DEFINE BULLYING: Repeated behaviour by an individual or group intended to hurt someone both mentally and physically.
If you are struggling with bullies, you are not alone! Bullying can be face-to-face, take place behind your back, and even online. It can affect everyone and anyone, and bullies suck!!
Why am I telling you this?
1) It’s the end of anti bullying week
2) Last week a very brave young girl asked me if I was ever bullied because of my weight. She said people called her names because she was thin. I imagine she is thin because she trains for hours and hours a week, working hard at something she loves.
3) I was bullied too!
My 'swimmers shoulders' were too big
My hairy legs were disgusting
The mole on my face was horrible to look at
My wet hair smelt of chlorine and it ’stank'
My ‘teachers pet’ attitude was sooo annoying
I was a loser because I spent all my time swimming
I was never going to have any friends if I didn’t come to a ‘party'
… and the list goes on and on and on! I even had people use racist terms to describe my skin colour.
The fact is, those bullies, without realising, made me the person and the swimmer I am today. I wouldn’t have achieved no where near as many medals and set as many records as I did, as they made me tougher.
If I could 'beat the bullies’ I could face anyone behind the block, and that's how it started. One race at a time, proving people wrong that I could be good, and I would work to show them just how good.
Of course it wasn’t easy. There were bullies at the pool and bullies at school, so of course there were times when I cried, was fed up and the comments really hurt, but with the support of my family, close friends and school teachers I knew I could ’show them’.
After the Olympic Games in 2012 I had so many people from school wanting to congratulate me, and at least half of them were people who weren’t very nice to me in school. They now wanted to know me and support me when all they did was make my life difficult.
Moral of the story,..
If you’re a bully - STOP! You really are causing someone pain. If you’re the victim of bullying - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Reach out, speak to someone, and at the end of the day prove those bullies wrong. Because whilst they’re finding a million ways to hurt you as they have nothing better to do, you can spend that time bettering yourself!