We live in a label-happy society, but in a bullying situation, there are only two labels:
“bully” or “victim”
– and neither promote a positive self-image or play a role in your future success.
Dig a little deeper into your relationships. First, look at how you treat others; do you treat others the way you want to be treated? Or, even more importantly, how they want to be treated? How do you know how others want to be treated? It’s not as hard as you may think to figure that out. Not everyone wants to be treated the same, but everyone wants to be treated with respect, kindness, and without judgment or prejudice. So until you get to know a person better, that’s a good starting place.
Once you’re aware of your own behavior and how you treat others, it’s time to look at how others behave. You have the power to keep people from being the bully or the victim. People often think self-defense is punching and kicking; really, there is so much more to it than that. Most of the time, you never have to touch an opponent. Your most powerful tool is not your fists or your legs – it’s your voice! If you see someone being bullied, or if you find it happening to you, speak up and step in. Don’t allow yourself or others to become a victim or tolerate being a bully.
If you’re in a bullying situation, before you do anything else, take a deep breath. Doing this lets your brain refocus. Now speak up! Bullies expect the people they pick on to be victims, so tell them to back off and get some oomph behind those words – it will surprise them! Then just walk away.
The first rule of self-defense is: Don’t be there! If you can walk away, do so. You can do the same thing if you see someone else being bullied, too. Get in there, tell them to back off, and get yourself and your friend out of there!
Using your voice can be scary and it can be hard, but it’s so important. It may even save your life or someone else’s. You have so much power in that voice of yours; it’s like a super power! You know the saying, “Use your power for good, not evil”? That applies to your voice as well.
Let your voice be your super power, and go save the day!
by Kaian Thompson
Kaian “Kai” Thompson is a home-schooled junior, Taekwondo instructor at Karate for Kids in Rapid City, and an anti-bullying advocate. In her spare time she enjoys cosplay, fashion design and acting on stage with Seraphim Theatrical Productions. Read more about Kai here.