It was this vlog by Hannah Moskowitz for the YA Rebels that got me thinking about bullying this week. It takes a lot of strength to dig into yourself and share something like that.
I'm sure I've also been guilty of hurting someone's feelings, talking about them disrespectfully, or treating them badly for one reason or another. I wish I could apologise to everyone I have hurt like that. I think everyone has it in them, somewhere, to act like a bully. Bullies are all afraid of something, and instead of facing that fear, they bury it. They lash out at their insecurities by targetting those weaker than themselves. They're cowards.
All of us are cowards sometimes. And it's okay to be a coward. We each have learn to deal with our fears in our own ways. It becomes a problem when we divert our fears and attack someone else because they're short, overweight, dress differently, have religion, have different sexual preferences, or have different opinions to us. All forms of prejudice come right down to bullying, pure and simple.
How do we stop it? On a case by case basis, don't stand for it. Don't let yourself be victimised just because you're different. If what you choose to wear, say, think, feel or do causes no harm to others, then stand up for your freedom to be who you are. Celebrate it. Love it. Love yourself.
On a more long-term outlook, the only way to erradicate bullying is for every person to make the choice not to do it. To educate, embrace, and accept. If you've been bullied, don't carry that pain and force it into someone else's life. Don't repeat what was done to you. Raise your children the same way. Teach others, whatever way you can, to love and respect one another.
In short, folks...