Bullying is dehumanizing, both for the person who bullies, and for the person being bullied. Unfortunately there is no age limit for bullying. It happens by and to students. It happens by
and to prejudiced groups of all ages, sexes, and social economics. It happens all too often in today’s work force by employers, who know they can push people more because they know jobs are so hard to come by, to employees who allow themselves to be bullied for fear of losing their jobs. Bullying happens face to face, while cyberbullying relentlessly continues online. What can we do to stop it?
Stand up to the bully.
This does not mean turning everything into a fist fight. First, be smart. If you are the student being bullied, no matter what the bully is telling you, tell your teachers, your guidance counselors, your principal, and your parents. Know that you are not alone. It is state law that teachers must report the bullying to their superiors. Schools are improving their programs to address this kind of attack on students. If it keeps happening, keep telling. Never give up. There are some things you can do for yourself, beginning with bolstering your self esteem.
Just because someone says something about you, does not make it so. You are made in the image and likeness of God. God does not make junk. God made you and you are perfect, just they way you are. You will not be perfect if…, or when … you are perfect now. You are a whole person no matter what sexual orientation you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter if you are underweight, no matter if you are overweight, no matter what, you are perfect they way you are, right this very moment. That is the second thing to know. Do not agree with every negative thought, word or idea that comes from a bully’s mouth. Just because someone says something negative does not make it so. Understand that there are people willing to help you.
I’d like to think that prejudices are a thing of the past, but they are not. We’d like to think we are so advanced these days, but sometimes I think on many issues we are still in the caveman era. There are many kinds of prejudices that play into the hand of bullying. The person bullying decreases in character development by bullying. Seemingly good people, even Christian people, with not so good intent, harm others psychologically by badgering them, instilling them with fear if they are not like minded people, whether it’s for gay rights, birth control, immigration, or any other difference in belief. Bullying makes people less human. Bullying makes people less spiritual. No matter what our religious belief system is, bullying is not the way to get the message out. Attacking someone’s character either privately or publically is not a spiritual practice. Can you see Jesus or Buddha now, diminishing a person by personal attacks? That would be a twisted and perverted belief system.
Lady Gaga went on twitter to say “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”
Young people are not alone on the bullying front. Adults are also bullies and are victims of bullies. As sad as it is when young people get bullied, it is pathetic when adults get into the bullying game, and we do. It is pathetic because we should know better. Anytime we act out in ways that are beneath human dignity, we diminish our growth, mentally and spiritually. The first thing to do is the same first thing to do for a young person. Tell someone. If it is a prejudice hate crime, tell a police officer. If you are being bullied at work, go to your human resources department. That is what they are there for.
You have a right not to be bullied.
Bullies don’t really want to fight. They want to torment. They want to get their way. They have ulterior motives. Pure motives have nothing to do with bullying. Bullies are weak. They are vunerable. As more and more people, young and old, stand up and refuse to be tongue whipped by inferior, manipulating mortals, it will become easier to stand up for truth.
Standing up for truth, honor, and integrity does not have to be done viciously. Anger and hostility do not need to be present. We simply need to say what we need to say. Bullies know how to push emotional buttons. That’s part of the game. But if we can stay level emotionally, that will be one less battle they will have won.
You are a wonder-filled creation of God. You are filled with God’s spirit. You are not alone.