There has been a lot of talk lately about online bullying and associated suicides. One area that gets little or no attention is what kids themselves can do to better take care of themselves in this era of massive technology. Here are my thoughts based on over 25 years of working with girls in my counseling practice, personal growth retreats and camps, and my Strong Girls Strong World school program.
Every girl needs to understand that she has the power to never let words bother her. Any time a girl lets teasing hurt her feelings and ruin her day, she is in essence giving her power away. She’s in a great mood walking into school, and someone says one negative comment and she is a mess the rest of the day. So she is telling that other girl: “You are in charge of my feelings, mood, and reactions.”
Here’s what I teach girls: if someone calls you a name, in your head start coaching yourself with words like this: “Relax Morgan, it’s just a word, I’m not a tomato, I’m not going to give my power away, it’s just a word, I’m not a tomato…”, and then I encourage them to smile and walk away. The ‘tomato words’ concept is this: if I call a girl a tomato, she laughs because she knows she’s not a tomato and thus the word has no power or meaning for her. I want girls to know that they have the ability to make every word a tomato word. Therefore, there are no mean words, just words, and we have the power to make them hurt or not.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: ” Nobody has the power to make you feel anything unless you give them permission.” No one ever tells girls this, and thus we make the into victims.