Last week, NGC had the pleasure of extending our coaching services to a group of middle and high school students in Upstate New York. The program that we shared with the girls is called,
The course aims to help young women define who they truly are, their essence. With this in mind, girls learn to respond to negative situations and circumstances and set goals for their futures.
The program was basically an all day journey towards loving ourselves, getting comfortable with our interactions and looking forward to the greatness that our lives can be. It was a major estrogen-filled love affair with self and future!
The day was wonderful on so many levels, but after we left I got to thinking about the B-word. When we first arrived to the school, the administrative assistant paged the principal and stated that the “Bullying” program had arrived. This caught me way off guard for a moment. Bullying? No, no, no, they must have us confused- this program is not about bullying. I shrugged it off for the time being, but that word irked me; even after we wrapped up the program I was still haunted by the B-word. Were we supposed to be doing a bullying program? Did I mistakenly use that word in the program description?
Don’t get me wrong, bullying programs are necessary in schools, especially this day in age where the internet and electronic communication is the norm and what goes on online is often a lot more mature, than what we may remember. Of course, I do not like bullies and I see the horrible effects of bullying inside and outside of classrooms, but we did not design a bullying program!
Or so I thought.
We define the course as a self-discovery program. A program where young women can be totally raw, get far outside of their comfort zone and find out things about themselves that they had been reluctant or unprepared to get in touch with before. It is about finding out all of the great qualities within each person and living from those places. It’s about letting go of our learned behaviors rooted in fear, insecurity, self-doubt and anxiety and living from a place of warmth, love and acceptance. We focus on communicating, interacting and living from a place of love. Coming from this place, the girls begin to realize that they are capable of feeling great and doing amazing things.
The girls work with their friends and teachers to define their authentic truth (referred to also as their essence) and practice living from it. We talk about social situations and potential negative circumstances that are realistic and likely in any group environment and practice responding from our essence. Instead of reacting or acting on impulse or emotions, the girls call on their truest, authentic selves and respond thoughtfully with love for themselves and for others in mind.
When I think of a bullying program I generally think of someone lecturing students on the effects of bullying and what to do when we are bullied or see bullying taking place. The programs touch on the various types of bullying and the importance of speaking up to bullies and telling teachers, parents and administrators about these situations. These are all important lessons, however they were not the lessons we intended to teach that day. Although these lessons were not explicitly taught in our program, I eventually began to realize that what we were sharing with these young ladies could totally prevent a lot of the bullying situations from ever taking place to begin with.
Looking back on how the program played out, maybe this was a bullying program after all? A non-bullying program? Anti-bullying program? Stop the bullying program? However phrased, the program indirectly taught the girls how to avoid becoming bullies, prevent negative situations from escalating to bullying and how to positively and productively stand up for those who are bullied (all without ever using the B-word: bully).
Ultimately, the program emphasized the idea that you cannot control anyone else’s reactions; you can only control yourself. If everyone in there responded from a place of love, acceptance, tolerance or kindness, they would significantly cut down the bullying that was happening at their school. When each person takes control of themselves and realizes that you don’t have to react to negative situations from fear or insecurity and that it is not in the best interest of self or others to communicate from any of those negative places, more peaceful interactions will take place. Positive energy tends to yield positive energy, when we are our best selves, this radiates to those around us. So, even though the intention was to maximize each young lady’s authentic truth and positive essence, it has become quite obvious that this in turn sparks a decline in bullying behaviors.
One of my teachers, Louise L. Hay says:
“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for 'we' are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.”
Perhaps that is the truest message of the program and the real answer to the bullying epidemic. Let’s create a chain reaction of people who know how to create their own inner peace and balance and let those positive energies radiate throughout our lives. This is not something that happens overnight and learning to respond from your positive essence takes practice. Even that being said, if we each commit to replace one negative reaction with a positive, loving response each day, we will emit more positivity and love into the world. Maybe that is where the focus should lie. Let’s focus less on the B-Word and more on the L-Word, Love.
If you are interested in having NGC host the "Where Are Your Coming From? Where Are You Going? Workshop with your students, email me!