When you are little and someone bully’s you, you are instructed to tell an adult. But what happens when you are an adult?
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing a grown man morph into a 12 year old bully at the self-check out line. After huffing and puffing for 10 minutes, he proceeded to cut me in my line and yell across to the woman attempting to use her several gift cards that she had no common sense. The woman had apologized several times for being slow and tried to reason with the man.
No one said a word to defend the woman.
After I got to my car, I vowed to myself never to be silent in the case if that ever happened again. Which, knowing the kind of people Walmart attracts, I’m sure I’ll have the pleasure very soon to speak up.
But I might not have to wait that long.
If it’s not a grown man harassing an old woman in the check-out lane, then it’s someone with a bad case of road rage, or a grown adult making deplorable statements about others behind the safety-net of a computer monitor.
Seems to me that bullies are a very apparent part of adult life, just as much as child’s life.
Makes me wonder why we all can’t get along. Why does it always have to be a battle going on – if it’s not the war on terror, then it’s the fight against cancer. If you put in ‘the fight against’ into any search engine, you’ll be able to find an uncountable number of things we are fighting against these days; from malaria to depression to each other.
Not that any of these things are enjoyable, but is it human nature to turn things into a crusade?
But I digress.
I think it’s important to realize the power we posses in situations where bully and harassment occurs, whether it is at the supermarket, at work or on some social network.
Power #1 - It’s not about you.
Bullies project. In the case of the woman at the check-out, the man was feeling tremendous anxiety. He was dancing around like he was in a boxing ring. Once the anxiety became so unbearable, he decided to throw his items down in front of me and yell at the woman.
You see, everyone, in order to live a fruitful life, must ultimately be able to acknowledge and accept their own innate vulnerability. While the other people in line had come to terms that it might take longer then expected to check out, the man rejected his own awkwardness and inadequacy – using the woman as a scapegoat, rejecting himself, acting on self-loathing and self-destruction.
While on the surface it might look like an act of domination, bullying is actually an act of desperation.
Power #2 – Understanding the Source
You may have heard that bullies have a low self-esteem, but this is not always the case. Most bullies have an excellent self-esteem. They may have a sense of entitlement and superiority over others.
A bully might explode over little things because they lack the social skill set and the ability to think in depth about a conflict. Acknowledging the bully’s shortcomings, focusing and forgiving these bestows great power over your thoughts about the situation.
Power #3 – If you’re a bystander, step in – or step out.
You have great power to help change the climate when someone is displaying control over someone else. In many cases, bullying is sustained simply by the silence of those who are witnessing it.
Removing yourself isn’t always possible, but its important to remember you have the option at times.
I think it’s imperative to by mindful of how we interact with others and if we falter we should realize it and ask for forgiveness. This is not only beneficial to others but our own health and wellbeing.
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life."