I’m always shocked and I know I shouldn’t be when I hear of someone being mean to another. I’m usually quite upset when it happens to me. There are so many reasons it can happen and even more reasons why it should not. Yet it happens every day. We meet up with someone who is having a miserable day or life and they just release that onto us simply because we’re there. It happens as children trying to figure out who they are and deal with complex feelings and situations and it happens as adults as we too continue to figure out who we are.
We all have moments when we can be short or ill tempered and it comes out on another person, usually whoever is closest to us. While that isn’t pleasant it happens and in a loving relationship we figure out how to support one another and get through it. We figure out how to get those angry and sad emotions out and we move on with apologies, hugs and tears. We forgive and move on because sometimes it happens. Sometimes it all builds up and comes out at once and others it is a slow brew where it comes out in the form of less than nice comments or irritating little things that just bug us. This is just part of learning to be in relationships I think and being able to ebb and flow with another human while dealing with our own complex feelings. No, it’s not always easy and I don’t believe it was intended to be as even when we are super compatible we are still unique individuals.
The more severe side of it all of course is what we know as bullying and even abusive situations that are not healthy for anyone. We talk of bullying in schools and with children and yet it persists in adults as well. We think adults are just supposed to know better and not do these types of things and yet it exists there too. Sometimes we just don’t treat each other well and we are even dangerously mean to one another because we don’t know how to deal with our own stuff. It happens in the schoolyard as much as it happens in the workplace, on social media and even in our homes. We just sometimes act poorly towards one another and it can be damaging to us and the other person for a long time after.
It’s great we teach kids about being kind to one another and provide the no tolerance on bullying structure in our schools. While these are measures that are positive and good, are we really addressing the problem long term? Bullies don’t just see a poster and think ok I won’t be a bully. The mentality of a bully isn’t usually effected by the teachings and posters in child or adult. There is usually something much deeper going on that maybe will never be resolved or sometimes it is just how the person has chosen to be. Sadly I think there will always be a bully in the world somewhere. Someone will be more powerful, more angry, more something and they exert that onto another in a forceful and unhealthy way.
The upcoming US elections is a perfect example of this bully phenomenon. If you don’t know what I mean simply make a social media post about your opinion on a candidate and I promise you will hear all sides of why you’re wrong and probably a few names being called while you’re at it. People are passionate about their way of thinking and as a result we tend to forget others can have a different viewpoint. We immediately though think they are wrong and dumb. It is as if we have forgot to have acceptance and tolerance of others different from us. The teachings of Christianity, diversity and acceptance, equal treatment and any other non-bully, practice kindness teaching is no where in sight of these responses. Social media has become the playground of bullies even in people who would claim they are never this way.
I believe this more than just a lack of being kinder to one another. The problem I see stems much more deeply into our overall societal trend. You see this behavior everywhere! Think about the number of movies portraying one group or individual against another. The conflict is what we’ve paid money to watch much like the ancient times where people gathered in arenas to watch executions. We are really no different than those ancient people and what happens today isn’t really that civilized compared to then either.
There are so many things in our life we don’t feel in control of and are subject to the demands of another. We do what we have to under these pressures but there is this need for us to break away from that. Unfortunately, it often comes out in these undesirable feelings and actions. We don’t live in tune to our own needs and feelings enough. We lack that freedom to create and be who we are and are instead trying to fit in because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do. We unintentionally give up our freedom thinking pursuing a big salary, buying a big house and expensive cars is what life is all about. We live very unhappily ever after as a result and this swirls in the emotions of not feeling in control or aligned to what we really thought would make us happy.
When we stop living to what is true in our heart and buy the dream of someone else we let go of our control in life. We stop doing what is right for us and we fit in to the crowd. We stop living naturally and as a result we stop feeling and acting naturally. I’m certainly not saying all bullies we meet are a result of this because we all know there are lots of reasons but I’m suggesting that a large part of the problem is our own lack of happiness. Our own lack of control over our life and what we need, want, dream about, crave, and deserve. Spending the time figuring that out I believe would change how we respond to others and give us that discernment to stop the bully behavior. I believe that would give us the real chance of being kinder to one another in a genuine way.
Emotionally this is challenging and it can even be shocking to realize we’re very far from our ideal life. Yet it is the beginning of a journey to making us happier, more fulfilled and less harsh to those around us. Most importantly it gives us perspective to realize each of us is unique and we can hear their opinions, viewpoints and thoughts without instant disdain and ugly words. We can live and let live in a greater capacity and feel confident we are doing what is right for us. Maybe if we were happier our children would be happier and we could actually reduce bullying in a powerful way for everyone. Maybe.
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