We define bullying as “social sorting through despotic means”.
In that way of thinking, we could liken attempts to bully as someone trying to seize the role of “casting director” for the social “play” at hand.
Refusing to be cast into the role of victim (either outwardly or in one’s own thinking) is something I call “identity resilience”: maintaining one’s own identity both internally and outwardly, regardless of forces that may challenge that identity.
This includes coping with both internal forces like fear and external forces like others trying to act “as if” you are someone other than the best and most valuable version of you that you can be.
This cartoon contains a beautiful demonstration of using creativity and humor as tools of identity resilience – some of the most powerful ways to defuse attempts to bully, or to otherwise commit injustice.Thanks Dave McElfatrick!
So, the notion of Identity Resilience – the art and practice of “standing up” – goes far beyond mere resistance to bullying. It is an anti-bullying force in the world, regardless of one’s current role in the social play.
Questions to ask and actions to take:
Where can you apply these strategies in your own life?
Where can you model these strategies for the young people around you?
How can you encourage experimentation with these strategies in ecological ways?