Thinking negative and even hateful things about a bully – is common. These feelings are normal. They won’t, however, help you fix the situation.
The other day my son had a teacher take a flag away from him. Let me back up a little bit. He’s a history nerd and loves flags and bought himself a lovely Ching dynasty flag using his birthday money. It’s a 3 foot by 5 foot flag and it’s gorgeous.
It flutters in a nice way. So – he decided to take it to school to show his friends. Who apparently – all thought it was pretty awesome too. Until a teacher took it.
He didn’t even make it to first period.
He tried to get it from her – but she said he had to get it from student services after school. After school – it wasn’t at student services. She had forgotten to give it to him.
He came home distraught. REALLY upset. And made. And furious and terrified it was lost forever.
It turned out – she hadn’t had time because she is helping to direct a school play and she felt horrible that she put him through all that.
Importance of self reflection
After he calmed down about the perceived loss of his flag – he turned to me and said – I feel really bad for all the really hateful things I thought about my teacher. This is maturity.
The feelings he felt – were normal given the circumstances, but – they were based on his flawed perceptions of what had happened, and not on reality.
If he had acted on those emotions, he would have gotten himself into trouble and it would have made getting his flag back harder.
Because he didn’t act on those emotions, he still has a great reputation with the teachers and with this teacher in particular.
How does this relate to bullying?
When someone hurts us – we tend to think all sorts of negative things. Those negative things may not be based in reality and it’s always a good idea to check your ideas against reality.
It’s also a good idea to not lash out in anger and get yourself in trouble. My son was angry – because he was afraid. He was afraid he had lost his birthday present. He didn’t. But it was his fear driving his anger.
Get over your fears, and you get over your anger and you lesson the likelihood that you will behave badly and get yourself in trouble.
Figuring out how to strategically deal with emotionally difficult situations is an important life skill and it’s one you can practice and learn. Those who do – handle things – maturely and gain respect.