We Need Your Soulutions

in bullying, soulutions

About a year ago, I got in touch with two women named Angela and Elizabeth.  They were working on a book called Soul Models: Women Transforming Challenge to Change.  The book highlights compassion as a way to navigate all challenges and includes stories from women who have used hardship as a way to help others.  The Operation Beautiful story will be included.


While they were working on the book, Amanda Todd committed suicide.  Amanda was a 15 year-old Canadian girl who had been relentlessly teased and tormented by bullies.  A few weeks before her death, she posted this YouTube video describing her journey.  Over 12 million people have watched it.  Please note that her video may be triggering.


But the bullying still continues.  And Angela and Elizabeth felt moved to do something now, something immediate.


Instead of getting the Soul Models stories out right now, Angela and Elizabeth felt that they must share the “Soulutions” that all of the contributors are giving for getting through hardship.  They felt they couldn’t hear of another young girl that decided to commit suicide. There are so many in pain who need help and answers right now.  Angela and Elizabeth also realize that everyone, not just the women that were interviewed for the book, has “Soulutions” to share that can help and encourage others.  They reached out to me, and together, we are collecting stories of advice and encouragement.  These nuggets of wisdom will eventually end up in an e-book.  I will donate 100% of my portion of the proceeds to a charitable organization dedicated to stopping bullying (but I haven’t decided which!).


What got you through it?

How did someone else help?

What would you go back and tell yourself?

What would you change?

What perspective can you offer?


The Soulutions chapters will include:


Self-esteem / Looks / Weight / Sexuality / Self-worth

Discovering purpose

Betrayal / Loss of Friendship or Love


Financial issues / Debt / Out of work / Loss of home

Parenting / Parenting a special needs child / Issues with own parents

Depression / Emotional challenges / Stress

Unhealthy Relationship / Domestic violence/Stalking

Chronic or Temporary Illness


Grief / Loss of a loved one


Before I put a call out for the Soulutions, I would love to collect longer stories from women who have gone through one of the above experiences and want to share what happened to them on the HTP blog in hopes of helping others.  I hope these longer stories will spark others to submit their own Soulutions for change and hope.  If you feel compelled to share your journey, send a brief synopsis of what happened and what you learned to caitlinjboyle@gmail.com.  Keep it to 300 words, and put the relevant topic (listed above) in the subject line.  Even if I don’t use it, I will forward it to Elizabeth and Angela for use in the final work.  You can be kept anonymous if you wish.


I am excited to hear the advice you all have to share.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3



  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats November 9, 2012, 1:06 pm

    That pains me so much, to hear of children committing suicide. I just want to help them so badly! I’ve worked with 14 year old girls as a camp counselor and I’m not a GOTR coach, and I love being able to talk to the girls, to help them through the hard things they’re dealing with. This post definitely has me re-evaluating what I want to do with my life. I’m in law school but I know I don’t want to be an attorney, and I know I LOVE helping people, I just need to find a career to match me.

    • Renee November 9, 2012, 10:05 pm

      Become a lawyer who specializes in juvenile defense! :). I have a friend who only represents abused children. She says it’s difficult but rewarding. Just an idea. Best wishes!!

  • Kelly November 9, 2012, 1:07 pm

    The comments on her YouTube video make me sick. Our world is becoming less compassionate, less empathetic. What a tragedy.

    • Sara November 9, 2012, 7:51 pm

      I agree! It makes me lose a little faith in humanity 🙁

  • Sara November 9, 2012, 1:21 pm

    That poor girl. I’m sure we all would love to go back in time and tell our pre-teen and teenaged selves to be strong.

    I was bullied in elementary and middle school. I don’t think I really felt secure enough to be unapologetically me until high school (but I also went to a school where you could be smart AND cool). If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to have compassion for those who teased me. Usually people who bully are bullied themselves. They’re incredibly insecure, so to latch onto popular friends, and they tease other people to raise their social status. But often they feel like their grip on their own friendships is weak.

    I know having compassion is hard when someone is making your life miserable. But know this, teens! You never want to peak in high school. Trust me, the cheerleading captains had a long way to fall once they hit the real world, while the quiet bookworms grew up to become awesome women. Just look at Tina Fey! Speaking of SNL alumni, Amy Poehler created a website called Smart Girls at the Party (http://www.smartgirlsattheparty.com/) where writers explain different topics in a relatable way, and Amy herself has an awesome video advice column. She’s kind of my hero.

