A common response to the concept of becoming BullyProof is “Why should I change? He’s the one with the problem, not me.”
I remember asking the same question when confronted with the knowledge that the only way forward was to let go of what had happened in my past and come to a place of forgiveness. But change I did, eventually and reluctantly, bogged down as I was in the need for justice and fueled by the fires of unfairness. And it was the most freeing thing I ever did.
I didn’t have to change. I could have held onto the pain and the anger for ever, keeping myself a victim of and a hostage to events that had already happened and couldn’t be changed.
So my response is always the same to that question regarding bullying. You don’t have to change a thing. It’s entirely your choice to expect the perpetrator to change. You can document it, report it, fight back or try to ignore it, but the result will nearly always be the same. The behaviour might become more covert, your stress levels will rise regardless of which of those paths you chose. You might eventually have to change jobs, take tranquilizers or antidepressants and generally feel either victimized and powerless or angry and in high alert mode.
Do we ask why we should crim safe our homes when we could simply tell criminals to stop stealing our stuff? Of course not. That’s a ridiculous notion but yet we continue to insist that bullies stop bullying and expect it to happen. We crim safe our homes because we take responsibility for keeping them safe. What if we applied the same common sense to ourselves and our dealings with those who would seek to intimidate us? I’m talking about making ourselves and our children BullyProof.
Becoming BullyProof means we are not at the mercy of other people’s poor behaviour. We protect ourselves just as we protect our homes by locking doors and windows, installing outside lights or cameras and making sure neighbours collect our mail and newspapers while we take holidays. These are common sense precautions to keep our property and possessions safe.
Becoming BullyProof is about taking the same precautions but with our thoughts and feelings and sense of self against would be perpetrators. We can learn to become impenetrable to taunts, unkind words, belittling or name calling. This is not the same as ignoring the bully because when we ignore the bad or unfair behaviour of others our emotions are still engaged and it can still cause a reaction in us which is stressful and unpleasant.
BullyProof means we do not give others the power to make us feel bad. And it can be learned. And it not only applies to bullying but to all forms of intimidation or control and other types of relationships. No one has to suffer in silence or take on bullies in long drawn out battles which leaves everyone stressed and emotionally reactive. In an ideal world it would be great if bullies decided to do the right thing and simply give up their nasty games. In an ideal world employers and school principals ‘should’ take our claims seriously and meter out sanctions to a bully. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world.
BullyProof is the way forward for individuals. It’s a paradigm shift which allows us to shift out of the pain and distress of victim hood into empowerment and being sovereign over how we feel. We don’t need to wait for anyone to give us our power back. It’s ours already to claim. Its the power within.