In Sometimes You Should Take A Little…. From Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski shares,
“I believe that sometimes it’s okay not to stand up for yourself.”
This really struck home with me. We talk so much about bullying and standing up to bullies that I think some students feel bad about themselves if they don’t stand up to the bullies. But we need to let them know that there are two options and not just that one. And the choice that works best for them is the right choice.
Growing up, I was bullied pretty often. I hated it but the school, the teachers, and my peers did nothing about it. I didn’t even do anything about it. I know they all knew about it but nobody would acknowledge that it was happening so at the time I wondered if I was just imagining things. Of course, after being stuffed in a big locker a few times was proof that I wasn’t making this up. I just let it go. That is how I survived. I decided that to stand up to the bully was giving the bully too much importance. Maybe I was wrong and maybe I wasn’t.
I noticed that the bullies changed faces and wasn’t the same one every time. If I stood up to one, I would have continued throughout my school career standing up to all of them over and over. I didn’t have the energy or the desire to spend my time doing that. I just wanted them to leave me alone. So, for my peace of mind, I just let it go. Usually the bully tired of messing with me and moved on to someone else. I think the bully was bored with me and didn’t find any entertainment because I refused to respond.
Maybe others saw me as a coward or maybe they thought I was crazy but as I said, it worked for me. I still got angry. I still got scared. But I was determined not to give them power over me and make me respond on the same level they did. Eventually all of them left me alone because I don’t think my response was the one they expected.
As an adult, there are many times someone does something that isn’t fair and I want to scream at them, but I just ignore them. I remind myself that it is too much energy to waste on someone like that. Sometimes I do stand up to them. But now I know that I have the ability to do either one. I control my reactions and I can choose to let it go.
It would have been nice to hear someone support my decision as a student. Now as I look back, I really believe that I had made the right decision. By letting things go by choice helped me become stronger in the face of future injustices.
How many students today feel the same way? How can I support them? I feel the best way is to have discussions about it and sharing my story. Let students know that they have a choice but they need to be in control of their choices. I believe being in control of my own actions is more important than standing up for myself.
What do you think? Do you think that students should be told that they can choose to let it go? Please share.