Be kind. Personal thoughts on bullying.

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There has been something weighing on my mind very heavily this past year. I’ve thought many times about sitting down to share it with all of you but then hesitated. I don’t want to share too much of someone else’s story. I don’t want to share too many details of even my own experiences because that might cause severe rifts. See, this blog isn’t anonymous. I pride myself on being open and honest, but like everyone, there are lines that I worry about crossing. And yet, here I am anyway. Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about! A personal post on bullying! | The Love Nerds This past year I have watched one of my favorite people in the world be bullied. Taunted through hundreds of text messages, whispered about close by, gossiped about when not and even physically harmed. I watched the self-esteem of this young woman sink lower and lower while everyone around her struggled with how to help…. how to show her how talented, dedicated, and resilient she is… how to show her how kind and funny she is. S

Never have I felt so helpless.

This isn’t the first time I have watched this happen either. As a teacher, I too often witnessed this type of bullying. People who had an over abundance of confidence and self of worth that they judged and stepped on the people around them and people who had such little sense of worth that they tore people down around them to make themselves feel better. It’s not just kids and teenagers though.

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about! A personal post on bullying! | The Love Nerds

“Mean Girl” attitude doesn’t stop with high school graduation. I hear stories of sharp judgements in a work meeting to make a colleague feel shamed. I see passive aggressive comments on Facebook or even downright cruel comments to people on Facebook. I hear a TON of back handed compliments. Personally, did you know it must be nice for me to stay home all day long and have so much free time? {Just because I’m at home, doesn’t mean I don’t have a real job. I usually work 12 hours – that’s not what I call free time.}

I think I have just experienced too much of this behavior – subtle put downs, all out criticism and name calling, temper swings, emotional manipulation. Because of this, I became stronger. Sometimes maybe too strong. Maybe I notice it too often or am too sensitive to it. I will throw myself into a fight or situation to protect the bullied – act first, think last. I will not say it’s okay when everyone wants me to. When I am faced with excuse after excuse for why treating someone that way is okay, I stay firm. It’s not okay. It’s never okay. And yes, it has definitely caused some relationship problems.

But I never want that person to feel alone or to have their self-esteem slowly chipped away piece by piece. I’ve been there and don’t want anyone else to be and I certainly don’t want any other young woman or man to be there. Growing up is hard enough.

So what is the point of writing this? What will it change?Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about! A personal post on bullying! | The Love Nerds

Maybe nothing. I write because I have always had a need to write my feelings out. To talk it out and today you are all my ears. But maybe – maybe one of you won’t feel so alone. Maybe one of you will send me an email because you don’t know who else to talk to and that’s okay; I will talk to you. Maybe one of you will put an end to someone else’s bullying, stand up to someone, or just give someone a nice note that tells them they are awesome. Maybe you will stand for the silent.

Or maybe more importantly, do not EVER underestimate being kind. It is so easy to tear someone down and destroy their self esteem. It is harder to build it back up. Help that process. Help keep them from the worse case scenario because I’ve heard too many stories of self inflicted harm and suicides because of bulling. Help them heal. And please realize that a smile or hello can be life changing to them because it makes them feel SEEN and note worthy.

We are all capable of judgements or coming off harsher than we mean to. We are all capable of hurting others. So I’m just asking you to keep trying to be better and kinder … and reach out to someone you know is having a hard time, whether you are “friends” with them or not.

If you would like some additional resources on bullying, you can check out StopBullying.gov, The Bully Project and Stand for the Silent.  You can also download these images for yourself.

Comments

  1. I love you and commend you for speaking up on such an important and destructive issue! So many people use bullying and hate as an outlet for their own problems, and it’s hard to watch, especially when it impacts those close to us. I’m glad we’re friends, I’m glad that I have someone like you to talk to and share the highs and lows with. I hope everyone finds a friend like that, someone who makes them feel worthwhile, supported and strong.

  2. Kids can be big mean bullies but nothing is sadder than adults that display this same behavior. It is pretty obvious to see how so many kids pick this up. I just do not understand how a person can get any enjoyment being mean but plenty of people do.

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