I hate bullying, and my tolerance for it decreases by the minute…second…nanosecond.
There are lots of definitions for bullying. My personal definition: any behavior which seeks to undermine the humanity of another person.
Bullying comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s bold. Sometimes its subtle. Sometimes it happens face-to-face, and sometimes it’s behind a screen.
In all cases, bullying is a category of behaviors that leaves another human being feeling undervalued, disrespected, and depleted.
Bullying is especially awful because its cumulative impacts can leave an individual feeling like they have no value at all.
Bullying happens in schools and on playgrounds. It also happens in dorm rooms. It happens in offices and break rooms. It happens in churches.
Sometimes it happens in public and in the light, but many times bullying happens behind closed doors. In homes. In bedrooms. In the dark.
My experience of daily bullying left me feeling worthless and ashamed. As months went by, I no longer trusted my own inner voice. I assumed I was always making mistakes. I believed that I was a fraud…and dirty…and unloveable. And it all became normal.
People who engage in bullying tendencies were almost always bullied themselves. It is a sad cycle.
The only way the cycle stops is when we come together and say: NO!
- When we seeing bullying taking place, we have to speak up.
- When we experience it in our own lives, we have to get out and get away.
- We must support one another and advocate for people at the margins…those who are most likely to be victims of bullying.
We can absolutely pray for people who resort to bullying behaviors…but we don’t need to remain in environments where the behavior occurs. Undermining the value of another human being is wrong. In all cases. There is no scenario under which it is appropriate to bully another person or group of people.
If you are being bullied in any way, please know that you do have value. You can rebuild your life and your sense of self. Whether you are being bullied by a classmate, a relative, a stranger, a co-worker, or a partner - you do not deserve that kind of treatment. Bullying is abuse. Please find an advocate and safe person to tell. Call a hotline. Tell a trusted friend.
The light turned on for me when a doctor said: “You are a smart person. You are capable of good decisions. Someday you will be your own case study. You will use this experience, and it will help others.”
So I offer those same words here and now - to anyone who ever reads this post: You are a smart person. You have value beyond measure. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness by all people. Life can and will get better.
If you are a person who has bullied in the past or is currently bullying: stop. Please stop cutting other people down in order to alleviate your own discomfort and pain. Please get help and know that help is available. You, too, deserve a peaceful life with mutual love and respect in all your relationships. In order to build that life, you must stop using your power to undermine the value of others. As you begin to value yourself, you will value others as well.
We can build a world without bullying, manipulation, coercion, mean-spirited actions, and hurtful words. It is possible. And we are all part of the healing.