What is bullying?

The Australian Human Rights Commission website states: “Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.” (What is bullying?: Violence, Harassment and Bullying Fact sheet | Australian Human Rights Commission)

Most of my life I have been morbidly obese. It is something I have lived with since early childhood. In school I endured bullying from both teachers and students. As the focus of the bullying was always my weight, I assumed this was the reason for it. I figured that if I lost weight, the bullying would stop. Obesity was bad, so it was my fault I was bullied.

The bullying did stop after I lost weight. But as my confidence increased, I gained a master’s degree, authored a book, and trained as a health coach, I experienced bullying from different circles. At first, I thought I was imagining it, after all I had worked hard to get to this place. Then came the self-analysis. What was wrong with me?  Was I overconfident, arrogant, or thinking more of myself than I should? Despite the how much I had overcome, I still questioned myself.

But bullies do not bully because of what we do, or because of us: they bully because they are bullies. That is, they feel the need to intimidate, coerce, or manipulate others to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy. For the bully, a sense of power is gained by making others feel powerless. In this they feel powerful and more adequate.

We have no power to stop others from feeling inadequate. So, there will always be those who will demean others for a temporary feeling of power.

Please remember this the next time your self-confidence is shaken by another’s actions towards you. Message me if you want to chat.

In love, Jenny

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