Meditations on Bullying

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

 

I have been thinking a lot about bullying lately. It is such a big issue in our society. It seems to me that it just continues regardless of educational initiatives that have been put in place. It is not just a school issue but extends to the workplace and can even can be found within families.

I have suffered bullying many times. Amazingly, I didn’t really suffer from it at school. I was bullied in the home by my sister. I can still hear her nasty voice in my head whenever I am trying on a new outfit or having my hair done.  You look a mess. You are ugly. That doesn’t suit you. On and on. Evil. Bullying in childhood has lasting effects. I have also been bullied in the workplace more than once. If it is colleagues you have the option of telling the boss not that this will always work. If it is the boss you are screwed. If you try to stand up for yourself as I did you will get nowhere. Believe me I know. You just have to leave. It can be serious stuff. Some have committed suicide. I have not but I can understand it. It damages your confidence so you think you are no good at anything. It can be hard to go on and recover. I am still in the process of recovery.

What is important is to figure out how to stop it. As a society we don’t seem to have achieved this at all. In the papers you can read stories of bullying every day. The first step is to try to understand it and I have tried to do this. Some people seem to have lack of empathy. Why are they like this? What makes a person enjoy inflicting pain on another person? One must imagine they are deeply unhappy themselves. There is a comforting website bullyingonline which suggests it often jealousy or envy. In the workplace capable people are singled out for bullying rather than the incompetent. These are good thoughts  to hold onto if you have been bullied.

Why do people behave in this way? Is it something about our society? There has been a fall of religious feeling. Dawkins has us all as selfish genes, swimming about in the Darwinian muck trying to get as much for ourselves and ours and damn everyone else. Is it any wonder that bullying takes place if this is all you think of yourself as? I often think if there was a more spiritual approach to life people would not feel the need to behave so badly.

If society could have a spiritual revolution we could be more harmonious. Bullying would lessen. We need to learn to be less materialistic, less selfish, less concerned only with our family. We need a sense of an obligation to a wider society, to understand that we are all one. Everything in the universe is connected. If you hurt someone else you are only hurting yourself.

Is there any sign of such a thing happening? I am not sure. Maybe. With the collapse of our economic system people are looking for alternative values. The free food movement is such  a phenomenon. I think it is brilliant. This is what we need more of.

It seems hard to change human behaviour. It’s an overwhelming task. Or is it? You can start with yourself. Practise non-violence every day, not just physical but verbal. Be kind to yourself and then you can be kind to others. A tiny change can start an effect.

Be mindful. Overcome your past by being conscious of it and processing it. This is what I am trying to do. Little by little. Every day. Just start with yourself.

 

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