A collection of words

Cathy Brownfield

A collection of words happened. Bullying. Confidence. Regret. Consequences. Challenge. Obstacles. Overwhelm. These words seem so arbitrary.

            If someone was bullying you, would you recognize it as bullying? Or would you be scrambling to process the situation because surely it must be that you are misreading it? Why would someone bully you?

            Bullying happens at work, at school, in neighborhoods, in society, in social media, wherever there are human beings. It destroys confidence, unity, the fabric of a person, place, thing, group or idea. It prevents a person from achieving their personal best potential, stops them believing in self and their ideas, and ideals. And it follows them for the rest of their lives unless someone or something reverses the effects of bullying.

            Our actions direct our consequences. As some people say, the karma bus comes back around. (Karma: the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.) In other words, what goes around comes around. If we are mean and bullying, disrespectful, we’re likely to get the same in return. But kindness, empathy, compassion, can bring the same in return.

            Let’s face it, we all have a time or times when we need a smile, a bit of encouragement, understanding … perhaps even forgiveness. We all have times when we are tired, frustrated, and someone keeps jumping up and down on that last nerve. We have times when it seems that a black cloud of despair is firmly attached to the roof of the house and there is no answer as to how to get rid of it.

            Obstacles (things that block one’s way or prevent or hinder progress) become pretty heavy sometimes. You might feel inadequate about what you need to do next, how to find a way over, around or through the landslide you see in front of you. (Stevie Nicks sings about an emotional landslide.) And sometimes people are so overwhelmed, so hurt that they just can’t cope, and seek a way to become numb, to forget, to float through their days, self-harm to feel a different kind of pain, self-medicate to escape the pain they don’t know what to do with.

            And how do you live with regret? (Regret: sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair.)

            Hm. There are a lot of things to think about in these words.

            Why do people bully? How does one learn to cope with adversities, to build confidence and self-esteem? How can people communicate on better terms, finding the common ground between them? How can our world become a better place for everyone? How does healing come about?

            So, all of these terms aren’t as arbitrary as they appear. There is a relationship between them when you look beneath the surface and think about them from your own perspective.

Everyone can help prevent bullying. Address it when it occurs. Label it as unacceptable. Build a safe environment at school ... and at home. Create a community-wide bullying prevention strategy. A zero-tolerance for bullying is worth nothing if it is not practiced. Courtesy, consideration, respect, et al, may sound old-fashioned to some people, but they are things that never go out of style.

            For more information about how to identify and stand up against bullying, go online and check out www.stopbullying.gov.Take a look at the factors that contribute to bullying and being bullied. How can this information help you to help the people in your life?

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.