Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bust a Bully - Use The 5 F's To Make Yourself Bully Proof

Bully Busters Anti-Bully
 Radio Interview

The 5 F's For Teens Fighting Back Against Bullying_____________
Five Techniques for How To Handle Bullying 
by John Nottingham, founder Arizona Bullying Prevention Initiative -The Phoenix BullyProof Project | USAMartial Arts Phoenix 

Here are some fundamental skills and strategies for the initial stages of handling bullying or aggressively rude behavior.  How you handle the little things can sometimes go a long way in derailing future abuse and bullying targeting.

1. Friend
One of the most powerful ways to handle bullying is to master the art of making friends. Treat others the way you want to be treated, even when they may not be so nice.  The old saying goes, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."  This can be a great way to resolve issues with aggression in the early stages.  Of course, if it has gone beyond this level, you may have to resort to other options but making friends is a very powerful skill to thwart bullying.

Verbal Judo Comeback Line: "Whoah, stop. If a teacher hears you talking like that you'll be in a lot of trouble and I don't want to see that. So let's just be friends and chill." (Adapt to age appropriate vernacular and language you are comfortable with.)   
STOP BULLYING TIP:  Remember: it's not just what you say, it's how you say it so body language, tone and delivery are critical to making it work.  Stand tall, square shoulders, maintain direct eye contact, raise chin slightly and end with a smile.  Speak with a calm, confident tone as if you are a compassionate, powerful leader.
Be a friend and speak up for others as well.  Win more friends and they might also speak up for you when needed.  The person with the most friends usually wins.  Seek common ground and learn to respect differences and others right to his or her own opinion.

To fight fire, be water.  That doesn't mean it is your fault or that you are weaker. It means that peace in the long term is more important to you than winning a short term battle.  Kindness kills cruelty and bullying sometimes and should be a first line of defense.  Look for ways to earn respect, show your strengths and be helpful and understanding of others needs and goals.  At the same time, remember that nobody has the right to injure you.  Kindness does not mean weakness - instead it is a strength found in leaders and difference makers.  

2. Forget
Forget about reacting emotionally to bullying taunts or tests.  Most bullying behavior is just testing different people to see who reacts.  Be quick to forget insults, comments, flaws and issues.  Think of it as a trap and you don't have to take the bait.

If you can learn to forgive people and have empathy for them, it can go a long way in helping you think more clearly about your responses and the kind of person you want to be.  By not reacting emotionally to a situation, you can plan and even practice your responses to handle things better.  By starving the person of a reaction, you can very often stop ongoing bullying behavior.

Be quick to forget other people's rudeness and even cruel remarks.  Think of it as a gift that you do not have to receive.  "Thanks for the thought, but no thanks - I won't accept."  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, even you. The most important opinion you have is the one about yourself.  

Forget about revenge because that usually makes things worse.  Instead be so busy working on improving yourself that you don't have time to worry about the other stuff as much.  
Forget feeling alone, helpless or forever stuck... that's a lie that will only hurt you.  Instead reach out for help and keep asking until you get it. You are worth it.

3. Forgive 
Have empathy for the other person and understand that we all make mistakes and do things we wish we hadn't.  If you can be quick to forgive and show kindness, it can go a long way in showing your inner strength and earning respect.  They may not like you, but when you can be a rock in a storm, it earns the respect of others.
Remember also that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself that facilitates healing and releases you from being stuck in the pain.  With forgiveness, you can begin to move forward intelligently.  It can really help to talk to a counselor or trusted advisory to do this work.  
Also remember that to forgive is not to forget.  Take the lessons you learned from the situation and apply it for future use. 

4. Funny
Humor is one of your most powerful allies.  A clever comeback line can win over a crowd, distract someone bullying and even help you make friends.  It is a power that most people admire and want to have.  Humor has the power to heal and help awkward situations.  Humor is a great tool that you can use by practicing bullying comeback lines.  Just make sure that the humor is not at the expense of the other person or you could make things worse.  The goal with using humor to combat bullying is to make it better.
Remember also to take your safety seriously but never yourself too seriously.  Learn to laugh at yourself a bit and celebrate what makes us all human in our shared experiences.  Showing you can laugh at yourself is also a sign of strength that others admire. It does not have to be at the expense of your dignity and can be quite disarming to bullying behavior.
Being funny is also a deflector that shifts bullying energy away from you and can buy you time to get help or get to safety.

5.  Frame
One of my favorite sayings is,"You may not be able to change the wind but you can adjust your sails."  Sometimes bad things happen.  When they do we are faced with a choice to let that define us in a negative way or turn it into something powerful and positive.  Be willing to get and accept the help you need to re-frame your experiences into lessons you can use. Maybe you can focus on what you are grateful for and how you can help others with what you learned.  Good things can come from bad situations if we choose to make it so.  
Anthony Robbins puts it this way, "“Fairness is an illusion. ... , “Some people are buried in an avalanche and others ski."  You give meaning to your life experiences through the stories that you tell yourself.   That doesn't make it all your fault or mean that you are alone, just the opposite, it is just one way to let you know you don't have to stay a victim of circumstances and you are worth fighting for.  It can get better and if you look hard enough, you'll find plenty of people willing to help you.

Sometimes middle school aged children and even grade school children can learn how to use some of these tools with the guidance of a caring counselor, parent, coach or mentor.  However, these concepts take a bit more maturity to grasp and implement so it depends on the individual and his or her development.

Visit Bullying Prevention Initiative International - Bullying Prevention World
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