I am a bully’s dream, no doubt about it.
No arms. No legs. No defense.
Born without limbs for reasons never determined, I was blessed in so many other ways. My greatest blessing was a loving and supportive family. They sheltered and encouraged me for the first years of my life. But once I left the protective shelter of family for the hallways and playgrounds of elementary school, I felt like I had a target on my chest that said, “Bullies, aim here.”
I felt alone in my fear of bullies, but I wasn’t alone. And neither are you.
If you’ve been bullied, the first thing you need to understand is that their attacks, taunts, and mean acts aren’t really about you, any flaws you might have, or anything you might have done. Bullies have their own issues. They pick on you to make themselves feel better, to vent their anger, to feel more powerful, or even because they can’t think of anything else to do.
I know it’s lame, but it’s true.
When I was a teenager, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why bullies picked on me. There was one guy in particular who really got inside my head. He bullied everybody, but for some reason I took it personally. I obsessed over his motives. Finally I realized that his bullying wasn’t about my problems. It was about his.
You may have a bully who has had the same impact on you, getting inside your head, knotting your stomach with stress, and tormenting your dreams because you can’t figure out why you are the target. I’m here to ease your mind and lighten that burden.
Your bully’s motives don’t matter. You do.
Your safety and your happiness are important to me and everyone else who loves and cares about you; so instead of focusing on why a bully is picking on you, let’s focus on helping you feel secure and happy again.
Does that sound like a plan?
Bullies want to abuse you. Instead of allowing that, you can use them as your personal motivators. Power up and let the bully eat your dust. In the pages that follow, I will help you build your antibully antibodies. This is a process that works by building strength from the inside out, from your deepest thoughts and feelings—your heart and soul—to the way you see the world, make decisions, and take actions. You build your bully defense system from the inside out by
1. figuring out who you are so no bully can tell you
differently or make you feel badly;
2. taking responsibility for your own behavior and happiness so bullies have no ultimate power over you;
3. establishing strong values that no bully can shake;
4. creating a safety zone within yourself where you can go mentally to draw strength and comfort;
5. building strong and supportive relationships to stand up for you against bullies;
6. learning to monitor and manage your responses to the emotions triggered by bullying;
7. developing a spiritual foundation to help you be at peace and be strong against bullying;
8. taking the opportunity to learn from your bullying experience so that you can become stronger, wiser, more confident, more faith filled, and more prepared to handle any challenges;
9. creating your bully defense strategy so you are prepared to handle bullies of all kinds; and
10. mastering empathy so you are aware of the needs of others and serve them whenever possible to help them overcome bullying.
Once all those things are in place, you will have your own bully defense system. Then you can join me in working to eradicate the epidemic of bullying so no one else has to suffer. Together, with God’s help, we can bring an end to the bullying epidemic.
Excerpted from Stand Strong by Nick Vujicic Copyright © 2014 by Nick Vujicic. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.