You may not realise but many successful people are often victims of bullying or ridicule at a young age and sometimes, into adulthood. People that get bullied tend to stand out from others for having different interests, a unique look or be special in some way and become easy targets for those who prefer to blend in and “be part of the in crowd” rather than following their own passions and interests for fear of being on the end of the cruel words, beatings and constant teasing.
In this blog post we explore how bullying feels for those who are experiencing it, how it can have detrimental effects on people’s lives and mental health but also, how once you get over the painful emotions, a bullied person can take the experience and make it a motivation and power to change their lives into a more positive life than any of their bullies may have thought possible for them.
One word to describe school and bullying?
Experiencing bullying, whether at school or at the workplace, is hard, no two ways about it. When someone actively goes out their way to put you down, make you feel small, be the butt of jokes to make others laugh or be used as an emotional punchbag it can be very hard and it should NEVER be tolerated. Some bullying has had such a bad effect that some people decided to take the drastic decision of taking their own lives. Bullies don’t always know just how bad they affect the people they hurt or insult and just see it as fun but in this video, including famous stars such as diversity dance leader, explain what being bullied feels like in one word. (See second video)
Using bullying experiences as a motivation
There are two ways we can choose to react to an experience of bullying or negative people. one is to go within ourselves, listen to the comments, believe them, go into our shell and avoid any chance of experiencing more hurt from people (this can be one cause of social anxiety, the avoidance of social situations). This isn’t always a wrong decision to make, sometimes taking time out from the situation causing you stress is just as important as tackling the problem but avoidance, in the long run, can get comfortable and thus you stop growing. It is always important to challenge yourself into situations you don’t particularly like or are worried about. (If you feel you need support in gaining confidence in tackling uncomfortable social situations a CBT specialist can help guide you towards thinking differently about things and consciously change negative thoughts into positive ones. An NLP, neurolinguistic programmer, can also help you in understanding how we think, maintaining positive outlooks and stop letting negative people affect you or if you are susceptible, I am a highly big advocate of hypnotherapy and this can change how you think about past experiences that are affecting your present situation).
Spartan mindset, the undefeatable ‘peaceful warrior‘
The second option is to listen to the comments, feel the emotional pain, take it and turn it into a fire within you to decide to prove your haters wrong. I see this as almost gaining a spartan mindset, the odds are stacked against you, you must confront your fears, your own self-doubt, the degrading comments of others and become ‘undefeatable’ no matter what you face in life. This does not mean you must physically go across and fight people who put you down (please don’t do this!), but instead, you must have the mind of a strong person, who has self-control but with the strength within that can not be hurt by the effect of others.
Strong of mind but peaceful and kind of heart.
A great spiritual film that talks about this very thing of defying the odds and critics that I recommend is called ‘the peaceful warrior’. Check it out for motivation or see this blog post for more information about the inspirational true story movie.
The word is impossible…’I’m-possible’
My final recommendation for those who are, or have experienced bullying is to believe in yourself’! No one else will believe in you other than yourself. It is hard to understand, and very difficult to comprehend but the only person who will and can change your life looks at you every day in the mirror. Of course, you must put yourself in the way of others for them to see the talent you possess but to really change your life and defy what your bullies have said to you or made you feel you must start to stop believing it is ‘impossible’ and instead your dreams are possible, that ‘
No one else will believe in you more than yourself.
Work on your skills, your passions and don’t let any bully tell you that you are not worthy, you are the only you here on the planet and we all need you to shine your brightest you can!
The founder of BoM was once badly bullied at school and in his 20s
I, the founder of BoM was bullied in school for growing facial hair first in my friends group, having severe acne to the point of needing to take tablets only to heal from the difficult experience and have a great college experience. Later, in my mid-20s I experienced workplace bullying when I tried teacher training and I had two mentors in a school that was shutting down that liked to play mind games and were highly unprofessional and destroyed my self confidence combing graduating from architecture in 2008 with no jobs in my hometown which, in combination with my financial situation and other external influences, led to me having a severe breakdown, clinically at risk of suicide and deep depression.
After having experienced this at school and training as a teacher I learnt, with time, to not tolerate being put down or insulted by anyone and when I felt I was being devalued for my skills and talents as well having my interests in culture and philosophy mocked I put those people in their place without swearing, without being mean, but being assertive and not accepting that from anyone, regardless of their position or status. This is an important aspect, I believe, to take from a bullying experience, to respect yourself enough to not tolerate hurtful insults.
In conclusion, how to use bullying experiences
Each of us are born unique, those of us that have special talents or interests tend to stand out more than people who like to blend into the crowd and being accepted is more important to them (just see the list of famous people in the video who were bullied) and it is important not to let the fact you are different let your light diminish or be hidden from shining in the world.
Here is my list of points that I believe you should take forward with you to use your bullying experience in a positive way : –
- Challenge negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones (CBT Therapy or mindfulness is useful to help get you started)
- Understand how the brain and language you use can affect your reaction to situations (NLP, Neuro-linguistic programming)
- Gain a Spartan mindset. Undefeatable, noble, strong of mind, kind and light of heart.
- Learn to laugh at bad comments because you know they aren’t true.
- Believe in yourself, you are the only person who has the power to change your life.
- Respect yourself always to not tolerate cruel comments
- Remember the bullying experiences to create an unextinguishable fire within your heart to always keep you motivated to prove the negative people wrong.
These are 7 points I recommend, do you have your own strategies? Do you have your own ideas on how bullying experiences can end up being positive? Please comment below.