About Bullying And Responding

There is a quick suggestion I have. I hear people say this all the time too; as if it might be difficult or we need a reminder to do it.
The suggestion is simple.
“Just be nice.”
Sounds easy enough, right?
The truth is not so much.

One would think “Be nice,” is easy to do. One would think being nice would be as simple as, “Wash your hands” or “Brush your teeth.” But yet, not everyone washes their hands. Not everyone brushes their teeth. And not everyone is able to, “Just be nice.”

There is another saying:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”
But let’s face it. More often than not, people say mean things. Sometimes people say mean things without realizing what they say. And yes, some people have no filter (I’m one of them, by the way). Sometimes we misspeak. And sometimes we say things out of line without the intention of being hurtful. Sometimes, however, we use words like knives to cut the membrane of someone’s flesh so that when they bleed, they bleed in a way that only they can see or feel from a wound that seems unending.

I have a question.
Or maybe my question is more rhetorical but where does this come from?
Where does the need to put someone down begin?
See, I think about the pack mentality and the way people nip at the weak like hyenas—and rather than be weak, it’s better to join the pack and nip at someone else then be nipped on.
I think there are a million different answers and even more situations. I think everyone believes they have the answer but to the bullied, there is no answer. The only answer is shame, blame, guilt, regret, and fault.

There is no bravery in bullying. There is only cowardice because God forbid the pack turns to you. (Know what I mean?)
There is no bravery, only outrage. There are depressive ideas, shoved down because of inadequacy to the point where the only thing that makes sense is retaliation. The pressure builds and all one can do is respond.
But respond against whom?
Who suffers the brunt of the attack?

“Just be nice!”

Be nice to the bully?
Would that work?
I have heard this suggestion before.
“Kill them with kindness.”

Does this mean call them out and say something caring?
Would you say something like, “Hey, You’re obviously having a rough time?” Their life is in crisis and that’s why they’re picking on other people.
Does that work?
I will say yes in some cases, and no in others.
I can say that I have tried to “Turn the other cheek,” only to be caught in the gossip mills and chewed up in the rumor factory.

The idea is to get this to stop . . .

There are words that people use. These words are hurtful and damaging. These are the words that cut the membranes of our true self and personal sanity. These are the wounds that bleed out without the detection of others, but yet, you swear everyone can see.
And they keep going; they keep riding and slicing in deeper until the pain hurts so badly that nothing is containable anymore.

I have an idea for the next time I do a classroom presentation. I want to cover the room in post-it notes with insults.
I want to have the students help me with this and write insults on the board and then one by one, as a team, we can erase them all.

I’d like to see the world be a nicer place. I’d like to see the workforce be a nicer place too. I say this because of the inaccurate ideas that bullying stops after graduation. This is simply not true.
I say this often but I have seen more bullies in boardrooms than in schoolyards.

We learn this at a young age. We learn about the pack mentality. And then of course, everyone claims they’re not pack-like or flock-like, and no one will openly say, “Hey, I’m just a follower.”
“I’m just one of the sheep!”
No one says this.
No one will tell you their truth about how they really see themselves—but either way, you can clearly see this by how people treat each other.

“Slander is the tool of cowards.”
Vanna Bonta

I say slander is a tool we use to pry us from the heat of the flame. I say that slander is the wood we use to burn someone else when we grow cold.
Slander is the subtle art of a bully, too afraid to face the attention that perhaps they are not so perfect themselves, and to cowardly to make their own corrections so they point at yours instead..

In some ways, I say the bully is almost not at fault. It’s a sickness.
No one told them the truth.
No one gave them a view of their own reflection to the point where the truth could not be shaken—and when the bully sees their truth, oftentimes, they continue because this is the only way they know how.

Just be nice . . .

You never know what kindness can do.
Kindness can be lifesaving. Kindness can undo the vines of slander. Kindness can also outshine the dark abuse that comes from the attacking cowards that cannot bear the simple thought to, “Just be nice.”

Asking someone, “How would you feel if it was you?” doesn’t hold the same weight as bringing the view back to someone and exposing their weakness, which they disguise with slander and wear in a pose of strength.

Truth is the world is filled with insecure people.
Myself included!
Even the ones that appear most secure—yes, that’s right, them; even they have a loose string, which they hope no one sees (or pulls on) to expose them or their vulnerability.

I’d like to see a time come when others can have fun when the fun doesn’t come at someone else’s expense.
I’d like to see a time come when the suggestion “To be nice,” is equally as unnecessary as “Just wash your hands,” because this is something we all do automatically.

But like I said before, not everyone washes their hands or brushes their teeth, which means look how they treat themselves—it’s no wonder they can’t find the means to treat others right. They can’t even treat themselves right.

Want to know what bravery is?
Bravery is standing up to an honest view of “Self” instead of deflecting upon someone else because you don’t have the balls to admit to your own faults or say that you’re vulnerable.

Well, I guess I’m vulnerable then too.
The truth is I’m not so brave sometimes either, which is fine as long I never become a coward.

4 thoughts on “About Bullying And Responding

  1. Pingback: Just be nice! – Emerging From The Dark Night

  2. I spotted this post in Reader and just had to give it a read. Such an awesome post! Why people find it so hard to be kind is beyond me. My heart breaks for anyone who suffers the scourge of bullying. I know what it’s like because I endured 6 long terrorizing years of it through junior high (now middle school) and high school! They were the worst 6 years of my life. To victims everywhere: Continue to stay strong and make self-care a priority!

    Thank you so much for posting and bringing awareness to an issue that still isn’t addressed enough! Keep speaking out!

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