Bullies are scary. They make us feel bad about ourselves and make us insecure. It is not unusual for people who have been bullied to worry that it will happen again. This is a reasonable thing to be afraid of.
The challenge everyone has, including people who appear confident, is how to stand up for ourselves when we are afraid to do so.
Everyone has fears. Everyone. Including bullies. Different people deal with their fears in different ways. Some people get aggressive and puff themselves up. Like cats when they are threatened. Their tails get all big and puffy to make themselves seem bigger than they are so they are less of a target.
Some people hide and make themselves small. Cats also do this when they run and hide. Most people do a combination of things at different times depending on the threat.
All of this is a normal response to the fear hormones that sometimes hit us.
Fear is in our emotional toolkit for a reason
Fear is in our emotional toolkit for a reason. We want to survive and thrive. Fear keeps us from doing things that can harm us. In that sense, it’s a very useful emotion to have.
The problem is that sometimes we fear things that aren’t actually mortal threats to our lives. Bullies are scary, but they also aren’t people you should fear. For the most part, they are just like puffed up cats trying to seem bigger than they are.
If you have a plan for how to deal with them effectively, you don’t need to fear them. Even if you have a plan though, you may be afraid to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. So let’s address how to remove our fears so we can act as we wish instead of letting our fears control us.
One of the questions I get asked a lot from people dealing with bullying is how to remove their fear so that they can speak up to defend themselves and do the things I recommend in my book and courses (and yes, all the content on this website is free – no excuses to learn this).
My answer is simple, it’s not about removing fear. It’s about doing the right thing despite the fear. And by doing so, you get practice and your fear of your fear is lessened.
Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D Roosevelt.
Our fear of fear paralyzes our efforts. So don’t add fear onto your fear. Acknowledge your fear and decide to do something to fix this situation. This really does work. For most people.
Is it easy to do? No. But the more you do it, the less you fear your fear and the easier it becomes to act. This is all about practicing. The more you practice, the easier it becomes and the less fearful you will be. And the less fearful you are, the less attractive you will be to bullies. This is a skill worth practicing.
So the next time you find yourself locked in a cycle of fear, I want you to think to yourself, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. And then resolve to do what needs to be done, despite your fears. Then – do it.
Also, if you are dealing with bullies, the material on this website is free. You do need to register though. Just follow the instructions to get the free discount.