You may be the target of a bully, but you don’t have to be a victim. Bullies can go after you in many ways; physically harming you or threatening to hurt you; inflicting emotional pain through harassment, relentless criticism, taunting, put-downs, cutting out, manipulation, controlling, back-stabbing, spreading rumors, telling secrets, embarrassing you or generally mean behavior; cyberbullying.
In all these situations, the first step in defending yourself and in stopping bullies is the same and always has been. This is the first step, even before you use any programs that are designed to stop bullies in schools or at work.
For instance, we can go back to Homer’s “Odyssey.” At the end, after Odysseus and his son, Telemachus, have killed all the abusive suitors, they flee with two faithful servants to the mountain home of Odysseus’ father, Laertes. They know they will pursued by all the older men of the city, the fathers and uncles of the dead suitors.
In the final confrontation, hopelessly outnumbered, Laertes kills the father of the most evil suitor. Odysseus loses control of himself and goes berserk. He advances in a murderous rage to kill all the fathers and uncles.
Athena suddenly appears and speaks the words that that exemplify a central belief of the Greeks about how to face whatever the world throws at you – whether overwhelming odds, verbal and physical abuse, unfairness, your fear and hesitation, your loss of self-control, bullies.
Take Athena’s command out of context – it’s not about the trigger; it’s about your necessary first step in response to any situation.
Athena says, “Odysseus! Command yourself!” And when Athena commands, we best listen.
There it is; the key to all success; the start of everything we must do – “Command yourself.”
- Don’t give in to your feelings, no matter what they are. Don’t give in to embarrassment, weakness, hesitation, anxiety or fear.
- Don’t give in to self-bullying blame, shame and guilt.
- Don’t give in to your racing mind – when your reasoning and logic might talk you out of following your accurate intuition, might discourage and depress you into giving up or might spook and panic you into doing something dumb.
- Don’t give in to your lust or greed or laziness or any other of the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Don’t give in to your old beliefs, roles and rules that would trap you into enduring abuse and bullying.
Begin by commanding yourself. In Odysseus’ case, commanding himself meant not starting a bloodbath, which would lead to generations of vendettas that would ruin the country.
In the case of facing a bully, we must take charge of ourselves, gather ourselves and command ourselves. Even when we don’t know how things will turn out, we do know that we want to act bravely, resolutely and greatly. Therefore, command yourself and go for it; 110%.
If we give in to fear, anxiety, perfectionism and self-doubt, we’ll do nothing to protect ourselves – we’ll become victims of our own panic and terror. If we give in to anger and rage, we’ll explode, act unskillfully and do things we’ll regret. If we don’t command ourselves, we’ll lose confidence and self-esteem; we’ll get depressed and become easy victims of the predators.
If we don’t command ourselves, nothing we do will have the power and energy needed to succeed. We’ll be weak, hesitant, vacillating. We’ll become victims. We’ll take our first steps down the path to suicide.
With expert coaching and consulting, we can learn to command ourselves. We can overcome the voices of our fears and self-bullying.
We can become strong and skilled enough to resist being targeted by bullies and to stop bullies in their tracks. We can look at individual situations and plan tactics that are appropriate to us and to the situation.
When we command ourselves, we can overcome whatever confronts us. We will let nothing crush us; our spirits will remain strong. We can plan and take charge of our actions. We can act with strength, courage and skill. We can act with perseverance and resilience. We can get the help we need. We can succeed.
“How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids,” have many examples of children and adults commanding themselves and then stopping bullies. For more personalized coaching call me at 877-8BULLIES (877-828-5543).