Empowering Ourselves and Each Other, Against Bullying

Sad Fairy by desibucket.com

“If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.” ~Taylor Swift

Bullies have been around since the beginning of time.I honestly believe that everybody has been bullied at some time in their life. I myself was bullied as a child. I was the smallest in the class, which made me an easy target. But the type of bullying going on today is astronomically worse than anything I ever had to deal with.

It was enough to have been teased and tormented in front of a kids of 5-20 people on a playground. I couldn’t imagine being bullied in front of thousands, possibly millions of people around the world. It’s a real possibility with the internet. That is why so many young people like Amanda Todd from Canada, felt so defeated.  Imagine your most humiliating moment in life going viral…….The mere thought of such a thing as an adult would push me to therapy.

Let me digress, because dwelling on a problem does not help to solve it. We recognize what bullying is, that it can be devastating to be a victim of it, and it needs to stop. So how does it stop, or how can we help stop it? We stop it by strengthening our support systems.

As a child, I was bullied; but it didn’t last long. Why? Cause I had sisters who could and would fight! I”m not preaching violence; hear me out. What I had is a support of sisters, stronger than me, who protected me, gave me value and taught me to be strong. That’s what we need to be to one another-Strong Sisters!

The Lasting Impact of Bullying

When I read Amanda Todd’s story, my heart broke. By the time I got to the middle of the article, my stomach was in knots. A lot of things came back to me and I felt her pain. I remembered the time a boy named Ralph followed me home from school wanting to fight me- for what reason I still don’t know. I was just walking home from school. I was in the 1st grade.

It was cold and there was a ton of snow everywhere. We crossed West Ave, the street the school was on, and were on the opposite side of the street. Off school property and away from the crossing guard. As soon as we got in front of Ms. McDonald’s candy store, Ralph just hit me in the head. I fell down and he pushed my head into the hard frozen snow-hard!

My nose began bleeding and I had a cut on my upper lip. All the kids were laughing. I was hurt, and scared. He kept yelling, calling me names, and daring me to get up so he could finish me. Again, I did nothing to this boy. I was a quite kid. Kept to myself, behaved in class and did what I was told. This, to my recollection  was the first fight I had been into (besides my little sister) and it was with a boy much bigger than me.

I distinctly remember feeling completely alone in a gigantic world where no one cared what happened to me. It was exasperating…..I was blocks from home and terrified to get up because I thought he would just keep pounding me. Then, out of no where my sister Amy (not that big herself), who was 3 years older, came running across the street and beat the crap out of Ralph! She even socked a few kids for laughing. Then she walked me home. Ralph never messed with me again after that. Actually, I didn’t get bullied anymore in the 1st grade. There were some instances after that, but none that I can remember as vividly as this one……after all these years, I still remember every emotion and all the pain.

Most recently, I experienced a situation of betrayal, and it was still raw when I read Amanda’s story. A friend, a very good friend (so I thought), had violated my trust. This was a very, very good friend of mine-almost best friend. For many years I loved and respected this person like a sister. I shared almost everything with her.

Recently I found out that this “friend” was talking about me behind my back. That, didn’t bother me- people talk. I was a little ticked, but I let it go and didn’t even say anything to her about it.

But what did bother me was the fact that this person was not only talking about me, but she was telling all my business-my secrets-and even lying on me.  I mean telling some BIG lies. How did I find out? Let’s just say a little birdie told me…..nah, more like many, many little birdies!

I was devastated. To trust someone and then be betrayed? That’s how some people/bullies get you. They gain your trust and then Wham!

I imagine that Amanda felt betrayed and why I was so touched by her struggle. Unfortunately her pain led to her ending her own life, something that is beyond comprehension to some and way too acceptable for many others. There are lots of Amanda’s out there, and it is up to each of us to save them.

It is time to put value back into life. Life is precious and each one of ours is priceless. I don’t care how many children your parents have, there will never be another you. Humanity is becoming an endangered species, and it is time to protect it!

Empowering Against Bullying

The word “empowerment” means, To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. And that is what we need to do with bullying; take back out power and authority over those who have and tried to take it from us. Here’s some ways we get back our power and authority over our own lives……

1.) Understand that people talk. No matter who you are, people are going to talk about you. Most of them will never do it to your face. We all talk about people-it’s human nature. So don’t let what people say bother you. Recognize that what others say about you only has power over you if you let it. You are who YOU say you are. And that’s all that matters.

I have never said anything to this “friend” that betrayed me. Partly because I don’t want the drama, and partly because I don’t want to go to jail. I don’t trust my anger level at this point. I merely cut her off. I wrote a poem about it called “The Many Faces of My Best Friend” (use the link). Read it and you’ll understand why I don’t need to confront her and hopefully it will encourage you.

2.) Get closer to God. Whatever your definition of God/Religion/Spirituality is, get closer to it. Whatever it is though, make sure it is positive. I will never believe that the God that Created this beautiful world with it’s vast diversity of people, is in any way evil. People make the decision to hurt people, God has nothing to do with that. What He does have to do with is getting your through it; if you give Him the chance. There is a satisfying comfort in knowing that there is someone or something out there, bigger than everything in the world, that has your back.

3.) Protect one another. As I said earlier, my sisters protected me, which allowed me to recognize that I have value. We tend to protect the things we love and cherish. Their protection showed me that I was worth fighting for. When you see someone being bullied or teased, don’t join in. Don’t ignore it either! Speak up for them and put a stop to it if you can. You don’t have to confront the bully, especially if it is dangerous; just show the person that they are not alone by giving your support. Just be a friend.

4.) Protect yourself online. Don’t give anybody ammunition to attack you. Watch what you put out on social media sites. The majority of the people on your social sites, you do not know personally. They are merely an avatar-not a friend. Don’t confuse the two!

5.) Disengage from cyber bullies.  Cyber bullies are a vicious breed, mainly because people get some sort of “power” from saying things behind a screen. Keyboard thugs is a good name for them. They feel less threatened, thus they can say some very mean things. Especially those who operate in anonymously. They are the worst! In the event that someone begins/tries to cyber bully you, disengage. Unfriend/follow/like the person and everyone else that is associated with them. If need be, shut your page (s) down. Seeing that crap every time you log on is not worth it.

6.)Talk to someone you trust. Don’t be afraid to talk to your parents or loved ones about what is going on. Let them help you. Most of you can’t do this alone……

7.) Be an encourager. I am a big believer in Karma and reaping what one sows. If you sow encouragement, it will come right back to you. I also believe that your actions are contagious. You’ve heard the saying, “birds of a feather, flock together?” Well it’s true. Become an encourager of yourself and others and pretty soon that will be the only type of people flocking to you.

8.) Find positive ways to express yourself and your feelings. You don’t have to put everything on line or tell a friend all of your business. I just learned that recently. Get a diary/journal or find artistic ways to express yourself-like poetry and painting. These will give you the outlet you need without exposing too much of yourself to the world.

If any of you, young or adult (adults suffer from being bullied also) are being bullied, I want you to speak up. No one can help you if you are silent. If you are too embarrassed to talk to someone in your immediate circle, send me an email. I will do what I can to be helpful and to get you some help-and you have my word that what you say will be confidential!  No matter where in the world you are.

Email: thebutterflybridge10@gmail.com

The Butterfly Bridge is designed to be a support system for women and girls around the world. We are working on creating a site that will be just that. It will be a teaching/mentoring/pen pal type of site-strictly for females only-that will create friendships, support, educate and advocate for all women around the world. Coming soon…..!!

Until next time Butterflies,

Steen

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