Bullying is the Cause of Bullying

By Devyn Rush

“You can’t give someone something you don’t have.” I always say this when I sing and speak at schools around the country through Hey U.G.L.Y. (Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You), a program that strives to combat bullying and help instill confidence in children and adolescents. If you’re angry, you most likely make the people around you angry. But if you fill yourself up with love, you give love to other people. This is the message that I want to get across to both students and adults.

Bullying is a seemingly inevitable part of growing up. A child is having self-esteem issues, which could be a product of his or her environment, or something going on internally that she is working through. That child spills her negative emotions onto the kid at school who appears to be weaker. The “weaker” child then begins to hate herself. She starts to believe the things that are being said about her. She starts to feel like the bully is right. This child begins to hurt herself every day. Then, she finds someone who appears weaker and takes out her self-hate on the next “weaker” kid. And so goes this domino effect.

This is precisely what happened to me in middle school. The girls were catty and the boys were disrespectful. It never comforted me when an adult would say, "Oh, that's just how boys your age show that they like you," because I did not feel that they liked me when they were telling me that I was ugly. And I did not feel worthy when I was being laughed at. And it was not fun to lie to the school nurse and say that I was sick, and tell her - not ask - that I was going home. Later in life, I did not feel smart when I was being told that I should go to college or that I didn't read enough. These opinions - whether they are truly what someone thinks of us or just a facade to cover up feelings that would make a person vulnerable - hurt.

Now, as a woman, I see patterns that I have formed as a result of being bullied when I was a little girl. Today, I want little girls to be empowered as they grow up, so that they can become inanately empowered women. Vulnerability takes power. To show weaknesses, to be comfortable with our flaws - and that takes strength!

Bullying is the cause of bullying. So how do we stop it?

My take on this is that emotional awareness and self-love must grow and change parallel to the changes in our lives. If we don’t keep our awareness and feelings in check, we end up spending far too much time playing catch-up with ourselves. Therefore, as children are going through puberty, as their brains are being wired in relation to their environment, their awareness and ability to accept a given situation must do the same.

Young girls need to have this self-love and power constantly instilled in them. Young boys should also be instilled with self-love, as well as respect and an understanding of what power is .

So can we do to make this a reality? Teach children empathy.   Teach children to ask themselves, “How am I feeling today?” Teachthem to accept and love their own dimensions. If we all had these key concepts ingrained in us as young children, we would collectively grow into a beautiful, nurturing, mentally stable society!

 

Recommended Reading:

The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge
This book is all about neuroplasticity- the brain’s malleability, and supports my reasons for instilling emotional awareness and self-love in people from the beginning.

Please check out my music and projects at www.devynrush.com andwww.youtube.com/devynrushmusic. Follow me on Twitter @DevynRush!
My debut EP, "Time", is now available on iTunes!