Ugh. This is the worst. First and foremost, I absolutely hate bullying! Those that do it and those that allow it to persist. Well, today, that’s going to change! Today at Rio’s Walkabout, we’re going to stop bullying for the sake of all mankind! Okay, actually, we’re going to try, at least.
What is bullying?
Bullying is the act of being a dillweed aka jerk aka ruffian aka contemptible person. Okay, joking aside, in modern times it typically means someone (the bully) using a perceived superior strength or influence to intimidate someone else (the bullied). While we mostly observe bullying to occur among younger children and those in high school, it is not uncommon to see it amongst adults as well. Therefore, adults, pay attention too!
Bullying can come in several different forms:
- The child bully on the playground inserting his or her dominance over a game or group of peers.
- The high school bully (jock) that forces another student to do homework for said bully.
- Domestic abuse including physical assault or emotional/psychological abuse.
- A supposed friend manipulating you for their personal gain or to simply put you down for any reason.
- The corporate bigwig exerting their power and rank over more meek individual contributors.
- An anonymous internet chat room or comment user insulting and berating other chatters or content contributors.
As can be seen, all the situations mentioned above have one thing in common. One party typically appears to have power over another, more seemingly, weaker party.
Why do some people bully others?
There are several causes for bullying. However, they all stem from feelings involving a lack of or the pursuit of power.
- Feeling powerless in their own lives
- Someone else is bullying them
- Jealousy or frustration
- Lack of understanding or empathy
- Looking for attention
- Mimicking behaviors of family
- Bullying behavior gets rewarded
- Inability to regulate emotions
You can find more information about the above reasons at Nobullying.com: The World’s Authority on Bullying.
The list above is interesting because, from it, you can tell that not all bullies are bad people. Some of these jerks or malcontents aren’t jerks or malcontents at all. They just can’t control their own emotions or have no knowledge of how to deal with a particular social situation. This is evidenced by such cases as boys (and girls) acting mean to kids they happen to have a crush on. Or friends having a falling-out over the slightest disagreement when one of the friends notices that things are changing and they’re no longer the “cool”, popular, or well-off one. Consequently, we should all learn not to be so quick to judge (or to judge at all, for that matter).
I’m being bullied. What should I do?
Good question. The answer really depends on a lot of factors. If you’re being physically bullied then I’d recommend standing up to the bully both physically and verbally. Regrettably, however, this advice is only good 20 years ago. By and large, in 2017, people’s self-worth and morality have dipped to shockingly low levels. Throw in some drugs and people’s eagerness to inflict permanent damage, and there’s absolutely no way that I can advocate physical confrontations.
Gone are the days when getting into a good old-fashioned fist fight could potentially create the strongest bonds of friendship. Don’t believe this happens? Try to remember all the movies and real-life situations where someone stood up to a bully with equal force. Ultimately, these situations typically ended with both parties getting a few bruises and a wealth of respect for one another. I mean come on… it goes all the way back to Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
Sadly, like I said, those days are gone. Nowadays, everyone is quick to pull out a weapon or the aggressor just doesn’t have any room for mercy or compassion. As a consequence, it is not worth it to engage in a fight.
So instead, do the following:
- Stay calm.
- Don’t be affected by hurtful words.
- Be friendly -listen, be supportive if necessary, and speak up to see if you can improve the situation.
- Ask them to stop.
- Say nothing and walk away.
- Delete internet accounts where you are being bullied. Block users that are bullies.
- Take screen shots of any written examples of bullying to show authorities (these include either your parents, supervisor, or law enforcement officers).
- Tell someone you trust about the bully (your parents, teachers*, friends).
- Spend time with friends that make you feel good about yourself.
- Improve yourself and be the best version of yourself. This usually solves all problems.
- Do something outrageous.**
- Excel at work and consistently take credit for exceptional accomplishments that you can claim credit for. Do not cause too much trouble at work. It is your livelihood after all and you don’t know how much influence the bully may have. Report to your supervisor. Call HR, and find the appropriate channels to report issues to. Document everything.
- Do not resort to violence unless all other options have failed and you cannot run away. Or if you have a DeLorean time machine to take you back to better, more fisticuffs-friendly, days.
* Be careful about teachers. There have been several reports that shine a bad light on some of them. Trust your gut, if you don’t think your teacher will help you then you’ll have to look at other alternatives. Story 1. Story 2. Story 3.
