For the past couple weeks I’ve been discussing the serious topic of bullying. Bullying is not a harmless act that should be brushed off. Bullying has very real emotional and psychological effects that can last a victim’s lifetime. Depression, anxiety, heightened feelings of sadness or loneliness are all issues that may persist into adulthood. But what if YOU are the bully??? Believe it or not, there are long-term effects to being a bully as well. Those who bully others may partake in other negative behaviors well into adulthood. Bullies are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, get into physical fights, drop out of school, vandalize property, have criminal records, and even be abusive to their romantic partners, spouses, and even their own children as adults.
Let me ask you:
- Does hurting other people or taking their things make you feel better?
- Do you avoid thinking of how your hurtful words and actions may make someone else feel?
- Have you been bullied before and now feel like you have to make up for it by bullying others?
- If you’re bigger, stronger, and/or smarter than others your age do you use this fact to get your way or manipulate others?
- Have you purposefully tried to make someone, even a friend, feel bad?
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If you’ve answered yes, then you may be a bully. When you’re the bully you may experience feelings of worthlessness and you might even hate yourself. I want to encourage you to take the chance to stop being a bully, and here’s how:
Say you’re sorry to those you’ve bullied and follow it up by being friendly to them. They probably won’t trust you right away, but sooner or later they will see you’re for real.
2. Boost YOUR self-esteem
Bullies often have low self-esteem themselves which is why it’s important to explore ways to boost your self-esteem. Find a new hobby, volunteer, get involved with a sport or in a group.
3. Talk to someone
If you’re feeling like you’re having trouble controlling your feelings, such as anger, talk to someone. Your parents, a school counselor or teacher, or a HopeCoach from TheHopeLine (1.800.394.4673)
Also remember that if you are being bullied yourself, responding with force and aggressions is not the best way to end the cycle. Bullying a bully is still bullying. Next week I will address some methods on how to respond to bullies. I want to hear from you about bullying. Tell me your thoughts and questions on my facebook page and don’t forget, you can call in every Sunday night starting at 8 PM Central to talk On-Air with me, or talk off air with a HopeCoach all week long: 1.800.394.HOPE (4673).