In my most recent blog, I introduced you to an innovative approach to ending the bullying epidemic, which is called bullyproofing. Instead of resorting to various punitive measures aimed at deterring future bully behaviors, bullyproofing seeks to empower ALL students, giving them the necessary tools and strategies to be resilient in the face of a bully.
In my next few posts, I’d like to outline a few of the strategies that I often share in my teachings, which have proven to be quite effective. Keep in mind that these strategies are universal and can benefit anyone, regardless of age.
Perhaps the most effective strategy is what I refer to as “NO VACANCY”.
There are countless metaphors one could use when describing the human brain, so for simplicity sake let’s imagine that our brain is like a magnificent, 5-star resort and that each of the many locations within our resort serves a distinct function. It’s important to note that you are the owner of your resort and the bully is a potential guest.
The lobby area is akin to the unique function of the prefontal cortex of our brain. Simply put, the prefontal cortex allows us to interpret our surroundings through conscious thought. So, when a bully comes to the lobby, he/she has one goal in mind, to become an uninvited guest at our resort. At this point, as the owner, we have the power to choose, through a process of critical thinking, whether or not we will allow this to occur.
The multiple guest rooms in our resort are akin to the limbic area of our brain, or emotional center. Let’s imagine that each room represents a different emotion. So, when the bully checks in at the lobby, guess which rooms they are interested in occupying? That’s right, the ones labeled anger, frustration, or sadness. Based on how we interpret the bullies request in the lobby, they will either be allowed to occupy one of our rooms or not. When we perceive the bullies request as an emotional threat, we react accordingly and give them exactly what they want. On the contrary, when we perceive the bullies request as an opportunity to practice emotional intelligence and recognize that we are the owners of our resort, the bully clearly understands that there is “No Vacancy” and moves on.
Sadly, what occurs all too often is that we fail to recognize the power of the lobby and our ability to interpret any life event through a powerful lens. The end result in many cases is simply an emotional reaction, void of any real thought. Ultimately, we give rooms away to the people who ARE NOT welcome guests; in this case the bully.
So, do you have any vacancy for a bully at your resort?