BULLYING – THE CHANGE IS WITHIN YOU
The issue of bullying has been talked about a lot over the past year in the media and in schools. In particular, the bullying of LGBT youth has led to many unfortunate cases where suicide felt like the only way out. Are you or someone you know being bullied? Are you a bully? Ask yourself these important questions and you can make a difference in by taking steps to change your behaviour or helping those who you see being bullied by others.
If you have bullied others, think of the reasons why you did it. Did you want to look cool in front of your friends? How did it make you feel after you bullied the person? One of the best ways to stop this behaviour is to put yourself in the shoes of the person being bullied. If you were called those names, reflect on how you would feel. Often, realizing the power of your words is the best medicine to stop such actions.
Don’t put yourself into a box – just because you may have bullied people before, it does not mean you still have to do it now. The power to change is within all of us! By changing your behaviour, you will positively impact everyone around you. Be the person in your school who sets an example and says no to being a bully. Change starts with one person and grows larger from there.
If you have been bullied, or are currently being bullied, reach out to someone you care about. If you feel like they would not understand, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, there are many anonymous and free services where people are ready to help you at any time of the day. Kids Help Phone is a great example. Even though it may seem futile, talking with someone and having a human connection with someone who wants to listen to you and help you is extremely beneficial to your mental health. Someone who is “outside” of your situation can give you advice that you may not hear from someone that is close to you. The anonymity of a service like Kids Help Phone allows you to be completely honest about your thoughts and feelings without the fear of being judged.
You can also volunteer to help with programs that raise awareness about the effects of bullying, or create your own campaign in your school. Awareness of the issue will give others the confidence to speak up when they see someone being bullied.
If you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to someone. There is strength in numbers, and you will get through this.