A different look at bullying

Bullying has been in the news a lot lately thanks to the Miami Dolphins. It seems that now even sports where an element of bullying has always been accepted as “part of the game” is now no longer immune to scrutiny.

I don’t like bullying. Seriously, who does? However, I assume that my particular viewpoint on bullying will be met with anger, resentment and the possibility of opening myself up to being bullied. I have shared my view with trusted friends, but in light of the current climate I feel like I’m ready to go public with my opinions.

Bullies have existed since the beginning of time. They are nothing new. Are there more ways for them to bully in this age of instant connectivity? Absolutely! But the basic act of bullying remains the same.

A bully frightens, hurts or threatens someone. The intimidation can be used to coerce someone into doing something that he or she wouldn’t otherwise do or is can be used simply to belittle.

Bullies are successful because we give them power. We allow them to control our feelings and emotions. We allow ourselves to feel inferior because of their words or actions. If we decided not to allow ourselves to be bullied, then bullies wouldn’t exist or at least they wouldn’t have the power they seem to have nowadays.

Waaaaaayyyyy easy said than done! I am fully aware of that.

Why is it do you think though that bullying is so much more prevalent nowadays than it was 30-40 years ago when we were kids?

(Hold on because here’s where the hate mail starts…)

Bullies are stronger than ever before because we are raising a generation that has no sense of self-worth. There are no more bullies now than there were back then. People have simply become internally weaker because they don’t believe in themselves.

Self-worth is not created by giving everyone on the team a trophy. Self-worth is not created when Mommy and Daddy tell Jr. that he is the most fabulous, awesome, wonderful individual ever created. Self-worth is not created by giving in to every single want or desire. Self-worth is NOT a product of over-protective, over-bearing, over-indulgent helicopter parenting.

Self-worth grows inside a child when he or she is allowed to fail. Self-worth is nurtured by failing over and over again throughout a lifetime. Self-worth is that thing that is created every time a child falls and instead of Mommy and Daddy swooping in to make it all better, the child picks himself up, brushes himself off and says you know what “I got this.”

“I GOT THIS!” is self-worth plain and simple.

But somewhere along the road of parenting we lost sight of that and instead of allowing our children to say “I got this” we say “There, there precious child of mine, you don’t need to get this. I’ll take care of it for you.” So it is no friggin’ wonder that when bullies come along, our children can’t see that they have the power to stay in control of their feelings…that they have more power than the bully.

Development of self-worth starts very, very early in life. A baby crying in the crib is searching for comfort. In today’s world Mommy and Daddy rush in at every cry to provide that comfort. Essentially letting the child know that whenever life gets you down, Mommy or Daddy will be there for you.

Guess what?! Mommy and Daddy won’t always be there! Kids need to know how to rely on themselves for comfort. News Flash – life sucks and at some point every single human being will be in a situation where he has not a single person to rely on but himself. (The lucky ones will only be in those situations once or twice!) The strong people, those ones you admire, they learned from a very young age that when push comes to shove, “I can get myself back to sleep and I don’t need Mommy or Daddy to do for me.”

Healthy well-adjusted adults know how to comfort themselves. They learned that as babies and it grew in them throughout their childhood when their parents allowed them to feel pain or hurt. For those people rather than “fixing” it, their parents allowed them to say “I got this”.

Self-worth….I’m not sure where it went, but let’s find it again! Let’s teach it to our children by letting them fail. Let’s teach our kids that they have the power to defeat the bullies, not by running and tattling to the principal, not by crying to Mommy and certainly not by taking a razor to their wrists! We need to start raising kids that believe in themselves again or the bullying epidemic will only get worse.

Please understand that I think bullies should be punished. I think that bullying often goes too far and adult intervention is needed. However, I also believe that empowering our children by letting them fail, by teaching them life isn’t fair and by nurturing their self-worth could go a long way to improving our society.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. ~Abraham Lincoln

Bullying is not going to stop. It will always exist. Giving bullies the spotlight, fighting them, punishing them is never going to work. Rather than fighting a losing battle, fight the fight the can be won. Encourage the development of inner strength from the earliest of ages. Encourage independence! Teach your kids to value themselves as worthy opponents in life and maybe just maybe stories like those out of Miami will be rare instead of the norm.

Every day is a reminder

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I haven’t felt much like writing lately. Hell, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. I go onto one social media site and read message after message of encouragement for a family whose son is fighting cancer. I go onto another social media site and read inspirational posts about how you can’t move forward until you stop looking back, everything happens in time and give your life over to some mythical being.

I can’t stand either site these days. Every time I think about that poor little boy fighting cancer, I think “at least his parents get to hold him everyday” and I’m jealous because I haven’t seen my kids in 8 weeks. How horrible of a person can I be that I’m jealous of parents who are dealing with childhood cancer?

I go on the other site and I want to punch people in the face because their lives are “perfect” and they actually believe that believing is the key to happiness.

I made a mistake…an error in judgement…the same error that I’m guessing everyone reading this post had made. I’m paying the price every.single.day.

Every day that I wake up without my kids…I pay the price.

Every day that I walk to work…I pay the price.

I can’t look for a better job because I have no means to get myself there. I can’t visit my kids but I have a crappy job and I can’t afford plane tickets. I can’t get a better job to afford plane tickets because I can’t drive….vicious circle.

EVERY.SINGLE.DAY that I wake up, I’m forced to relive the one thing I would most like to forget. Every day is a reminder that I am unable to move forward until I pay the price for my past.

So forgive me please if I tell you to take your “everything happens for a reason”… “focus on the good” …”have faith” and shove them up your ass.

And please feel free to counter with “stop being a hateful bitch”. Because right now, I am every bit of hateful bitch and then some.

Frankly, right now I’m clinging to two types of people…those that make me laugh and those that know when to be silent.

A good friend knows when to save you from yourself or when to let you finish what you started. ~ @Smiilze

My good friends, and I mean the ones who know me best, are already aware that I can move mountains when I so choose. They are also aware that I will move those mountains when I’m ready and there is nothing they can do to rush that process.

My good friends send me texts or messages just to check in and they know by the brevity of my answers when not to push.

My good friends will still be there when my prison sentence is over regardless of the hell I’ll go through living it out.

Because believe me, I am in hell right now. Maybe other people are living a worse hell than I am, but it doesn’t lessen the severity of my own personal hell.

Every time I open my eyes I am reminded of what I did and where I am in my life. My prison sentence will finally be over in March and I will have all of this to remember so that I never again make the choice I made that night.

Until then, it’s possible that my funk will persist and I will continue on the negative train. I’m like the smoker that says he wants to quit or the overweight person who says she wants to get healthy, I know that my attitude is neither healthy nor helpful right now but there isn’t a damn thing I want to do about it.

I really don’t need your inspirational messages on my posts. I don’t need your feeble attempts to cheer me up. What I need is the friend who is willing to stand by me and let me figure it out for myself. Let me piss and moan one minute and laugh the next. Let me finish what I started.

Like the smoker or the overweight individual, eventually I will decide that this is not who I want to be. If you’ve paid attention, if you listened, if you’ve observed…if you KNOW me, then you will know that my ability to pull myself out of the depths knows no bounds…and it may take the next four months but I will pull myself up out of the depths, dust myself off and laugh at life once again.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.

You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over.

But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in