As many as one in six school students in Australia experience bullying at least once a week. Being bullied can result in negative outcomes such as depression, anger, and anxiety. If you’re being bullied, it’s important to tell an adult about it and to remove yourself from harm’s way. Rebuilding your self-esteem is the next step if you’ve experience bullying.
Bullying involves repeated verbal, physical, and/or social behaviour that is harmful, physically and psychologically. Bullying can happen in person or online and it can be obvious or subtle.
Bullying is never acceptable. Bully can be stressful, upsetting, and confusing, and it can affect your self-confidence. It can impact your family relationships, friends, and performance at school. Always realise bullying is wrong and recognise bullies for what they are.
Rebuilding your self-esteem after being bullied
If you’ve experienced bullying, feeling self-confident again can seem like a big challenge. It’s important to talk to adults about it and to recognise you shouldn’t feel guilty or responsible for the bully’s actions.
Talk to someone about it
One of the most important things to do is to find someone you trust to talk to about it. Whether the adult is a teacher, your parents, your counsellor, or your doctor, seek them out and talk through your experience. You can also talk to your friend about it. The act of talking can help you cope with the stresses of bullying. It can make you feel stronger and more confident.
Don’t feel guilty or take blame
Bullying is never okay. Don’t feel like you did something wrong or feel guilty for being bullied. Being different in some way doesn’t mean you’re to blame for the bullying. No human is exactly the same as another, and being different is a good thing as it makes you who you are: a unique individual.
Realise bullies sometimes act the way they do out of jealousy or because they want to feel powerful. Sometimes bullies act out because they’re trying to cover up something bad in their lives, like an unhappy home or negative feelings about themselves.
Anyone can experience bullying in their lives. Never blame yourself for what’s happened. Don’t mentally accept the nastiness just because a bully has directed it at you. Deal with any irrational feeling of blame by writing down how you’re feeling, drawing how you feel, doing exercise, or going out for a walk.
Direct your anger positively
Bad behaviour is never acceptable, and it’s natural to feel angry towards your bullies. However, you should try your best to express your anger in a positive way. Doing so can help you overcome any feelings of defeat.
Note that anger differs from aggression. Directing your anger positively doesn’t mean you post a nasty message back at the bully or start a fight with them. When you direct anger positively, you’re not hurting others or yourself.
Think about your feeling of anger and try to understand it. Think about how your body feels when you’re angry. Drawing how you feel or writing your feelings down is a positive way to direct your emotions.
Once you understand your anger, you can use the energy to make positive changes. Talk to an adult about it if you haven’t yet. Report bullying behaviour to teachers, adults, or administrators (if it’s cyberbullying). Join an anti-bullying group online and get to know other kids who have experienced bullying.
Try something new
Trying something new in your life is one of the most effective confidence builders. Start with little things, like asking a question in class, changing where you eat your lunch, or striking up conversation with someone you haven’t talked to before. You can try out for a new sport team, take up a new hobby, or set a new goal.
Other ideas include tutoring younger kids in a subject you’re good at. You could join a new club, participate in a fun run, or set a target to raise money for a cause you care about.
Trying something new can boost your confidence, especially if you succeed at something you never thought you could do. Even if you don’t succeed right away, it can be a confidence booster because you’ve tried. As you try, review how you’re perceiving yourself and how good you feel about having tried, whether you succeeded at the new thing or not.
Express yourself, let it go, and change your perceptions
As you rebuild your self-confidence, you’ll be ready to let the negative feelings go. Try a game designed to help you, like the Wall of Expression. In this game you write down how you feel and smash it away. When you finish, you feel the negativity disappearing.
You can also let go of negativity by finishing this sentence: “I feel… because…” Keep writing out how you feel and why until you can’t continue. Then throw away the piece of paper, or keep it until you feel ready to let go. Exercises like these let you control negative feelings and allow you to let go of them.
Adjust your beliefs and perceptions about yourself to include things you like about yourself. Think about what you’re good at, how you help out with chores at home, and the things you do to help out your friends. Focus on this vision of yourself and stay confident.
Bullying can be hurtful and affect your sense of self. Talk to people you trust about it, and learn to channel negative emotions in a positive way. As you try new things and adjust your focus, you can overcome bullying and rebuild your self-confidence.
CFHP is a trusted psychology practice dedicated to bullying counselling and assisting people with their personal difficulties when experiencing anxiety, stress, and sadness. Our psychologists have experience in helping children with overcoming bullying and rebuilding confidence.