BY SAVANNAH NORRIS
School is all sorts of stressful. Between endless assignments and exams, students have a lot to handle, not even counting sports. It’s natural to want to turn to friends in times of stress. However, when friends are making school a taxing experience, it may be time to take a closer look at those friends and how they treat you. It’s normal for you all to tease one another, and even call each other names, but the line between bullying and banter is very finely danced. If being around your friends creates anxiety, it’s a strong possibility that you’re either being bullied or just now realizing that crowd of people is not for you.
Bullying isn’t always intentional. Everyone says things they might not necessarily mean that offend another person. It’s when these offenses are repeated time and time again, breaking down a person’s self-esteem, that it quickly snowballs into bullying. In no time, silly banter can become torture. Make sure your friends are only lightheartedly teasing you, not intimidating and harassing you.
Some bullying, on the other hand, is very clearly intentional. It’s hard to understand why someone would want to harm another’s measure of self-worth and value, but there are actually very logical explanations for this torture. Often bullies channel their own personal problems and sources of stress to other people. It feels natural to the bully, just like it would feel natural to you to be irritated after a bad day. Your irritation is picked up by others, and you might take out a little bit of that annoyance on those around you. The difference is, for a bully, everything is elevated. They not only show irritation, but they force those around them to feel it, too. Bullying creates an outlet for the stresses of life, which in no way is a justification, but does make the idea more comprehensible. It’s very simple. If a bully is powerless, he or she wants others to feel that way. If a bully struggles academically or socially, they want others to feel that same lack of confidence and fulfillment.
Whatever the case, it’s important that you know how to handle being bullied. In a less serious bullying scenario, it might be easier to have a conversation with the person. It’s very possible that the individual doesn’t realize the effects their words have on you. Simply talking to this person about the diminishing feelings you are experiencing might be enough stop it. In a more serious bullying scenario, it may make more sense to talk to a trusted adult or organization. Dealing with an internal conflict like bullying can put a lot of stress on a person. It’s important you have someone to talk to during this difficult time that can offer some guidance. Above all, it’s important to remember that today, whatever moment and struggle you might be facing, is not the be-all, end-all. Life is so much bigger than this one bad week, month, year, or even these years. The time will always pass. Be the bigger person and keep going. Finish high school. Go to college (if you wish). Travel. Start a life with people that love and support you, and you’ll be the more powerful person.
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