How to Overcome Bullying and Believe in Yourself!
Bullying hurts others and can destroy lives! Both the bully and those who are bullied need help and healing. If you are a bully, STOP! If you have a problem with someone, don’t bully that person but talk to them face to face and remain calm in the process. Bullies are not courageous, but cowards! Bullies are weak! Everything that a bully says to hurt you or someone else is not true of you or those who are being bullied. In reality, everything a bully says is true only of the bully himself or herself. The bully who threatens already feels threatened. The bully who insults by calling someone stupid or ugly, already feels stupid or ugly themselves. It takes no special talent or ability to bully. If you are a bully, be aware of this one thing: no one is impressed by you! Your so-called “friends” who may follow you and go along with the bullying or even help you with your bullying, are just as dead inside. They feel just as rotten as you do!
My Friend Chewy:
I have a very close friend; his name is Lt. Col. Schroeder. We just call him “Chewy.” Chewy is an F16 and A10 Warthog Fighter Pilot. He has flown many missions for our country to help keep us free and safe. Chewy has told me often that he experiences fear when he is flying in those missions. He also told me that he works through and overcomes his fears by relying on his training. That is huge! His training is based on facts and information that he has put into practice. So now your training begins.
If you are being bullied, here are seven facts you can immediately put into practice:
I. Know and understand that you have the strength and ability to become stronger than the insults and threats thrown at you!
This takes courage. Courage does not mean that you are not afraid. Every great warrior will tell you that at times they have experienced fear and have gotten scared like our friend and combat pilot, Chewy. If you are being bullied, you must know, understand, and believe that everything said to you and about you IS NOT TRUE! It is all a lie! This is the first step to becoming stronger than the insults and threats thrown at you.
II. Negative talk is communication that is meant to harm, belittle and destroy feelings and emotions. Negative talk is a lie.
I grew up in a home where nothing was positive. My father was very abusive to me both physically and emotionally. Daily, my dad pierced my heart and soul with negative words! He called me dumb, stupid and many other hurtful things which would not be appropriate to put into print. This caused me to have a very low opinion of myself. Any confidence that I may have had in me was destroyed. This also created in me, a fear that would stop me from trying to accomplish good and positive things that would benefit my life, like applying myself in school or trying out for organized sports. I felt frozen in time, paralyzed, unable to move because I felt so crummy inside. There was so much pain and fear inside of me that I did not care about anything! My home life was messed up and everything else was messed up too.
My experience at school was more of what I was dealing with at home-ABUSE. I know what it is like to be insulted, to have bad things said to you or about you and to be physically threatened. I was ignored, left out, and picked on-BULLIED! I was also a special education student from the first grade through the twelfth grade. This personal challenge of mine became the subject matter that the bullies would use against me!
When people speak good of you, believe it because this is the truth! If you feel that no one speaks good to you or about you, then you must understand and believe…that you were born and created with more ability and more potential and more talent then you will ever use in a lifetime! That’s right, YOU, the one reading these words right now. You are not inferior or second rate to anyone or anything. In life, you have something great to offer; you have something great to give and you have something great to do! Why? Because you were made for greatness! Greatness is inside of you! The science and design of your mind and body is physical proof of this! You have the strength and ability to become stronger than the insults and threats that are thrown at you. You can overcome the negative talk, which is meant to harm, belittle and destroy you. These problems can be completely conquered as you…
III. Believe and have confidence in yourself beyond your difficult circumstances!
People who have accomplished this are unshakable, unbreakable, unmovable, steadfast and a force to be reckoned with. Belief and confidence in yourself is like a swift arrow which cannot be knocked off course as it moves with precision towards its target! Belief and confidence are like a massive mountain, so impressive in sight, size, strength and beauty! Please don’t try to tell me that you cannot believe in your self because of some physical or academic challenge you may have or because the attack of the bullies is so fierce. Some of the greatest athletes, artists, musicians and thinkers the world has ever known were people who were faced with great physical, emotional and academic challenges!
I have a good friend whose name is “Big James Henderson.” He is currently the “world’s strongest man!” He is a five-time world champion gold medalist in power lifting. Big James is the first man in human history to bench press over 700 pounds without any drugs or fancy equipment. No one in the history of the world has accomplished what he has accomplished! You can read about him in the 2000 Millennial Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records on page 46. When Big James was a little boy, he was naturally big and heavy for his age. As a result, he was made fun of, picked on and bullied. Big James did not give into the pressure, but instead he believed in himself beyond his difficult circumstances. As a student going through school, he dreamed about doing something great with his life. He began lifting weights at the age of fourteen and worked hard for many years. Big James finally arrived at the place where he had gotten so big and so strong, now there is nothing like him on the planet.
