Anti bullying campaigns, for all their beautiful intentions do not have the power to stop bullying.
Just as the get tougher on crime slogans, the war on cancer, drugs and terror have done nothing to eradicate these harsh situations, neither will anti bullying programs.
They can never work effectively enough to see a drastic reduction in any of these areas for two reasons. The first is that opposing anything breaks a fundamental spiritual and psychological law.
“What we resist, persists and actually grows in size.” This quote is attributed to Jung, the father of modern psychology although there is no evidence to support he actually said it. Nevertheless one doesn’t have to be a genius to see the evidence of it in everyday life.
What we fight against, we strengthen. Anti bullying campaigns focus on fighting bullying. Think of all the times in your life you’ve fought against something. How far did it get you? If you are honest, not very far. Eventually you had to soften your stance or change your perspective or admit defeat. And let’s not forget the emotional cost of the fight.
Fighting against causes never work. Finding long term solutions that work always involve changing the paradigm, in other words looking at the problem from a different perspective. Dealing with the human fallout from bullying is by far the best and most effective solution to bullying.
And this leads me to the second reason why these attempts to eradicate bullying might win a few battles but they’ll never win the war.
Fighting bullying fails to address the cause just as any fight or any war does. Fighting is nothing more than rigourously defending a point of view. In the case of bullying the point of view defended is that bullying is bad and that one party is right and the other wrong.
And this is seriously misguided.
Believe it or not bullying serves a purpose. Oh I hear you all screaming from behind your screens. “Are you crazy? What sort of left wing crap is this?”
Hear me out. Adopt an open mind. No problem can be solved with the same mentality that created it but that’s what we’ve been attempting to do with these anti bullying campaigns.
Bullying is a personal power imbalance in both parties involved in the exchange. Everything is energy and the easiest way to see this more clearly is through the emotions.
One person tries to steal power from the other by making them feel bad, weak or powerless. The target then allows themselves to take the words, actions or visual cues very personally and become hurt. Their power or their energy is given away freely and totally unconsciously. The energy has been exchanged and one person has been left feeling powerless and in some cases shattered.
Being bullied doesn’t feel good at all. In fact it can really hurt. But does it have to be like that? Definitely not. We can teach people to become immune to bullying and for it to have little or no effect on them. The worst thing about bullying is not that it happens, but in how it makes us feel. And believe it or not, we can learn to choose how we feel.
Here’s another paradigm shifting idea.
Being bullied gives us an opportunity to recognize how easily we allow other people to ‘make’ us feel bad. It allows us to see where our power leaks are and to redress that. It also gives us a chance to become more fully empowered in all areas of life.
Fully empowered people either don’t get bullied or are immune to it. Their sense of self is so strengthened that they do not crumble in the face of criticism, however nasty or demeaning.
But isn’t this victim blaming?
Far from it. Victim blaming says you caused it or it’s your fault. Becoming empowered means you take responsibility for how you feel and respond instead of reacting.
I’m inviting you to see how a shift in perspective has the power to change this ever increasing problem and if you or someone you know is suffering now or still carrying the effects of being bullied in the past, then contact me. I’m available for either workplace training or one on one coaching consultations.