Helping the victims of bullying
What can YOU do to help?
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact email@example.com.
"If you know someone who is being bullied, try and help them build their confidence."
Despite having spent almost a year covering the topic in Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) classes, it’s still not an easy question. There’s no simple solution to bullying because hope as we might, it’s naïve to think that everyone will just stand up against those who are mean to others and that bullies will decide to stop just because it’s the right thing to do. Not that some people won’t stand up against bullies of course; it’s just that while we can try to influence others, the only person we can change is ourselves.
So what can you do about bullying? You can’t stop people being cruel or isolating others. However, you can change how others are affected by it. If you’re a victim of bullying, try to change how you receive negative comments. It’s not easy. It is not a reflection on you. Try to recognise all your good features, your talents, your strengths. Don’t let someone else have control over your self-esteem or how you see yourself. Try to be a participant in life: get involved, work with others and build relationships with peers. Confidence is not an easy thing to build, but you can fake it till you make it.
If you know someone who is being bullied, try and help them build their confidence. And that’s not just for victims of bullying, but for everyone – you never know who needs a boost in self-esteem. You thought your classmate made an interesting point in one of your classes? Let them know. You like someone’s new haircut? Tell them. You noticed someone played particularly well in your last football match? They’d be glad to hear it. Having someone pick up on these things can mean so much to a person who doesn’t hold a very positive view of themselves. And when a person is more confident, it’s easier for them to not pay as much attention to any negativity directed towards them.
I guess what we can all generally do to tackle bullying is to just be nice to others. Simple as it may sound, it really can make all the difference to someone whether or not people say hi to them or pay them the odd compliment; just something to show that they’re accepted, that they’re liked. This may not seem easy – why should you go out of your way to talk to someone if they’re not in your group of friends? It’d just be a bit awkward. If that’s the case, look at all the fallout of the recent cyber bullying issues. Wouldn’t you rather chat with someone who’s been a bit isolated, than have them feel lonely, unwanted, excluded?
The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up. It really is nice to be nice. We’re not all going to take a stand or call out bullies, but we can all change our attitudes to be more sensitive to others, to be more accepting, more friendly, more caring. After all, what goes around comes around.