Bullying. I am no expert in this area and I have also never experienced bullying first hand.
I cannot say I know how it feels to be bullied or claim to know what a victim of bullying has gone through.
However, I still have something to say on this matter.
I was born and raised in Phnom Penh and I went to school in Singapore – secondary school, junior college and university. I didn’t experience any hostility (physically or verbally) throughout those years. I wouldn’t have been familiar with a concept of bullying if it wasn’t for American teen movies I watched growing up. When I was younger, every time I watched those teen movies, I would think that it couldn’t possibly be real. Those movies simply exaggerated things for entertainment purposes. Popular cliques, mean girls, extreme bullying such as calling names, spreading harmful rumors, or locking someone in a locker? To my naïve young mind, I didn’t think bullying was a thing. From where I grew up, I simply couldn’t relate to it. However, as I grew older, I started to realize that what I saw in those movies somewhat reflected the reality of teens in schools all across America. Bullying was real on that side of the world (I am not saying there is absolutely no bullying at all outside America), and I can only try to imagine how traumatizing the experience must be for the victims who are trying to go to school while having to deal with bullies.
My parents raised me to be kind to others. “Treat others with kindness wherever you are,” my mum would tell me with a warm smile on her face. My parents taught me compassion and kindness through examples, so as I was growing up I did not understand why some people would hurt others on purpose. We are the same species, aren’t we? Now that I’m an adult, I understand that not everyone would be kind, compassionate and understanding. But still, I strongly believe (call me naïve) that if a comment or an action does not inspire anyone, doesn’t lift anyone up or is constructive in any way…why do we utter it at all?
To be honest, I believe that what we do or say reflects what is happening within us.
When we are angry, we convey that anger through hurtful words or a scream or any other outlets.
When we feel loved, we treat others lovingly.
When we are cared for, we care for others because we think it is a natural thing to do.
If we are abused or wronged in any way, we may feel the urge to do unto others intending to release that negative emotions stirring inside us.
When we lack something, we tend to act outwards to try and fill in that void. We’d do anything. Sometimes I just wish more people would spend time internalizing their behaviors, which more often than not, are driven by their feelings – as in go deeper than the obvious. I read an amazing book by Teal Swan called “Shadows Before Dawn,” which speaks about self-love and how everything comes from within.
It never fails to surprise, or rather, shock me why people say/comment horrible things to other people.
What exactly causes someone to say out loud something like:
“I don’t like her because she’s ugly.”
“He’s so stupid.”
Blah blah… To be honest, I do not know. Personally, if I do not have anything nice to say, I wouldn’t say it. A quote from a YouTube Star, Kid President rings true to me “if you have nothing nice to say, you are not thinking hard enough.” And if you really have to deliver something which can potentially hurt someone’s feeling, I believe there is always a less destructive way to put it across. Something are just too harsh.
Before you say something, it would be helpful to ask yourself this question, “How would you feel if someone were to say or do those same things to you?” If you’d be hurt, chances are others are going to be hurt too. They are human beings, you know, no matter how out-of-the-world they appear to be? They aren’t Gods! Or some pixels on your computer screen. In the context of cyber bullying. when you say something negative to someone online, there is an actual person sitting behind that computer screen, reading those hateful comments and feeling like shit about themselves. Does that bring you joy? Knowing that you hurt someone else physically or emotionally? If you bring others down to make yourself feel better, you should seriously ask yourself what is it that you think you are lacking to necessitate your behavior or words?
When we say something, have we taken a moment to think about how our words may affect others? Sometimes we may not mean any harm when we say it. We merely say these things – point blank – without a second thought. But what exactly do we intend to get out saying those horrible things? Are they constructive in any way?
Does it help another person be a better person in any way? If no, why say it? Is it because we are bored and have nothing better to do than bring other people down? If so, I’m so sad for you. I understand each and every one of us is entitled to feel and have our own thoughts and opinions, and social media makes it a lot easier to share or post things, but that doesn’t mean we should verbalize all of them.
It’s true that somethings are better left unsaid.
Keep a private journal or diary if you need to express yourself. As a human being, there will be times when we find some people annoying, unattractive, unlovable, stupid etc… I do too, but keep it to yourself, unless we are specifically asked to share our opinions. There are encouraging articles written about how those people who make mean comments are merely jealous and insecure about themselves. Regardless of where those mean comments come from, it still hurts the person towards whom the comments are directed. If we don’t have anything nice or constructive to say to that person, can we not say it at all?
Can we all be nice human beings, can we all treat others like we would like to be treated? Please.
Calm down and love. This world sure needs a lot of that!