There’s a great deal of fear and judge­ment in re­la­tion to bul­ly­ing, but, as with most chal­leng­ing is­sues, what’s be­ing missed is the bless­ings and op­por­tu­ni­ties. No-one wants to get to the point of sig­nif­i­cant abuse (ei­ther as giver or re­ceiver) or to the

Living Now - - Living & Learning - By Lil­iane Grace

Ac­cord­ing to the ‘Law of Con­ser­va­tion’, we’ll never erad­i­cate bul­ly­ing or ag­gres­sion – it’s part of our na­ture and how we evolve, and to think oth­er­wise is delu­sion. Far more im­por­tant that we recog­nise the dy­nam­ics at work and find use­ful ways of em­pow­er­ing our­selves and oth­ers in manag­ing these traits.

We each play each role. The bully at school is quite pos­si­bly bul­lied at home. The ‘bul­lied’ at school pos­si­bly be­comes the bully at home. If you look hon­estly at your own life, you’ll find you’ve played both roles, and that both roles serve you.

We learn im­por­tant lessons, which­ever side of the equa­tion we are on. Rather than bang­ing our heads against the dy­namic and mak­ing it wrong, let’s work with it. Ac­cord­ing to nat­u­ral law, op­po­sites are mag­ne­tised to each other. In hu­man (and ‘elec­tric’) terms, that means a ‘low-charge’ per­son (some­one with low con­fi­dence/self-es­teem) is drawn mag­net­i­cally to­gether with a ‘high­charge’ per­son (some­one with ex­ces­sive con­fi­dence/self-es­teem). Some­times they ‘crash’ to­gether and the ef­fect is that bul­ly­ing dy­namic.

Most peo­ple would agree that a per­son with low con­fi­dence needs to de­velop greater as­sur­ance, and a per­son with ex­ces­sive con­fi­dence needs to de­velop hu­mil­ity and re­spect for oth­ers. Dr John De­mar­tini ex­presses this very neatly: the per­son who is care­ful (low self­con­fi­dence; tip­toes around oth­ers) and the per­son who is care­less (ex­ces­sive con­fi­dence; tram­ples on oth­ers) both need to be­come car­ing (re­spect­ful of self and oth­ers in equal bal­ance).

The un­con­scious aim of the at­trac­tion be­tween the two is to bal­ance the charge: that the ‘low-charge’ un­con­fi­dent per­son be­gins to feel frus­trated enough with be­ing a door­mat that she is catal­ysed into valu­ing her­self more, and the ‘high-charge’ over­ly­con­fi­dent per­son be­gins to feel a de­gree of self-doubt about steam-rol­ler­ing oth­ers.

It doesn’t al­ways look like that hap­pens (to us ob­serv­ing on the out­side), and it can take a loooooong while for that to hap­pen. ( We some­times need to walk into the same wall over and over and over again be­fore we get the les­son, it seems.) That’s why I’m pro­mot­ing the idea of de­lib­er­ate bul­ly­ing in schools.

We take all other school sub­ject ar­eas se­ri­ously, recog­nis­ing that they re­quire skill devel­op­ment over time, but very lit­tle fo­cused time and at­ten­tion is spent on com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills (both lis­ten­ing skills and the skill of ap­pro­pri­ate as­sertive­ness), the art of re­silience, prob­lem-solv­ing

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