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An Empowering 7 Step Process To Deal With Bullies Online
By Omtimes Magazine
3 Actions You Can Take To Feel Better By Emma-Louise Elsey
It seems that when we’re ‘online’, people say out loud all the things they might just THINK if we met in person. Social graces disappear and we get a mean, hurtful or abusive comment-slap when we least expect it.
Why do so many people make nasty comments online? Well, when we’re online, there’s a barrier that means we can’t see the humanity of the other person. When they write that nasty comment they’re talking to a machine or a photograph, but not YOU.
Online bullies often have no idea who you are, where you’re coming from – and little or no real idea of the impact of their comments.
But bullying is still bullying whether it’s in person – or online. Online bullying even has a name: cyber-bullying. And nasty comments are no less hurtful simply because they’re on a computer screen. So, what should we do?
Here is an Empowering 7 step Process to Help You Deal with Bullying, Mean or Abusive Comments Online:
STOP And Notice How You FEEL. Take a moment to simply observe the impact on you.
Be KIND To Yourself. This means, don’t judge yourself for feeling upset. Take a moment to do what you need to do to process how you feel. Remember, you’re OK just the way you are and you don’t need someone else’s approval – especially not someone who is being mean and abusive.
Be Compassionate If You Can. By all means be compassionate towards the ‘bully’ if this helps you. Perhaps the person “lacks knowledge/information”, “was traumatised as a child”, “has serious self-esteem issues and needs to make other people feel small to feel big themselves”, “was not taught manners”.
For some people, finding compassion for the ‘bully’ can be enough for them to let go and move on.
Note: While having compassion for the ‘bully’ can be helpful, don’t beat yourself up if you’re still too hurt or angry to feel that way. And let’s be clear, having compassion does NOT mean their behaviour is OK, it simply means you see the person underneath the behaviour.
And for others, compassion may mean letting the other person know the impact of their behaviour so that they can learn and grow (should they choose to do so).
Is it Personal? Next, a useful clarification to make for ourselves is to figure out if the unpleasant comments are aimed at our opinions or at us personally. You may want to behave differently with comments that attack your point of view as opposed to those that attack you personally.
Is it Worth Your Time? Ask yourself, “How important is this to me really?”
Take Action. Decide what you will do. You have 3 main actions you can take to feel better – To Ignore them, Report them or Respond.
1) Ignore: Silence is a powerful tool – take back your power and choose not to be drawn into their world.
2) Report: Most websites have an administrator you can report bad behaviour to. This step is good for serious and/or repeat offenders.
3) Respond: If you decide to respond, do it for YOU.
Note: When responding, assert yourself but don’t try to change their mind or get them to apologise – it’s a battle you will lose. Instead, reclaim your power and do it for yourself with no expectations as to how they should behave as a result.
Finally, Let Go and Move On. Once you’ve decided on your course of action – whether ignoring, reporting or responding (or some combination), you may find a ritual helpful to signify that you have let go.
It can be as simple as pausing and breathing out as you hit the ‘delete’ or ‘send’ button. Or you could print, then rip up or burn a printout of the conversation – just find something that works for you.
Remember: Bullying is bullying. The best way to empower yourself is to face the comments and own how you feel; choosing to face your fears is empowering because it means you take back control of how their comments affect you. Then simply decide what next steps you will take to make yourself feel better – ignore them, assert yourself or report them.
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Emma-Louise Elsey is a life-coach and spiritual entrepreneur. As well as coaching and running workshops she likes to write and create coaching exercises and tools. Her latest passion is http://lifecoachonthego.com, your very own “Life Coach on the Go!” full of bite-sized tips and tools for people to coach themselves and create a life they love.
She also runs http://www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com providing articles, tips and tools for coaches and therapists. © Simplicity Life Coaching Ltd. 2012
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