Bullying: how I chose to build on it

  • Published
  • By Airman Sadie Colbert
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Growing up, I've seen many people bullied for all kinds of things, ranging from gender and race to just having different opinions and interests.

According to nobullying.com, an online bullying resource, in 2014 approximately 44 percent of individuals had been bullied in one way or another by the time they were in middle school. I was not any different.

In my mind, there are two ways you can react to the problem: sit there and have a pity party, or brush it off and learn from it. 

From the age of 10 through high school, I dealt with the challenges of bullying almost every day.

So many questions went through my head. I wondered what was wrong with me and why everyone else was "normal."

The way I dealt with it was exactly what no person should do: getting upset and crying about it, being depressed and having anxiety attacks. I was riding the rollercoaster called life.

One morning in high school, someone tried shoving me in a locker and for some strange reason I reacted by tickling them.

In that moment, I had an epiphany that we can control how every situation affects us by how we react. It's laughable but it took so long to realize something so simple.

Fast forward a year to basic military training, I didn't realize what I learned allowed me to be more resilient, and because of that, I can say I was well prepared for the obstacles I would face in BMT.

What I learned not only assisted in overcoming adversity in BMT but has helped me succeed in my career.

As a new Airman, I have made more mistakes at work than I would like to admit. But, because of my high school experience I was able to keep calm and take every counseling session as a learning experience. It has made me more efficient in my work, and has given me a positive outlook on life.

It even helped me focus on the spiritual pillar, one of four pillars of resiliency taught in BMT to help us be successful.

To build spiritual resiliency through my faith, I used the challenges I faced to help build my personal relationship with God, which helped me grow, and motivated me to produce quality work.

I have been in the Air Force a little more than a year now, and I am grateful for what I went through because it made me stronger.

Although bullying has many negative impacts, I learned that there are two ways we can handle it. We can wallow in self-pity and not progress in life, or we can use it to better ourselves and grow from it.