Tyler Clementi Lives In All of Us
Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers Freshman Violinist who committed suicide by Jumping off the George Washington Bridge lives in all of us who are different. The creative, the sensitive, shy person, the person who is different and doesn’t quite “fit” in with everyone else is particularly vulnerable to the bully.
Unfortunately the bully lives in all of us too.
Here’s what will happen now. On College campuses all across the country there will be programs to teach Freshmen that video taping their roommates without their knowledge or consent and streaming it all over the web is wrong.
That’s probably a good thing.
However, there will be few if any programs to teach young people how to deal with the inevitable nastiness of life whether it comes from a cruel and callous roommate or from some other source outside of themselves that they have no control over.
This is a fact of life. We will never, ever be able to legislate away cruelty or dislike, homophobia or racism, misogyny or misandry. Someday, somewhere everyone of us will meet someone who for some reason or other just doesn’t like us. When are we going to teach our young people how to deal with that? Most adults don’t know how to deal with that either and millions suffer bullying in the workplace every day as a result.
If I could have had even a half hour with Tyler Clementi I could have helped him shrink the monster of what happened down to a much smaller, more manageable size. I could have helped him put it into perspective and heal the pain of it. I could have helped him to use the incident to grow and learn and to become stronger and to appreciate himself exactly as he was. I could have helped him to recognize his roommate as the one with the problem.
I could have helped him to see that it was not the end of his life.
We have the tools to help all the other kids like Tyler Clementi. Isn’t it time for some serious training and education for the chronic victims to teach them how to stop being victims?
Bullies and mean people, racists and bigots will always be with us. But we can learn how to stay in our strength and power in spite of their cruelty. We can learn how to stop beating ourselves up and putting ourselves down internally.
To illustrate just one simple technique of many, try this:
- Think of someone in your life who made fun of your or bullied you or was mean to you. Got it?
- Notice where on your mental movie screen that person is. Notice if the image of that person is life size, larger than life size or smaller. Notice how close that person’s image is.
- Now shrink them down and push them far away out to the horizon. Or, shrink them down and drop them to the lower left corner of your mental screen.
- Fade them out to black or fade them out to a white screen.
How did that change how you feel?
For most people taking charge of the internal representation of the person or event that is hurting them, gives them tremendous relief.
And that’s just one simple tool out of dozens that nobody seems to be teaching our young people.
Now please understand, I am not saying that I could have saved Tyler Clementi’s life. I’m only saying that the events that happened to him were so big and huge in his own mind that he couldn’t think of any other solution to getting out of the hurt he was in other than suicide. What if he had some other choices? What if he’d been exposed to tools and techniques for mastering his own thoughts and emotions?
What about all the other college freshmen who are still alive and hurting? Can’t we do something immediately to help give them the resources to resist self destruction in response to negative events in their lives?
I appreciate your thoughts and comments on this.
Call me toll free at 888+598+7709 or e-mail me at mark [at] markshepard.com
or if you would prefer I contact you, simply fill out the form below and send.