Another good friend of mine, Kerry Roop, became the world middle weight and heavy weight kickboxing champion and also the United States light heavy weight national champion. Mr. Roop told me that when he was a student he was often the victim of bullies. This made him so afraid that he would frequently walk to and from school instead of taking the bus. At an early age, Mr. Roop began studying martial arts and dreamed of one day becoming a champion. Through hard work, dedication and an unconquerable spirit, he was able to reach his dream!
The star of Twilight, Kristen Stewart, was bullied in school at a young age. When she was 14 years old, the bullies made fun of her because of her dream of becoming an actress. In her interview with The Telegraph, she said (of the bullies) “They are mean and don’t give you any chance.” She went on to say that once you are “done with school,” you realize that it is just a smaller version of life. Kristen Stewart did not give up. She continued to believe in herself and work hard. As a result, she became a movie star!
Jessica Alba is an American television and film actress. She has won many awards. Jessica starred in her own television series Dark Angel. She also starred in many movies including The Fantastic Four as the “Invisible Woman.” Jessica explained in her interview with The Daily Mail, she was bullied in high school. She said, “I was bullied so badly, my dad used to walk me to school so I didn’t get attacked. I’d eat my lunch in the nurse’s office so I didn’t have to sit with the other girls.” She went on to say she was a “shy, awkward” teenager. Jessica dreamed big, stayed focused and look at her now!
Big James, Mr. Roop, Kristen and Jessica all struggled as they faced the taunting attacks of the bullies, but they never gave up and never gave in! You must do the same…Believe in yourself beyond the difficult circumstances and…DREAM BIG!!!
IV. Your resolve (firm decision) must be that you will not give into those hurtful feelings that haunt you.
Feelings come and go; they are like the weather or wind pattens that change all the time. Your feelings can trick and deceive you. You say, “My feelings are so real.” Sure they are real; I know they are real. Your feelings, though, should not control you. You must learn how to control your feelings. You do this by not acting in any destructive way as a result of your feelings. For example: if you are so hurt and feeling so bad because someone is bullying you, the answer is not to hurt yourself or hurt the bully or hurt anyone else out of retaliation (revenge.) The answer is to do what is right no matter what. This is the firm decision we are talking about. When you do this, it brings toughness, courage, strength, wisdom, and compassion into your life. “It is never right to do wrong, even if the wrong looks right.”(Dr. Bob Jones Sr.)
As a result of being bullied and picked on at school and abused at home, I experienced constant and continual fear, anger, hurt, pain, confusion, frustration, doubt, worry, rage and bitterness! All of this left me feeling very bad about myself. Are you also feeling this way right now? At the present moment, you may be feeling a sense of doom and complete hopelessness because of the circumstances which are surrounding you. You may feel like everything and everyone around you is against you. I never believe this is ever totally the case, but our emotions can certainly make us feel this way. Let’s make believe for a moment that everything and every one is against you. What can we do to overcome and defeat this ugly monster?
PERSEVERE (never give up)–Anything great accomplished in life and worth mentioning, comes from personal struggles!
Here are some examples of how people work hard to do great things:
An artist must practice their craft for several years before they can become great at what they do.
A musician must spend much time learning and developing their skill before they can become great at what they do.
An elite athlete must sacrifice, train hard and be dedicated before they can become great at what they do.
An actor or actress must spend several years studying drama and the performing arts before they can become great at what they do.
In any area of accomplishment (this includes going through personal struggles) effort, sacrifice, hard work, dedication, toughness and a “no quit–I will never give up” mentality is a must. These are the building blocks of perseverance.
Take pearls for example: pearls are very beautiful and expensive jewelry. A rare pearl starts out as a very small particle of organic material, which could be a small piece of a plant, animal or even a grain of sand. This very small particle or piece of material becomes lodged and stuck in the middle of an oyster. The oyster cannot remove this material. It becomes a source of constant pain and suffering for the oyster. The oyster cannot get rid of the irritant. It can only improve it to make it better. The way the oyster does this, is through a process of constant churning, mixing, stirring, turning and moving that small piece of material. The entire process causes the oyster much hurt and pain. After several years of this, the oyster will turn those small organic particles into a beautiful, radiant, expensive pearl!
I know this is difficult, but you must view and approach your present suffering and challenges in this same manner. You will make pearls out of all the bad things that are happening to you right now! This will be accomplished because you will take the right course-the path that leads to greatness.
