In celebration of World Day of Bullying Prevention and Anti Bullying Week, here’s a little something to consider for those who have been bullied in the past and are looking forward to moving on!

The bullying is over…

Maybe you moved class, maybe you don’t work there anymore, maybe you even moved school. The point is, being bullied is now past tense – it’s not happening anymore and now, you can relax!

Their behaviour, no matter how it happened will have made an resounding impact on you. make no mistake about it, there is always an impact. You are human after all and what the behaviour of bullying does is seek to attack, undermine, break, hurt, damage, belittle and erode bits, parts or all of you.

Here’s how to deal with it 😎

If we don’t properly deal with it. We run the risk of carrying this pain and hurt with us into the rest of our lives, not to mention the impact it can have on our behaviour. From our research we know that lots of people who were bullied, often go onto bully others. With that in mind, let’s look at how to deal with what happened and ultimately, how to get over bullying…

TALK

Have you ever really properly shared what happened with someone you trust? It doesn’t really matter the scope of it, if you went through it – talk about it. When we don’t talk about our experiences we internalise them. That toxic negativity is detrimental to our well being. A bit like when you were younger and grazed your knee badly and got gravel in the cut. It had to be cleaned properly to stop it becoming infected. The same is true when we are bullied. Did you ever really talk about it? Is there still stuff to this day that you haven’t told anyone? If it still feels big and unresolved, talking could really help.

WAS IT YOUR FAULT?

This is a trick question of course. It is never ever ever your fault but if your gut reaction answer to this question was yes or maybe, take this as a sign that you need to do more talking. For as long you think any part of the responsibility lies with you, you are not fully over it and need more support.

SELF ESTEEM

One of the biggest areas to take a direct hit when we go through bullying is our self esteem. A key part to dealing with the aftermath is working to not only grow but actively protect your self esteem. We build self esteem through doing esteemable acts. Have a read of this article for inspiration and ideas to get you started.
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FIND CLOSURE

A huge part of finding closure is finding acceptance for what happened. All pain lies with not being to able to accept what it is that is causing you pain. In this case it’s the bullying you just went through. Accepting what happened doesn’t mean it sucks any less but not accepting it only means more pain. We can’t change the past but if we don’t accept it, we still live in all of its pain. You deserve to not be haunted by yours.

BE PATIENT

There is no magic wand or quick fix when it comes to dealing with bullying and its impact on us as people. So please be patient with yourself. Depending on what happened the timescales vary massively. What happened was not OK and you did your best to get through it. Now you are on the other side of it, give yourself time to heal and on those days when it feels like it was yesterday go gently, talk to a mate and trust that it does get easier.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

In today’s society we are all being fed a ginormous lie. The lie has two parts, the first is that your worth is dependant on external things like the amount of followers on your profile, your relationship status, possessions, what others think of you, money, the list goes on. The second is that your worth can be taken away from you. This is impossible because your worth is 100% unconditional from the day you are born to the day you die. Being bullied for so many of us leaves us questioning our worth or feeling robbed of it all together. Take it from us, it is still there and it actually never went anywhere, it just needs rebuilding and the only person who can truly take away your worth is you.

Wanna talk it through? Join the community now

Are you anxious about your first day at Secondary School? 😱

Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered.

The power of hindsight is a valuable thing! We asked a ton of people of all ages what they wish they knew before starting their first day at secondary school. If you’re feeling anxious about the big day, here are some pearls of wisdom from people who have been there and done that!

Here’s what they said…

“Be yourself and don’t change for anyone!” – Jess, 24

“Enjoy it! Year 7 is the best year so make sure you take everything in and make the most of it” – Tom, 18

“You’ll grow into your uniform eventually!” – Maria, 32

“Don’t try too hard to be ‘cool’ just do you and you’ll make friends that are worth keeping” – Steve, 45

“It’s normal to be nervous but you’ll get used to it pretty quick” – Jaycee, 19

“Don’t get too excited about school cafeteria food!” – Georgie, 26

“Join the clubs- its a really good way to make friends, I didn’t bother until year 9 but wish I did it sooner!” – Luna, 20

“Drama is awesome make sure you audition for the school productions!” – Emma, 23

“Don’t eat the mystery meat curry… lol” – Dan, 22

“Be your authentic self – pretending to be someone you’re not for five years is exhausting.” – Moira, 45

“I wish I knew that grades aren’t everything – don’t be too hard on yourself” – Jetta, 29

“Do your own thing. You don’t need to follow the crowd” – Arman, 24

“You probably won’t have a clue what’s going on for the first couple of weeks but DW it all falls in to place eventually.” – Ellie, 27

