As school is getting ready to begin, I can’t help but think of the issue of bullying. It is an overwhelming problem that many students face alone, sometimes resulting in harming themselves or even suicide. That’s how horrific the situation has escalated into in the last few years. I must bracket here that bullying does take place in other settings, such as the workplace, social settings, relationships, and sadly even in church settings. The dictionary defines a bully as a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people. Whenever you use force or scare tactics to intimidate someone, you are a bully. The individual being bullied often sinks into despair due to the fact that they not only feel helpless, but they are also convinced no one can help them either. The bully makes sure the one who is bullied think they can’t seek help, for the bully insinuates they would make the life of the bullied even more miserable; hence the sense of helplessness and hopelessness of the bullied.
This world can be so cruel. A lot of times you contribute to the emotional pain of someone who’s already struggling with either personal problems at home or other hardships you’re not even aware they are facing. You contribute to that kind of cruelty under the guise that “you’re joking”. If both parties aren’t laughing, it’s not funny. Your insensitivity can cause long-term damages to the other person’s self-esteem, thus preventing them from fully achieving their God-given potentials. Even worst, they may be crushed for life and unable to function at all because they internalized your callous and insensitive teasing. Are you prepared to live with the fact that your bullying could emotionally unravel another human being so badly that they become a shell of a person? Your tongue is a small part of your body which has the ability to disintegrate an individual physically and emotionally. Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person you’ve been bullying for just a moment. How does it feel? You feel small, isolated with nobody to confide in, and hopeless (just to name a few)? Multiply that by 100, based on the length of time the bullied has endured bullying from different people/situations. Before you do or say anything to another person, ask yourself how you would feel if the roles were reversed. If it doesn’t feel pleasant to you, then refrain from doing or saying it to someone else. Be mindful of how you treat others, because we all have to answer for everything we’ve done here on earth. Do unto others as you would like to be done unto you. And guess what, dear bully, it takes much more energy to be unkind and unpleasant than to be nice and respectful of others (no matter their socio-economic background or physical appearance). You should try being kind. Who knows, you might like it and even be happier! Underneath your condescending attitude lay great attributes that can be more beneficial to you and those around you. You CAN do better. This year, start fresh by exploring the goods you have in you!
You are not alone in your battle with bullies. Most importantly, there is nothing wrong with you. Don’t allow anybody’s obnoxious behavior to make you think it’s normal or that you deserve that type of treatment. You deserve the same amount of respect as everyone else, because you are valuable. In the words of singer Mandisa, “You’re worth more than gold”; don’t let anyone or circumstance make you think otherwise. As a matter of fact, your bully might have seen something in you that he/she would have liked to have himself/herself, prompting them to tease you as a form of retaliation. You’re probably thinking “What could I possibly have that they’d want?”. A lot of the times, you’re not even aware of the qualities that make you the unique and wonderful individual you are. In the meantime, dear bullied, your bully may simply be projecting their insecurities on you, just to make you feel as bad as they may be feeling deep down inside. The misguided bully says” “You’re ugly”, “You’re not good enough”, and so on and so forth. Your creator who truly knows you says: “You are precious in my sight”, “You are loved”, “You are beautiful”, “You are more than a conqueror”, “You can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength”. Therefore, dear bullied, hold your head up and stand your ground against bullies. The bullies know it will all be over once you speak up or stand up to them; they will take notice and think twice before harassing you again. The world would be less bright without the many things you have to offer. Believe in yourself so you can start using the great qualities you possess. Don’t carry any resentment toward your oppressors; that will only hold you captive to the past. Go and conquer the world with fierceness. You can do it!
A beautiful soul that is reflected in one’s behavior and treatment of others is a prized possession worth acquiring. We should all aspire to Socrates’ own desire: “Grant that I may be beautiful inside. Let all my external possessions be in friendly harmony with what is within”.
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD
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