The Good In The Bad

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Being a victim of bullying isn’t as bad as you might think. So what are the characteristics of bullying? Dan Olweus, a psychology professor at the University of Bergen and the author of “Bully/Victim Problems in School: Facts and Intervention,” characterized bullying using three criteria: “(a) it is aggressive behaviour or intentional “harmdoing”; (b) which is carried out “repeatedly and over time” and (c) in an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power”(496). Bullying comes in many forms such as direct where the victimization occurs face to face. Indirect which is bullying in the form of talking behind the victim’s back and/or spreading rumors. Cyberbullying which is the most common type in today’s society. Due to the fact that bullying takes so many forms, it is hard to predict the effect bullying will have on an individual. Those with severe and long-term bullying experiences have high chances of becoming depressed, dropping out of school, having anxiety, or low self-esteem. In a few cases, bullying can even lead to the victim taking his/her life. Bullying is a disadvantage, but let’s focus on the later advantages.

Assertiveness starts to reveal itself in past victims. In history classes, we learn about Rosa Parks and her contribution to the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist that refused to give up her seat to a white passenger after a long day at work during the time of bus segregation in Alabama. She was arrested and subsequently started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, an influential part of the civil rights movement. Park’s decision to sit where she wanted to because she was fed up with the discrimination against people of color ultimately lead to U. S. Supreme Court ruling that segregated buses were unconstitutional. Assertiveness plays a key role in people’s ability to be able to set boundaries and learn to choose for themselves and not be swayed by others. The places’ assertiveness will take you is limitless. Just look at any activist, celebrity, professional athlete, or business person. Every one of them has established boundaries and do what they feel is right even if others disagree.

Assertiveness contains a by-product which is confidence. More importantly self-confidence. Anyone with internet access today knows who Elon Musk is, however, most don’t know how he came to be such a powerful and wealthy individual. Musk was severely beaten and bullied while attending school in South Africa. At the age of 23, Musk started his first company Zip2. After Zip2 was sold to Compaq for over 300 million dollars, Musk started his next company X. com better known to us as Paypal. After his time with Paypal, Musk started another company by the name of Space X. Space X is where Musk’s self-confidence really shined while trying to create rockets and spacecrafts that were more affordable and reusable. Many failed attempts and millions wasted, Musk finally landed a rocket back on its launch pad and made history in 2015. Today Musk is a billionaire and his fortune is continuing to grow because he is willing to take risks while others play it safe. He would have never made history if he had no self-confidence and gave up when people told him to quit and stop wasting his money. Self-confidence is a must to be successful. Self-confidence is the ability to fail, learn from mistakes, and keep going.

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It’s no secret that bullying is a problem and in order to overcome it, we need to problem solve. Thus, picking up the skill of problem-solving. When/If a victim still hasn’t built up the confidence to stand up to their bully they find a way to avoid the problem as a whole or find ways to work through it with the help of others. Balduf the author of “ Underachievement Among College Students” states “that nearly 50% of college students” are not prepared for college either academically or personally (277). Why? Because they fall into the group of individuals that don’t know how to problem-solve. Students that have developed such a skill will find the area of their struggles and find ways to minimize it. Whether that be to take more time or put more effort into something or ask for help from others. Anyone who has tried to get a job anywhere especially competitive businesses is aware that employers look for problem solvers. Employers need problem solvers because they improve work efficiency, teamwork, and most of all the quality of work. Problem solvers also make great leaders because they have the skill to make hard decisions when a lot can’t.

Self-management and anger management is a skill many victims expand on throughout their experiences. “Self-management and anger management techniques teach targets and bystanders how to avoid overreacting to the bullies’ irrational behaviors. They protect targets from internalizing the abuses of the bullies (Liepe-Levinson and Levinson 12). ” Musk was hospitalized once because he was beaten terribly at school. He didn’t fight back, he let it happen and after he would go back to doing what he excelled in which is programming and computers. Musk could have easily fought or caused other trouble, but he knew his self-worth and knew what really mattered to him so he decided to focus his time and energy there. The ability to control and filter one’s emotions and words when needed saves people from getting into messes. The ultimate advantage that comes from bullying is building a strong support system made up of friends and family members. “Support from the familiar surroundings, in which adolescents have close relationships (e. g. family), taken together with the social environment (e. g. peers) prevent bullying in most cases” (Işiklar 895). Social support is an advantage that can help a victim stop being one, while also establishing one for the future. During the harsh parts of an individual’s life do they learn who is really there for them. When families go through tough times those experiences tend to strengthen the bonds of family members. For Musk, his support system was his family. He even moved them from South Africa to Canada and then to the United States so they can be there while he attending university. People who have a solid support system have a positive attitude towards life and any disadvantages they face. A good support system improves mental and physical health, as well as provides you with an outlet.

A strong support system is crucial for everyone. However, a handful of individuals have a support system that they can count on at all times. Although the later advantages will never outweigh the negatives of bullying we can focus on them for forget and move on from such experiences. Assertiveness, confidence, problem-solving skills, self-management, and a strong support system are key elements that lead to a happy and successful life. An individual can survive the bullying if they are willing to try because such an experience can either drag you down. Or it can make you. Everyone gets bullied whether it be direct or indirect or cyber due to the fact that the world is a harsh place and the sooner one learns that and how to deal with it the better. In no way am I saying everyone start bullying each other so that you can have a better future. May this be a source of hope for those that are victims of this disadvantage for them to know that it does get better maybe not like Musk, but it does.

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