Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Bullying

Today, we hear a lot about bullying. It's bad, it's wrong, and nobody's denying that.  People shouldn't be mean or cruel to other people.  However, that's not what I'm going to talk about in this blog post.  I'm going to talk about the way our society has been handling the whole bullying issue.

If people are honest, bullying happens to just about everyone at every stage of life. You aren't special because you're bullied.  You can be bullied in the home, by parents or siblings or other relatives.  You can be bullied at school by teachers or students or principals or even teacher aides.  You can be bullied as an adult by employers, co-workers, neighbors, civil servants, and just about anybody you encounter. You will never be able to stop all bullying because you can't stop people from sinning against each other.

Being bullied doesn't give you a badge of honor or make you special. It makes you pretty common, actually. You get bullied whenever you stand out in some way, for good or for bad.  That doesn't mean you need to stop standing out.  It means you need to accept that the price of being great at anything, the price of being  yourself, is that you are going to encounter people who don't like it.  You are going to encounter some people who envy who you are or what you have or what you can do.  You can choose to let their behavior change yours, and stop being great, or you can realize that their problem is just that - their problem - and refuse to allow them to dictate your behavior.

Don't let the bullies dictate your behavior. Don't allow them to change you, except to drive you to become your very best self. Make the decision to take control of your own life and choose your behavior. That's when you'll learn to accept yourself the way you are and stop worrying about the bullies.  When they push you down, determine that you're going to use their efforts to discourage you as reasons to strive harder for greatness.  When they tell you that you're worthless, let it motivate you to prove just how much worth you do have. We all like human affirmation, and it feels good to be affirmed. When we don't get it, it can hurt, but it can also help us to become less dependent on what other people think of us as a measure of our worth.

Being bullied isn't a badge of honor, and it doesn't make you unique. What it makes you is human.  Your choice in how to deal with the bullying - that's what can make you unique.  That choice can make you a saint.

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