The little oyster teaches us we can rise above and work through the hurtful words said or the harmful deeds done to us by the bullies of life. By not giving into the pain sorrow or confusion caused by these ignorant bullies, you will move in your life from the place of being a victim to having VICTORY! There is no gain without pain; no reward without risk and no prize without paying the price. Though we don’t want the pain, risk or the price, it’s there and we must deal with it. I am merely teaching you how to make it through and how to overcome. You can do it!
PERFORM- Putting your dreams into action! Actions and efforts that continue on a right course can never continually be overcome by sorrow and evil!
Some bullies with his or her actions have nothing but an evil intent to harm and cause sorrow. I am not saying all bullies are evil. He or she may be acting out of some pain and abuse, they may be experiencing in their own life. The point I am trying to make is that our actions affect others, even ourselves. This is why you must perform well everyday in the right areas and in activities which are good, safe and positive. Proper performance and strong self-effort is a must! This will separate you and put you into a very unique class and category.
The process of “sowing and reaping” is a great example of how all this works. When a farmer plants a seed into the ground, this process is called sowing seed. When the crops grow and are harvested, this process is called reaping the harvest. Let me show you how this works in life…
When you sow a thought, you reap words.
When you sow words, you reap actions.
When you sow actions, you reap habits.
When you sow habits, you reap character.
When you sow character, you reap a destiny.
– Samuel Smiles
You don’t want to become like the bully or the abuser. You don’t want your difficult circumstances to direct (guide) your life. You want to become better and overcome all the challenges that surround you. To do this, you must out perform them all…and you can!
PREPARE-by seeing yourself not as you are — but as what you will become!
The way you think about yourself and how you think about yourself is eventually what you will become. By having a dream and a vision for yourself, you can overcome, defeat or conquer any problem in your life. The conflict of the bully will become like a grain of sand in comparison to the universe, because now you will be thinking far beyond what is happening at the moment (which may try to hurt you and slow you down.) Having a dream and vision for your life is the place to start. Let me give you an example: Have you ever gone to a beach or an amusement part? In doing so you must prepare. You prepare by gathering the proper clothing and supplies that you may need. In life, you must prepare yourself by having proper FOCUS! You focus on your dreams and not on the bullies! You focus on your dreams and not on your difficult circumstances! You focus on your dreams and not on your hurt feelings! Look man, this is how you knock out your opponent and raise your arms in victory! I’m teaching you how to become an indestructible and unstoppable force of good for yourself and others! By doing all of this, you are taking the long look at your life (your future.) This will give you the ability to see beyond your present conflicts.
Many years ago, I had the privilege to work with different Indian tribes deep in the mountains and jungles of Mexico. I recall being ten thousand feet high in those mountains. I remember standing on a cliff, looking over miles of the beautiful landscape below. It seemed like I could see forever into those beautiful sights. I was able to look far beyond my present location, which occupied such a small space. This is how your life is now. You are standing upon a very small space of time and circumstances, which will change with time…I promise. If you could just stand on the high cliff within your heart and mind you will get a future vision and dream for yourself. This will give you the ability to work through the biggest challenges you now face in life. This will cause you and help you to see far off in the distance of your life, giving you hope and courage to never give up, but to plow through to those better days ahead.
V. Rise above the trap the bully sets for you.
One of the greatest illustrations to teach how to rise above the trap the bully sets for you is to explain how the fowler (a bird hunter) operates. The bird hunter will stretch a large net between two trees in an open field. This device (trap) is called “the snare of the fowler.” The wise birds will be flying along and when they see the net before them (the fowler’s trap.) They will simply fly above the net and continue going along their way. By doing this, they miss the trap and maintain their freedom. The unwise birds or the birds that simply are not paying attention, will fly directly into the trap. You can only imagine what happens from there. The bully and his/her harmful words and threats are nothing more than “the snare of the fowler.” Be wise; be smart; fly above the net and continue to fly freely! The bully is truly the one that will become entangled in their own trap. There is an old ancient saying, which states, “Those who throw a rock in the air with the intent to hit and to hurt others will only find that rock falling upon their own head.”
VI. Return kindness and compassion towards those who are bullying you.
Returning kindness and compassion towards the bully will surely put out the “fire.” When people are taunting you, ignore them by giving no response to their bullying. If you have to be in their presence, be kind, nice and respectful. This will cause everything they do and say to back-fire in their faces. When you show the bully that he/she has no adverse (bad) effect on your life, they will eventually go away and move on. When you do this, you will become great and be looked upon as something and someone special. You will be seen as wise, while they will be seen as fools! You will be seen as strong and they will be seen as weak! You will be looked upon and admired and the bully will be exposed for what he/she really is-a sissy.
