When we think of bullying, a lot of us immediately think of kids getting pushed around on the playground or in the back of the school bus. While those things are real and happen way more than they should, bullying can also be emotional.

Whether it's physical or emotional though, it is still bullying and needs to be stopped. Emotional bullying can just be harder to see and handle. In fact, you might even be emotionally bullying someone without realizing it.

Emotional bullying is when you are hurting someone's feelings, whether by intentionally being mean to them, spreading rumors, teasing, or taking jokes too far. It can be on purpose, by saying hurtful things to someone's face, or on accident, by joining in on teasing or joking around at someone's expense and not realizing how your words are affecting her/him.

As a cheerleader, you have a great platform to dispel bullying. Make sure there's no gossip amongst your own teammates by simply declining to participate. You don't have to be abrupt about it or make it awkward. You can just change the subject or, if they insist on bashing or teasing people or spreading rumors, just leave. That's not a conversation you need to be a part of. It won't make you feel good, and it definitely isn't making the people doing it look good. People tend to tear other people down because they think it will make them feel better about themselves. The truth is you will respect yourself more for treating other people well. Any "happiness" you get from bringing others down is superficial.

The best way to ensure you aren't treating anyone negatively is to make a point of treating people positively. You don't even have to go out of your way to do this (although you can!). You probably think things like "I love her shoes" or "Wow, she has really improved her jumps this season" to yourself all the time. Say them out loud sometimes! Everyone likes to be appreciated and noticed for positive reasons.

When it comes to emotional bullying, Thumper said it best:

(Source: tumblr.com) 

Have you experienced bullying on your team? How did you deal with it?