Bullies are so often viewed as the “bad guys” in schools, the workplace, and now that it’s more prevalent in our society, it seems to be everywhere. But what if I told you that bullies aren’t as bad as they seem.
Now please don’t throw things at me quite yet. What I mean is this — bullies are in pain.
You know pain, right? It’s that human experience that all of us face from time to time. Sure, some of us feel it more than others, but part of being human is experiencing pain along with the good stuff; going through difficulty in order to learn; and, often times, sensing a sort of emotional white-noise that seems to hum in our ears telling us we’re not good enough, we can’t be fully content, or something’s not right even if it seems to be. Eradicating that emotional white-noise is what I refer to as wholeness.
But it’s easier said than done. Given that it’s a constant practice and takes work to get there, many of us experience years and years of pain first, if we ever get there at all. And moving out of the pain into true wholeness takes work.
So then what if you aren’t aware there’s work you can do to fix it? How are we supposed to blame people who don’t know what their options are in making the “wrong” choice? Really, we can’t judge a person’s choice if they never really knew they had options in the first place. And that’s what happens sometimes with bullies. They experience pain, and because they aren’t presented with positive, healthier options to process that pain and let go of it, they take it out on others in the hope that they themselves will feel better.
Sure, it’s pretty twisted. But so is taking out that pain on ourselves – the one we should be loving before all else. We take it out on our bodies with overeating or controlling our food intake, overexercising, drugs or alcohol; on our minds with negative self talk; on our hearts with shame, blame and guilt; and on our lives with controlling behaviors and impulsive decisions. We each have our way of taking out that pain on ourselves. While that appears to be a more compassionate way to deal with pain than bullying others, it’s also pretty clear that it’s still far from compassionate to bully ourselves. And that’s what we’re doing with self sabotaging behaviors.
It doesn’t make us a bad person, and there is an authentic way to overcome it and find wholeness. But it does make you stop and think twice about blaming the official “bullies” of the world, doesn’t it? There is no need to determine which is better or worse – they’re both behaviors that need to change in our society. But it’s time we’re all aware that they both stem from needing to find a place of self love. So instead of blaming others for their mistakes and isolating them as bad people, why don’t we all try to love ourselves first and do what we can to support others in loving themselves as well?