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action November 9, 2012, 1:56 pm

    I’ve seen the video and read several news articles about Amanda Todd- as this was fairly big news across Canada. It saddens me so much that this continues to be such an issue! I wish someone would have reached out to Amanda beforehand- as perhaps that would’ve made the difference for her.

    I love that you’re getting involved in this Caitlin! Let’s spread the word far and wide and hopefully help someone in the future who’s being bullied!

  • Lindsey @ Pas de Deux November 9, 2012, 2:08 pm

    What a terrific project, Caitlin!

    I work with a Bullying Prevention program called Dance 4 Peace (www.dance4peace.org). We are a global peace education nonprofit that prevents violence and bullying and transforms conflict in schools and communities through dance and creative movement. Our curriculum promotes empathy, mediation skills, anger management, and conflict transformation to instill social and emotional competencies for peace. To date, Dance 4 Peace has worked with over 8,500 youth in fifteen cities on four continents.

    If you are interested, I’d love to tell you more about Dance 4 Peace and share some of the stories of the young people we have worked with!

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human November 9, 2012, 2:45 pm

    This is such an amazing thing to do, and something that the world desperately needs. Unfortunately, there are so many other stories like Amanda’s. Thank you for being such a positive force for change.

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? November 9, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Amanda Todd’s story is absolutely heartbreaking. When I watched her video, and saw what she had gone through, and what started it all, it hit even harder than I expected it to. I mean, that could just as easily have been me, or one of my friends, when we were that age. People like to say that they’d never let those things happen to them, but you really can’t say that unless you’re in the same situation. It’s so easy to go just a little too far, and in the age of the internet, those mistakes last forever.

    I’m so glad that you guys are doing this. People need to know that it really does get better.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 9, 2012, 6:41 pm

    This really just makes my heart ache, but I love the idea of real people helping real people with real problems. I honestly believe it’s a way to bring us all together.

  • Rachel November 9, 2012, 6:44 pm

    I don’t think I have anything to really add but…suicide is a hard issue. I had a friend a two years ago commit suicide…no one saw it coming (looking back I think she may have been bi-polar or had another mental health issue that she didn’t share outside her family). Not a day goes by that I do not think about her–either because I see the car she used to drive or I remember a conversation we had. If anyone is committing suicide (or even when discussing the topic) I think it is important to remember that when someone commits suicide they are not just killing themselves but killing a part of everyone around them.

    On another note, have you seen or read Perks of Being a Wallflower? I think it does a great job of addressing suicide and showing how things can get better (“I’m both happy and sad and I’m trying to figure out how I can be both.”)

    Also, there’s a proverb I really like: Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

    I think this comment may just be a rambling mess, but I wanted you to know that I support your efforts and wish you the best! A supportive community is ESSENTIAL for those who are unhappy/bullied/suicidal/etc.

  • Allie November 9, 2012, 7:59 pm

    The e-book is a wonderful idea! My little sister was on a cheer-leading team with Amanda for 3 years. Amanda’s story is absolutely heartbreaking. As a high school teacher and a former girl who was bullied, I believe things need to change {in our school systems and the world} right now. Kudos Caitlin for taking part in this!

  • Shady November 9, 2012, 11:16 pm

    I haven’t watched this video and I feel for her, her family and her friends. However, some of the research I’ve done has left me with the distinct impression that Amanda Todd was a very sick young lady who was undergoing treatment for multiple mental health issues. Yes, the bullying didn’t help things but it’s not the reason she killed herself. Yet, we all remain shamefully silent about mental illness. I wish we had taken this opportunity to talk about an arguably bigger issue with an enormous stigma.

  • kj November 10, 2012, 10:25 am

    As other commenters have identified, there was more to Amanda Todd’s death than simple bullying, this wasn’t a case of a school girl antics, this was a girl who, as I understsnd it, was under treatment for mental illness and was also being sexually tormented and exploited online by an ADULT. I live in the province where this happened and it is definitely being used as a forum to teach kids, but many people are furious that it’s being boiled down to bullying. Did bullying increase the severity of her illness? Most likely, but no amount of singing kumbaya or trying to teach her self-esteem would have helped; good psychiatric care is what is needed and unfortunately for Amanda Todd, it wasn’t enough.

