“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
I had my share of bullying growing up, one of which ended with a physical fight (and my bully never messed with me again). You see, I was a quiet one growing up and it made me an easy target for bullying. Anyways, a girl from my neighborhood regarded my slender body shape and silence as weaknesses because I refused to give into her constant attacks. One afternoon she decided to pick a fight while I was walking home. I kept calm and kept walking while she was insulting and pushing me. Just about two minutes away from home, some bystanders (who knew I was being bullied) made the situation worse by cheering. When that girl pushed me, again and again, I knew right there that the only way out was to fight back and win. That’s exactly what I did and she never bothered me again. I am in no way promoting violence; however, there comes a time in life when you are giving a choice: win (live) or loose (die). Which will you choose?
I have also been bullied because of my nose. I knew better because I was conscious about the size of my then disproportionate nose. I was coached about the temporary unevenness of growth during puberty and I was thought by my Sister to put and love myself first no matter what. She was my role model who constantly reminded me that I was beautiful inside and out. I believed and I refused to be defined by any part of my body.
“I am not a part. I am whole.” — Joan Ambu
For you the sufferers, I say, give silent words. Avoid the bullies if you can. If you can’t, always stay calm and never show them that you’re hurt (they will use it, if you do). Seek help, reach out to someone, speak up. In some extreme situations it’s best to have someone else fight your fight. Don’t stay down for too long as you might get comfortable and decide to adopt that position. Train yourself to memorize these powerful words: I am Worthy. You are a work in process yet to be perfected by the Almighty Father. You have the right to exist.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
The bottom line is that we are not what people think of us: we are what we believe to be. We become what we perceive ourselves to be. In a material world, some people seem to be better than others (I said ‘seem’ because certain things can’t be bought, which takes us back to the theory of appearances). You may not be better than someone, but no body is better than you and you have to believe it. Your oppressor is the one with issues, not you. Each time someone throws a hurtful word at you, you tell yourself: ‘self, I am not perfect, but I am worthy and I will not accept less.’ Sometimes your body language sends a false message, which a bully sees as weakness and decides to pick on you. Take a self-defense class to prepare you for those times when things really get out of hand and there’s no one to call for help. Change begins with you and you alone can decide when to start.
“You are a person. Words are labels.
Don’t ever accept to be labeled because labels are for things and you are not.” — Joan Ambu
If you witness someone being bullied, act. Be a good bystander and help out (defend the victim, find a way to discourage the bully or get an adult involved). Don’t be neutral because it could as well be you. Be more than just a bystander: reach out and stop it before it starts, if you can.
I know that some of us are not Believers and/or Christ followers. However, there is the Golden Rule which states that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Watch your mouths and most importantly, watch your inner thoughts. How are you using your words today? Are you using them to build or to destroy?
TALK TO SOMEONE and GET HELP
- PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center
- Reach Out
- Stop Bullying
- Cyber Bully Help
- Free Bully Reporting
- STOMP Out Bullying™ Help Chat Line
HELP BULLIES TOO
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:36-37 (NIV)