I realize that pretty much every adult will tell kids being bullied that it isn’t about them. And that is true, but that doesn’t help someone who is being bullied not take it personally. How can they not when it is directed at them.
The problem we all have is that we are stuck inside our own heads. If someone is mean to us, we are aware of how that makes us feel. We feel it like physical pain. It feels bad. It is personal.
The problem is that the other person’s behavior, wasn’t actually about us even though it was directed at us. We just perceive it through our own experience, which is about us.
So how can we help ourselves not take it personally? Compassion. Compassion isn’t something you do for the bully. It’s a tool you use for yourself so that you don’t take what they are doing to you personally. It gives you emotional distance so that you can think more critically about what is happening to you and so that you can look at the other person’s behavior – not as it relates to you – but as it relates to them.
Everyone has problems. Most of the time we can’t even fathom what those problems might be. But everyone has problems, including the bully. Maybe the bully is themselves being bullied or abused at home. Maybe they have older siblings bullying them. Maybe they are insecure and are fighting to hide their fear.
You may never know, but just by considering the possibilities, you stop thinking about your own hurt for a bit. This is enough to help you change your own behavior. If you aren’t thinking about yourself, you aren’t acting hurt because you aren’t feeling hurt. And if you aren’t acting hurt, you are not a good target to a bully.
A bully needs someone who will respond to them either in fear or in submission. They don’t really care which. Heck, getting made at them means they got to you and THEY controlled YOUR behavior.
Don’t allow them to control your behavior. Think compassionately about why they are behaving like this. If you do, you will respond to them with compassion and pity. Bullies hate that.
To learn more about how to not reward a bully and how to manage the process of getting a bully to stop using behavioral science techniques, get my book, and join the site. And if you are dealing with a chronic bullying problem, sign up for the toolkit.
Learn this and please share it with others.