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True Stories, Victims of Bullying

True story. When I was in middle school, I was waiting in line with 400 other kids to get into school. Two kids ran the length of the line shouting, "Leigh's butt is as big as this parking lot." True story. One high schooler tells another high schooler to never wear that "Grandma sweater" again because it's hideous. True story. One kid tells another kid, "Every time I see her smile, I just want to punch her in the face." True story. A student walks into a teacher's room crying and visibly upset. The teacher points this student out to the class and then walks around the room pointing to all the "no drama" signs throughout the classroom. True story. A boss asks a subordinate, why are you afraid of him? He can't hurt you, but I can, I write your report. Moments like these happen all the time to kids and adults and they have a lasting impact. As you get older the name shifts from bullying to "toxic" interactions. If you experience a situation like this, you should tell someone about it. Ideally, if you are a student, tell your parents, teacher, or a trusted adult. If you are "friends" with someone who treats you like this, distance yourself from them, stop following them on social media accounts, and stop socializing with them. A true friend isn't someone who threatens to not be friends with you, starts rumors about you, or puts you down. If you witness an instance like this occurring, one thing you can do that will have a positive impact is to be there for that person. You can help and provide a positive influence on the person being bullied by being there for them, talking to them about it, and encouraging them to tell a trusted adult. You don't have to stand up to the bully if that doesn't feel right to you. If that's not you, that's ok! What you could do for that person is just support them so that they know, they are not alone. Had someone come up to me that day in the parking lot and simply said to me, "that was so mean" I wouldn’t have felt so targeted or alone. No matter your age, bullies are all around and impact all of us. Unfortunately, we have to learn how to deal with them. You can't control their actions; you can only control your actions and how you respond. Remind yourself it's not me, it's you. If you need a quick refresher, review the newsletter "It's Not You It's Me"...Or Is it? You are not to blame for their actions or hurtful words. Our Find Your Selfie and Be You mantras are at the heart of this issue. Get to know yourself and love yourself for who you are and all you have to offer. Don't let anyone else take that away from you.

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