Should you be grateful for your bully?
Probably not. Being bullied teaches us a lot about ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses. But it comes at a really high cost. The mental health effects and insecurities of being bullied last a lifetime.
But one of the things I teach kids who are being bullied, is to look around you. Who else is being bullied. Bullies never just have one victim, they have many. Looking to see that not only helps kids get out of their own heads, but also puts them in protector mode. If they won’t do anything to protect themselves from bullies, they will often take steps to protect others.
The other thing looking for the other victim does is it tells them, they aren’t alone. Not everyone in the world is a horrible ogre. Most people are just – normal people like them doing the best they can. That’s a really comforting idea for people who are feeling isolated because of bullying.
At some point everyone is going to get bullied. It’s hurtful and painful to deal with, regardless of your age. But if there is a silver lining to any of this it is this. We are all in it together. Don’t ever allow a bully to make you feel like you are isolated. You aren’t. Look around. Find the other victims. Reach out to them and support them.
Mr Rogers once related a story about his mother. When he was scared – she would tell him – look for the helpers. There are always helpers. This is powerful advice and it applies to anyone and everyone who has ever been bullied.
This thanksgiving, be a helper and thank a helper.