Bullying — this is an evil I cannot abide

I am not a fan of conflict. I know people who enjoy rising to the challenge of diffusing a situation and others who actually thrive on dissension.

Not me.

When navigating life, I prefer employing tactics which fall under the heading of preventative medicine and am appreciative of options which allow for a “ Plan B.”

That’s just how I roll.

However, there is a situation that I will engage in with both passion and ferocity: The calling out of a bully.

The wound inflicted on one’s psyche by someone determined to inject harm in their very soul is an evil that I cannot abide. I have witnessed such tactics in persons of all ages and in every environment. It is one of the lowest and most cowardly forms of control.

Often people think of bullying as a schoolyard tactic, but that is only one arena. Bullying isn’t always physical, either; it can be of a verbal or social nature and may not always be easily recognizable as in the case of covert-bullying, which involves subtle exclusion.

Psychology Today describes covert-bullying, “negative gossip, negative joking at someone’s expense, sarcasm, condescending eye contact, facial expression or gestures, mimicking to ridicule, deliberately causing embarrassment and insecurity, the invisible treatment, social exclusion, professional isolation … ” The goal is to sabotage someone’s well-being, happiness and success.

Such tactics are truly deplorable as they are deigned to silently convey a disdain for another in the sneakiest of manners. And for anyone suffering under such a silent barrage of hate, please know that this is about your tormenter’s issues.

Consider this: “Someone who hates you normally hates you for one of three reasons: They see you as a threat, they hate themselves or they want to be you.”

Still, the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is one of the biggest lies I know. Wars have begun over mere words.

Odysee Online describes an aspect of verbal bullying as, “Picking apart someone’s opinion with the intent to make him or her feel bad, humiliate them via media (publicly) or minimize their intelligence constitutes bullying … ”

Opposing views can stimulate conversation and inspire humanity. Debate develops critical thinking. While it can be comforting and it is certainly affirming to meet someone who is ‘like-minded,’ some of my most interesting friends are of different faiths, nationalities and/or political beliefs.

A wide variety of styles, beliefs and opinions make life interesting, beautiful and balanced.

Lady Gaga sums all of this up with these encouraging words: “Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”

But, a bully’s goal in life is to inflict harm and pain on another person, and for the bully, a new or differing perspective incites hatred. That is their small, sad world.

Don’t let it be yours. Speak your mind and live your truth. Embrace individuality and uniqueness in yourself and in those you love. Your life will be fuller.