Updated: Apr 27
I'm going to take a more serious turn and talk about mental and emotional health. Recently I read a blog post about body shaming and it sparked a fire in me that I have not felt in some time. I want to discuss bullying. Everyone has endured bullying at least in one point of their life. Whether they just had braces put on, have a lot of acne, or are body shamed, kids for some reason cannot resist temptation to pick. For me, I was bullied when I was in elementary school. I just moved to a new small town where everyone has known each other for years. Making friends was difficult however one person did extend an olive branch, or so I thought. I believed that I had made some great friends, one being a best friend, however it turned out I was just the mule to be made fun of. I was incredibly naive and oblivious as a young girl and lots of kids fed into that. I also fell to bullying by my class crush, who I believe realized it and made fun of me for it by stepping on the backs of my feet. I've had girls peek in on me as I was changing, kids have made fun of my name, kids have used me only for my trampoline and then leave to go to a birthday party and not invite me, you name it it happened to me. It's incredibly sad that we all know how hurtful and powerful bullying one another is and yet we still do it. It travels into adulthood with cyber-bullying, which is much easier for we can just hide behind our computers. I personally cannot grasp my mind around it, even when I was bullied I kept my head held high and remained nice to my bullies. Call it naivete, I call it being a bigger person.
Unfortunately, as the years go by the bullying is getting worse with cyber-bullying being thrown in the mix, victims are not even safe in the comfort of their own home. According to www.stopbullying.gov, victims of bullying experience depression, anxiety, loss of interest in school activities, decrease in academedic achievement, and other health complaints. Other children may turn to violence to cope, it's reported that 12 in 15 school shooters in the 1990's had experienced bullying (1). We as a country believed that Columbine would be a huge wake-up call, however school shootings are still happening and are happening more frequently.
There have been several campaigns, TED talks, and bills brought to Congress to combat bullying however it's still occurring. How do we stop it? Is this something that can be put to an end? Personally, I don't know if it will ever end. Awareness and knowledge can certainly be presented and spread, however it's up to us to drink the water and soak up the information. While I may not know if it will end, I do know of ways that we ourselves can prevent bullying when we see it.
1. If You See It, Intervene
When we see someone being bullied, often times we want to turn the other way in fear of becoming the next target. In actuality, if we stand up to those who are bullying they will back off. When I was younger, my little sister would get picked on by fellow peers and whenever I saw it I intervened right away. I'm sure that for those who have siblings they would feel the same way and no questions asked would intervene if they saw their sibling being bullied (unless it's by you, that's a sibling right🤣 ). If we felt the same about a bystander or peer being bullied as we do for our siblings and intervened, I believe cases of bullying would decrease.
2. Be Supportive
Studies show that there are warning signs of people either being bullied or bullying other people; signs that include however not limited to unexplained injuries, difficulty sleeping, loss of friends, frequent ailments (headaches/stomach aches), decreased self esteem, and self destructive behaviors such as suicide (2). If you see your child, friend, significant other, or loved one showing any of these signs sit down with them and talk to them. Let that person know that you are there for them. A big fear people have coming forward is being told that they are not handling the situation correctly and they need to fight back and stand up for their self. Do not be combative, do not be authoritarian. Listen to them, allow them to vent, and when they have finished then talk about a resolution. Whether it be talking with a school teacher, another parent, or seeking counseling. The key is to make yourself approachable so people will come to you when they are experiencing trouble.
Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you, and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.
1. Public Affairs. “Effects of Bullying.”StopBullying.gov, 4 Dec. 2019, www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/effects.
2. Public Affairs. “Warning Signs for Bullying.”StopBullying.gov, 4 Dec. 2019, www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/warning-signs.