When I was twelve, the coolest boy in my class was mocking me, telling me I was a crossbreed between a woman and a man. It felt terrible, really terrible. He was the most popular boy in my class and, according to him, I was a crossbreed. I wanted him to like me and change his mind so badly.
My classmates were ruthless kids. The boys would often bully another boy from my class One day that boy’s mother came and asked why her son was being beaten. The reply was, “Today is a day for beating Peter”. We were horrible but what’s worse is that all children act like that. Whenever Peter answered something wrong during school lessons, everybody (insluding me!) would sing, “Peter is a loser and a mule!”
Peter’s story, unfortunately, is not unique. Things like this have been happening for years all around the world. In the last decades, however, bullying has become a real issue especially among teenagers.The statistics are alarming: 70.6 percent of teens have seen bullying occurring in their schools—and approximately 30 percent of young people admit to bullying themselves. No wonder it has been subject of many TV shows, for example think about Glee, The Simpsons, The Wonder Years and many more. While in movies the tormented characters usually come to terms with bullying and get over it, in real life it’s not always that easy. I myself was mocked by classmates years ago, not only by that poplular boy I mentioned above, and this experience has had its impact on my personality and the way I function now in society. True, for some people it’s too painful and they cannot get rid of the specter of bullying whilst others seem to get over it easily. For instance, my old classmate Peter is now married with a child and looks happy. I have come to believe the alleviation of pain comes from within us. Each one of us has to react appropriately in order to get over it. If we don’t do it, the painful experience will be buried somewhere in our subconscious mind, causing us a lingering feeling of unhappiness and anxiety. I have developed and applied three sure killer tools for dealing with mockers, haters and all sort of evil-wishers:
• Find out why they hate you.
We must find out why they hate us. Perhaps our mindset is unconventional or our dressing style doesn’t fit their taste. Or maybe we have a different skin color or sexuality. Whatever the excuse, the primary reason is one—we’re different and that’s why they hate our guts. It’s easy to get people to hate you – be different, be creative, think outside the box. Here’s a hint: we shouldn’t change our style and way of thinking, talking or expressing ourselves only to get their approval. They’re called “haters” for a reason. If they dislike us, they will continue to do so, no matter how hard we try to please them.
The big question is how to deal with them? We should respond appropriately. If we’re in school, we can talk to the form tutor; if it’s at our workplace—it’s good to inform our manager. It’s pointless to waste our breath with bullies or haters—they won’t listen to us. However, they respect superiors and, having been approached by them, will think twice before offending us again. It will also show them that firstly, we won’t remain indifferent, silently bearing their attacks, and secondly, that they must bear responsibility for their actions. There’s always a counter reaction in the universe. This is exactly what my classmate Peter did and it worked. After several rebukes from our form tutor the boys eventually stopped bullying him.
• Sometimes it’s only up to us to resolve the issue
Maybe we don’t realize our own peculiarities but haters see them and mock us the way a distorting mirror would do. It’s important for us to stay detached and cool in the face of hatred. How to achieve that? Nowadays there are plenty of relaxation practices available on iTunes. I myself practice yoga nidra. This is an ancient tantric practice. The main benefit of any meditative technique is that our mind withdraws from the sense objects and we are given the chance to develop a one-pointed mind. After all, how can anybody solve their own problems with the same mind which created them? We generally tend to flee from trouble causing experiences, people, etc. Instead, we must face them bravely. If we can’t handle the small obstacles, how will we face the big ones? Yoga nidra definitely helps achieving that. Once the mind is calm and relaxed, it’s advisable for us to make a positive statement or a resolve. For example “I am healthy” or “I am wise”. This resolve will ultimately lead to a change in our lives, personalities and destinies.
•Transform the negative experience into a positive one.
This is not easy; actually it requires growth and inner spiritual strength. Pain, loss and rejection as well as disease are all part of life. As long as there is light, there will be darkness. This is the duality principle. Some of the greatest artists and writers created their artworks driven by pain, loneliness and constant struggles. It is not coincidental that all religions say pain and suffering help us evolve along the spiritual plane. Moreover, it’s really refreshing to think of our pain as a helper and idea giver. If we were bullied in the past or we are being bullied right now, it makes sense to share our experiences or write a book about them. It will undoubtedly be a very painful one, but this will only make it more real, honest and helpful to others who have faced the same issues. The phrase: “If it bleeds, then it leads” describes it perfectly in a figurative way. This is what I do all the time. I try to use my inner issues, troubles, worries etc. and discuss them in writing.
Writing is a very powerful tool because through it we get the freedom to talk about the things we are afraid of. If we share them with a wide number of people, we can really help at least some of them. The whole process will eventually help us overcome our pain and will set us free.
picture by Clint McMahon