From Pain to Love
Bullying is ever more present in the mainstream media as a social problem to focus on, and therefore, more consciousness has been raised on this phenomenon. Nowadays, we see on TV many cases of children reporting personal situations, as well as families denouncing that their children have been attacked without any apparent reason. It is a way of casting some light on a problem suffered buy a few, but which indeed is a problem of all.
Bullying is a phenomenon that has actually always existed and that unfortunately is not restricted to the school context alone. Although differently designated, it is a kind of abuse of power that may take place in all human relations when one of people involved is in a given position of superiority. Thus, work, family, sentimental relations, and so on, are all subject to manifest some kind of bullying.
Bullying is, essentially, the consequence of a pain originated in the past whose cause could be traced back even further than the life of the perpetrator himself who is seeking to vent his pain on a certain victim. The child who abuses his power and snatches a sandwich from a smaller boy needs to do so in order to externalize a pain that he is unable to manage; a sorrow, a rage, a fury, or a frustration that he is unable to work out. The boss abusing his employee does so due to his having a problem that he is unable to deal with. As if it were a fireball, he then passes it on to others. The problem with this unresolved pain (this “fireball”) is that by passing it on to others, it does not vanish or disappear. Furthermore, by doing so, the pain is inflictedonce again, and the circle of pain is hence perpetuated.
The opposite of pain is love, and love is what we have to apply if we want to reduce bullying in the schools, maltreatment in the couples, or abuse of power in the workplaces. The solution to the abuse of power begins with a holistic comprehension of the fact that the first victim existing in this circumstance is the perpetrator themselves and that both, the perpetrator and their victim need help.
A simple and practical method that is being introduced in the schools to avoid bullying is emotional intelligence training courses where children are being taught to understand, communicate, and manage their emotions in a sane way and develop their empathy, listening to and affection towards others, appreciating cultural, gender, racial, and religious differences.
In order to have a broader understanding of bullying, we should seek to see into the perpetrator’s emotions. Those who abuse others are usually persons whose potentialities are overpowered by emotions such as insensitivity, anxiety, attachment, insecurity, pessimism, sadness, or rage. As it is known, children are not born with such emotions. Therefore, we should pose ourselves the following question: which circumstances could have lived a child who abuses others in order to feel the way they feel? If a child does not receive the required attention at home, if they are always criticized, beaten, and abused, then this child—having no tools for emotional management and, probably, nobody to talk to—will feel unprotected and hence overwhelmed by their emotions. When being unable to manage them, emotions will sometimes manifest as an abuse energy. Those who abuse have been abused; those who beat have been beaten, and so on. Abusing their power over the weaker ones will not provide them with any solution to their problems, but on having no tools for an appropriate emotional management, doing so will represent a temporary “relief” of the unwanted emotions in an attempt to get rid of them.
Emotional intelligence training courses help children to understand that suffering should be solved through the observation, communication, and correct management of emotions. This way, when we have a problem, the best we can do is talk it over with the abuser. If this does not work, then we must speak about it with an adult, a teacher, a tutor, or a therapist.
Fundación Vivo Sano (Vivo Sano Foundation), through its project “Lo Mejor de Mí” (The Best of Me) (www.lomejordemi.org), teaches emotional intelligence training courses to parents, students, and teachers in order to provide them with the required tools that allow them to recognise, communicate, and manage their emotions in an optimal way, thereby strengthening empathy, teamwork, compassion, and mutual respect.
Parents and tutors tell us that children are attaining extraordinary results. Children who were not attentive in class do it now; children who used to quarrel play now together; children who used to be excluded from a group now are welcome into it, and a long etcetera.
Emotional intelligence training courses often generate more harmony among teachers and students, lead to an improvement in the achievement of the academic goals, promote greater respect for diversity, and help parents to be more attentive to their children’s needs and teachers to be more understanding and more skillful communicators. They help children to stay calm, to be more respectful with others, while more compassionate and empathetic with their problems, to be more generous, and to develop a greater capacity for team work and a deeper concentration.
The application of the emotional intelligence allows generally the generation of much more harmony among pupils and teachers, an improvement in the attainment of the academic aims, a bigger respect to diversity, more attentive parents, teachers more comprehensive and better communicators, quieter children who are more respective with the others, more compassionate and empathetic with their problems, more generous, with a bigger capacity to work in a team, with greater concentration and above all, with a better management of their emotions.
To stop bullying may include artistic experiences (such as painting, sculpting, dance, and theater, among others), concentration and expressiveness exercises, meditation, and team games.
A common practice we usually advise children to do is, “When you are at home feeling sad, angry, or nervous, you should go to your rooms, observe your emotion, identify it, and give it a name. Once you have done so, accept this emotion, don’t judge yourself, and then breathe in and out. In this way, you allow emotions to just be there, you recognize them for what they are, and then you simply become quiet. If you can, then it is good that you talk to someone that you trust about how you feel in order to accept your emotion and better understand what has caused it”.
Presently, we are working out extracurricular activities that have helped us to integrate emotional intelligence into the classroom. Our aim is that emotional intelligence is eventually taught as a school subject. If we achieve it and it comes to be an obligatory subject, we would not only eradicate bullying from the schools, but also we would logically form more psychologically and emotionally balanced adults who will not abuse their power in their personal and professional relations; a generation of more poised and loving parents in their relationship with their children, and ultimately, a more cohesive and united society based on harmony, love, and good communication.