Being Beyond Bullying: Series Part 2

Part 2:  The Best Gift Ever

As bullying continues to affect teens across the nation, we are beginning to see that the consequences are becoming more and more magnified. In coordination with National Bullying Prevention Month, the National Educational Association released some very disturbing figures: over 160,000 teens stay home from school in fear of being bullied in the classroom. And that’s just in one day. Given that some teens may repeatedly skip school to avoid bullying, a little math goes a long way in helping us look at the even bigger picture of this statistic. With an average of 180 school days in a year, there are about 28.8 million days of school missed in a single school year, solely because of the fear of bullying. So much time, so little progress.

As this happens, not just once in a while, but on a daily basis, we are left wondering about this fear we teens seem to have. We start to see that bullying is not just a one-time event, but rather is an incident that seems to linger and create extended periods of stress and anxiety. We are left with the questions, Why is our fear of being bullied become so strong? Why are we so afraid of a possibility, and have gone to such a level that we change our daily lives to avoid that scenario? To even begin a conversation on these questions, we need to travel back to the original event: the act of bullying itself.

When we experience an act of bullying, we realize that the amount of time that we were actually being bullied was very, very short. As it takes less than 30 seconds to physically or verbally push a teen’s self-esteem into the ground, the bullying event itself is a very temporary matter that is quickly replaced with a thousand other scenarios, actions, and experiences. It seems as though, when we are bullied, we should just be able to move above and away from the event. But somehow, the bullying event sinks into our minds, and then becomes the center of our psychological attention.

We engross ourselves with our pain of the experience, and so we dwell in the traumas that could have been released. We envelop ourselves in the What If situation, and so we begin to fear the possibilities that could have set us free. We focus our minds, on the past and on the future, to continue experiencing the bullying long after the deed has been done, and thereby keeping it alive. By spending time worrying and suffering, fretting and brooding, we lose the minutes and moments of life and love in between.

But this can change, and it will be changed by The Best Gift Ever: the Present. This isn’t a gift that is received on a birthday or holiday, but it is the only moment that ever truly exists: Now. By living in the now moment, the present moment, we let go of events and thoughts that are past experiences, because they are in the past. When we live in the moment, the fear of “what if” also disappears, as it is not happening now, and may not even happen in the future. As bullying serves to drive teens away from the present by filling their self-esteem with thoughts of past woes and future worries, the present is simply what is happening now. And now. And now. And the best part, is that we always have this gift, the gift that keeps on giving every moment of the day. By being present, we are truly beyond the mind games bullying wants to play.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at


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