Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Your Choice: Victim or Survivor.

I keep seeing posts about how October is Anti-Bullying Month.  I want to say that while I think bullying is wrong and is something that we should teach people to avoid; we also need to teach people how to respond to it when faced with someone who is a bully.  I don’t want to be accused of blaming the victim, but while you cannot control how someone treats you, you CAN control your reaction to it.  Yes, being picked on hurts and can cause long term emotional damage, but it doesn’t have to define you.  You can choose to be a victim just as much as you can choose to be a survivor.
Picking on someone that you see as a weakling, a threat, or even something as basic as different from what you consider normal is wrong.  However, it’s just as wrong to commit or attempt suicide because someone is being mean to you.  If someone is picking on your via social networks you have the ability to delete/block/report them, if EVERYONE is trashing your profile, you have the ability to disable your account.
I remember in Girl’s PE my freshman year in HS we had to do a section on self defense…against a physical attacker, maybe schools should have a seminar/class regarding self defense against verbal attacks too.  Words hurt; they can leave long term damage that takes longer to heal than broken bones and bruised limbs.  Honestly, I still haven't forgiven the scum bag who started nasty rumors about me in high school, however, I know that the words that he spread about me were completely false and I didn't allow him to destroy me, or even know how much it hurt when I found out that people actually believed him over me.  I chose to be stronger than his words. I think we need to teach people that they can choose to be a survivor instead of just a victim. 
Instead of encouraging “why me????” behavior, we should teach them, “yes, it happened, it was awful, this is how I’m going to get better.”  It is really hard to take the initiative to heal, just sitting around and waiting it out without making the efforts just makes it that much harder.  Deal with your pain, face it head on, and fight the fight every day even when it’s exhausting. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S EXHAUSTING.  One day you’ll look back and be grateful that you had the perseverance to pull through.  I think being picked on, while terrible and gut wrenching in the moment, teaches you empathy for the future.  You can put yourself in the position of someone less fortunate and understand on some level what they might be going through.
The world is a scary place, but you don’t always have to be afraid.  Be brave, fight back, stand up for yourself.  You don’t have to turn into a bully yourself, but you don’t have to be a doormat either.