How To Deal With Bullies (Emotionally)
Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief. And in this blog post, I’m going to talk about how to deal with bullies. The purpose of this blog post really is to help you to stop feeling hurt by the bullying, to get you to stop feeling trapped and helpless in regards to how you deal with bullying, and even to get you to stop feeling angry towards the bullies. This is not about how to stop getting bullied, this is about how to deal emotionally with being bullied, how to be happy and at peace even when someone is saying something nasty to you.
In order to stop being emotionally affected by bullies, you have to understand what’s causing your suffering
In order to help you to lose these unwanted feelings and to really be at peace in the midst of bullying, or the effect of being bullied after the fact, you need to understand the situation more clearly. You need to better understand why they bully. You need to better understand what’s going on in your head that makes you feel hurt, okay?
When you don’t believe someone’s words, those words don’t impact you
First, let’s look at what’s going on with you when someone says something to you. If someone says you are an alien from Mars, do you feel sad? Or hurt? Probably not because you know you’re not an alien and if they think you’re an alien, they must be crazy. If someone says to you, “You have four fingers,” and you look and you have 5, do you feel hurt or sad? No, because you know you have 5 fingers. If they say you have 4, that doesn’t matter, because you don’t believe them.
See, what happens is, when someone tells you that you’re ugly, let’s say, then you feel hurt? Why? Because you have an idea “I am attractive,” and an idea that you are not ugly. And if someone tells you you are ugly, it makes it harder to keep believing that you are attractive or not ugly. You see, if I know I have 5 fingers, somebody telling me I have 4 doesn’t affect what I know, because I know it. If I only believe I have 5 fingers, then someone tells me I have 4, I might feel hurt. If you know that you are attractive, then being insulted won’t impact you. But, the thing is, you don’t know it, you just believe it.
We get taught to pursue a positive identity, confidence
When we are young, when we are in our teenage years, we are trying to create an identity for ourselves, we’re trying to create a self-image, we’re trying to figure out who we are. We are taught that there are only two options in any particular attribute or characteristic. And the two options are opposites, which is you are either pretty or ugly, cool or boring, funny or serious, nice or mean, smart or stupid. We only have two options, right? That’s what we’re being offered. So of course, we try to convince to ourselves that we are the positive side, we try to develop confidence and self-esteem.
Thinking of yourself positively, confidence, creates suffering
When we try to think of ourselves positively, a whole number of different types of suffering come with it. If I try to think of myself as attractive, then if someone doesn’t look at me, someone rejects me, someone insults me, then boom – it worsens. I have to worry about others’ opinions, and I’m at the effect of others’ opinions because I can’t think I’m attractive if others insult me and say that I’m not. If I think I’m smart, I don’t know that I am, so if others call me stupid, then my opinion will worsen. If I fail a test, boom, there goes I’m smart, so then I have to have anxiety about tests. If I think I’m fun and someone else calls me boring or a few people don’t call me or don’t want to hang out with me, or tell me my hobbies are stupid. Then all of a sudden maybe I’m not that fun, maybe I’m not that cool.
The issue with trying to create the positive identity is that you are so much at the effect of others’ opinions, right? Even if you think I am great, if others tell you you are not, it’s going to be very hard to think you are great. See all of this is opinions, perspective, or in other words, concepts that only exist in our imagination. You can’t see, touch, hear, smell, feel, anything “good” about you. These are just imaginary ideas in your head. Therefore, these ideas are very fragile, and anything is a threat to them.
If you don’t believe others’ words to be true, they don’t impact you
When someone insults you, if you believe their words to be possibly true, you feel it, right? If you’re trying to think of yourself as fun and someone says you’re so stupid, you’re so boring, nobody wants to talk to you. Well then, boom, you feel unworthy, unlikable. As long as you believe your opinion to be real and true, you’ll believe others’ opinions to be real and true. Does that make sense?
If someone tells you the world is going to end tomorrow and you believe them, how do you feel? Well, you feel afraid, sad, angry, something. But if someone says the world is going to end tomorrow and you don’t believe them, how do you feel? You feel nothing. That shows you that when you believe others’ words to be true, they create emotions. When you don’t believe others’ words to be true, they don’t create emotions.
