The Good Fortune of Being Bullied
Reading Time ~4 minutes
It is rare enough that I switch the TV on nowadays. Last time I did, a week earlier, there was a talk show on; the main theme of the conversation was bullying between adolescents. The talking heads were passionate, fiery even, in defense of the victim. The solution, they proposed, was to offer perfect protection and sanctuary to victims on the one side, and severe punishments to the perpetrators on the other side.
However, I find it in me to be a more than willing devil’s advocate.
You have probably heard all there is about it, and you probably hold that bullying is indeed bad, sinister even. It was a female friend of mine that had a video of her engaging sexually with her ex-boyfriend circulated around the students’ mobile phones. It was my best friend that was mocked, beaten up, and pranked on the daily.
As you would expect, each subject has more than a single viewpoint that it can be approached from. While I do not ask you to have an open mind -I understand that you may have suffered similar hardship discomfort as well- I ask that you read between the lines as well as on them. My goal is not to sanctify any practice that inflicts pain and suffering; it is to offer the view which I find most empowering and honest.
To get into the meat of the subject: I think that suffering bullying offers an opportunity for the victim. Being ostracized (a common theme among victims) can be turned into a good thing, should the individual be equipped with a proper coping mechanism.
Say you’re being mocked- your environment is constantly putting you down in all sorts of ways- you have a prime chance to learn not to mind the opinions of others.
Trust me, this is an invaluable lesson.
Many go their whole lives actually placing the perception of their own worth on the opinions of others. Others will always be judging you, and hopefully, if you’re successful enough, you’ll be attracting more and harsher criticism. If you happen to receive bullying, you can react in two ways:
a. flinch and shrivel, try to blend in and conceal yourself behind a life of mediocrity.
b. take the lesson, invalidate the opinions of others on you and be liberated from the crab bucket of an environment
You have to understand, before you make your decision:
What would the bullies want you to do?
My guess is that by assailing you, their intention does not lie with motivating you to realize your potential and live your life to the fullest extent. Quite on the contrary, it would be reasonable to assume that if what attracted them is the sum of things that make you distinct (like flies being attracted to honey), they actually mean to suppress you and force you to fit in. Absorb it, and you will have given yourself the permission to act out its own character. Are you willing to sustain the pains of mockery and violence, if sustaining it would mean granting your blessing to your own soul?
Fall in line, and THEY win.
Digest it, use it, flip it, YOU win.
Any option is equally understandable; I do honor the second one more. Everybody is out to bully you. It is the nature of man to impose themselves on others. Know that it is the men and women that stand their own ground that end up being heroes, not those who cower away.
Remember the great words of J. Campbell.
“The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.”