The film Bully recently opened, and bullying has been a hot topic of conversation for many years. Please welcome our guest columnist, Pamela Dunn, who has great insights into how to shift the bully-victim paradigm. Pamela will be speaking on this topic at It Takes a Village Parenting Conference on October 20, 2012, in Miramar. Thanks to Parkland Life Magazine for permission to reprint this article.
by Pamela Dunn
It takes a lot of courage, a lot of love and compassion to see the perceived bully as greater than their actions – and each and every person has that ability. It takes a lot of strength, a lot of faith and compassion to see the perceived victim as greater than their beliefs and each and every person has that ability. This paradigm shift in how you see them AND then treating them THAT way is no longer just for the gifted – it is critical for everyone. It’s critical because it is your way to stop adding anger, revenge, depression and discouragement to the world and replace that with the ability to treat each other and ourselves more compassionately, see ourselves and others as brilliant, judge from the beauty and care about the pain. THIS is the richness the world – and YOU – deserves to experience.
You see, the concept of bullying on any level is a highly damaging concept. In addition, the media and many specialists, when addressing the issue of bullying, add to the issue by simply arming the victims against the bully and punishing the bully. I believe this is one of the key perspectives that perpetuate the problem and All You Have to Do is Look Inside will address the alternatives necessary to shift this belief and the way we operate.
There is a way to minimize what we are harmfully deeming the “bullying” epidemic, and first and foremost we must see it for what it truly is… the lack of a person recognizing the innate good and magnificence of who they are. The bully does not see the magnificence of who he is nor does the victim.
One of the most important concepts in shifting the paradigm will be to feel your feelings and identify them rather than express feelings and over-identify with them. This can occur through saying things like, “I feel angry” rather than, “I am angry.”
Beliefs about ourselves are anchored through our actions. The belief that I am angry is anchored through acting angry. The belief I am a bully is anchored through acting like a bully. The belief I am a victim of something or someone is anchored through being the victim. You see the paradigm here – one that every single one of us has fallen into before; we have excellent reasons for this behavior, but the truth remains that these beliefs and their subsequent actions are NOT our magnificence.
Change your belief about yourself or others – recognize what that would feel like – take action based on the new belief and your expectations change. We only see what we believe is possible – so believe it is possible and that is what you’ll look for.
Dr. Haim Ginott said, “I have come to the conclusion that I am the decisive element. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis is elevated.” We have all been both the bully and the victim of the bully at various times in our life. We can continue to live our lives in that limiting paradigm or we can move beyond to our depth of love, compassion, strength and faith in humanity.
Goethe said, “If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” So decide who you want to be and learn about yourself, especially when you are NOT operating that way and then go on to discover, honor and express your magnificence – help others do that, too.