For my teens/tweens: Part TWO
If you asked anyone if they’ve ever been bullied in their lives I’m going to bet that every single person would say yes. Every single person. This is a huge problem and no matter how old you are, when you’re at the receiving end of it, it feels terrible.
There’s several ways we approach it too: There’s the one kind of person that keeps going back for more and you think, WHY? What are they doing? Don’t they know they’re just going to get picked on again??? But these people have a good heart. They don’t understand why they’re being treated this way. They think it’s a misunderstanding, like, “if they really knew me, they’d never treat me that way”. So they keep trying to get the bully to understand them, to see them for who they are; a kind, caring person.
Another type of person tries to ignore it. You’ve probably heard your parents or someone at some point say, “If you just ignore it and don’t react they’ll get bored with you and stop. It’s your reaction they keep going back for”…right? So they try to ignore it and sometimes it just might work and sometimes it doesn’t matter one bit – now they’re just an even easier target.
Another type of reaction is to fight back – “Stand up for yourself!” or Others get help and tell a teacher or other adult and then some just suffer in silence. They go home, sit in their rooms, try to drown out how they’re feeling by going on the one thing that is easy, there, and sure to entertain…social media…which, can have even worse effects.
No matter how you react to it or what kind of action you choose to take there is ONE REALLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW…Please, please, please remember this…
What THEY do or say or post, whatever they do, I need you know this: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Let me repeat that… Whatever they do or say, even if it’s directed AT you, words are ABOUT you, YOU are the topic so it really feels like it’s about you…it’s not.
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
How can I say that, you think. They’re talking ABOUT me! They’re spreading rumors ABOUT me. They’re turning people and friends against me. How can it not be about me???
I hear you. I understand the misconception. This is a really challenging concept, even for majority of adults…but listen to me when I say again, what others do or say isn’t about you…ever and I’ll tell you WHY.
The way we see and perceive the world around us comes from our thoughts. Our thoughts come from cumulative information gathered since birth and then we get to decide how we’re going to interpret it. I know, this doesn’t make sense yet…we can only see things in our world based on the information we’ve experienced and gathered through our lives.
Think about two kinds of people for a moment: One kind has lived in wealth, peace, and abundance their whole lives. They’ve never experienced hunger, or going without. They’ve never experienced mean people, everyone around them is kind and loving.
Now the other person grew up in an impoverished country, a war trodden place where food and resources are scarce, and everyone around you could betray you any second for the chance for food or a way to save their own skin.
Which of the two are going to be trusting and leave their belongings out and unattended? Which of the two might be more likely to sneak and steal?
Which of the two would be more likely to bully another to get ahead? The one who lives in love and abundance? or the one who has only ever known scarcity and uncertainty?
Obviously these are super hypothetical and over exaggerated. Just because of a persons circumstances doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to be a bully – please don’t misunderstand. I’m just showing you that our experiences in life give us our information for how we see and navigate the world. You always have a choice in the matter. You are always able to decide what you want to do, think, say, and feel – which is such a gift.
But when I say that it’s not about you when those people that are bullying you, targeting you, mistreating you, I mean it. What they do isn’t about you and if it’s not about you, who is it is about then?
What they do, say, think, and act is 100% completely about THEM. What THEY are feeling. What THEY are thinking.
No, that doesn’t make it okay or acceptable in ANY circumstance. I tell you this so you can take a heavy, heavy weight off your shoulders. THEY don’t get to decide WHO you are. THEY don’t get to decide what your WORTH or VALUE is.
You came to earth with your value intact. You can’t lose your value or your worth, no matter what you do in this life, you are 100% worthy, of value, and are precious to God. Never doubt your tremendous worth and value.
Think about the analogy of the $20 dollar bill. You can wrinkle it up, you can stomp on it, spit on it, run it over with a car, draw on it and STILL take it to the store and buy a bag of chips with it. Even through all the experiences that $20 bill went though, even if it looks different now, it’s still 100% worth $20. It’s value and worth NEVER changed.
You can’t lose your worth. You can’t lose your value. You are perfect at being you right this moment. You might be arguing and saying, yeah, but not me. THEY’RE all worth it, but not me. No…I’m talking to YOU. Specifically to you. YOU MATTER. YOU’RE WORTHY. YOU’RE AMAZING. And if that’s too far of a stretch to grasp, connect with me and I’ll tell you myself. If you think no one wants to talk to you, you’re wrong. I want to talk to you and I’m certain there are many others that do too. YOU are PERFECT at being you right now.
So here’s the deal…What they say or do is NOT ABOUT YOU – YOU get to decide what IS about you. You get to decide what YOU will think about YOU.
What do you want to think about you?
What kind of a person do you want to be?
How do you want to feel?
YOU get to decide that. THEY don’t get any say in that. You can choose to think what they’re saying is true. You can, you have that agency but what’s the upside there?
Most people aren’t good at managing their own feelings – do you really think it’s a good idea to hand them yours too?
KEEP your feelings. You’re the BEST person to take care of them, to take care of you.
When you decide who you want to be and really believe it – it won’t matter what they say because it’ll be the equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying, “that clown afro is really ugly on your head” – and you look at them like, “umm…k…” because you don’t have a clown afro on your head (if you do – change it to a giant watermelon on your head instead) – It’ll just be like, that was weird…okay…moving on.
But when you believe it, oh…that’s what really hurts. They can’t make you believe anything – Would it hurt as bad if they said it in Chinese? or French? or some language you don’t speak?
No…because you don’t know what they’re saying. They’re just saying words. They’re just making noise, right?
It hurts when YOU choose to believe those words. When YOU think those words. They can’t MAKE YOU choose to believe those words, it’s a choice YOU HAVE. You have to decide what you’re going to believe.
Start here: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BELIEVE ABOUT YOU?
Who do you want to be?
How do you want to feel?
Will you think about those questions today? Better yet, write them down and ANSWER them.
I have so much more to offer you – but it’s getting L-O-N-G so…Homework…Answer those questions and repeat 100 times 100 – this:
WHAT THEY DO OR SAY IS NOT ABOUT ME. IT’S 100% ABOUT THEM.
It’s NOT about you.
That was my favorite line in Dr. Strange – if you don’t remember, go watch it again! Good movie! It’s NOT about you. Remember that.
Again…it doesn’t make it okay – that behavior is NOT okay. GET OUTSIDE HELP when you need it. But internally, this will help, knowing that mentally you can be okay because YOU take care of YOU.
As always, write in with questions or comments. I want to hear from you!
If you need immediate help: check out STOPBULLYING.gov