I was disheartened to see on the Today show the other morning, the mother from Miami describe the harrowing bullying experience that led to her son being badly burned and fighting for his life in the hospital. Once again, we hear about a child committing an act of violence against another child.
Why do some children fall prey to such acts of violence against them while others seem to escape this experience? I believe it has to be because on some level, these children who suffer such violence, feel like a victim. And when they feel like a victim, they project this “victim energy” out into the world, which can attract these experiences.
What does it mean to feel like a victim? It means to feel powerless and fearful about some aspect of your life. It doesn’t mean that you feel powerless about everything in your life, or that you feel that way all of the time. But if more often than not you are feeling powerless to change a given situation, you begin drawing experiences to you that match how you are feeling. In the case of bullying, you are in a position where you are more susceptible to this experience.
I am not saying that the victim is responsible, or that the bullying behavior is in any way condoned because there are “victims” walking around out there. The person who commits the act of bullying is in every way, fully responsible for their actions. But it is a fact that people who carry around victim energy are more likely to be targeted.
The sad thing is, children that project this victim energy often don’t realize what they are doing, and without this awareness, they are powerless to change. They need an awareness of how they are feeling, and once that awareness is there, they need to know that they can improve the situation by changing how they are feeling.
Being a victim or feeling like a victim is a learned response to life’s circumstances. The good news is that this habitual, learned response can be unlearned. We can teach people how NOT to be a victim. There are teachers who teach physical skills to avoid becoming the victim. But we can also teach kids emotional skills to avoid becoming the victim, and that is what I am talking about here.
Let’s take a look at 3 steps you can follow right now that can bully-proof your child and help them shift out of “victim” mentality.
1) Stop speaking like a victim. Saying things like “she made me feel sad” or “he’s making me mad” gives all of the power to the other person. No one can “make” us feel a certain way unless we give them permission to do so. Catch yourself or your child speaking like this, and then turn around the statement. Instead of “he’s making me mad”, encourage your child to say “I feel mad” or “I choose to feel mad”. This puts ownership for your child’s feelings with him. Practicing this more empowering way of speaking will, over time, give the child a feeling of power and control over his situation.
2) Know that a higher power is always there to help. It doesn’t matter what this higher power is to your family, but just the knowing that there is something greater than us, something that is all knowing and all powerful can give your child a great deal of confidence in her ability to stand strong in the face of challenges. If she feels like she will always be alright, that energy will emanate from her. Bullies don’t want to struggle; if they feel this strong, powerful energy coming from your child (and they will feel it!), they will move on to someone else.
3) Find things to feel good about, and think about them often. There is always something to feel good about if you think about it. The more you think about and get into the “feelings” that these good thoughts evoke, the more good you will draw to you. It’s basic law of attraction stuff. Focus on good, attract good. Focus on fear; attract things to be fearful of. Shift the balance of good thoughts vs. bad thoughts so that there are more good than bad feelings going on, and everything around you will change for the better.
Ending bullying starts in our own little corner of the world. We need to manage our own thoughts and emotions first. From there, it’s a trickle down effect to our children and everyone else we come in contact with, until we reach a tipping point, so to speak. I am reminded of the famous quote by Margaret Mead – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”