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October is Bullying Awareness Month, but we should always be aware.

Photo by Daniel Garcia

Day 31, 10/06/2018

Hello everyone. How are you feeling today? I want you to actually think about that for a second. Your feelings and of course you matter. Take a second to think about yourself right now. It is not selfish. I care about you guys and if I want to know how you all are before I just begin with another topic. This isn’t just reading scripted words. We connect with each other. You all reach out to me, we communicate, and we grow. So let’s continue growing.

October is bullying awareness month. This is a topic that keeps popping up. School is back in session and some circumstances have become a little tense. You’ve probably had an assembly at school about bullying. It’s such a common problem, but we are all aware we can never fully get rid of it. We can’t stop everyone because we can’t control other people and their actions. That’s just fact.

So during that assembly the person preaching probably told you that we have all been victims, we have been the witness to someone’s suffering, but also, we have been the bully. Is this true? I certainly do believe so. No, I don’t want to be a bully, but I have made some poor choices. Of course there are times when we are the bully without intent. It happens. Take responsibility, learn from your mistakes, and continue on your way.

My job isn’t to sit here and point out how each of us have been the bully at least one time in our lives. It is not my job to condemn people. But obviously I need an explanation. I need to give an example. I need to support my case with living proof. I want you all to learn from my mistakes. That’s the thing about mistakes, you don’t just have to learn from yours, you can learn from others too.

I try my best to avoid bullying people. I never want to make someone feel so low or disrespected. It’s not in my nature to intentionally hurt people. But I’m only human. I think one of the greatest stories I have to tell for people to learn from is when I came forward about the last time I was sexually assaulted. I posted on almost all of my social media accounts about the incident. I didn’t use his name, but everyone knew who it was anyway. So I pretty much outed him and targeted him. I thought if I came forward about everything that I could make people aware.

I know what you’re thinking, “Rachel, darling, you didn’t do anything wrong. He deserves worse. And people deserve to know so they can be aware and be cautious.” But here’s the thing, it’s not what I said. It’s how I said it. But also by targeting him like that, does it make me any better? Couldn’t I have been more professional about it and handled it better?

Did I want to intentionally cause harm to him? No, not after I “thought it through” Isn’t that funny? I thought about it before I posted it and still ended up being a bully.

Okay so enough of that, how do we deal with bullying? Have you ever been told, “Be the bigger person by just ignoring them?” That never worked for me. Every time I ignored my bullies it let them think it was okay to keep doing what they were doing. I honestly recommend to tell a trusted adult and have them help. Talk to your friends and family and have them look out for you. You can journal and use other coping skills as well.

Of course though, you should always try to be the bigger person. If you call the bully names, that makes you a bully too. Don’t sink to their level. Try to compromise. Figure out what the problem is and try to solve it. Maybe you have to distance yourself from people. Most of the time people need to be corrected for their actions. It honestly depends on the situation and it’s severity.

Another concept that I never really understood was, “If you are being bullied, they are just jealous of you.” Alright cool a little self-esteem boost, but is that really the reason in most cases? Sure, I’ve had some instances where that was the root of the problem. But most of the time I learned it comes from the parenting.

No, I’m not here to tell you exactly how to be a parent either. That’s not my occupation. I’m not a parent so I don’t have much room to correct everything you’re doing wrong. But so many times have I reported being bullied, the school gets the parents involved, and the parents defend their kid. Sometimes it’s justified. But other times it’s because we never want to admit our kids are doing something so horrendous. We don’t want to believe it. That’s not how we raised them. Right?

But there’s a problem with that. We have to assume no one is perfect, not even our kids. And I’m not saying to always assume the worst, but be aware that we are all human and we all make mistakes. If you’re kid is reported to be bullying someone, look into the situation, look at both sides, and see what can be done on both ends.

“Blowing out someone’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.” 

I’m not sure who came up with this quote, but I give them credit. This quote really stood out to me because it is just so true and it makes you think, why am I doing this? What is my purpose? When you can just be content with yourself all alone.

Here’s something I want you to remember. Bullying does leave the playground, it does leave the high school, and it does leave the internet. It will follow you into your adulthood. It follows you to your job, new so-called friends you thought you made, I’ve honestly been bullied just by people walking past me on the streets.

Just know how to respond. Whether it’s getting a trusted adult involved, separating yourself from the toxicity, sometimes police have to be involved, be safe about it, and so on. You are not alone. Please reach out to me if you need to talk. I’m here for you and I love you all. 

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