In a recent survey, teens ranked bullying as their number 2 concern, right after anxiety and depression and BEFORE drugs, alcohol, pregnancy etc. You get the picture. It’s a big BIG deal. The movie, Eighth Grade, shows in excruciating detail the plight of the modern teenager and if you haven’t watched it, you need to, especially if you have teenagers.
I recall my teenage years. We had just moved from a small prairie town to another small prairie town, forcing me to start over in eighth grade. Not an ideal time. I was chum from the get go and spent the year getting shark attacked. Many a time I stumbled home crying after another day of being bullied. The following year, I decided I was not going to be “that kid” ever again so I became the other kid. The bully. It was remarkably effective in keeping my own bullying at bay but the hollowing effect it did on my soul was undeniable. There was one kid, in particular, that I took out all of my fears, anger and aggression on and a few years ago I reached out to him on Facebook and apologized for being a profound asshole and making his life miserable. He responded graciously and my soul experienced some healing – but I’ll always carry the scar.
To this day, I am very sensitive to bullying of any kind. My gut response is usually, “I want to kick their ass for doing / saying that.” But let’s consider that approach for a moment. What good would that actually accomplish? We know that hurt people hurt people. Trying to stamp out hurt with more hurt only increases the collective hurt. A fire needs a specific kind of liquid to be extinguished as some liquids can actually make the fire explode with intensity.
Today is Pink Shirt Day. This excellent visual is our world’s annual reminder that bullying is not ok and will not be tolerated.
If you are currently being bullied, you are not alone. You have millions of allies that are standing with you and there is help close by. You are MUCH stronger than you think.
If you are currently bullying, you are alone and you know it. Most importantly, you need help. Please stop the cycle of hurt by identifying your own and finding healing through professional help.
Having been on both sides, I know the truth of these statements all too well. The good news is better days are absolutely ahead. Starting with today.