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I’ve recently released a book on bullying (free on KindleMay 14th & 15th 2012 by the way) and as a result, I’m getting a lot of adults talking to me about their own experiences with bullying. It’s clear that pretty much everyone I know was traumatized by bullying as a kid.
Anyway, one person referred me to the essays at Salon on writers confrontingtheir childhood bullies as adults. What struck me about these essays was that in almost all the cases the bully either didn’t really remember specific instances, though they remember teasing or being mean, and/or they talked about how traumatized they were during the period of time and that they themselves were so overwrought with nervousness, stress or bullying themselves.
These essays validate what I’ve been trying to teach people for years and what is at the heart of my book, The Bully Vaccine. The world does not revolve around you. When someone is mean to you it rarely has anything to do with you. The person being mean has their own issues they are dealing with and those issues are rarely about you. This is why these bullies don’t really remember being mean or bullying . Their experience wasn’t about their victims. It was about them and what they themselves were going through at that time. They, like everyone else, were kids just trying to survive childhood with all the pressures growing up brings with it.
This tidbit of wisdom has so many important ramifications that I devote 2 ½ chapters of my Happiness book to this concept and my entire Bullying book to it. Let me try to summarize. First, by understanding that a bully’s behavior isn’t about you, even though they are being mean to you, you don’t take what they do personally. If you don’t take it personally, you aren’t hurt by what they are doing. You feel sorry for them instead.
Whenever someone is mean to you, always remember, it’s not about you!