…Ever offered this advice to someone who’s going through bullying? Most of us probably have in an attempt to be supportive. It makes sense, right? Why give those who bully a platform? Best to ignore and pretend you don’t hear the hurtful comments or the cruel notifications. Best to just get on with your own life and ‘take it on the chin’…
Whether you’ve given or received this advice in the past, ignoring it doesn’t really make it go away. It doesn’t make a major difference and leads to us internalising what’s been thrown at us – Be it verbally, physically or digitally.
If it was a simple as ignoring it, bullying would already be a thing of the past. Here’s why this classic go-to piece of advice is better left unsaid and should be ignored (see what we did there?!):-
Bullying is painful and hurtful, we all know that. We also all know that we cannot control other people’s behaviour and most of the time, that’s not a big deal. But in the face of bullying, that powerlessness sucks. Unless you are a robot, it’s pretty impossible to stop all the horrible feelings that come with being bullied. Feelings happen automatically, they aren’t logical or rational but no matter how sucky they are, we need to feel and express them.
Disengaging vs Ignoring
There is a very big difference between not engaging or responding to bullying and ignoring it. Here at Ditch, we are all for disengagement in instances of bullying, cyberbullying or trolling behaviour. Disengagement is recognizing that there is a problem and deciding not to participate is key in keeping yourself as protected as possible. Ignoring it, on the other hand, excludes you from getting the help you need to deal with it. By disengaging, you disarm the perpetrator. In turn, this means you can then go on to report the behaviour and deal with the emotions that come with it, in healthy ways. By ignoring it, you don’t have the opportunity to do any of those very important things.
The old classic “ignore it”, implies that bullying is easy to deal with – we all know that’s not true. What’s more, when our attempts at ignoring it inevitably fail to work, it leaves us feeling like we’ve failed to stand up for ourselves or to cope with the tough situation. Powerlessness is a real kicker when we’re already feeling at our lowest – the most empowering thing you can do is help yourself in a proactive and positive way.
Asking for help is trickier than you might think…
For some of us, asking for help is very easy and no big deal. For others, this is one of the biggest hurdles going. If your go-to coping mechanism is to ignore it, you need to work on your asking-for-help skills. Sometimes, it’s pride that stops us from accessing the help that we need; sometimes it’s fear of rejection or stigma. Whatever it is, remember that asking for help is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. The best thing you can do for yourself is to protect your welfare and self-esteem!
On the whole, life is going to bring its fair share of ups and downs to your doorstep and ignoring problems will only ever make it harder and more painful. Turns out, the happiest, healthiest people are amazing at asking for help, which really is no coincidence!
What have you been ignoring lately? Got some good advice or in search of some useful tips yourself? Join the community – You can share your experiences and learn from like-minded people in a judgement-free zone!