a couple of months ago

What Bullies Taught Me (Without Knowing It)

When I was a kid I was bullied.

A favorite of bullies was to swing their fists at my face, stopping just short of making contact.

“Made ya flinch!”

Ah! Flinching is shameful! Flinching is the problem! If I can stop flinching, I’ll be okay.

So I toughened up.

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Ironically, I developed a chronic flinch as a way to protect against flinching. A chronic flinch – a clench.

This is what I am. This clench defines me. Without it, what am I? Who can say? Who can know?

Now I have to defend the clench. I have to maintain it. It is me!

The bullies may not have known it. But they were offering something. A coded message.

I’ve decoded it. Here it is in plain English.

Flinching happens. Life consists of reactions. Don’t pretend otherwise.

Those reactions include shame, discomfort, anger, fear, frustration, etc.

They happen.

Flinching is allowed.

Now, about that clenching…

Notice how you do it.

I don’t mean to analyze it or think about it. I mean pay attention, observe, see how you do it. I mean how you physically do it.

Then let go.

Forget about the idea that letting go will be a permanent attainment. It won’t. So forget about it.

Just let go.

And you’ll re-clench. It’s practically certain. So don’t mind it.

Just notice that you survived.

 

joeylott

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