Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bullying and Beliefs

By Julie Rahm

If you have read my work at all, you know my mantra: When you get to the source of what is really troubling you, you feel relief. If you do not feel relief, you have not found the source. And, if you insist you have found the source when you really have not, you create a problem for yourself where you previously did not have one.

Sometimes you find the source of what is troubling you when you least expect it, and it happens in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it happens while you are helping someone else with their problem. Sometimes you even forget that something is troubling you. That is what happened to me last week.

I was co-coaching a session of Girls on the Run and talking with one of the third grade girls as we ran laps. Suddenly the conversation turned to her revealing two instances when she had been bullied that week – one on the bus, one in the classroom. My metaphorical level tipped dramatically as my heart broke for that precious girl. I took out my metaphorical tool kit and began giving myself a mindset tune-up. My feeling badly was of no use to her. Just as I began to shine my metaphorical flashlight into my mind to reveal the source thoughts and emotions that were making my heart break, I asked her a question.

“Were any of your friends there while this fifth grader was threatening you?” I asked.

“Yes, but they were too scared to help me,” she replied.

Suddenly I was a school girl back on the bus. In that moment I knew to my core why I found it nearly impossible to ask people for help – even with small things. It was not because I lacked humility, or thought I could do a better job, or any of the other reasons I had considered throughout my life. I had an identical experience to this nine-year-old girl’s. My friend was right beside me on the bus and she just laughed while a scary, drugged out older girl threatened me. Of course, now I know my friend was nervous and scared. But, the childhood belief that stuck with me was that no one, not even my friends would help me when I really needed it so why even ask. That belief was the source of my trouble with asking people for help. Relief and joy instantly filled my whole body. I felt like someone lifted a pack off of my back. That was it. All of that happened in about ten seconds as I continued to listen to my third grade friend.

That day I asked the other girls to help me clean up at the end of our session. They were delighted to help. Imagine that. And I have been asking for and receiving help around the house all weekend.

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