Lately I have been having emotional trouble due to bullying. Is there a way to deal with bullies besides telling your teachers over and over again?
Dear Bullied Fangirl,
I’m very sorry to hear that you have been bullied, and I’m especially sorry that it is causing you pain. Being bullied can definitely make a girl feel worse about herself, so I’m glad that you are reaching out.
Everyone says to tell teachers or other authority figures about bullying because they want to make sure that you are safe, and sometimes the only people who can really put a stop to bullying are adults. If you’ve told your teachers and nothing has been done, then I can see why you might feel frustrated. Still, it’s important to tell at least someone—your parents, a friend, perhaps a school counselor or another adult at school, so that you won’t feel so alone. Having support from a friend or a trusted adult can help one feel more confident and capable of handling a bullying situation. Talking to a school counselor or other therapist in person can also really help with the emotional pain of being bullied.
Bullying happens for many reasons, and it can be very difficult to stop bullying without outside help. Please keep in mind, however, that bullying is never the bullied person’s fault. Bullying is always about the bully. Bullies want to gain respect from others and to feel better about themselves by putting others down, and if a bully can’t bully one person, he or she will likely bully someone else.
I think the most important thing for someone who is being bullied, besides telling a teacher, parent, other authority figure, or friend, is to focus on what can help her feel more confident. People who are being bullied often already feel insecure or self-conscious, and the bullying can make these feelings worse. So, it is essential for the bullied person to find ways to feel better about herself. Perhaps you are good at art, writing, filmmaking, or making costumes. Perhaps you love math or science. If so, it’s important to continue doing things that you enjoy and to surround yourself with people that you connect with. Many times, it can be helpful to find an activity outside of school that helps boost your confidence and that gives you an outlet. When I was having a hard time in middle school, I had the opportunity to take acting classes at a community center outside of school. I ended up making friends in these classes who also enjoyed the same activities that I did. It felt great to do something that I enjoyed and to connect with other people who enjoyed the same thing. It helped me feel a lot better about myself, and I was able to bring this new-found confidence with me back to school.
When a girl feels confident and accomplished in something, she can learn to call upon that confidence when she needs it. If she is being bullied at school, she can focus on the feeling of confidence that she has when she’s doing her art or math or whatever she enjoys most. In a way, it’s like calling upon the force. When you feel confident or “in the zone,” it’s a steady, grounded feeling. You might notice that you breathe in a more relaxed way and that your heart and chest feel more open and lifted. You might find that you’re less tempted to hunch over or hide. Whenever you feel this happy and grounded feeling, take a moment to notice what it feels like, so that you can call upon the same feeling when you need a little extra confidence or inner strength. It might take some practice to be able to call upon this confidence whenever you need it, but learning to do so can be really helpful. Nevertheless, it is important not to use this confidence to fight back, but rather to use the confidence to know that you are strong and worthy even if someone tells you otherwise. When a girl can focus on her inner strength and on her own talents and abilities, she may be able to stay strong in the face of bullying, and it’s also possible that the bully won’t find it as fun to bully her.
Wishing You All The Best,
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