Tuesday, December 8, 2015

     “This speech is going to be so lame. I don’t know how I am going to be able to say what I want to say in three minutes. And how will I look on a video? Why do I put myself in these positions anyway?”  

     We are surrounded by bullies. There is probably one in your extended family, at your workplace, in your social circle, or heaven forbid, in your house. The bully could be you. Bullies come in all sizes, shapes, and they age from 2 to 92. Some bullies are proud of their labels; others don’t even realize they have earned them.

     Most think of bullies as some kid on the playground that starts shoving us around. They are usually bigger, thicker and louder than their victims. They learn early on that they can intimidate by any or all of these qualities, and often, they give birth  to future generations of bullies.

     Bullying is not new; we are simply more aware of it due to our increased technological communication, and because, thankfully, some anti-bullying advocates have made themselves heard.

     Bullying can be physical, verbal, silent. It can be blatant or subtle. Bullying is when one person pushes another in order to advance his or her strength or ego. People who bully are insecure and unkind. They thrive on the intimidation of others. Cyberbullying is the most recent—rape, domestic violence, mocking others—these are all too common and have been occurring for decades. 

     So why, in our ostensibly advanced society, is this still going on, and what can be done about it? I suggest three remedies:

  1. Stop modeling it Our politicians need to stop degrading one another,
  2. Parents need to model kindness, compassion and tolerance. When children hear parents    degrading someone on TV or someone they know, this is a form of bullying.
  3. Schools need to teach students how to stand up to bullies and to educate them as to why people behave this way. Bullies endure their own pain.

     Think about the politicians who currently demean and disrespect one another.
     Think about f the people who have demeaned you. What kind of pain were they in?
     Think about how you talk to yourself and how you teach others how to treat you.

Bullying are in pain themselves, and they inflict pain. I believe if we model compassion and tolerance and stand up to disrespectful behavior, we can diminish bullying, and the world will be a better place. It starts with our own internal dialogue. If yours is self-deprecating, think about how that expresses your own pain. How about:

      “This speech is going to be powerful. I know exactly what I want to say, and I will look great in the video. I put myself in these positions so I can inform and motivate people to think and take action. Have I said anything that strikes a chord in you?”