I don’t condemn bullies. I don’t hate bullies. Matter of fact, I embrace and have love for bullies. By love I really mean- empathy. Being bullied for most of my adolescence, by “The Bully” has taught me many things in life in terms of: building my character, understanding empathy, building self-confidence and discovering who “Kabir” really is. My personal experiences and stories of being bullied would make a grown man cry. But I am not a victim. Nor do I seek to be. However, having lived these situations I have learned that my stories may shed some positive light on the aftermath of the long term abuse from being bullied.
I am 32 years old. From ages 5 to my late teens, I was bullied in one form or another. In my adolescence, a lot of my bullying was because I was an Indian kid in a predominately African American and Mexican school in La Puente, CA. I had no father figure, no confidence in myself and did not know how to defend myself. We lived in poverty and I was raised by all women. I’ve been beaten up many times and in many different ways. From verbal abuse to physical abuse I’ve experienced it all through every grade I went through. How did I defend myself? I never did. I was a very easy target. I had no inner courage, I was never trained on how to defend against bullies and I was too soft (mentally and physically).
I recall stories of having my face shoved into restroom stalls. I’ve been called every racial slur and name imaginable. I know the feeling of never being invited to a party or dance. I know what it’s like to have teachers laugh at you along with the whole class. I can clearly remember crying myself to sleep many nights because I was lonely and had no friends. This list can go on and on….
What I never experienced was Internet and cyber bullying. I can only imagine the depth of that mixed in with all the other types of possible bullying children go through nowadays. But, now as a considerably, much more positive, stronger and confident man, I can’t help but appreciate the positive outcomes of me being bullied. Being bullied has allowed me to observe the world from a more empathetic and compassionate place. Being bullied has taught me that having compassion and developing my inner strength, releases me from being the role of “victim” and the enslavement that that mentality can garner.
On the surface level one may ask: how to develop self-confidence? Or how to defend against bullies? But these answers will not solve the work that is needed within oneself. I had to find the little boy Kabir that was all curled up inside and teach him. I had to spend time with him and struggle with him. There are many ways I worked on “myself” including: fixing and building my character, serving others, building my communication skills, reading and meditating on compassion and empathy. I am still working on myself. It is through the building of self-esteem and improving one’s mental and physical state, that he/she can overcome the struggles of being bullied.
I’m relatively successful and happy in my life. I appreciate every experience, every struggle, every bully that has ever hurt me. It is through the dark days I’ve experienced in life; I have learned the most valuable lessons from. If you or anyone you know was or is being bullied I encourage you discover your inner courage and find your compassion. To learn how to defend yourself and be a leader not a follower. I encourage you to have hope and build your character. Lead by example through the way you treat yourself and others, including your so called “opponents.” The bullied and the bully can coexist and teach each other.
May the bully one day develop empathy and teach wisdom to those that come after, for the cycle continues and the lessons await.
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