Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to overcome bullying.

Bullying is now something I better understand.  Until last year, I didn't really give much serious thought to bullying, unless I heard some tragic news report of a teen suicide linked to school yard or cyber bullying. Which, come to think of it, is all too frequent these days.

Then I was bullied myself.

My experience may sound like a very simple example of bullying ... but my guess is that those stories we usually hear about - the ones with dramatic circumstances with horrific outcomes - are the only examples we hear about because they are news worthy. Which means we may dismiss the milder forms of bullying in our everyday lives.

But I now understand what bullying means, and how it can be the smallest of circumstances that build up overtime to create feelings of sadness, hurt, paranoia, and ostracism.

And I don't think I'm particularly weak, which just means that this can happen to anyone.

I accidentally came across an email at work that was not intended for me ... but it was about me.
It was from one woman I worked with to another. I was really quite shocked. I worked closely with both these women, helping them out quite regularly with their own workloads, and I really liked working with both of them. And so when I read what they had said about me, it hurt.

And it made me curious. Why would they say such things? How long had this been going on? I had a quick look around and noticed other messages I had access to (unbeknown to them). I had to stop looking after a while, because it just got too much for me to comprehend and cope with. It had been going on for some time. Anytime I was not helping them out with work, they decided I wasn't working at all or pulling my weight. Anytime I was off sick or went to a doctor's appointment, they had something to say about it. Things of that nature.

I started to become quite paranoid. I remember checking how often I had been away from work over many months - turns out I could count the days on one hand - but they continued to make comments about me. About my work. About my hours (which was odd, since I was in the office much longer then them).

I honestly thought I could deal with it all myself ... and by deal with it, I mean ignore it.
I started giving these women the benefit of the doubt - almost justifying their actions - in the hope that I would feel better. Obviously they were mistaken. Perhaps they were just joking, they didn't really mean what they said.
I also started watching what I said and did around the office. I would start my day even earlier and finish up late, taking smaller lunch breaks - as if I was proving to the world that I was not what they said. 
In my mind, this would solve the problem. But when the hurtful remarks and untruths kept coming, I was just so hurt. I had respected these women, and really enjoyed working with them in the workplace.

My husband was furious when I finally told him. I honestly didn't see this as bullying .. but he helped me to realise that I had started to change my behaviour because of it. I had started working longer hours with very short breaks, all so these women couldn't have any possible reason to comment.
I remember one particular day at work I was so flat out busy with a day of back-to-back meetings, I had to quickly scoff down a sandwich at my desk as I wouldn't have much time to leave the office for lunch. I ended up chocking, and coughing a bit. They thought I was coughing out loud to prepare everyone for my eventual sick day the next day. That really made me upset.

These occurrences started to occupy my thoughts all day, and most nights. I just couldn't get over the fact that the women I worked so close with, who I enjoyed being around and valued their opinion, had been gossiping about me for so long.
I became more paranoid. I would notice when they were talking together, if they were whispering, straining my ears to hear what they were talking about. I would think everything was about me, even though I'm sure it wasn't.

Then one week, I came down with a cold of some sort - I had a deep mannish voice, I was a little feverish, and my nose was running like crazy. Feeling that way, I sometimes had to blow my nose and cough. Turns out I'm human.
Well, these women thought it was all a show to take a sick day the following day. They laughed about it.
I was so determined to not get sick, to prove them wrong .. but I did, and I made myself stay at work, sweating through my clothes, eyes all watering. It was a very long week. And my body took such a long time to get over what was probably a simple cold. I developed a bad cough. After having been at work all week with a cold, I started coughing and just couldn't stop. And when I saw these women messaging each other, again predicting a sick day, I decided I had to say something.

I decided it had to stop. And I told myself to be a grown up.
I actually reminded myself that I am a adult. Sure I wanted to preserve my working relationship with these women - I had to work with them for several more months - and I really didn't want to make things worse.

But. Enough was enough. I am a person too. And I was not in the wrong, even in the slightest.
And .. it turned out I had whooping cough.

How I felt after something had been done:
At first, I felt very afraid that it could all backfire. I didn't want to make the situation worse. I knew management would talk with them together and separately, as management took bullying very seriously, and I didn't want these women to talk about me more.
I was also very afraid that they would just find other opportunities to talk about me instead, and that this would make working at the office awkward. I had to work with them each day, after all.

