In today’s world, society tends to judge. Some groups are more frequently targets of bullying than others, because they’re perceived as different. The seven most targeted are those with a DIFFability (we all have our own strengths and challenges; those challenges do not mean we are disabled), members of a racial or religious minority in their area, members of the LGBTQ+ community, first generation immigrants, and those who have been in the foster care system or adopted.

At Be Strong, we believe in the potential of every student from any set of circumstances. Every young person needs to know they are amazing, strong and capable of greatness. However, sometimes life is difficult and it’s important to stay positive, no matter what challenges we face.

Our differences are what make us individuals – beautiful and unique. No two people look, think, or even see colors the exact same way. We all have varying degrees of developmental, neurological, mental and physical conditions that help to explain how each of us navigate through life. Being different is a great attribute to any personality. There are times, though, that the qualities that set us apart can make it more difficult – but not impossible – to make new relationships.

It’s important that children, regardless of abilities, are and feel included. There are countless ways to promote this. One example is assigning each child with a specific role in a project to enhance collaboration. Another great way to increase inclusion is by making one-on-one introductions between students, which promotes feelings of being both valued and connected.

In recent years, Be Strong’s We Dine Together clubs have shown amazing impact in reducing social isolation and promoting peer inclusion on school campuses, as student leaders make it a priority to create a positive social atmosphere on campus.

No matter where we live, go to school or work, or how old we are, there will always be an imbalance of power. Unfair situations will occur and bullying will happen.

Our best line of defense doesn’t even require us to be defensive. Instead, we need to develop emotional resilience. Increased resilience is the direct effect of realizing that we have the right to be in control of our own emotions.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The words that someone says about us, even if they are intended to hurt us, don’t have to. They might pick on us about something that seems to make us different, but in reality, it isn’t even about us. We can choose to be upset or we can choose to recognize that the people being mean to us are going through something negative of their own, that they don’t know how to process.

For more information on building essential social and emotional skills to navigate bullying, check out the Be Strong Resilience Program.

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