What is a bully?
Bullies are people who attempt to verbally, emotionally, or physically harm those they see as vulnerable. They can be found in many areas of society, from the playground to the boardroom.
Some bullies can be protected by society. This can be through systemic racism, misogyny, or homophobia. Sometimes they can have a position of power over you, such as a carer or a teacher. There are systems in place to overcome this. Organisations like Childline and UNISON are always willing to help. Never be afraid to report a bully. It is always the right thing to do and takes a lot of bravery. You are not obliged to deal with them yourself, and it is not your lot in life to be a metaphorical (or literal) punching bag. The vast majority of people like to help others and are, in turn, helped themselves. It is always smart to seek help because bullies can be difficult to deal with on your own, especially because of their variety of tactics.
One of the main things a bully seeks is to discover your insecurities and make you think they are legitimate. It is important to remember that they're not. Every human being in the world is unique. It is likely that the parts of ourselves that distinguish us, even when we perceive them as flaws, are considered beautiful by others. Self-improvement is important, but often, the flaws we see in ourselves aren't really flaws at all. Don't take advice from a bully on how to be a better person.
Something to keep in mind is that there is no archetype of what a bully can be. Like everyone else, bullies are unique. This means that they will have areas of insecurity just like anyone else. The difference is, they allow these insecurities to push them towards making life more difficult for others. Therefore, the biggest difference between you and a bully is that you are strong enough not to let your negative feelings stop you from being kind, which is something to be proud of.
Kindness and empathy are what defines humanity, and a bully neglects these traits. It may be that all the bully needs is a friend, or perhaps they have significant issues in their lives that they're taking out on you. They could even be a victim of another bully. As a kind person, you may be tempted to reach out and help them, and whilst this is an admirable instinct, it is far more important for you to look after yourself. It is up to the bully and the people who care about them to sort out their troubles. If you are a victim of bullying, you don't owe anything to the bully.