Once upon a time in an idyllic setting far, far away, my husband and I had the privilege to sail with friends in Belize (rhymes with puh-leeze, NOT valise). We were reveling in the beauty of the perfectly pure aquamarine water around the boat, swaying gently on the anchor just off a gorgeous little treasure of a cay (pronounced key–it’s a small island).
My husband suddenly began to feel confined by the parameters of the 45’ boat we were relaxing on. Donning trunks, he dove in and snorkeled around, only to return to the boat and proclaim that he had found a skull on the bottom with coral and plants growing out of the eye sockets just a few feet off the cay. He wanted me to see it, so—willing woman that I am—I jumped in and followed him to the spot. We snorkeled, I saw the skull, and we returned to the boat. Our fabulous sailing trip ended too soon.
A couple of days later, we had the beginnings of a biology lesson. We learned all about ‘jellyfish bloom’ and the effects of coming in contact with microscopic jellyfish larvae—which is actually so tiny that it cannot be seen in the water. The larvae attach to your skin where they are then in position to discharge their toxic darts. Jellyfish vary widely, and in our case, we were blissfully unaware—until we began to have small painful, itchy red bumps erupting through the surface of our skin. We have chosen to never have that happen to us again if we can help it!
Solutions range from staying out of unknown waters to a patented product called Safe Sea. As we learned that the developers of the Safe Sea product had taken a lesson from the clownfish, which never gets stung because it exudes a slippery substance that coats their skin and prevents the jellyfish from attaching.
Now for the *bullies part. What if we could protect ourselves with a self-made thought process called Safe Passage that screened any incoming verbal abuse?
When an insecure bully starts in on you, just let it run off, like water off a duck’s back. Don’t let that abusive person in your world get into your head and tell you who you are! Whenever someone is pouring on the verbal abuse, they might as well wear a sign around their neck that says, ‘I’m feeling small and scared. Let me stomp on you to make me feel big and strong.’
In response, you can do some self-talk like this: ‘Watch out bully! I have a brain and I know how to use it!’
When someone is in bully mode, their view of you is not correct. It is our own fears that maybe they are right—we really are a [insert bad word] that causes us to cave and want to slink away.
Separate yourself from the bully in whatever way is best in the situation, but remember that you are a human just as much as s/he is, and that automatically qualifies you to hold your own opinion. You are ‘As good as the best, but no better than the rest.’
Wishing you Safe Passages!
Resource – http://www.stopbullying.gov
*Disclaimer: This post addresses garden-variety verbal abuse in our everyday lives. It is not meant to be the only response to a violent abuser.