“You’re gonna get lost at some point. Carry a map.” – Charly, 16

“Try to care less about what other people think (easier said, than done!).” – Alex, 30

“Turns out, the ‘cool kids’ weren’t that cool after all…” – Josh, 28

“Some teachers are actually really nice and care a lot. Others, not so much.” – Kevin, 37

“I’d say don’t believe stereotypes – people are different” – James, 18

“Never compare yourself to other people, you are your own person – do your own thing!” – Alecia, 17

“Take lots of pictures…. not in class though unless you wanna get your phone confiscated!” – Sam, 20 

“When it feels like the world is ending, remember that when you look back in a few years time, this matters a lot less than you think” – Danni, 34

“Revision is everything!!!” – Nancy, 16

“The “band wagon” is not the best place to be” – Martin, 52

“These will be the very best years of your life, enjoy them and don’t hold back!”- Amy, 29

“I would tell myself that my problems aren’t as big as I thought they were and to stop freaking out over the littlest things.” – Bailey, 17

For some lolworthy tips on high school expectations vs reality – click here!

‘Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs’ – Pearl Strachan Hurd

Our actions define us, and in society, we tend to label people or categorise individuals based upon the behaviours they exhibit. For example, we describe people that play instruments as musicians, those that paint we call artists – and although these particular examples are seemingly harmless descriptors of interests, hobbies and careers – they allow insight into the potency and permanence of a label – after all, a musician is still considered a musician even when they are not actively playing their instrument.

In these instances we know that labels such as ‘musician’ and ‘artist’ are not a comprehensive representation of an individual’s entire personality – it is absurd to think that one word could adequately summarise the complexity of human nature. Yet, we very flippantly ascribe limiting and even damaging nouns and adjectives to people, including ourselves on a regular, if not daily basis. If you take a few moments to consider how often a label has actually positively impacted your self-esteem or confidence, you will find more often than not, they serve to be reductive and restrictive, promoting both conscious and unconscious prejudice.

“It is absurd to think that one word could adequately summarise the complexity of human nature”

 

Unlike a noun describing your profession – which is obviously subject to change depending on your employment – labels weighted with negative connotations such as ‘bully’ can be hard to shift. They dehumanise the person behind the word and can permanently tarnish a person’s reputation regardless of whether or not they are actively participating in aggressive behaviours. It implies that humans are incapable of change – an oxymoronic statement, because to be human means to be in a constant state of evolution. ‘Our actions define us’ but we should be aware that the definition is not indelibly inked.

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This is why at Ditch the Label we refuse to call people ‘bullies’ and ‘victims’; although such labels may seem an accurate reflection of their experience at this precise moment in time, by calling someone a ‘bully’ you are implying that is who they are at their very core, that they are inherently ‘bad’, rather than acknowledging the fact, that sometimes, good people do bad things. We are using Anti-Bullying Week this year to spread the message that it isn’t okay to label people as ‘bullies’ or ‘victims’ anymore, because it’s counterproductive.

Just as none of us are born with the ability to draw or sing a song; nor are we born with the ability to discriminate against someone because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality or any other unique factor. We believe bullying is a learnt behaviour, not an identity and although we can’t always identify the exact reason why somebody decides to act in this manner, we do know that those who bully others have issues that are not being addressed elsewhere.

“At Ditch the Label we refuse to call people ‘bullies’ and ‘victims'”

 

One of the first steps we take in helping those that want to stop bullying is to remind them that they are not a ‘bully’ and to stop thinking of themselves as such as it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of subscribing to villainous stereotypes and persecuting those that bully, we look to address why they are behaving in such a way. Often, we find they are responding aggressively to a stressful situation – for example, a bereavement of a family member or their parents’ divorce. It is also a good indicator as to how the person doing the bullying sees themselves; for instance, if somebody is constantly poking fun at how others look, it is more than likely they are doing so to deflect away from their own appearance-based insecurities. Likewise with sexuality; homophobia is usually a product of insecurity and a lack of education – unfortunately, instead of taking the time to understand or embrace difference, they act negatively towards the unknown.

We must start to encourage those that bully to seek the support they need. In order for them to feel comfortable enough to do that, we need to stop branding people or giving them the impression that they are undeserving of help.

Bullying is one of the biggest issues currently affecting teens and we believe that we can overcome it if we start to think differently about how we approach things. Ceasing to use disempowering labels such as ‘bully’ and ‘victim’ is a great place to start during Anti-Bullying Week 2016.

 

If you are being bullied, or are bullying others and want to stop, you can get help in our community