Enough is enough.
Every summer, I was lucky enough to spend time at my granny’s place, in the south of France. She lived in a little town called Banyuls-sur-Mer six-months a year, an idyllic location nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful Pyrenees mountains. Because of its closeness to Spain, people spoke French and Catalan, a Spanish dialect.
Twice a week, a special event in the main square drew a crowd of locals and visitors. The traditional dance, ‘Sardana’, brought people together for an hour or so, all sharing a beautiful moment of music, dance and culture. It was mesmerizing to watch, time seemed endless and the energy that emanated from the square was contagious.
Surrounding the square were small cafes filled with locals playing cards, telling stories and laughing out loud. These familiar noises intertwined with the smell of tapas created an all-consuming feeling I will forever keep in my heart.
Inside these cafes, a different crowd gathered around the TV screens. Gruesome images of bull fighting could be seen, interrupting my feeling of joy and making me feel sick to my stomach. This is the same feeling I have when I think about bullying.
Bullying can make your life a misery. It can happen to you, your children, or your friends. It can happen to anyone at any stage in their life and it is simply unacceptable.
But what is bullying?
There are many definitions out there but to put it simple terms, bullying can be defined as the use of power to hurt, harm or affect the rights and needs of a person or people.
The most common forms of bullying include:
Physical bullying, which is the most obvious form of bullying. It occurs when a person or a group use physical actions to gain power and control over a person or people.
Perpetrators of verbal bullying use words, statements, and name-calling to do the same thing. They use insults and speech to hurt the feelings of others.
Emotional bullying, is a type of social manipulation where people try to hurt their peers or damage their social standing.
Cyberbullying, is done via the Internet, a smartphone, or other technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another person.
Linguistically speaking, bullying could be split in two words; “bull” and “lying”. I hope you’ll enjoy this analogy.
So, here is my question to you. When was the last time you saw a bull attacking someone? Let us think here. Are you picturing a bull fighting to his death in a bull ring? That’s horribly wrong, isn’t it? Some people call it sport, I call it anti-sport. The ‘matador’ or bull fighter doesn’t run around huffing and puffing with a bunch of swords stacked on his back, right? So, would you agree that it is not fair play?
Now, let me ask you again; when was the last time you saw a bull attacking someone for no reason? What I mean by this is that a bull will rarely go into attack mode unless it’s being teased or threatened. It rarely attacks anyone or anything unless he feels threatened or unsafe.
Now the “lying” part in the word “bullying” is also important. Bullies have different styles, personalities, goals, and behaviours. And their motivations for and methods of bullying are all different. However, they all have something in common. They were not born bullies. Lying implies cheating and dishonesty. People aren’t born liars and cheaters, they became one. Bullying is a learnt behaviour.
Now, I’m curious, what do you think is the highest intention behind their actions? What is it they want so much that they’re willing to hurt other people for it?
Could there be a need, maybe physical or an emotional one, that is not being met? Bullies appear to be confident and condescending yet, they are insecure and weak. They are hiding behind a mask that emanates fear and cries for love. They believe their action will make them popular and unfortunately, it can, in a grotesque way – but deep down; they are a fraud, they’re living a lie. They aren’t doing themselves nor anyone else a favor.
If you happen to be a bully and you are reading this article, I’m asking you, “what is it or who is it that makes you want to do the things you do?”. Imagine for a second that that same pain you’re inflicting on others might affect your younger sister or brother. It might even affect a parent, in the workplace, or even one of your closest friends. How does that make you feel? Can you picture your loved ones getting hurt? What would they say to you? Most importantly, what is it that you can do now that will serve your future self; because believe me, if you continue what you do; you will forever regret it.
“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” - Auliq Ice
To those of you who are or have been bullied, I’m sorry. This shouldn’t be happening to you. No one deserves to be treated this way. Just know that you don’t have to go through it in silence. Bullying is a serious offence. It is up to you to decide upon how serious you perceive the bullying, but if somebody physically or sexually attacks you, uses prejudiced language towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or images online – these are all key signs that you should probably be talking to the Police.
Lastly, understand that the reason you are being bullied is NEVER anything to do with you.
The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, NOT YOU.
Stay safe, stay strong and let’s end bullying together!