01 Sep BULLYING: A JOURNEY BACK AND SHORT MEDITATION
Most people have experienced bullying in some form, and have tasted the bitter fear that comes with it. The fear is paralyzing and can easily alter the course of its victims’ lives.
Sometimes bullying takes place online, and other times in school. At the workplace, in college, on the road… Some of us experienced bullying as a child; others as adults. Some victims are those of passive bullying, others of aggressive violence. Some of us have experienced it firsthand while some of us have witnessed the bullying of friends or classmates. Still, some of us are parents of a child who has been the victim of bullying. Your specific experience may be strikingly similar to the experiences of others. Let’s take a quick journey to recall the things you may have seen and feelings you may have felt.
Think back to elementary school. Think of your friends, the classroom, the playground. Think Middle School. Think High School. Think of the lunchrooms, the hallways. Think of the bully or bullies in school. Remember their name? Recall their face, their voice. What do you remember about them? Recall the things they said and did to intimidate you — or if not you, then your peers. Recall that uneasy feeling you felt around them that felt like a violation of your right to be you — a violation of safety and happiness. How did it feel, and how did it affect you? Did you learn to walk the long way to class to avoid that person? Did your focus in classes suffer? How were your grades affected? How did your social life change?
Now think to your first job…now to your current job…think of acquaintances you know who you try to avoid because of their intention to intimidate. (That violated feeling may be popping up again.) Many of us prefer to walk away from situations to try and avoid that feeling. Of course! But how would it feel, instead, to walk right up to that bully and look them in the eye? How would it feel to say what you want to say, confidently and relaxed? How would you feel differently if you could do this regularly? How would your life be different?
The point is that we all know what bullying is, and we’ve all experienced it: forceful, threatening behavior that is meant to intimidate or abuse. So how do you handle it? The very memory of that bully and what they did or said — even many years ago — can still influence how you behave.
There’s no doubt that bullying needs to stop, but until there’s a way to punish all the bullies of the world — an improbable feat — focus is better placed on self-empowerment.
This goes for victims and bullies alike, as well as those watching from the sidelines.
Being fearful can strongly dictate how a person lives and interprets life, how she interacts with other people, and ultimately how she views herself. Fear is the greatest thing stopping most people from achieving in their life what they want to achieve. It even stops many from living their life’s purpose as it corrodes our ability to excel.
Although much can be done to try and stop bullies, even more, can be done on the side of prevention to keep the bullies from having a toxic effect on the rest of us. Being intimidated by someone or something is ultimately an opportunity for growth, and, to those who are willing to grow, martial arts is the single best guiding tool to self-sustained confidence and safety.