Huh, that’s weird. What in the world is to be benefited from being bullied? Well, it depends on how you look at it.
So many things have been written about bullying and we know for a fact that it is ugly, and we would do anything to avoid this. But this is not what this blog is about.
This is about looking at the brighter side of life. Come to think of it. You are being bullied or you have been bullied. Think about what it did to you positively. What did you learn from that nasty experience?
Bullying can happen to anybody anywhere. I am a teacher and I have been bullied in the workplace by a buddy, or so I thought. As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. I can’t change what happened because I can’t change her. Acceptance and a positive attitude would do me a favor. So on thewhole, I have God and this bully to thank for.
Here are 10 things I benefited from that nightmare:
1. It made me choose my friends well. It’s not the number of friends that count most, it’s the quality of them. I knew she was toxic because she likes to gossip about her friends and colleagues, but I continued to be within her circle because I thought I didn’t have a choice. But I was wrong. I did have a choice – by choosing to be alone, or being with a few trusted friends in the workplace.
2. It made me stronger emotionally. Sure, I cried a bucket. Tears welled and eyes swelled. But tears are a powerful weapon. They wash away the hurt and the hate in your body. So after years of putting up with this person and weeks of crying myself to sleep, here I am, alive and well, with a conviction that no amount of degradation and no bully can ever put me down again.
3. It made me more patient. I put up with her for years because I didn’t want to quarrel with her over a small matter. But this small matter continued and escalated over the years. But it taught me patience. It taught me not to pounce at the first sign of attack. It taught me the art of escapism than the art of war.
4. It made me more forgiving of my aggressors. I may not have forgiven this person just yet, (How can I? She knows how to twist the story for her own benefit. She makes it appear that I was the bully to her, not her to me) but it taught me to forgive others readily. How can I not? After all what I’ve been through with this bully, it’s easier now to forgive others for what seems a small matter compared to what this insecure lot did to me.
5. It made me more understanding of human behavior. She bullied me, yes. And I kept wondering why she was doing this to me and the others who have already left the toxic workplace that she created for us.
It was a big question mark why a person who seemed to have a good life already compared to her miserable childhood due to poverty, would put down those who are even below their level.
Well, as I said bullies are an insecure lot. They’re not perfect. So when they see in that person what is lacking in them, they are quick to pounce and trample on you.
They’re like, “There’s no way you can be better than me. If you’re better than me on this aspect, then I’ll make sure that people will see more of your negative side.”
Bullies don’t admit this but this reasoning lies somewhere in their subconscious.
So being a target of bullying actually gave me a wider perspective on people’s behavior.
6. It made me more aware of my self-worth. When you are working with and going out with familiar people, you sometimes drop your guard. Sometimes you make fun of yourself for the sake of giving fun to your friends. Sometimes you expose to them your shortcomings and your vulnerabilities.
But snakes abound even in civilized places. So if you humble yourself by being true to yourself, they see it as a weakness instead of strength. The next time you know is that your secrets are no secrets anymore, your plans which you have confided to them have gone viral in the workforce and even outside of it, your private thoughts and private jokes have gone public in the workplace.
Sometimes you have to choose between keeping them to yourself and your most trusted friend than sharing some of yourself to others.
Lesson learned: If you value yourself more, then you have to protect yourself from fake friends. Show them that you have dignity in spite of being yourself.
7. It made me more assertive. By being assertive, I don’t mean you have to be aggressive. They may be synonyms but they have a shade of difference.
I mean, I fight back when I hit a dead-end. But if there’s any other way to exit, I’d choose the exit.
I’m not a violent person, nor a quarrelsome one, to say the least. To me, I’d be more of a loser if I give in to them the first time they intimidate me.
But I’ll protect myself by not cowering in the dark and making silence my best friend. This is self-destructive. I’ll speak my mind whenever I have the chance. I’d first take a flight, or if not, I’ll fight.
8. It bonded me with my family. I thought at first, “I can handle this on my own. It would be just the three of us – I, Myself, and Me, and if there’s gonna be a fourth one, it would be My Shadow.”
But it gripped my heart, literally and figuratively. I was afraid I was having a heart attack. That’s when I realized that bullying can be deadly if something is not done about it.
And that was when I involved my husband with what I was going through. This particular incident made me all the more closer to my family. It was a validation to me that whatever happened they will always be there for me, caring for me, and supporting me through thick and thin.
9. It drew me closer to the Lord. Of all the things I mention here, this gave me the most benefit. For where do I turn to, but only to Him. He is the one who gave me this trial, only He can lift this up. He is my Rock, my Maker and my Giver. He decides when to lift me up if only I will seek Him. Thankfully, He is always there for me.
10. It made me wiser. There is always something good to be learned from unpleasant experiences. I learned that gossiping about that person won’t do me any good. I could make use of my time pursuing my passion such as reading and writing than joining in the gossip. (It’s just a waste of my saliva although this can always be replaced by drinking water.) But my time is more precious than that. I’d be better off pursuing my creative side and putting them to good use. That is, to reach out to others who have been bullied, too. (You are not alone. I know how you feel.)
Nobody wants to be bullied. But bullies are, and will always be there. They will never accept it’s their fault. To them, it will always be your fault. You can’t change them but you can change your situation. Do your best to be out of this person’s radar because the longer this bully lingers, the greater the damage will be on you.
As for me, I needed a break from the toxic workplace, so I went on leave for a year. I have no regrets. I made the right decision. Money isn’t all there is to it. My well-being is more important than this.
Now the workforce seems to be more aware of the negative effects of workplace bullying.
So if it happened to you, look to the dawn. Cheers. With God and your loved ones, there’s a better life ahead of you. Look to the future, and never look back on this ugly past. Pick only the worthwhile pieces which you can make use of as you embark on a new journey. Move on and learn from this experience.