Over 50% of teens and adolescents have experienced cyberbullying. A staggering statistic. Today, we’d like to delve deeper into our state of mind and emotions and how they can combat cyberbullying. We’ll do this by looking at three things – self-belief, controlling emotion, and positivity – and how these things can help you resist and build a wall against cyberbullying.
One of the most powerful things in the world is believing in one’s ability to perform particular tasks. Think about the time and effort you put into doing something. Let’s say you’re a guitar player. You know that the more you understand and play the guitar, the greater your chance of making beautiful music. You spend hours learning the different notes and how they harmonize together, and you remain dedicated even though you might make mistakes. Your fingers might bleed, guitar strings might break, you might just not quite be able to get the sound you want. But you push through until you get it right. Your dedication and perseverance are evident as you pour blood sweat and tears into the very cords that make up your guitar. But even when you faced moments that made you want to quit because you thought you weren’t good enough, you refused defeat. Practice, practice, practice, cry, laugh, and practice some more, and then suddenly you realized you got it – you can play that song you’ve been committed to for weeks or months. The entire process is one huge rollercoaster of emotions, but with every faltering moment and every success moment, you finally know you’re becoming a guitar master.
What does all this have to do with self-belief? It’s an example that shows if you believe in yourself, success will be yours. It doesn’t matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish, what you’re trying to learn, or what your goal is; as long as you put in the work and believe in yourself, you can master anything! So, now answer a question – when you think back to a time where you pushed through and found success, can you say that you didn’t believe in yourself? Can you say that you let someone stand in your way of meeting your goal? No, because you kept working hard. You didn’t give up, and that’s absolutely awesome!
When you really want to learn something or try something new, you can’t allow the negativity of others break your spirit. Let your self-belief be stronger than anyone’s negativity. The truth is that if you believe in yourself and you put in the work, you will reach your goal, no matter what anyone else has to say. Remember, everyone stumbles, but it’s how you handle that stumble that will define your self-belief. There will be people who might try to drag you down and take your self-belief, and they may be hiding behind the safety of technology, but keep in mind that they don’t control you. Do what you want to do, keep moving forward, and turn a blind eye to that negativity. Yes, it might be hard to do at first, but the more you believe in yourself, the easier it will get.
Emotional responses can be explosive. If you’re dealing with someone who is cyberbullying, don’t engage and don’t try to retaliate. Doing so just gives that person the power – your power. Keep your power to yourself by controlling your emotions. Now it’s okay to feel hurt, sad, or angry. Don’t stuff your feelings away or ignore them. Acknowledge how you feel and then tell yourself that you have the POWER. You can control what happens next. Engaging in a cyberbullying battle only leads to more negativity. Feel your emotions but use them to push forward in a positive way.
Now let’s shift the focus for a minute. Have you ever said or sent something online to someone else that was less than nice? Did you participate in gossip and spreading rumors? Did you send someone a comment in annoyed haste or anger? This can be a form of cyberbullying, though you might not even beware of that. Always think before you send something. Even if it’s not hurtful, it may impact the other person’s life in an unknown way that you can’t foresee. It’s always better to step away from the scenario, disengage, and give yourself some time to think. This not only enforces you controlling your emotions, but it helps you assess the situation from an objective standpoint where you are calm and collected.
Dr. Carmen Harra wrote “6 Steps to Controlling Your Emotions” and she says, “Wisdom means being able to see past the moment and discern the greater meaning of any given situation.” These are powerful words that hold true to their meaning. Hindsight is always 20/20, but why should it always be after the events play out? Why can’t the reflection come before the action? We aren’t always able to see that we need to reflect on the situation before acting out, but if we become aware of our emotions and take a step back, we can learn to reflect before reacting negatively. When we say to take a step back, we mean you can literally stand up and take a step back. This one movement can make you aware to take another step in controlling your emotions. Try and find a healthy outlet, like talking with a friend or someone else who already knows about the situation. Getting another person’s perspective can help you gain a more positive outlook leading to a more positive reaction.
The mind is a powerful thing. Use this to your advantage against cyberbullying. Travis Bradberry, PhD, brings up a very powerful way to get an optimistic mindset in his article “3 Powerful Ways to Stay Positive.” What is this amazing way? It’s all about having an attitude of gratitude. Essentially, when things become pessimistic or negative in your life, use that as a trigger to get your mind thinking about positive elements in your life. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for? Say out loud what you’re grateful for in your life. Vocalizing it makes it very real, and your mind will start moving toward a positive perspective.
There is a theory about habits that states if a person does an activity for 21 days, it becomes a habit. Now, of course, the science is not exact. However, the concept still holds. After doing something for a period of time, it has a greater chance of becoming a habit. So when dealing with online negativity or harassment, take your mind and move it to encouraging thoughts. Tell yourself what you’re grateful for. Tell yourself what in your life is making you happy, no matter how small it may seem. Focusing on happy thoughts will help you reduce stress and allow you to react with a calm mind. Not only that though, it takes away from focusing on the online negativity. The positive power of your mind far surpasses any useless negativity coming from your phone or computer. If you’re mindful every day about at least one positive thing in your life, you get into the habit, and soon you’ll find yourself thinking positive thoughts all day long. Use that positive mind of yours to keep your power against cyberbullying.
Yes, there is a lot of negativity out there online, but not all hope is lost. There are ways to combat the effects of cyberbullying and keep your power. Remember, believe in who you are and what you can do because you are so much more than you may give yourself credit for. Learn to control powerful emotions that might make you lash out and retaliate in a negative way. And always remain strong and confident through the power of positive thinking. Your mind is the key to your power. Hold onto it and delight in the positive and productive vibes that will fill your life.
For additional resources, check out Cyberbullying: What You Need to Know if You’re Being Cyberbullied.