It Takes One to Know One

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I met a man recently who often ranted about how a coworker of his was such a bully. Of course, he was the hero in the story he was telling, standing up to the bully, calling him out on it, and not letting the man push him around. The result was two strong-headed people pushing against each other, a fair bit of name-calling, and them no longer working together. The “hero” of the story got fired from the job.

I couldn’t help but think it takes one to know one. This guy who was so adamant and upset about the bully was clearly a bit of one himself. Bullying is strange that way — we see so much more of it in our schools for a few reasons.

First, because we look for it and label it. The more you look for something, the more you will find it.

Second, because we are bullies. Our children are learning it from us. We yell and scream at car accident scenes. We lose our cool in traffic. We complain about all sorts of things, cursing all the while. We sue people and we talk crap about them. The news is full of stories of people bullying others all the time, whether it is cops, individuals, politicians or armies. Kids see principals bully teachers, or teachers bullying each other.

It’s interesting, though, that I have no bullies in my life. I cannot think of anyone — acquaintance or co-worker, friend or neighbour — who I feel is a bully. Why is that? I think it is because I just don’t have a bullying vibe at all, so I neither see nor attract those people. Maybe one of my neighbours is a bully — how would I know if I never have those sorts of interactions with him? If I don’t push him around, he won’t push me. The only time in recent memory I felt like I was being pushed around was by a small, spunky beagle I was dog-sitting. That dog would do anything to go for a walk!

So how do we stop the bullying in the world around us? It’s simple, but not quick. We have to be more peaceful. We have to have more gratitude for the good things around us. We have to be more accepting of others, and ourselves. We have to respect others deeply. We have to live and let live. We have to choose the non-violent solution every time. We have to resist the urge to raise our voice. We have to look away from anger. We have to let feelings of frustration pass through us without acting on them. We have to find a way to address an angry person with calmness and openness.

We have to tap into a deeper source of inner peace and acceptance. Easier said than done, when we are surrounded by the troubles and busyness of the modern world. We must rise above people mistreating each other. We must choose to focus on the lovely things of the world, see beauty everywhere and give our best attention to what we want more of — peaceful, positive, uplifting interactions with others, respectful relationships, and happy experiences.