Good Morning Gents --
Fell asleep a bit early last night, so you've got a post early Monday morning instead.
A lot of my content has been focused on how bullies should be punished for their actions and their attitudes. Don't worry, I'm not going soft on them anytime soon!
But let's say they all do get their just desserts: They get fired, sued, arrested, beaten to a pulp, even executed, if the law requires. What then?
Is it really over yet? Wouldn't you like it to be?
Chances are, you're not willing to end it even when it's over. Maybe the hurt, anger, pain, and resentment just keeps replaying itself in your mind. Maybe you feel like killing the bully, burying him, digging him up, and killing him all over again. When you do this, you're stuck. You're not moving forward. You're actually bullying yourself, because you're preventing the bully from being silenced.
The only times to deal with those attacking you are (a) before a confrontation happens, to make sure you're prepared, and (b) when it's actually occurring. Dealing with it once it's all said and done, unless you're preparing for something that will happen shortly, doesn't help.
Anyone remember that feeling after a big exam in school? Oh man, I didn't write what I should have written! Oh no, I should've added that additional thing! What was I thinking? That might be how it feels after the tormentor has left the arena and you're left with things you didn't say. When that happens, you kick yourself thinking that you should've said this and that, etc.
What can you do with that thought? NOTHING, but wallow in despair! Keep thinking that, and you're practically slamming your fingers in a door again and again and again!
I know why it happens, too. Because we're probably used to people who get off on scolding, criticizing, and pointing out our mistakes for their own fun and self-gratification. Youuuuuuuu did this wrong, youuuuuuu didn't get it right, youuuuuuuuuuuuu screwed up! (always with a smug little smile, too, don'tcha love that?)
No, actually, we don't love that. So if Little Mr. or Miss Perfect isn't in the room with you looking down their noses at you, why should you pretend he or she is? Do you actually want them to be around at that moment? Is the experience just not complete without someone to rub your nose in it? You miss it?
ERASE it. If you left something out, file it away, LEARN from it, and MOVE ON. Save it for next time, if it is one, but do not let them keep bullying you even when they're not.
There do exist people in this world who think you should let these things go two seconds after a bullying experience ends. Just act like it never even happened. "I just let it go/they never bother me/I don't "obsess" over that/I don't waste my time/she is who she is/ who cares/etc., etc." These people live happier lives, have clear consciences, and are overall healthier. They also have no clue how it feels to have low self-esteem or to be the victim of bullying, so it's way too easy for them to say all of the above. They don't have obstacles to get over, so they can't understand that we actually do. Although they are better off in certain ways, they only have it half right.
They are absolutely correct that you shouldn't waste time thinking about those who have done us wrong when there's nothing that can be done about it. They are absolutely incorrect in saying you should "just ignore it" or "don't obsess over it" when it's clear and obvious that the problem doesn't go away when you "just ignore it," but it will if you don't ignore it.
So how can we tell the difference? As irritating and as judgmental as the "we don't care" crowd may sound, they really are better off than we are. They may not know (or even care) how it feels to be hurt like that, but they do know how to move on from something once it's over.
Just remember that "before is better." Before a problem occurs, you can rehearse, prepare, get yourself ready. After it happens, you can't. Once it's over, you can learn lessons, and place yourself in the "before" position for next time. You can't go back and alter what was already done. Trying to do so will hurt you even worse than the bully wanted to hurt you. Why give them a victory lap to run around your head?
AT MOST, go someplace where you know that nobody can hear you, and let out one or two choice words. If that's not enough to get it out of your system, wait till you can do some push ups or sit ups, run it off, hit the weights, or get it out some other way. Just DON'T turn into a seething pile of oozing hatred who can't stop thinking about how wronged you just were. Anger is only effective from a position of strength, and turning that anger inward can only sap it.
And so, on this Monday morning, let's move to the next level. We can use our anger to shut these bullies down, one way or another. But once you're finished with that process, think about something else.
Feel free to comment!