Being the better person
Bullying is pretty common. Standing up for yourself is less common. I can say I’ve been bullied through primary school and high school for various different reasons. I was always quiet, I always let bullies have their way and say whatever they wanted to say. My mother always told me, “ignorance is your best weapon”. It is a good weapon, for good attack, but unfortunately very poor defence.
I am sure that I have written at least a blog post or two touching on bullying, for the issue is not new to me. Anyone can be bullied for whatever reason. For me, it was because I was intelligent, shy, short, liked to build websites, was skinny – basically, everything that made me who I was as a person.
The reason why ignorance is poor defence is because while you can be ignorant to the bullying, and a bully might eventually give up because you aren’t succumbing to their harsh words, you are still not stopping them from attacking you. It’s like having a sword but wearing no armour. One could argue that ignorance is the shield and you actually have no weapon – but this is why it is actually poor defence: you aren’t standing up for yourself.
I wrote in my post titled Forgiveness that I find it very easy to forgive people and be the better person, in turn letting people tread all over me. But the thing about forgiving and being the better person is that it doesn’t stop someone from hurting you. I am not sure how long ago it was, but I decided that any time someone hurt me I would try and stand up to them and tell them to stop.
It’s not easy. It’s not easy to do it and keep your cool – and I have had my fair share of making a scene or causing drama. Bullying is always going to be bullying, no matter how much or little it hurts. I always start with, “I’m sorry, but that really hurt my feelings”. I guess in most cases, the person has the decency to say sorry or stop.
You don’t need to wait for a person to say the same hurtful things again and again. You can tell them the first time. You don’t have to wait for someone to turn into a bully. Stand up to them and quietly know it’ll be for the good of everyone.
I, myself, has seen bullying right in front of my face. Likewise, to be honest, I have my fair share of being bullied. Back when I was really overweight, all eyes keep picking on me. Hurtful words from others that I tend to laugh and shake off kind of haunt me at night. Yes, I agree that ignorance is a very poor defense. I am the kind who wants to retaliate. Maybe wrong, but I am that person who will fight when I know I’m being belittled. I will fight when I know I’m right especially when it’s already too much.
I was bullied a lot, and at some points, I was the bully. Both positions are awful, and I do sometimes regret that I was a bully at a few bad times in my life, but I did learn things from it.
I really wish parents taught their children to actually stand up for themselves more, because these days, it all seems to be about avoiding those situations where one can be bullied — like it is wrong to want to stand up for oneself and that they should miss out on things that may include a bully. That just lets them win, and it results in me not being able to enjoy whatever it is that I might be avoiding. I’m not going to miss out on something I want to do just because someone is bullying me, but I’m not going to ignore them, either.
I’m glad that you can stand up for yourself. Sometimes it can be really difficult to feel confident enough to do so. I hate it when people say “It’s just banter” when it clearly isn’t if someone is getting their feelings hurt.
I also got bullied because I was skinny, and while I did try to stand up for myself and explain that it wasn’t because I didn’t eat but because it was just natural, I don’t think it had much affect. In the end I just reported people at school because I couldn’t handle it myself. I felt a little defeated.
I’ve been bullied for loads of things since middle school. Being Asian, being short, being smart (well, they assumed I was just because I’m Chinese), for wearing glasses, for reading assigned books for English, for being single.
My mother always told me, “Ignore them and they will get bored and stop.” That’s not the case. I honestly hate when I hear parents telling their kids to do that. It teaches them that they should allow bullies to step all over them because “they’ll stop eventually.” But when is eventually? In a lot of cases, it’s never. It’s very dangerous and very damaging to teach a child never to stand up for themselves.
I’m not a forgiving person. My parents know that I hold on to grudges for years and years. I never forget and I certainly never forgive. If a bully from my school days tried to reach out to me to apologize and be friends, I’d tell them to fuck off. Screw me over once, shame on you. Screw me over twice, shame on me.