My son is less than a month away from his exam results and in expectation of enough points for his chosen 3rd level programme, we completed the application form for his accommodation together last night.
We discussed choices of accommodation. We considered the different fees and charges and their due dates. As we worked down through the application form, I was surprised when he stopped and turned to me saying he was “excited!”.
You see, excited was not a word in his vocabulary for a long time. His happiness and excitement were taken from him by bullying.
His journey through primary and 2nd level education has been a very difficult time for him. To be honest it has been one of life’s greatest challenges for all of us, individually and as a family.
But when he turned to me last night and referring to it all, calmly said, “I am grateful for it all” then I knew that the upset, frustration, isolation, insomnia and every other barrier we faced was for a reason. It was all needed in order to bring him and us to the happy place we have reached today.
So, I’m sure you can imagine how great it was to hear him voice his excitement! I told him I was excited for him too and for the future he has ahead of him!
But I knew what he meant; he has learned a lot, we have all learned a lot thanks to the painful lessons of bullying. We know that his bullies’ words and actions slowly wore down his resilience. We now know that his happiness and excitement wasn’t taken from him by bullies. Instead, he thought he was powerless. He allowed his happiness and excitement to be taken by those bullies, we did too, we gave them power over us by letting their behaviour affect us. We didn’t engage in self-care or nurture ourselves enough.
But not anymore! Now we know how to listen to our feelings. We can identify signs of stress. We can see those bullies for who they are! We know their back-story and we’d take our story over their story anyday!
We can move forward now from a place of confidence and hope. And we can also with conviction say these painful lessons were indeed the greatest teacher!
P.s Isolation is one of the most difficult aspects of bullying, if this post resonates with you please share your thoughts in the comments below.