I hate bullying. I hated it when I was a kid and I still hate it as an adult. Over my short lifetime of 31 years, I have been bullied for many reasons, among them:
- Physical looks (been called ugly, fat, big butt, butch, lesbian, etc)
- Personal interests and personality (been called a nerd, geek, dork, retard, stupid, immature, crybaby, goody goody, weirdo, etc)
- Social issues and awkwardness (probably due to my Asperger’s)
- Being too liberal
- Being too conservative
- Being a Christian and believing in God
- Not being the “right” kind of Christian or “Christian enough”
- Being a woman who speaks her mind and is intelligent (which apparently means you are a “bitch” or are not feminine enough)
Of course, I know there is some argument about what constitutes actual bullying, but I consider bullying to be anything said or done to intentionally hurt another person or to just be plain mean.
Unfortunately, I have also been on the other side of bullying, especially when I was younger. I have called other people names, talked about them behind their back and stood by silently while others tormented a particular person. I am not proud to admit that, but it is the truth. One thing that has shocked me as I have gotten older though is how much bullying still occurs in the adult world. It happens at work, it happens in social circles, it happens in politics, it happens in tabloids and media, it even happens in churches! And of course we all know it happens on Facebook and other social media sites frequently – especially between family members.
So what can we do about the bullying plague? How do we raise kids who won’t bully when even adults act that way at 40 and 50 years old? The only true solution I can see is to change ourselves. If I stop bullying and you stop bullying and then others stop bullying…hopefully someday the problem will be eradicated…or at least greatly reduced. So think twice before you call someone a name or mock them cruelly. Maybe keep your mouth closed when you are tempted to cut someone down behind their back or spread a rumor. Stand up for someone who is being torn down for no real reason. Keep debates and arguments about the actual subject at hand and don’t start personally attacking someone just because their opinion is different than yours. If deep inside you know that you are purposefully being mean or hurting someone…just stop it. It really is that simple.