What To Do About Bullying?

by Mark Ivar Myhre on April 21, 2011

In response to my last article, I got a letter suggesting that you need to stand up for yourself; especially in cases of abuse.  And you know what?  I agree wholeheartedly. In certain situations, it is best to stand up for yourself.

Now as I explain this more fully, please keep in mind, I never advocate a passive response. Working on yourself is not being passive.  It’s way more active than confronting a bully.  (Although I realize some would probably not agree with that statement…)

When I spoke last time about my own solution to having my buttons pushed… well… that was the culmination of many years of working on myself.  At this point, I don’t really deal with much abuse or bullying.  I have the luxury of working on myself in ways that not everyone shares.

It wasn’t always like this, though.  See, I have an inner warrior, and an inner nurturer.  Just like you do.  And at one time in your life, many years ago, you were faced with the choice to become a warrior, or to become a nurturer, or to combine the two in your own unique way.

I went the way of the nurturer because I was scared.  I was afraid to confront people.  I was afraid of the uncomfortability.  I was scared of what might happen if I stood up for myself.  Just one more product and symptom of being shame-based, I suppose.

As I healed my shame, piece by piece, it also allowed forgiveness to take place; and thus out of the forgiveness I was able to change.
One of those changes was that I got in touch with my inner warrior.

The warrior never died.  I always had the space inside to develop him.  And develop him I did!  But not at the expense of the nurturer.  Now, I can choose whether to respond with confrontation, or not.  Humorously, now I err on the side of temerity.  Meaning, I have a tendency to be a little too confrontational.

I still have fear, but it’s not with confrontation.  Or if there were some fear, it would be easy to feel it and keep moving forward.   And that could only happen because I healed my shame.  (Or enough of it!)

See, it’s not a matter of always being a warrior, or always being a nurturer.  It’s a matter of having the freedom and the integrity and the clarity to be able to choose your response.  Function as you will.  Function as you choose.

Sometimes the best response is to function as a warrior and confront the other person.  And sometimes it’s not.  And sometimes you’re going to make the wrong choice.  That’s how we learn and mature.  That’s part of how we become wise.  But you probably won’t learn a whole lot until you become clear.  And you’re not going to become clear if you’re holding onto your old feelings from the past.

I saw it yesterday as I was standing in line at the post office.  Ten people ahead of me.  One guy walks in behind me.  I never turned to look at him, but I could feel so much anger and frustration coming off him.  He was in so much pain.  It was just killing him to stand in line for 15 minutes.

He was carrying around a full glass of anger.

Personally, I don’t mind standing in line.  It gives me an opportunity to pause and reflect and practice letting in various feelings and energies.  “How much love can I feel in a mundane situation like this?  Let’s just see…”

Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself by confronting the other person.  Yesterday was not one of those times.  He has the right to be in as much pain as he wants.  We all do.  And since he didn’t say anything to me, I didn’t say anything to him.  (Even though he was vibing me pretty heavy.  I could feel his anger beating into my back.)

As long as he chooses to hold onto his anger, his choices to respond will be limited.  He can do little more than to be at sufferance from his anger.  He has a very narrow range of possibility.  That’s why I’m always saying to feel and release your feelings.  (One of the reasons, anyway…)  Because it increases your range of possibility.  It makes more things possible.

You’re much more of a warrior if you know when to nurture.

You’re much more of a nurturer if you know when to go to war.

It’s the blind, automatic responses that reveal our lack and limitation.

So please understand, when I talk about turning inward when I’m confronted, I’m only talking about doing so when it’s appropriate. And that’s always on a case-by-case basis.  There are no hard and fast rules that I know of.

I have the luxury of choosing my response, most of the time.  It’s only when the glass is not empty that I’m robbed of my choice.  And until I healed my own shame, I had very little choice.  My glass used to be always filled with unresolved emotion.

If I were starting out all over again with emotional healing, here’s what I would do: I would seek to be proactive with my feelings.  I would consciously work on being proactive.  I would practice it.  What am I talking about exactly?

I would drink that glass of unresolved emotion when I was alone.  I would open my heart full and wide.  I would muster the courage to face my own unresolved feelings in the privacy of my own bedroom.  And I would recognize, “Hey, this is going to be a little uncomfortable at first.  Cause I got a TON of unresolved garbage here.”

If the feelings were pleasant, I would’ve felt them in the first place!  But really, it’s not the feelings that are unpleasant.  It’s wonderful to feel pure, clean spring-water-fresh anger.  I love it!  Sadly, very few people living on this planet today know that wonderful feeling.  Because they feel polluted anger instead.

Because we’ve all been taught to suppress our anger.  Or else, we put on a show with it.  I’ve seen some pretty elaborate productions.  Whether it’s suppressed, or whether it’s melodrama, either way it becomes polluted.

And who wants to feel pollution?

It’s the same way with every other emotion.  You can feel it cleanly.  ‘Spring water fresh.’  Or, you can contaminate it with your stories and attempts to control.  Attempts to rationalize.  To explain. To make righteous.  To suppress.  To depress.  To avoid.  To fight.

Since feelings are so often seen as the enemy, we have strong programs in place that almost automatically block the pure, clean flow and instead taint it with our stories.  Such as –

“You made me angry!”

As if it were even possible for one person to create the feelings for another…!

If I were starting out all over again with emotional healing, I would work on recognizing my knee-jerk barriers to not feeling my feelings.  I would look at how I pollute my feelings.  And I would write out my thoughts and feelings on paper.  Every day.

I would work on opening up the flow that normally goes to my heart, but has instead been diverted into my head.

I would work on recognizing the stories I tell myself about my feelings.  Then, I would ignore those stories and instead work on just feeling the feelings.  There’s nothing passive about doing this.  In fact, it’s about the most active thing you could possibly do, in my book.  You’re being proactive.

The more proactive I am, then – then – the easier it will be to choose how I want to respond when someone pushes my buttons.

Does this make sense?  Work on healing your buttons, and be willing to stand up for yourself when the situation calls for it. And the more you work on yourself, the easier it will be to know when to stand up, and when to stand down.

What do you think?


Walter W. April 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Thanks Mark , my thoughts , cleaned up , edited and spelt correctly . This is not fantasy , this is life . I feel your vibes , but I’m thankful I have options .
The more options I have , the more comfortable , confident , in my actions .
I’am a champion , thanks for introducing yourself to me . This is what bothers people the most about me , they’re carrying a full glass of anger . I would have sunshine in my heart and this would be on my contenance . I can’t help anyone if I need help myself and I like to help people . I smelled a rat for most of my life till I realized , I’m not responsible for anyone but me .
Thanks again Mark .

J. April 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

Mark, Ive read many of your articles / views now. Your a good / kind person. Mark, I would like to add an important factor. Nutrition is key to healthy thinking. Im not a nutritionist. Just speaking from experience. Perhaps you could add this to your views in time?

Thank you for all your good thoughts. Again Im not selling anything. Its just my own opinion.


Mark Ivar Myhre April 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

well, it’s okay if you are selling something!

I agree about the nutrition – I guess I just take it for granted since I love my veggies!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: