The past few weeks have been overwhelmingly emotional for me, for a variety of reasons… my first Mother’s Day without my mom, an elective surgery for my dad, the pressure to increase my professional workload while building a new small business, my innumerable volunteer responsibilities, and a ridiculous encounter with a “friend” that caused me pain and self doubt. And those are only a few…
But what that last experience did for me, though, was remind me of how much I dislike bullies. After the confrontation, I went through many hours of uncontrollable sobbing and fewer hours of sleep. I woke up, looked in the mirror, and didn’t like what I saw. I had bloodshot and puffy eyes, a red nose, huge dark circles and a harsh realization that I was the only person in that “relationship” who was upset. I’m certain the other person didn’t lose sleep or become physically sick from the episode. So why did I?
It was right then and there that I declared “No More.” No more will I succumb to bullies. No more will I let negative people bring me down to their level, ruin my day (or week), or upset me.
By now you’re probably thinking, “yeah, right…you? YOU were bullied?” You betcha…and it wasn’t pretty. Even worse, when I reflected back on the situation, I realized just how many times it’s happened to me just this year!
But here’s the best part…when it happened again the next week (not with the same “friend” – I’m not a masochist!), this time I responded differently. I smiled. Sweetly. (With my lips closed.) I nodded. And then I looked away. I didn’t even reply. And then I moved on.
I wish I could say that’s been my new response every time someone has bullied me or insulted me or even said something stupid or mean recently. It’s not. But I’m definitely getting better at it. One day at a time. I still intend to speak up and defend myself (or those I love) when appropriate (you can’t expect me to never say anything at all, right?), but I will NOT let those people affect my emotions and my personal well-being.
After all, you can’t control how people will treat you. But you can control how you will respond to those people and those negative situations. Harsh words still hurt. But now I look at them differently. I will not lose sleep over a bully. I will not cry because of a bully. I will not consider myself unworthy because of a bully.
Because I know there are more important things to lose sleep over…like watching a sunrise, directing a friend’s wedding, going to a football game, or even catching an early morning flight. Yeah, I’ll keep losing sleep for those things…