The Following is an excerpt and first draft from my upcoming book project “Out of Harms Way”. It is a meant to be a resource book for families struggling with bullying issues, and is designed to bring hope and empower kids being bullied.
Out of Harms Way Chapter 3 “Finding Your Voice”
“Everyday you wake up with that same hard pit in your stomach. You don’t want to get up, you don’t want to go to school, that meeting, to work….and why?
You are being bullied, and the mere thought of going through it again today is overwhelming. In fact an estimated 160,000 kids skip school each day, because they are being bullied.
This chapter is all about the first steps in changing those feelings, in developing a plan of action to help yourself, finding your allies, and getting that lump out of your gut.
- Write it Down: You know there is a problem, you know someone is hurting you mentally, physically, or both. You know you want help, you know you need help, but every time you try and talk about it you are overcome with emotions, how it feels and how you are able to describe it seem so far apart. Your words don’t tell the real story about what is happening to you.
So the first step in speaking up is to take out a sheet of paper and let it all come out. In the middle of the paper write the words “why I hurt”, and draw a circle around it. Now start to draw lines from it with the names of the people who are hurting you. From those names draw more lines and list the ways they hurt you. From those list as many instances as you can, be specific with as much detail as you can, “when, where, how”. If the bullying is still going on keep adding to this list and keep as clear of a record as you can, and keep it clear of the emotions that your are going through, just list out the “raw data”, just the black and white details of what is going on. This sheet will serve as your record and reference you will show later to help end your bullying situation.
Now the second part of writing it down is just for you, take out another sheet of paper, or a composition book and again write “why I hurt” in the middle, circle it and start drawing lines from it. List out what is happening to you, then list out how all those things make you feel, all the thoughts and feelings that it cause, and anything else you want to get out of your head. This paper, this book is just for you, to explore, and deal with the emotions of what is happening. No one else needs to see this book, and no one else needs to, it is your space to express yourself, and really get in touch with how you feel, and what is making you feel this way.
- Clearly Identify the Problem
Go back to your “facts sheet” and look over it again, think about everything that is going on and identify exactly what is going on, the “who, what, when, where, and how”. No condense this story into a “30 second commercial” a short and to the point description of what is going on, to clearly define the problem, why someone else needs to step up and help you, and what you think needs to be done.
Now comes the hard part, take that 30 second description and rehearse it. Get in front of a mirror, or your camera phone, anywhere you can see your face and go over your talk again, and again, you will cry, you will laugh, and you will feel uncomfortable, but keep going until you can go through the talk clearly, and hit all the important points .
It might feel silly, or unnecessary but, as we move into the next step you will be very glad that you went through the process, so when someone asks you “how can I help” or “what can I do”, or “how can we solve this problem” you will have an answer. You will know exactly what you think needs to be done because we have clearly identified the problem and what we think the solution is.
Exercise: In your work book in the back diagram out a bullying problem, real or imaginary and work out the details, all the particulars and make your own “30 second commercial”.
- Find the Right Ears
We have identified our problems, we have decided the best way to communicate our problems, we have practiced and rehearsed and know we are ready to make a leap of faith and ask for help, but who do we ask and why? What if they don’t care? What if they don’t help……all of the what if’s are swirling around your head right now, all of the doubt, and even all those things the bully is saying about you are probably bubbling up to the surface. Your self esteem, and self efficacy are at an all time low.
But…..don’t worry, it is normal, very normal. Everyone feels, or has felt that exact same way at some point or another, and getting through this initial resistance is part of getting your problem solved, one giant leap closer to getting past this ugly situation, and back to enjoying your life at school, or work, or whatever space a bullying is stealing from you. It is part of a process that you will build a lifetime of future success upon.
So don’t look at this part with dread, or fear, or doubt, embrace it, get excited, help is on the way!
4) Qualities of the right ears:
Now that we are ready to talk, let’s talk about who we can confide this issue with.
- Find someone you trust: pick someone you know that is trustworthy, that you feel safe telling your problem to. Parents, pastors, teachers, coaches, a close friend can be good places to start.
- Find Someone who can help: Your dog will listen to your problem, will care, and probably love to help…..but they are not in any position to. Pick someone who is in a position to make a difference with their words or influence. The old phrase “it’s not what you know…it’s who you know” comes to mind with this step. Look for a person of positive influence.
- Find Someone who is fair: We are not looking for revenge, someone to bully our bully, so we don’t need to look for a bigger bully, or someone who is only interested in your outcome. We need someone who will work with you, and the bully, who has everyone’s best interest in mind. Look for someone who can help…..everyone.
- Find a person of action: So many people talk, and so few walk. Look for a person of action, who will get things done, and won’t stop until the job is done, again we don’t just need someone to lend an ear like our faithful dog will, but someone who will lend a hand. Find a person of action.
Exercise: Make a list of people with the right kind of ears. Some of them might not have all those qualities, or you may be unsure about them, but we will always have doubts, and fears. We have to plan as best as we can and then become persons of action ourselves and speak up to someone we think will help.”
-Joshua Page, http://www.hickorymartialarts.com