VII. Put yourself through your own anti-bullying training system.
Let me explain something to you. There will always be jerks and bad people with whom you will come in contact. What makes the difference is how you respond to these bullies. These people become nothing more than distractions. When I was a child, I was bullied a lot. At five years of age, I would often get beat up by the bigger kids in the neighborhood. We lived in a very rough part of town. I would often go home crying and my dad would beat me even more. He would say to me, “If you come home crying to me, this is what I am going to do to you…learn to fight.” From that point on, my life became filled with violence, rage, anger and bitterness. I made a vow to myself at the age of five, that one day I would become so big , so strong and so dangerous that no one would ever pick on me again. In middle school (because I was so dangerous to the population of other students) the school administration gave me a job outside of school for half a day, everyday, at an ice rink. The other half of those days I spent isolated within the school in a few select classrooms, known as the special-education department.
Perhaps at the very beginning, when I shared my own personal experience, I should have told you the whole story. Maybe then you would have understood that I have lived and experienced everything I wrote about. Now I am going to share with you my secrets of how I overcame the bullies in my life to become successful.
From the first grade through the twelfth grade I never saw the inside of a regular classroom. I went through all the tests and was evaluated by many school counselors, psychologists, social workers and educators. They told me I was EMI-educable mentally impaired/border-line retarded. The school system called me a “functional illiterate.” This was the label they gave me. I was told that if I would ever accomplish anything in life I must be taught how to use my body for physical labor, because I would never be able to use my mind. I was written off at school! Furthermore, I was written off at home! My dad was a drunkard (alcoholic) and would physically and emotionally abuse me on a regular basis. From the age of three (that’s my earliest memory) all the way until I was about twelve or thirteen years old, I can recall the many times my dad would come home in a drunken fury. He was filled with violence and aggression towards me. I remember the many times he would tip me upside down, dangling me by my ankles and repeatedly pound my head against the floor! Or he would trap me underneath his heavy body and with his putrid, rotten, alcohol breath (reeking with the stench of beer, whiskey and Parmesan cheese) he would scream into my ears! My whole body would tighten and tense up in pain! Sometimes during this process he would tightly clutch my ankles and with an open-handed, fierce palm-strike, smack the bottoms of my bare feet. I would squirm and wiggle in pain! Pulling hair from the lower back of my head while dragging me up two flights of stairs then kicking me down from the top of the stair-case or throwing my head into a wall, along with other such physical abuse were common occurrences!!! I was a broken and hurting kid everyday in my childhood and in my teenage years.
I realized at the age of sixteen that my response to the bullying was all wrong! At that point in time, I began to correct my own actions by picking up weights and by picking up a guitar. It was then that I forever changed the destiny of my life. And you can do the same thing too! My focus became music and athletics. I stopped focusing on my handicap and what others said about me and felt towards me. It just didn’t matter to me anymore, because my dreams went over, above and beyond “the snare of the fowler.”
If you are being bullied or abused in any way by anyone (whether it is a family member or someone outside the home) the first thing you must do is tell someone you can trust. You may think you cannot trust anyone. This just isn’t true. Find that person away from those who are causing you harm and talk to them. This person may be a parent, teacher, school counselor, pastor or even the police. Healing will begin the moment you start expressing, exposing and confessing the hurt. Maybe you are hurting yourself through drugs, alcohol, cutting or other forms of potentially destructive behavior. The same holds true–you must tell someone so the healing process can start! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Concerning my life, you may wonder and ask the question, “What about now? Do you still have conflicts and challenges in your life resulting from your experiences?” The answer is Y E S! I would be wrong to try to tell you otherwise. What I have learned though, is that you can rise from the ashes of bad experiences, tragedies and events in your life and shine like gold! You can harness all of the hurtful, horrible events that have happened to you and allow those former or even current circumstances to develop you into greatness! Remember the oyster and the pearl.
A Final Thought:
Look far! Right now your struggles my seem like heavy weights, but keep lifting; keep pressing on and keep believing in yourself. Continue to fix your eyes on what you want and what you can become, not on how you feel or where you are or what you may be going through at the present time. When you approach life in this manner, you will go beyond the scope of your imagination and accomplish great things you never thought possible! Dream BIG and never give up.