** Careful with this one. One time in Santa Cruz, California, I was at a Halloween party and while walking back to the hotel at the end of the night we ran into a group of people that wanted to start trouble. One guy in my group quickly diffused the problem by kissing the aggressor on the lips. It was the oddest thing. Sure enough, everyone laughed and we went on our merry (not that merry, mind you) way. However, things could have just as easily gone the other way. It was fortunate everything worked out for us.
Steps to Prevent Bullying
There are plenty of things that we as a community of responsible human beings can do to prevent bullying. While I don’t think we can completely eliminate bullying, if we all followed the steps below, we can surely minimize the occurrences of bullying. Please take note that a lot of the advice stems from training children at a young age.
- The first step is to adopt the mentality of finding the best version of yourself. I say this a lot in my posts, and I think I got it from Elliot Hulse. He is a YouTube strength and fitness trainer that offers advice and philosophical life-lessons. I highly recommend his channel. Elliot Hulse: Become the Strongest Version of Yourself.
- Before going to Elliot’s channel, read a post of mine about taking martial arts called “Best of the Best”. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor by considering training in martial arts. Any style that teaches traditional lessons like forms, meditation, discipline, self-respect, and honor are great options.
- Teach children at a young age to respect themselves, their elders, and others. To win, lose, and compete with honor and integrity.
- Do not tolerate bullying behavior; discipline children (and adults as well) accordingly.
- Do not let your children boss you around (parents and teachers). You’re the adult. Act like it.
- Children witnessing bullying should stand up for the person being bullied. At worst, you’ll make a friend. At best, you’ll make two.
- Focus on adult bullying and lead by example.
Additional steps and considerations.
- Anti-bullying programs do not work because they oftentimes punish the wrong person (the bully or even the bullied) too harshly. Those in true power should be held responsible. In any case, children should be instructed and trained, but they should be allowed to initially try and handle their own problems using what they’ve learned. If adults interfere too often or too soon, children will never grow as people.
- Stop banning everything. Just because social media or competitive playground games may cause conflicts doesn’t mean they should be removed from schools. Society does not function well with the constant banning of everything. Children will grow up to resent authority and lash out even more.
My experiences with bullying.
There are plenty of other things that can be done to help prevent bullying, but this is a blog post and not a book so let’s switch it up a bit. These are some experiences that I’ve had with bullying.
- When I switched schools from a public school to a private Christian junior high school I was bullied a couple times. Once in the boy’s locker room and another during a computer class. I admittedly handled both situations the 1980’s action movie way. Which is to say, the wrong way, at least for 2017 and beyond. Being a small Asian person, it was natural that both aggressors wanted to exert their dominance over the new guy. I wouldn’t have any of that so got into a test of strength with both. The locker room incident ended in a draw and I wasn’t picked on anymore from that group. As for the computer class, I literally tossed the other kid into a row of computers. Yes, bad, I know. We both found our way into the principal’s office, but I made a pretty good friend after that day and the two of us laughed about it every time we saw each other at school.
- When I played ice hockey, I was constantly picked on for being the little guy. This situation was made worse since I was usually one of the two minorities on the team and I happened to have the darkest skin tone, especially for an Asian guy. Bullying in ice hockey was easy to deal with for me, however. All I did was demonstrated my skills by making it onto a Tier 1 AAA Norcal Rep hockey team in the Bay Area, and really, faced all challenges head-on when they came. The bullying naturally stopped.
What I learned from my experiences.
From my experience as long as you prove that you can stand on your own, people will naturally respect you. You do not need to dominate anyone, but showing that you earned the right to be where you are is enough. I’ve always spoken my mind and sometimes my bark is louder than my bite (I’m only 5’6″ on a good day), but that was enough to get me through my adult life with no bullying problems.
My personal advice for kids and adults — especially those of a smaller stature — is to walk with a purpose, and always show the world that you’ve earned your right to be wherever it is that you are.
Hint: No. You’re not entitled to anything just because you want it. You have to fight for it.
Why so serious? How about a laugh?
Whew. This was a serious talk for a serious issue. Let’s put a smile on our faces by watching this “Evolution of Bullying” video by Just Kidding Films. Check out their content on YouTube! They’re pretty funny if a bit childish and over-the-top, and slightly vulgar.
If that’s not your cup of tea, you can read some Star Wars vs Star Trek personality differences here.
*WARNING: Contains Crude Humor and Strong Language*