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Bullying: LoA-approach

A woman posted on an LoA group I'm a member of, asking for advice in the following scenario:

Her niece is overweight and gets bullied at school. She came across some advice that might help her reduce weight and approached her brother about it. The result was a shut down of communication.

The scenario is really four events. To keep things clear, I will treat the four events as separate, even though they obviously intertwine.

Getting bullied for being overweight

No. You do not get bullied for being overweight. The weight is a hook that the bully invented. If there was not the weight, there would be the glasses or your shoes or your nose or your hair or anything that the bully can think of.

The purpose of the hook is that you swallow it. The bully finds the one spot that you feel is wrong about yourself. As soon as you take the bait, he just has to pull you in. Hence, if you accept yourself the way you are, the bully can say anything, and it won't hurt you. Because you know the bully is just full of it. It's like the bully saying "ha ha, you think 2+2=4, stupid you!" Well, 2+2 is 4, thank you very much.

Someone who feels good about and are confident in themselves can not be bullied. Bullies even avoids confident people, because confident people remind the bully that they themselves are not confident. So if you want to help a victim, the best thing you can do for them is to accept them the way they are and nurture everything that the victim feels good about AND make their "weakness" also something that they feel good about.

Advice to help reduce weight

Is being overweight bad for your health? There's science going both ways on this one. LoA pretty much boils this down to: You are what you think you are. So if you believe obesity is bad for you, then it is bad for you. Also, if you believe that you deserve bad health for whatever reason, then that is what you are going attract for yourself.

If you accept who you are, as you are, unconditionally love yourself and the life you're in, for good and for bad, you will automatically also do the things that brings you good health. So the way to recovery is not some hints in a magazine, it begins with your own attitude to yourself. And the only person who can change your attitude to yourself is yourself.

Unsolicited advice

No matter how well intended it is to give advice to others about parenting, anything unsolicited is always taken badly. Always. It's not your life, it's not your children. And the advice is usually unrelated to LoA in the first place.

I understand that you feel they are doing something wrong. If things are going wrong, it is because they feel wrong. Unsolicited advice therefore only reinforces this feeling of being wrong. It creates distance, not closeness. It generates bad feelings, not good ones. And the only thing that can help anyone is good feelings.

The appropriate approach is therefore to accept and love these people, even with what you perceive as their flaws. Go ahead and love them for who they are and use any chance to make them feel good. When they feel good, they will also change their behaviour to good, and your mission has been accomplished.

Shut down of communication

Of course, the unsolicited advice lead to complete severing of communication, which in turn made you feel bad about everything. Here's what LoA and prophylactic psychology says about conflicts:

1) Do your part. That is, apologize. If they won't take your call, send flowers with a note. Do it any way you like, just communicate that you're sorry.

2) Accept that you have done your part. The ball is now in their court. Until they come back to you, leave it at that.

3) If they decide not to accept your apology, then this has nothing to do with you. It has to do with their feelings, their perception of the world, the things that they attract to their lives. It is their lives, and they can decide to hold the grudge and let it rot them from inside, or they can forgive and receive the love you're prepared to give them. It is their choice, and there is nothing you can do or should do to affect it.

4) If they decide to hold the grudge, you don't need them in your life anyway. Though I understand they are family, you can still light a candle for them every now and then, and send love and appreciation their way, as long as you are able to hold on to the good feelings about them and ignore any bad feelings. It is easier to do when you accept that their grudge is a mental illness and not part of them.

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