Brooks Gibbs is a youth speaker who specializes in teaching strategies for conflict resolution emphasizing building emotional resilience. In this video, he speaks to a group of kids, giving them specific tools on how to stop bullying. I couldn't help but notice similarities in his strategies to the practice of self-compassion.
Self-compassion involves treating yourself the same way you would a friend that is having a hard time. When you have a difficult time, you fail, or notice something that you don’t like about yourself, you stop and tell yourself “this is really hard right now.” How can I comfort and care for myself now? This is an important skill to learn especially when dealing with bullies.
Gibbs says that bullying is just "dominance behavior" or someone trying to gain power over someone else. When we see the bullying as a power struggle rather than abuse or forcing someone else to behave or do something that they don't want to do, then we understand what to do about the bullying. It's all about your response. If you can respond rather than react to the bully, you have the power to stop it. Reacting to bullying is often unconscious. We just blurt something out without even realizing it. The question is how do we train our brains to respond rather than react? That's where self-compassion comes in.
When we learn how to talk to ourselves, even in our most vulnerable moments with kindness, we can respond to others, even those who are hostile to us, with kindness. This changes everything. There is no winner or loser when someone decides to not play the game. When we let go of the need to be right, the need to be a victim, or the need to have power over someone, we let go of the bullying. It's not real anymore.
In the Tao Te Ching it says, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” When we let go of the belief that we are victims and instead treat ourselves with compassion, we do become what we have always dreamed of being. Compassion starts with our own selves. It builds from there. When we become friends with ourselves, everyone around us also becomes our friend. We would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to leave a comment.