"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."
We all know this old child's nursery rhyme. Basically when a kid was bullied by someone this was the retort to essentially say, "you don't have power over me and I'm not going to stoop to your mean level!"
It's funny as a new parent how I'm tucking away lessons to teach Hunter when he's older and faces bullies or comments he just doesn't understand. ESPECIALLY in this new time in our world where people can bully from a computer screen without realizing the hurt they cause.
I talk about the "5 E's" a lot in my coaching [Environment, Expectancy, Education, Effort and Emotional Resilience] and I try to constantly use those as a framework to manage situations. But instead of focusing on all of those, I want to only speak to Emotional Resilience today. Because mine was hit hard and I think it's good to be transparent about that.
I had a person I barely know aggressively come at me and my business the other day. It was such a personal attack and just so off base. I knew it had nothing to do with me, that her messages were coming from her own lack of education on what I was doing, her environment that is fueling a negative conversation about my new company (I know because I was just there), her expectations that may or not be being met in her own business and her effort level which I can only assume is a lot and she's exhausted.
I tried to bear all that in mind and brush it off but my emotional resilience in this situation wasn't strong. The language she used sounded way too familiar to the two people I was mentored by for years so it brought up a lot of hurt. It was clear that I've been talked about behind my back and to have someone strike and make personal claims and actual threats without knowing anything about me was just dumbfounding and it triggered my "You're not enough" part in my brain.
Her comments made me think, "Well who else is talking about me like this?" "Do a lot of people view me like this?" "Am I really not doing enough to help and nurture people?" "Is my old team using me as an 'example' or punching bag?"
I was hurt. My husband's advice: "Just brush it off, don't waste your time." But I couldn't let it go. For some reason a stranger's comments brought up ALLL my feelings of not being enough. It brought up my people pleasing insecurities, my fears of what other people think, and more.
I decided that I would put on my big girl pants (still spandex don't worry;)), stand up for my truth and use this as a lesson for me to remember for when Hunter goes through something like this in his life. What would I say to him if he's crying to me about a bully? How would I react and what teaching points would I say to him for his growth and betterment as a kid?
I found 3 quotes that helped put her comments in perspective and gave me a lot of comfort:
"Criticism ceases to be constructive when it comes from those who haven't been where you are going."
"Criticism is the defense reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change."
"Most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not design it."
These 3 quotes helped me redefine the situation. I realized her criticisms and bullying were because she's likely afraid of the changes happening in our marketplace. That she's not where I'm going and she's trying to copyedit the world not design it.
The advice I will give to Hunter is to always stand for your truth and don't let anyone take that away from you.
That bullies are everywhere and they come from a mindset of lack and fear and all you can do is keep putting your best out to the world.
That you were put on this planet to make a positive change no matter what other people say.
I would tell Hunter to live by the Golden Rule! Treat others like you would want to be treated!
Its so simple, yet we forget that in today's society. People feel that the barrier of screens somehow gives them the right to say whatever they want...It doesn't. Your words still hurt people.
So I'm squirreling this lesson away for my own growth and for when Hunter goes through something like this.
Thanks for taking the time to read this - this was a bit of a different blog for me but I truly want to create a more positive world for our kids. And the more we talk about bullying I hope the less we'll see of it!