  • Alyssa November 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

    This is a complex issue. As it seems in some of the previous comments, bullying is a buzzword that media likes to use, and in my opinion, it’s overused. I teach elementary school, so I’ve gone to trainings to understand more about bullying, and it was really eye opening to learn the true definition. Parents are very quick to overreact and cry “bullying” for things that are just typical kid behavior – two girls getting in an argument, name calling on the playground, etc (not appropriate behavior, and should be addressed, but that’s not bullying). All this crying wolf is taking away from the true bullying cases that need attention. I wish the media would stop hyping it up so the people involved could actually try to stop it.

  • Amy November 10, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Caitlin! I wanted to share a website and program with you- imgettingbullied.com is a non-profit org that works to help others who are getting bullied. It was started by a few of my college friends who created a non-profit org called Project Footsteps and I’m Getting Bullied is an off-shoot of this. It’s a place where bullies or those getting bullied can share their stories. They also have resources for educators, parents, and even businesses to get involved and help prevent more of these tragedies that are unfortunately happening across our country and the world. The Project Footsteps movement is working to empower and inspire kids to change and be positive roll models for our youth. Just wanted to share for those looking for resources or help with these issues.

  • Leanne (Simplicitlee) November 10, 2012, 5:52 pm

    I’m so happy you wrote this post. I’m from Canada and was deeply shocked and horrified to hear of Amanda Todd’s story. The video broke my heart and I feel so bad that no one was there to reach out to her. As someone who went through bullying myself, I know the pain of feeling so un-important and thinking that no one would miss me if I wasn’t here no longer; luckily I was able to see past those thoughts and keep myself alive. I look back and am so thankful that my family never gave up on me and I’m so happy now to have found a wonderful husband who loves me for who I am. I think that bullies don’t realize that they truly change the fabric of the person they are bullying. Years later I still am working through the pain. It gets better but it sticks with you.

  • Emily November 11, 2012, 7:31 am

    This is a great motion you’ve got going here:) I was bullied in grade 8. I hear it’s the worst year for everyone, and because of the abuse my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder was diagnosed . . . in a psychiatric ward, but one can’t be picky I guess. The first admission led to two more, once following a suicide attempt that left me with a scar that I can’t afford to have lasered. I basically gave myself a huge incision without being under a general anaesthetic . . . Beating the effects of bullying was partly because of keeping well (meds, routine, counselling etc) and partly because I let go of my anger towards the bullies because the more angry I felt the more my mind told me that I was the problem; that my mere existence was a bother to everyone.

    I’ve decided now, that TOO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE resort to suicide – it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I channel my hatred of suicide into suicide prevention, writing a blog partly dedicated to it and I gave my friend S the interview she wanted about how I’ve learnt to accept my Bipolar and keep myself well by writing fiction.

    My auntie’s given that article to many youth contemplating suicide and that gives me a real boost and something they can relate to <3

    Em xoxo

    I shared it here in the hopes that everyone realises life does get better – one step at a time.

  • Student.teacher November 11, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Amanda’s story is very sad, but I wonder if the focus that came out of her suicide will end up helping as many people as is intended. I’m a student teacher in the school district that Amanda has recently attended and her mother and stepmother are also involved in the school district and there are many more sides that have come up within this community than mainstream news has grasped on to.

    From everything that has come out of it, it seems that there were many interventions given to Amanda and all avenues of help her explored. It wasn’t a problem that would easily be solved and she had internal struggles that were aggravated by the bullying. The focus on victims overcoming bullying is just as sad as if we had a focus on women overcoming abuse or rape rather than on prevention of misogynistic acts in the first place.

    I think that what happened to Amanda was more than just bullying. It was sexist and provoked by gender norms. That’s something that has to shift and be modeled by adults in order for youth to understand that you cannot torment someone for naive decisions. She moved schools many times and was not able to escape. Why isn’t there a focus on the older boy that motivated her to take the photos that triggered this issue? Is it considered “normal” for the animalistic male to make such requests. Meanwhile, it is up to the young girl to regulate this by not satisfying him with photos or dressing more conservatively? It is just frustrating to here about Amanda’s story as a girl who couldn’t take it anymore and resorted to suicide, while the stories of her classmates and the older boy are most often left out…

    *PS* The video can be very triggering for people who are already vulnerable to those entertaining suicidal thoughts therefore it was the decision of the school district not to show it in classrooms. It is heartbreaking and eye-opening, but be aware before showing it to youth (or other adults!) who are potentially affected.

    • Caitlin November 11, 2012, 9:49 pm

      Thank you for the reminder it can be triggering. I will edit the post to reflect this.

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