But after a few hours of being highly suspicious, I felt relief. It was a burden lifted.
Even though I was living in a city where I still felt like the new kid, with almost no friends, I felt better.

Struggling with bullying yourself? 

Perhaps you are guilty of criticising others. I know I'm guilty of criticising myself.

I once blogged about this here, and I really do this we can be too hard on ourselves and others. 
We can never truly know what someone else is going through, or what they are struggling with themselves, and even if we did know ... it is never our place to criticise, judge, or cause trouble.

Whatever the case may be, my bottom line is this: 
Negativity is dangerous. 
Positive thinking is empowering. 

And you really truly are too valuable to be defined by bullying.

post signature

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Bastille Day.

It was quite fitting to hear a few French accents at work today.

Happy Bastille Day, all you Frenchies! Turn the volume up .. and think of all the frenchy words you know!

(Sometimes, when I hear a french accent, I hear .. Pepe.)

post signature

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Colour me happy. Colour me bright.

I recently purchased a pile of colourful leather journals, with the great intention of making myself happy.
I love keeping a journal.

For those who have been asking, the yellow vase is from Freedom, the blue vase is from Fireflies, and the journals are PaperThinks, ordered from Papier D'amour in Sydney.

It just so happened that the same weekend I ordered the journals from the cute store in Sydney, I also won a rather luxurious pillow from the same store.

A few days later, everything was delivered together, and more colour was added to the home!

This pillow is lovely. The prints have been relief printed, created by direct contact wih a raised surface. Each print is unique, ice-dyed onto fabric, individually layered with dye and ice to produce a divine lace-like pattern. The bright pom-poms add a touch of playfulness. It's the Mandala Mix cushion. And I love it.

Basically, you can never have too many colourful pillows. Or vases. Or frames.

More colour here!

post signature

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

30 signs you're almost 30.

Today I came across a list: 30 signs you're almost 30.

Here are the several items that spoke to me:

You get super excited when you go to a concert and there are seats.
You'd rather pay a little more for a "nice, clean" hotel room than cram into a hostel with 12 of your friends.
There's an increasing number of musical artists you haven't even heard of.
Running hurts your knees. Elliptical machines hurt your knees. Everything hurts your knees.
Teen slang makes you viscerally angry. #yolo
You get really excited about lame stuff, like low interest rates. Yes!!
You wonder, seriously, how you ever pulled an all-nighter.
You've been to a party where at least two of your friends brought their babies.

.. and now it's 9:30pm, so it's time to get into my electrically-heated bed and sleep like an almost-30 person.

post signature

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fun Friday: Stephen Fry on language.

Random fact: I am a bit of a grammar nazi, and a big advocate for the Oxford Comma.
Other random fact: While I most definitely do not agree with some of his views, I am a big fan of all things Stephen Fry.

Rug up over the weekend!
That is all.
post signature

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to keep a journal.

I remember my first journal.

My family took a trip to Europe, coinciding with my Dad's business trip, when I was 6. In fact, I had my sixth birthday on the plane to Germany .. that birthday lasted a lot longer than 24 hours. And I recorded it all in my journal.
I love reading over it, and seeing where I so obviously used my finger to make spaces between words.

Ever since then, I have kept a journal. Sometimes I write every day. Other times, not.

This is one way I feel happy. I really enjoy reflecting and writing whatever personal things are going on in my life.

I write out important things I did that day.
I write about how I felt and what I did well or wished I could re-do.
I write little things I hope to never forget, things my future readers may know.
I write mostly about whatever is tugging at my heart strings, to get it all out, to vent.

This is actually the primary reason why Wilford Woodruff was my favourite latter-day prophet when growing up. I used to watch The Mountain of the Lord most Sundays - a church movie about the building of the amazingly beautifully crafted temple in Salt Lake City Utah. The entire movie is told from the experience of Wilford Woodruff. We are introduced to the key characters and events of early church history through his eyes ... and all this because he actually kept a journal every day of his life.

He kept a journal every day of his life since 1834, the year he joined the Church. When he joined, he vowed he would never lay his head on his pillow until he had made a record of the days work. A daily record.
We have, after all, been admonished to be a record-keeping people.

I recently purchased several new journals. I'll be using them in order of colour, and hope they will last me a good long while.
I really wanted to make a better commitment to something that I already know makes me happy.

What is something you do that makes you happy?

post signature
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...