The effects of bullying on mental health is real. Here are some sad statistics:
1 in 3 students experience bullying
40% of students have experienced cyberbullying
Students who experience cyberbullying are two times more likely to commit sucide
85% of bullying takes place in front of other people
In my story, from Kindergarten through to grade 6 there was one girl who ‘ruled’ our class as queen of the hive, so to speak. She had a way of manipulating people to her will all the time - everyone except for those who did not seem to need her companionship or approval (I wish I noticed that clue then). Unfortunately, for six years I felt like I did need her companionship and approval. She was one of those people who dictated what games you played, who you could be friends with, etc., and if you did not go along with her then she made sure you felt it, by turning other kids against you and getting verbally or even physically aggressive. It was a living nightmare. I was told to just ignore it, but that was not sufficient advice.
In today’s world, due to the pervasiveness of social media, psychological bullying can be much more difficult to stop, often making a victim feel like there's no escape. But, there are some things that I had to learn, and continue to learn, that I think can help:
Mindset: turn a wounded heart into a determined mind.
Reaction: do not feed the game.
Pursue excellence: be the change you want to see in this world.
Being victimized can feel like being robbed of your personal power. So, how do we take our power back? First of all, don’t keep any bullying or abuse secret. Secrets attract shame like picnics attract ants. Finding people who are mature enough to listen and guide us without judgement is invaluable in life. The next proactive step is to flip the script in your mind. What does that look like? Check out Part 2 next week!