There is nothing good or bad about you
The same thing is true for the words in your head – when you believe positive words about yourself, they create emotions. When you believe negative words about yourself, they create emotions. But if you don’t believe the words, they don’t create emotions. So if someone says you’re stupid, you just ask for yourself, “Am I?” If you try to convince yourself you’re smart, you’ll fail. Because there’s always evidence on both sides. If someone says you’re boring and you’re trying to convince yourself you’re fun, you’ll fail, because there’s evidence on both sides.
You are not fun or boring, smart or stupid, cool or not cool, popular, unpopular, anything. You see you are neither side, you are here and some people will think you’re fun and some will think you’re boring. And some will think your interests are cool, some will think your interests are stupid. Some will think you’re smart, some will think you’re stupid. But none of that is who you are, each person has their opinion and it doesn’t mean anything about you, you see?
Could someone else have the opposite perspective?
However you look, some might think you’re ugly, some might think you’re pretty. But if you are raised in another location, they might think differently right? Some places they like more weight, in some they like skinny or in some they like darker skin, in some they like lighter skin, some they like tall, some they like short, depending on the person, depending on the place, it really all depends. So what you need to recognize is that you are not good or bad, you’re just here. And whatever is said to you is said to you and it doesn’t mean anything about you.
Why people bully: You can’t think that you are good unless you believe others are worse
In order to understand why people bully, you need to understand that everyone just wants to think of themselves as positive. We just don’t realize that this creates suffering. So the person that bullies you, the reason why they bully you is because they can’t think of themselves as cool unless somebody else is less cool. They can’t think of themselves as attractive unless somebody else is ugly. They can’t think of themselves as fun unless someone is not fun. They can’t think of themselves as charming unless somebody else is awkward. Right?
Because if I’m attractive and I think everybody else is attractive, I’m not attractive, I’m just normal. If I think I’m fun and I think everybody else is equally fun, then I’m just normal. If I think my hobbies are interesting and everybody’s hobbies are interesting, then there’s nothing interesting about my hobbies, it’s just normal. So in order to think I am great, I have to judge others to be worse than me.
Judging others is how we improve our identity
In the process of forming an identity, especially in high school, in order to think I’m great, we just constantly judge others, and for some people that takes shape, that takes form by doing it outwardly directed towards someone else. We can’t just have it in our head, we have to show people they are bad. We have to show people I am better. It does give some pleasure. But, overall, it doesn’t feel good for the bully.
For example, every time you judge the bully, it gives you some pleasure. Every time you judge the bully to be a lesser human being than you, to be a mean person, you get to feel noble, like you are better than them. Right? It gives you a little sense of pleasure, but it also gives you anger and disappointment and sadness. The same is true for the bully when they judge you to be less attractive, less worthy, less cool, less something, they get a little bit of pleasure, but they also experience anger, judgment, disappointment. It’s not enjoyable to judge all the time. Right?
Why bullying often subsides as we get older
As we get older, people stop bullying because eventually they learn bullying is not nice. Bullying is mean. And then if they continue to bully, they form an identity of “I’m not a nice person, I am a bad person, I am a mean person.” So eventually people stop, but in high school, they don’t realize that, they didn’t get taught yet that it makes me a bad person, or they did but it’s more important for them to think of themselves as cool, attractive, fun, powerful, better than others than it is for them to think I’m a nice person. Nice doesn’t hold as much weight when you’re young and in high school and trying to be popular.
The bully is not in control over what they are doing
Another way to lose your anger toward the bully is just to see the boy is not in control. They’re just trying to make themselves happy and if they’re bullying you, it’s because they’re trying to believe they’re great, but don’t know it. Just like you’re trying to believe you’re good at something but don’t know it. In order to think we’re good at something, we have to think others are worse.
Recognize that they’re not a bad person, they’re just trying to feel better about themselves and you’re the tool to help them do that. It’s not like you’re actually bad, they just want to think of themselves as better. There’s only two options when it comes to our self-image and identity, and that is superior or inferior. I can either be better than someone or worse than someone, not good or bad. Good or bad means superior or inferior. So they’re just trying to think of themselves as superior, so they need somebody to make worse than them. Not that you actually are worse, it’s just that they need somebody to make them feel better about themselves.
