Bullying is often associated with bad behavior on the playground, but bullies can exist at every stage in life: in relationships, in the workplace and even at church. In How to Heal and Deal with Bullying: Part 1, we talked about the reasons why people become bullies and ways to approach a bully. Bullies act out of a self-serving mentality, trying to sooth inner turmoil by taking it out on their victims. A bully often targets someone to dominate because he or she feels out of control. Understanding more about a bully can give you insight into their behavior, but it is also important to keep yourself from getting hurt.
Here are six ways to protect yourself from a bully:
Share: Talk about the bullying situation with the highest possible authority. Don’t keep your struggle to yourself; you have nothing to hide. Discussing a bullying situation brings it into the light and is the first step in tackling the issue.
Find a Creative Outlet: Identify what you are passionate about and make a point of putting energy into a sport, a hobby, or an art form. Set goals in this outlet and make it a positive part of your life.
Don’t Isolate Yourself: It’s natural to want to stay away from unpleasant situations, but avoiding your bully gives he or she the upper hand. Try to think of the situation as an opportunity to build your communication and interpersonal skills. You don’t have to seek out your bully directly, but don’t let your bully’s actions dictate where you go or what you do.
Value your Inner Strength: There is amazing power in maturity. Choosing to deal with a bully in a mature way takes a great deal of inner strength, and you should applaud yourself for approaching a difficult situation appropriately.
Keep the Situation in Perspective: Nothing lasts forever. School and work environments change, life moves on to a new chapter. Having to interact with a bully is a temporary period in your life and will eventually fade away.
Don’t Get Even: Interacting with a bully is inherently unfair; you must deal with an immature reaction in a mature way. To keep from becoming a bully yourself, your job is not to fight fire with fire, but to take the high road.
At their core, bullies are people who are hurting. Their behavior may be damaging, but like everyone, bullies want to be heard and respected. Was your bully ever the victim? And what about his or her bully? By sympathizing with your bully while protecting yourself, you could the one to break a long cycle of bullying. Romans 12:10 tells us to “be devoted to one another in love” (NIV). A bullying situation can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to break us down. When we take the steps to approach bullying in an appropriate way, we’re not only obeying God’s command, we are using God’s love to reach out to someone in pain.
The Journey Principles offers a spiritual approach to healing your relationships through God’s love.
In your service,