Who or what is a bully? In my mind, a person who tries to make himself or herself feel superior to another human being by exercising his or her power and influence because of that person’s perceived physical or mental weakness can be regarded as a bully.
Bullies exist everywhere at all levels in every society wherever you go and it can take the form of physical or mental abuse. This is because not everyone is confident about themselves and in their own abilities. Some people are basically lacking in some finer attributes such as positive self-image and they feel the need to assert themselves on a fellow being who they think is unlikely to retaliate. It is an ego boosting exercise they indulge in consciously or subconsciously because we live in a world that is very competitive and self-centred and where hierarchical structures are ingrained in every society.
A bully is basically a coward because he or she usually hides behind wealth, power and position or any label that makes one feel important.
Bullies also like to hide behind anonymity. Recently I observed in the “6 Minutes Medicine” a medical forum publication on the Internet, the writers who wise-cracked and made derisive comments on the articles and people who commented on them, all disappeared after the editorial policy changed to publication of full names of all commentators. No more name initials or nom de plume were allowed. This I thought was a brilliant move to bring dignity to a worthy medical publication.
A bully will try to get at you physically or mentally to make you feel inferior or worthless. He might pick on your race, religion, color etc. You might get called all sorts of names etc. However it is the way you react to the bully that will encourage or discourage his or her behaviour.
Now if you feel offended and affected by the bully’s action, he will be sure to interpret it as a success in his approach because that is exactly what he has set out to do.
My advice to any person who is being bullied is not to give the bully the satisfaction that he or she is succeeding. You have to react in a way that does not give the bully that satisfaction. You have to learn to greet the bully each time in a friendly manner without showing any offence with equally offensive name, and walk away. Once you can master your own reaction to the bully’s action, and respond in the way I have described, you will be amazed to find a positive transformation in your relationship with the bully.
Because it is an ego orientated exercise, what bullies don’t like is public exposure. So if you are being bullied and you keep it to yourself, you are only inviting more problems for yourself. What you should do is never take things lying down. What you should do is devise ways and means to counteract the bully’s action and expose his behavior to other people around you. You may even have to go to higher authority if that is necessary. The main thing is to get your message across that you will be not walked over by any means.
Sitting by yourself and suffering in silence is not going to help you solve your problem. You have to realize that it is you who has power to change a person’s behavior with your own action.
Consumerism is distorting peoples’ perceptions and one can see people are becoming more and more self-centred and intolerant. In consumerism the customer is always right. One panders to the desires of the individual ego, so that one grows up thinking that one has every right and no responsibility. Clearly one can see the decline in moral, ethical and religious influences. No one wants to accept responsibility for their own actions anymore and there is little consideration for the feelings of our fellow beings.
Politicians talk about law and order but all they are interested is buying votes from the public by appealing to their selfish base instincts. Yes they are very good at making laws. They think that by making laws they will bring about law and order in society. How naive can one get? They should know that the fundamentals in bringing about law and order have to be laid in the early developmental stages of life. If we have no discipline in the home and in the classroom how can we have law and order in society?
Values of how to behave and consideration of other people’s feelings have to be taught at home and in the classroom. Children are not born knowledgeable; they have to be taught these values. It seems parents and teachers have abandoned their responsibilities and the state laws are not helping them.
One can see violence and aggressive behaviour increasing in society. There is youth violence, domestic violence, and criminal activity on the rise. Law and order is breaking down. When there is youth violence we have to use violence to restrain them, but we are not allowed to discipline children when they misbehave when they are little. Discipline (violence) is not permitted because it is supposed to be psychologically harmful and bad for them. How naive and contradictory can one get? It means that it is not okay to use ‘violence’ (discipline) against children when they are little but it is okay to use violence when they are older.
What is our government’s response to all this bullying, increase in social violence and criminal behaviour? Do you think making more laws and increasing penalties are the answer? Do you think building more and more prisons is the answer? Do you think increasing the numbers in our Police Force is the answer? Quite clearly these are patch up jobs. It is like trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted.
Unless our politicians can start addressing the issue of how parents are managing and coping with the early formative years of a child’s life and devise ways and means of helping them, I can foresee more problems ahead for society. There are a lot of dysfunctional families in society and they are increasing. They are going to produce more and more dysfunctional children. They need help.
The fundamentals of law and order are created in the first five years of life where positive or negative perceptions are created and developed, and conditioning takes place.
If we ignore this fact and do nothing about it, society must prepare itself for a more violent future. At present we are indeed living in a Fool’s Paradise, where everyone has rights and no one seems to have responsibility. Yes, unless we are aware of it, without consideration for the feelings of our fellow beings we all have the potential to turn into a bully.
Bullying is a problem of perception. Playing the role of a victim is also a problem of perception. I would earnestly hope that people who are experiencing this trauma will read “The Enchanted Time Traveller – A Book of Self-knowledge and the Subconscious Mind” to help acquire some self-knowledge and change their perceptions.