the world and what we are feeding to other people. We need realise that our words and actions have consequences, some so drastic that I think some people believe them to be unimaginable. I think we have a responsibility to teach our younger generations and set an example: bullying is never ok, not at school, not in the workplace, not in the street, or within families. Bullying is never ok.

Advice on Dealing with Bullying

Image

Last week in the UK, 14 year old Hannah Smith hanged herself after receiving abusive messages on the ask-and-answer social networking forum, Ask.fm. Although this tragedy attracted a lot of media and government attention (which is good), Hannah Smith’s death is not the only young suicide to have been caused by bullying.

I think it is important for everyone – children, teenagers, and adults, whether they have experienced, witnessed, been affected by, or have only heard of bullying – to understand that bullying, whether virtual or face-to-face, whether intentional or as a ‘joke’, can have serious consequences and cannot be brushed under the carpet as being a normal part of growing up. People take their lives because of it. It is everybody’s responsibility to counteract bullying. No child, or adult, should have to face such torment in their everyday lives. So if you are being bullied, have a friend who is being bullied, or you are the one bullying, here is some information and advice for those dealing with bullying. Please share these with others and take them onboard yourself, because every person, including you, deserves to feel safe and happy.

To clarify, bullying is

… generally repeated behaviour which is used to deliberately hurt someone emotionally or physically through the misuse of power, for example making that person feel worthless, feel bad about themselves, feel scared to go to school etc.

… behaviour that can be verbal (use of words; insults, teasing etc.), physical (hitting, kicking, spitting etc.), social (ignoring, excluding someone etc.), psychological (emotional manipulation, spreading rumours etc.), or cyberbullying (use of technology; sending abusive messages via internet, SMS etc.) – all these are valid and as bad as one another; no type of bullying is ok

… something that can no longer be avoided at home, especially due to cyberbullying

never justifiable

… not only limited to school and children. Adults can experience bullying in the workplace, in friendship groups, and within the family

What to always remember if you are being bullied…

… you are beautiful, strong, and special. You are whoever you want to be, do not let others tell you otherwise. You do not deserve to be bullied, to feel scared or bad about yourself. The end to bullying is not death, but to stand up for yourself because you deserve to feel safe and happy, and to be whoever you want to be. Everyone has their faults and differences, they are what make us unique and special; it does not mean you deserve to be bullied

it is not your fault. A lot of the time, bullying is to do with the bully themselves; they have their own insecurities and may be jealous of something you have (for example they can see you are smart or confident or have nice clothes etc.), so they project their feelings onto you in order to make them feel better about themselves. They need to create a sense power of you and make you feel inferior to feel less threatened and less insecure themselves

you are the bigger and better person. That bully will not get far in life because people value friendship, teamwork, positivity, looking out for others etc. Do not let that bully change you

there are people who love you. Do not tell yourself that nobody appreciates you or sees the good parts of you because you are being bullied. There are people in your life who value your friendship, and care about you. Even if it feels like nobody is on your side, there is always someone to listen or help you. Stick with positive people, even if its just a couple; you don’t have to be the most popular or have loads of friends to feel loved.

What to do if you are being bullied…

tell someone – ignoring the bully can be effective because if the bully sees that you are not reacting or retaliating, they will eventually get bored. It is not worth bringing yourself down to their level. But at the same time, you must stand up for yourself. If the bullying is overwhelming and making you feel scared or depressed, if ignoring the bully is not helping, or if you feel brave enough to stop this behaviour to help others too, tell someone you trust or you know will help – a friend to be an ally and to get your feelings off your chest, a parent, a teacher, a national helpline (easily found on the internet), anybody. Do not suffer in silence, do not wait for someone to notice, do not think that this is normal or justified, do not put up with it because your afraid it will make you more unpopular or a snitch, do not bottle up all the feelings, and do not deal with it alone. You deserve better than this torment.

do not retaliate violently, because this only puts you to their level and could get you into trouble – a response like this shows the bully that he has power over you. I think it is ok to speak up and stand up for yourself, but remain calm and positive

do not ally with or give into the bullyremain kind and friendly because nobody can use that against you. Do not begin bullying others to avoid being bullied yourself, or start gossiping and backstabbing others because that will make you as bad as the bully and could make someone hurt as much as you

stay true to yourself – don’t hide yourself or let the bully’s words or violence stop you from being who you are and doing the things you love. Use those mean comments and your anger to fuel your desires and dreams. Success is the best revenge, and it can be as simple as trying your best to achieve at school; happiness and success is the way of showing the bullying that they do not have power over you and their actions do not define who you are

find a hobby or activity that you can pursue outside the home and school, where you can meet some new people – this will take you away from the situation and your own thoughts about it, which will alleviate stress and give you more perspective and confidence. There are good people and life is worth enjoying

… stay clear of negative people, stay positive, be around positive people, and focus on the positives in your life – your family, your friends, your dreams, your grades etc. Not everything has to be perfect. Make a habit of complimenting others, which will make you and the other person feel good. If you are being physically bullied, try to avoid being alone

if you are being cyberbullied, in addition to the above, do not give personal information to anyone except friends and those who are trustworthy, block any users who are sending abusive messages, but do not delete any of the abusive messages because they can be used as evidence

If you are the bully

Think about what you are saying. One way to do this is by putting yourself in their shoes. Would you want someone to say that about you? Everybody is equal, nobody is better or worse than someone else if they try to do what is right. Bullying someone can make them feel fearful, have low self-esteem, create health problems such as anorexia, anxiety, or depression. It can even lead to suicide. Bullying is not a joke and is not justifiable; bullying is always wrong. Sincerely apologise to the people you have bullied, so that you can move on

… you are not only harming the person you are bullying but yourself too. You will never have real friends or true respect if you bully people. You will suffer in work life and relationships because you haven’t learnt to empathise with others, you cannot work in a team etc. To help yourself, as well as other people, stop bullying. If you feel the urge to bully, talk to someone about it and let them help you turn those emotions into positive ones. Surround yourself with positive people, and do not entertain or breed negativity

If you witness bullying…

do not go along with it just because you are afraid of being bullied too, even if its gossiping about someone or laughing at a bully’s comments. Although you may not be initiating it, watching it happen or involving yourself in bullying makes you responsible too. Don’t let the bully’s actions define how you see that person who is being bullied. Tell someone about the bullying and ask of anonymity. You could even stand up to the bully yourself, because the chances are that others around you will follow