I am anti-bully. I’m against them. I think we should treat everyone we come across with kindness and generosity.
Except, sometimes I don’t live up to that. Just ask my kids.
For the most part though, kindness and generosity drives me.
There are those who still seem to bully others no matter what time of day, how much sleep they got last night or how strong their coffee is. Why is that? What do people still behave like this?
It’s a learned behaviour. They got it from somewhere when they were younger. Somebody taught them to behave like this, either intentionally or by example.
No one called them out. No one told them “this is not okay”, and follow that up with, “you aren’t able to be my friend/stay at this school/work at this company/lead this organisation/represent this entity and still behave like that.”
It works for them. They get want they want this way. It has worked for them their entire life, so why should they change now?
They are afraid. Trampling on other people does not come from a good place. It comes from someone who is deeply afraid of rejection and being hurt.
We know that they are there. We see them in our schools, workplaces and in the community. What do we do with them?
Firstly, there are consequences for behaviour. Legal, relational and social. Bullies must face those consequences.
But the most dangerous thing that we can do to bullies is to beat them down into submission. We can’t just bully the bullies and then celebrate the win because instead of creating one less bully in the world, we have created one more. Violence leads to more violence. And bullying perpetuates more bullying.
A violent take over of a country is always followed by a violent take over of the country. Unless someone intentionally fosters peace in amongst the violence. It’s the same for how we relate to people within our community.
The most generous thing we can do is to intentionally foster peace. Leave room for consequences, and see them, not as a stick to punish, but as a helping hand to heal. To overcome bullying, we must protect the vulnerable and heal the bullies.