Can we stop bullying? Is there a magic answer out there that will cause this widespread problem to up and disappear? Unfortunately, I believe this problem will persist for our society for some time yet. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do our best to correct the issues at hand and learn what we can from it.
Before we get into the various perspectives today, let’s first take a look at how bullying is defined. According to Dictionary.com:
As you can see from some of the obsolete definitions, the word itself has transformed quite a bit over the years. It has progressed from a more positive definition to one that is now quite negative.
Bullying itself can also come in all forms and at almost all ages. From words to physical violence and everything in between, bullies come up with all kinds of different ways to do their thing. What is it though that sets a bully down this path of intimidation of their peers?
First, My Story
It didn’t take me long into my school years before I became the victim of some rather harsh words by some of my select schoolmates. In the early days of kindergarten, I would learn just how much words can really hurt someone. This early bullying would affect the rest of my years at school, as for a long time I did my best to stay out of the center of attention.
This lead to me not being very popular, but at the same time I was not considered the lowest of the low in our social structure and managed to live my life in mediocracy for a long time. Unfortunately, this did not protect me from being the occasional juicy target for someone to lash out at.
My first real encounter with just a pure bully came when I was a Freshman in High School. He sat behind me in German Class and it did not take long into the school year for him to center in on me as his target. He was also one of the best wrestlers in our school, so when he did start in on me I chose to ignore him.
My hopes that he would move on if I showed no attention to his remarks, pokes and prods were shot down as he didn’t care and almost enjoyed the fact that I didn’t react. Then one day, everything changed…
“I had just gotten my class schedule for the following year and I had decided that I wanted to pursue another language and had taken Spanish I in addition to German II. When the bully heard I was taking two language classes the next year he leaned up from his seat and punched me square in the kidney.
This act of violence pushed me past my threshold of indifference and before I knew what I was doing I had stood up and began to verbally assault him. While everyone else in the room was stunned that was telling him off, he thought it was funny and that I wanted to fight.
However, I didn’t want to fight. So as he stood up from his desk and came walking around to my row, I sat back down in my seat and decided to go back to ignoring him. He would not let that be the option though as he grabbed my neck and began to choke me.
If I wasn’t furious already, I was now beyond even that point. I still clearly remember not being able to breathe, but not caring about it as I stared him in the eye. The next thing I know I had shot my hand up to his throat and instead of choking him back I grabbed it and squeezed as hard as I could.
He immediately let go of me and as he did I used my grasp of his throat to throw him off of myself. I turned back into my seat once again, hoping that the event was over. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as this time he began to choke me again and pushed me down in my seat.
As I slid down I put my back onto my chair seat and pulled my knees up to my chest and put my feet to his chest, all the time looking at the huge window right behind him. Before I could launch him off of me and into the window, a Senior in the class managed to break up the fight and warn us that the teacher was coming.
After that day, the bully left me alone and moved onto a new target. On one hand I felt relieved to not be the target of his aggression, but on the other hand I felt horrible to have to witness him start picking on someone else too.
We only ever had one altercation after that event later in the year in Art Class…
“I had just got to Art Class and had begun working with some clay and was still trying to figure out what I was going to make. It was at this point that the bully came up beside me and started tapping a large metal yard stick on the back of my head.
I remember squeezing that clay very hard in my hands as I worked on controlling myself and tried to talk him out of his actions. However, the more I protested the harder he would hit me. For a moment I thought we were going to have to go through a physical altercation all over again.
As I tried to retain the anger inside of me and not act out against him I realized that there was a Metal T-Square laying on the table, easily reachable by my strong hand. As I looked at it I clearly remember praying: “Lord, if he hits me one more time, I am going to plant this T-Square right in his ear and finish him for good.”
Literally the moment that thought crossed my mind the bully stopped and walked away, never to pick on me again.
The ending of that story is one that shook me to the core. I had chosen a path of atheism at that point in my life and here a prayer to god had just literally worked. Thinking about it now, this could actually be the exact moment where I started down my spiritual path and in hindsight I am so thankful for all of this to have happened now. If you’ll excuse me I need a moment.
Okay, thanks. Now onto the rest of the article here…
Why Do Bullies Bully?
I have seen many levels of bullying throughout my many years on this planet. From the most minor to more extreme incidents, I have been witness or party to many of them. Being the type of person I am I always paid a lot of attention to the situations, especially as I got older and that is when things started to clear up for me.
I realized that in all of the cases that I was subjected to, that the bully was often acting out due to problems in their own life. Whether it was because they came from a broken home, had an abusive parent, or were just acting out in the way that they were raised, it all boiled down to the same thing…
All of the Bullies that I knew acted out towards others in an effort to make themselves feel better about themselves. They were hurt and the only way that they knew how to feel better about themselves was to make someone else feel worse than they did. I began to feel bad for them at this point.
Now I am not saying that this is the case 100% of time as that is rarely ever the case anyway. There are some people that just live a life of violence towards others as it is what makes them happy, this is an unfortunate part of incarnating here on Earth.
What is the Answer?
So can we stop bullying? The answer to that is no, at least not 100% of it. We will not be able to stop all of the bullies in the world as we live in a world of friction and that is just a natural part of it. So what can we do though to help those that are or have been bullied? How can we lesson the amount of bullies out there? How can we help the bullies that are really just in pain themselves?
These are all excellent questions and I can answer them all with one word. I’ll give you a moment to think about that to see if you can come up with the same answer yourself. In the meantime, think about what a lot of great prophets from our past to our current have always preached and you will see the answer. Are you ready for it?
The answer my friends is this: Love. Above all other things in this world the power of love can help us to heal the wounds of those being or been bullied. We can help the bullies and lesson their numbers, again by showing them love.
Is this an easy process or answer? Unfortunately, once again my answer to that is no. However, as you train yourself to be more mindful of your thoughts, expressing such things as love and forgiveness to others will become easier and easier over time. Just like anything else it is a skill and one that needs to be practiced to be good at.
Do You Need Help?
If you are being bullied and need help, there are resources out there for you. First off, know that it is okay to talk about it with a responsible adult. There are also tools online available for you as well, such as here at StopBullying.gov. Whatever path you choose, just make sure that you get the help you need.
Share Your Story
I shared my story above and I invite you to share your story with us here as well. The more of us that share our stories, the better we will be able to help those in need when they come by this page. They will see that they are not alone and that good things can come out of these terribly tough situations.
One addition I would like to add to my story is that several years later I ran into my bully at a bar. We got to talking that night and actually became friends at that point. After writing this article and reflecting back on just how this whole situation changed my life, I am now more thankful than ever that it happened the way that it did.
If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy several others that I have posted here:
- How to Be Happy in Life – The Power of Living with Intent
- Why You Should be Grateful in Life
- Even Little Steps are Progress
- It is Okay, You are Not Broken
- Enjoy Little Things Life Gives You, it is What Matters the Most
James W D