When I blog I usually only blog about something that puts a fire in my belly, as they say. I talk about this topic from time to time on my facebook page. But now it’s time to write a little more about how I feel about bullying.
I think when people hear the word ‘bully’ they think of someone taking your lunch money in grade school and calling your mom unkind names. Yes, that is one definition of a bully. I think being a bully can simply be when you are mean to someone else. That to me, is bullying. A bully usually goes out of their way to purposefully rude, mean or offensive to another person. At one point or another, we have all been a bully.
I wasn’t really bullied as a kid or in high school, or in college even for the most part. I had disagreements with people but no one really made me go home crying every day..until I turned 21. I want to talk about how bullying can be even present in adulthood, which I think is ignored more. Don’t get me wrong, I think bullying at any age is wrong.
The problem with bullying is in the word itself. It has a stigma attached, as I mentioned before and as we get older we think we are ‘just teasing’ or perhaps don’t even realize how mean we are being. There’s no teacher around to tell you to be nice or your parents to tell you to apologize. There is no facebook post police. This is where it can get really dangerous, especially with online usage.
Twitter and Facebook have become a cesspool for bullies to thrive. Ordinary every day people can get online and see someone’s post about a political view or just about going to the gym and someone can say something to degrade and purposefully make that person feel inferior. This is bullying. If you do this, you are bullying. You are hurting someone else to in turn make yourself feel better. It’s time we open our eyes to what is really bullying and to simply put it, be kind to one another.
When I turned 21 and decided to become a missionary I had never really been bullied before. It was a huge eye opening experience for me. I felt the typical feeling of being alone. I didn’t want to get out of my bed in the morning. I was confused on why I was picked on and the focus of my bullies to begin with, and to this day I could not tell you why. I cried myself to sleep at night. I felt the typical confirmation bias to where if anyone was even slightly rude to me I felt they were bullying me too. I saw others follow the bullies’ lead and pick on me as well. Some of it I may have been over sensitive to, but a lot of it was just down right typical bullying. People will often follow the leaders. I was hoping and praying one person would stand up and say hey don’t pick on her or at least say a kind word to me. Finally, after weeks of this endless turmoil, a person did in fact do that. They stood up for me, and others quickly followed the good guy’s lead, and I was no longer an outcast, but one of the group.
It only took one person to turn it all around. They will never know how much their simple words of kindness meant to me. That’s all it took. Someone to step in, and the others quickly followed. Not every situation will change so easily, but my message to you is to be the good guy. If you see someone being bullied don’t just sit back and laugh and be cool with the others. Don’t ignore the bullying and pretend you don’t see it. Say something. Be brave. Be kind. Be loving. Be a friend.
I must also say that these ‘bullies’ were good people. (Except one who I still want to punch in the face but I’m still working on that) They had no idea the affect they were having on me. Their remarks were sly, often in the form of sarcasm and quick low blows as they say, in front of others. It was the public humiliating and the constant jabbing that finally got to me. But they do not know what they put me through and I don’t blame them. Most of us are unaware of our words towards others. I don’t believe they sought to hurt me the way they did.
I will say that even if that person hadn’t came to my rescue, (unknowingly) I did already have it taken care of inside of me by that point. I had found ways to tolerate it and let it roll off my shoulder because prayer. I took the council of an Ensign Article I read by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi that simply encouraged me to take time every day to privately talk to God every morning. I told Him my fears, my desires, and He gave me the hope and determination to face another day. Even if no one else is on your side, God is, He cares and He loves you. I know because I felt it every day pushing me forward when I other wise didn’t want to face another day.
Overall, I am grateful for this experience because it didn’t scar me for life, and actually helped me come to learn to lean on the Lord instead of the popularity of others. I also can now empathize and understand what it feels like to be bullied. I don’t want anyone to have to experience it. We also never know who may be experiencing it either.
As for our kids and bullying, lead by example. Your children generally won’t be cruel and mean to other kids if they see love and affection in the home. You can help prevent bullying by not bullying yourself, or in other words, by simply being kind to others regardless of who they are.
Before you type something on someone’s wall, or say something sarcastic and condescending think “why am I saying this?” That may help you realize that there is no reason to ever say anything unkind, and the only reason you may be doing so is to make yourself feel better.
Work on your own insecurities before attacking others.
Do as Ellen always says, “Be kind to one another.”