Is what they said about you true?
How do I know that I’m bad in some way? Could somebody else think something different? If someone calls you stupid, you ask the question: How do I know that I’m stupid? Maybe I am stupid at math, but I’m good at writing. Maybe I don’t learn well from a teacher, but I learn well from reading. Maybe I’m not particularly good at this, but I’m great at gaming. How do you know that you are bad? You don’t know, but if you’re trying to convince yourself that you’re cool or popular or fun or something, you’re going to fail. Stay in “I don’t know,” I’m just here, and I’m not one opposite or the other.
If somebody tells you something about yourself, they insult you, they bully you, you need to ask “Is it true? Do I know it’s true? Can I think of a few reasons as to why the opposite might be true?”
What you want most in life is to be happy and at peace
The most important thing to do, or the most useful way to look at this is to ask yourself the simple question, or maybe not so simple question of “What do I want most in life? What is the number one most important thing to me?” Take a moment and really ask yourself, what do you want in life more than anything else? What is the number one most important thing to you?
You may think it’s popularity or girls or guys or success or power or something, but if you look really closely, you’ll see that all you really want is to be happy, to be in peace, to not feel hurt, sad, depressed, lonely, worried, shameful, all that stuff. All you want is to be happy and at peace, to be free of suffering, right? And you just hope getting a girlfriend will make you feel better. Getting popular will make you feel better, getting power will make you feel better, getting success will make you feel better. You just want to feel better, that’s it.
How to deal with bullies – Discover that this might not be “bad” in the long run
If someone insults you, ask yourself “Do I know this will be bad for me in the long run?” So maybe you don’t match your school’s definition of beautiful, right? The common definition according to most people in your school. But is that bad for your life? You may think that it’s definitely bad. But maybe if you had the face that others think were beautiful, guys or girls would be attracted to you just for your looks and would just use you to hook up with you or something, and you’d get the superficial type instead of those who like you for who you are. Maybe if you had that “attractiveness” you’d have more distractions and wouldn’t give time and energy to school. Maybe if you had that “attractiveness”, you wouldn’t get as good a grades because of the distractions and you wouldn’t get as much success or get the jobs you like. How do you know? Maybe your friends would be the ones who just want to be cool instead of the ones who actually like you for who you are and have similar interests and hobbies, and communicate in a similar way to you.
Maybe the people at your school think your hobbies are stupid, but what do you want most? Happiness. Most people don’t even have a hobby they enjoy. If you have a hobby you enjoy, wonderful. Most people find it so hard to find a passion, to find a job they like. If you have a passion, a hobby, even if it’s strange, abnormal, well, guess what? That means you’re more likely to succeed in it because there’s less competition. And if you love it, you’re more likely to spend more time on it and you’re much more likely to be happy if you have something you’re passionate about, right? You don’t have to have a passion, but it’s useful sometimes.
Could the qualities that they judge me for make me happier in the long-run?
Whatever they’re judging you for, ask, “Is it possible that this will lead me to actually be happier in life?” Maybe I’m awkward around people. Well, maybe that will leave me to spend more time doing work, which will help me to get better grades and have a more fulfilling career. Maybe I’m awkward now, but that will incentivize me to read books and really work on myself to discover how to really be free around people. How do you know? Just because there’s awkwardness here now, that doesn’t mea it’s always who you’re going to be? You don’t know that. So just ask yourself, what are all the effects of this seemingly bad aspect about myself or my life, what are all the effects? Could it lead me to become happier? Is it possible?
How to deal with bullies emotionally
When they insult you, you say, “Well, maybe you’re right. But I don’t know whether that’s good or bad for my life. I don’t know.” Or, maybe you’re right and maybe you’re not right. Maybe I don’t match your definition of attractive, but does that mean I’m not attractive? Somebody else might think I am. Maybe I match your definition of stupid or boring, but somebody else may enjoy having me around. In some other subject I might be brilliant.
Thank you for reading this blog post about how to deal with bullies
So that’s my version of how to deal with bullies. I hope you find it helpful or you found it helpful and you can use it in your life. But please feel free to ask me questions if you have any concerns about what I spoke about.
Alright, thank you for. Bye.