Building Character, One Bully At A Time

Building Character, One Bully At A Time

Bullying shouldn't have such a negative connotation.
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Bullying today has such a negative connotation. Bullying is something that everyone deals with at some point in their life. We are always shown documentaries on it and “worst-case-scenario” situations. At some point or another, schools make sure to give their students the bullying talk to avid any “worst-case-scenario” situations.

Well, I'm not going to sit here and write another article for you about how bullying is bad, and how no one should do it, and how it hurts people, and how we need to take action... etc. etc.

This is an article about why bullying is okay.

I definitely had my fair-share of bullies in my day and even though it sucked when the bullying was happening, I'm a better person today because of it. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself and wanting someone to defend me, I'm stronger. Instead of getting sad about someone name-calling me or excluding me, I don't waste my tears or my time.

In today's day and age, we live in a hyper-sensitive society. Everyone is quick to play the victim and point fingers at “bullies”, but no one is willing to take their bullying experience, and use it to grow as a person. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we should challenge ourselves and try to be better and prove bullies wrong, and/or embrace our flaws as right.

When we are bullied we want the bullying to stop, but we don't have control over the bullies. All we can control is ourselves and our reactions. Being bullied teaches you reality. Though many parents want their children to be untouched and kept in a little bubble, bullying is good for growth; it helps build character. Bullying teaches kids social and social norms. Yes, many bullies are malicious and have bad intentions, but bullying is part of life when it comes to relationships and social situations. Without being bullied we probably wouldn't know how to handle ourselves in certain situations. We need to stop looking at bullying as someone always being a victim. Because yeah, it's hard when it's happening, but once it's over and you look back, you appreciate that you went through the experience.

Kids need to learn they cannot do whatever they want always. There are standards that kids need to be held to, especially in school, such as respecting your teacher, doing your work, etc. For example, if a child is being disrespectful to a teacher and the other kids or teacher are “bullying” the child in return, maybe the child will change their ways. Maybe the child will realize they are exhibiting an inappropriate behavior. In these situations, the child may not ever change their ways or grow in character if they were never bullied. In a sense, bullying can be interpreted as negative reinforcement by peers.

I'm not talking about cyber bullying or physical bullying, but I am saying that many people overreact when it comes to bullying. Most bullying is name-calling, frenemy, petty kind of stuff. This kind of bullying helps children grow. Of course, there are situations where bullying is severe and malicious, and bullying should absolutely be minimized, but we need to start looking at it in a different way. People look at bullying as a problem that needs to be solved, but someone cannot grow into the person they are meant to be without some kind of constructive criticism from peers. If we aren't bullied we risk wasting our time on people who don't care. Bullying shows you who really cares and who doesn't. How people handle bullying shows true character.

Bullying is important for children's growth and maturity because it helps children to be “put in their place” so to speak by their peers instead of always their parents. If children have a bad behavior and they don't want to listen when their parents discipline them about it (If their parents discipline them about it) they will maybe change the behavior wth their peers. Bullying is a learning experience, not a curse. It's an opportunity for people to be introspective and look within themselves to find who they are really meant to be.

Cover Image Credit: http://images.wisegeek.com/two-kids-with-tongues-out.jpg

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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone

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I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.

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Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list

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Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor

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Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut

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As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well

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But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around

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When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone

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There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"

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Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!

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Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision

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Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what

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Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.


By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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