Why the Stress of Being Bullied Hurt and Helped Me
Around 40% of young people were bullied in the past 12 months, according to research by the Department of Education. I can relate to this stat because I was bullied for around six years at school - between the ages of 11 to 17. It began in my first year of secondary school and continued until I left for university. It was a hard time, but in hindsight, a helpful time too. Here is my story of being bullied and how it both hurt and helped me.
I wrote about my experiences of being bullied in my upcoming book, Mind Detox: Discover and Resolve the Root Causes of Chronic Conditions and Persistent Problems (Findhorn Press, January 2019). The bullying was relevant to share because a few years ago I used the Mind Detox method to overcome a reluctance to 'being seen' (when marketing my work) and being bullied had been the hidden cause. Below I share an extract from the upcoming book - on how I used Mind Detox to get peace with it once and for all. I hope you find it helpful.
Why do I hold back and self-sabotage my own success?
I had been working in the field of coaching and therapy for a few years and noticed that I had hit a wall when it came to ‘getting out there’, marketing myself, and sharing my true talents with the world. Opportunities would present themselves but I had a tendency to self-sabotage. I would either delay (or even forget) to get back to people or not convey the knowledge and skills that I actually had. Often talking my self down (believing I was just being humble), the truth was I was very uncomfortable being honest with others about ‘who I am’ and my capabilities. If I were ever complimented I would have instantaneous amnesia of the positive feedback. But if I received what I felt was criticism, it would hurt to my core and I’d dwell on it for days. I turned to Mind Detox to understand why and resolve the possible cause of my actions.
“What event in my life is the cause of my self-sabotaging, which when resolved, will cause the problem to disappear. If I were to know, what age was I?” The memory that came was sitting in form class at school, around age 11. I could remember the exact location of where I was in the room and who was sitting nearby.
Out of the blue, one of the more ‘cool kids’ announced to everyone, “Sandy is gay”. Within a day or two the rumor spread like wildfire through the population of the entire school. From that moment on, I was bullied for being a ‘poof’. I became ostracized and outcast, leading to much loneliness and hurt, from the constant name-calling and bullying.
“What was it about what happened that was a problem for me?” It made me feel ‘Hurt, isolated, rejected and bullied because one person said something bad about me”. (Incidentally, before continuing let me be clear. Of course it is not bad to be gay. But it was bad for me, then, because it wasn’t true and was said with the intention of hurting, bullying and ultimately ostracizing me.)
Immediately I could see the link between this unresolved past event and my unconscious reluctance towards getting publicity in my present day business life. Back then, one person had said something bad about me and everyone believed it. Not only that, but it had hurt, badly, due to the subsequent rejection and bullying that occurred. Obviously I would naturally prefer to avoid being hurt in the future, so my unconscious mind was protecting me from future hurt by limiting my public exposure.
I turned my attention to resolving the root cause. “What can I know now, that if I had known then, I would have never felt hurt, isolated, rejected and bullied, in the first place?” I now know that it is not a bad thing to be gay. I am also not gay, but even if I were, it would be perfectly fine by me. I successfully survived every event of bullying and despite disliking the past moments, life had moved on and there are many occasions in my life when I’ve been fully welcomed and loved by others. Although it felt like ‘everyone’ had rejected me, there were still people around that accepted me. I did have friends at school, and even though they occasionally also bullied me, they did it to fit in, too, and later in life they told me they always liked me. Every kid that bullied me was doing their best to fit in and feel safe at school. I am also much more capable of spending time alone, than I thought then, and enjoy my time alone today. After installing these newfound ‘knowings’, all associated memories linked to being bullied at school (which there were many), felt emotionally neutral, along with the root-cause reason ('Hurt, isolated, rejected and bullied...').
Within a matter of months of doing this Mind Detox, I was invited to take part in my first television series that was aired on several channels in 30+ countries around the world.
Why Being Bullied Helped Me
At no point am I saying bullying is a good thing and I obviously would prefer for it to cease to exist. If I could flick a switch and stop bullying, I would. But I do feel it is important to share how it helped me in the long run. So if you too have been bullied, you can let go of all hurt, fully forgive, and use your experiences to help you today.
Without the bullying I don't think I would have been motivated to search out self-help at such an early age. Few people 'wake up' from comfort. We often need some discomfort to push us onto personal growth paths.
I also don't think I would be doing the work I do in the world today, if I hadn't been bullied at school. I may not have ended up being a meditation teacher and monk, sharing ways for us all to get on and live in peace.
The majority of my work with Mind Detox is on helping others to finally forgive and be free from past hurts. I know being bullied has not just helped me, but hundreds of others too. The bullying also made me a kinder and more forgiving, understanding and compassionate person.
For these reasons I have got to a point in my life where I am not only at peace with being bullied, but grateful for the experience. To get to this place I needed to see beyond the surface level actions of the others to see the real reasons for why they behaved the way they did. They were scared (too) and trying to fit in with the crowd. When I was being bullied, they weren't. Everyone has goodness in their heart, they just don't always know how to access it and behave accordingly. But they would be kind and loving, if they knew how.
I want to do all that I can to help everyone to know how to be a peaceful and loving presence in the world. Instead of holding onto hurt, I choose to focus on how it made me a better person and was a pivotal part of my story that has enabled me to help others to find peace with their past, other people, and wake up to the freedom of forgiveness.
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