“We’re tired of you thinking that you’re better than everyone else!” she shouted. Her comment caught me off guard, but even more alarming was the circle of girls beginning to surround me. One minute I was walking across the field talking to my best friend. A minute later, I was being bullied.
I was shocked because although they weren’t my friends, I didn’t consider them to be enemies. One by one, they hurled insults. Even my best friend remained silent, leaving me alone… I still cringe thinking about it.
Though only 13 at the time, I knew that it wasn’t anything I’d done. They hated me because of who I was. I remember being afraid because NEWS FLASH… I’m not a fighter. But more than that, I felt completely alone.
The lunch bell rang and suddenly, it was over. But for me, it was just the beginning. Physically, they never touched me. But their harsh words landed a blow to my soul. We were part of a special drama team and I knew they hated my talent. Unfortunately, I responded to their bullying by shrinking in order to appease them. I realize now that becoming less of who I was would later contribute to my depression.
Most bullies are cowards who don’t like themselves. They attempt to gain self-esteem by ridiculing and demeaning others. Rather than doing their internal work, bullies attempt to feel better by making others feel worse.
Last week, I appeared on “Arise America” to discuss the Dolphins bullying scandal. While it appears to be a multi-layered issue, one thing is clear—bullying is a cultural norm. Whether in the schoolyard, the workplace or in the family—it is an issue that must be addressed and here are some strategies we can employ:
1. We Are Our Brother’s Keeper: A fool is a danger to us all! We can’t turn a blind-eye to bullying in any form. Most of us are terrified to get involved because when it is all said and done, “We don’t want any trouble.”
When I think back to that day, I remember how alone I felt—even though my best friend and others were there. Before the bullying started, I was clear where they all stood. But when they didn’t speak up in my time of need, I didn’t feel I could trust anybody.
2. Set Rules & Expectations Beforehand: We need to have a zero tolerance policy for bullies. They exist everywhere. Normally, in the name of peace, we let their negativity and hurtful comments slide. But bullies must be confronted.
Bullies don’t always represent a physical threat. They do, however, use emotional abuse to put us in—what they believe to be—our place. As a culture, we must unify against any type of abusive behavior.
3. Don’t Give In: It would be easy to paint bullies with a broad stroke. But the truth is that some—in fact, most—act out of insecurity. The best revenge is to continue to thrive in our brilliance! While their intent is to devalue us, we must fight to keep our self worth intact!
The goal of a bully is to kill something in the victim—usually a unique gift or talent. When others don’t express their giftedness, the entire world loses out on the value that gift brings to the world.
Identify the bullies in your life and communities. What is their impact?
Affirm out loud, “I will not surrender my light, my creativity and my brilliance to someone else’s insecurity. I will max out my potential!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.