If You are a Bully

Is This Section for You?

If you are bullying others, this section may or may not be for you.

1. If you are truly a bully – someone whose values allow them to hurt others and whose self-image is based on puttying others down, then this section is not for you. 

2. If, however, you are someone who has gotten swept up into bullying or has not known how damaging it is to others or has a little voice in your head that says, “This isn’t you, this is wrong.”, then this section is for you.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

Neil deGrasse

Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions

  • Is being a bully really who you are what you are really about?
  • Does hurting/tormenting others fit with your values and self-image?
  • When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
  • When you are a mature young adult will you be proud of who you were and what you did?
  • Am I ready to stop being a bully?
  • Do I have the courage to stop and change my life in this way?
  • If I’m not ready to stop being a bully now, then when will I be ready?

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


Basic Actions to Take

There are a few key actions that you can take to get out of being a bully.  They are not easy.  They will take a commitment to yourself to be true to yourself and they will take courage.  You have to be willing to risk some tough consequences, but you might very well find that the upside is great and there is little downside.  But you have to take the risk.    

  1. Simply stop bullying – stop being part of the bullying.  Simple, but not easy.
  2. Challenge your group.  Let your group know that bullying is not OK and that you will no longer participate.  You might lose some relationships and that will be painful, but it’s better to lose those relationships than to lose yourself
  3. Make amends to those you have bullied.  That can be as simple as saying, “You didn’t deserve to be bullied.  There is nothing wrong with you.  I was part of the bullying, but will no longer be a part of it.  I am sorry and apologize sincerely.  I hope you can forgive me at some point.”  If you like and are ready, you can also say, “How can I help and support you?” 
  4. Find support.  Talk to friends that aren’t part of the bullying.  Talk to trusted adults.  Talk to other students that you admire and trust and ask for their support.  Students who have become active upstanders may be a good source of support.  You will probably be surprised at how many people will support you if asked.  You are taking responsibility for your life, you are exercising courage and you will be a role model for others.  That is worth supporting.    

Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.


It Will Take Courage – But it Builds Pride

If you stop bullying it will be because you have found the integrity to match your actions to your values and because you have found the courage to stand up for yourself.  You can’t take pride in having bullied others, but you can certainly take pride in stopping because stopping is rarely easy.  That courage and pride will take you a long way in becoming a successful young adult.

  • Take pride in the courage that it takes to look at yourself and say, “I was wrong.  I’m better than that.”
  • Take pride in the courage that it takes to confront your group and leave if necessary – losing relationships that have been important and feeling unconnected for a while (not forever).
  • Take pride in the courage it takes to make amends to the people you have bullied.
  • Take pride in the courage that it takes to risk a backlash from the people who remain bullies and may be angry at your standing up for yourself and others.
  • If you become an upstander, take pride in putting yourself out there for others.

I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.

Nadia Comaneci, Olympic Gymnastics