Monday, April 19, 2010

Down with bullies

Posted By on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Teen bullying is in the news again and the news is grim. A teenage girl with suicidal tendencies, right here in North Carolina, took her life after receiving harassing text messages from other teens. (Read about her story here.)

Thing is, though bullies are getting a lot of media lately there is nothing new about their game. Let's not forget, bullies aren't only found in our schools or on playgrounds.

We all know bullies, right? In fact, some of us have been the bully at some point in our lives. Some people even seem to get off on it.

Listen: I get it. Life is tough. Sometimes it's easier to point out the flaws in other people's lives than it is to focus on, and repair, the cracks in your own. We all say and do things we wish we could take back. Bullying happens.

All the same, those of us who have been on the other side of bullying (and who hasn't?) understand how truly awful it feels to be picked on. There's even a term for people who are bullied to death: Bullicide.

And, let's be real: It doesn't feel much better to play the bully. Does it?

While we can't do anything about the past beyond learning from our mistakes, paying consequences or accepting rewards, we can do a heck of a lot about the present and the future. That's why I'm going to ask you all to do your fellow humans a favor.

The next time you see a parent belittling their kid in the grocery line, the next time one of your girlfriends decides to gossip about so-and-so's this-or-that, the next time you notice anyone being mean to anyone else for any reason at all — stop what you're doing and stick up for the person being picked on. It's really not difficult and it will make you feel great.

Better, by making a stand, you may offer the picked-upon a little bit of hope. Trust me, when you're at your lowest a little bit of hope means a lot.

For you over achievers out there, let's take this a step further: How about waving at your neighbors and smiling at the people you pass on the street?

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