My friend over at momentmatters posted the below entry on April 28. I found it quite intriguing for different reasons.
I was bullied as a kid, specifically when I was in elementary school. I was taunted mainly because I had an interest in dinosaurs and for whatever reason, that was seen by my classmates as revolting. The only thing that got me through it was having only one friend in my entire world at the time. His name is Ian, he was my neighbour at the time, we’ve known each other since we were toddlers, and we’re still friends to this day. I left this school after Grade 4, and slowly but surely, my social circle started to form as I made new friends at a new school and started to meet people that I could get along with. Did the bullying stop? Well, yes and no. See, I made friends with people but of course, those same people I was friends with still acted like idiots every now and then but whenever I had a problem, I reported it to the appropriate authority figures and it was dealt with.
In the entry linked, the author makes the claim that bullying is a necessary evil because it toughens children and helps prepare them for the real world. As much as I hate to say it, there’s truth to that in principle. Yes, the real world can be harsh and cruel.
Only at times, is it like that. Everyday is not a bad one, filled with insurmountable odds which involve dealing with scumbags that tear you down. There are good people in this world, who can help build you up and make you feel like a better person and make you feel like life is worth living for. When I got to high school, I grew pretty tall. By the time I was 14, I think I reached roughly 5’11”. Today I’m 6’2″ but I didn’t get to that height until I was 18, I think. Being so tall meant bullies more or less left me alone. When you’re in a private school too like I was, most of the “bullies” are just a bunch of idiots who hurl insults but do no physical harm because they’re all talk. I learned to ignore them, save for one baboon who was dealt with by the school.
The author again, feels that bullying is necessary because children learn to overcome adversity and it toughens them up. Maybe that’s true for a few specific individuals, like myself to an extent. I learned to recognize who is a fool and put them out of my life. But the fact of the matter is that very few children are able to do that. That’s why we hear stories of kids in the States committing suicide because they can’t take it anymore. They reach a point where they feel life isn’t worth living because everyone picks on them and very few people seem to care about it.
What does this have to do with my blog, you ask? Well, that’s where the martial arts come in. The martial arts, along with discipline and respect, teach us to defend ourselves from attacks of all kinds. More important than physically defending oneself though, is building the mental toughness required to control emotions and not lash out violently against a bully, whether it is in the school yard, workplace, or what have you. I’ve been in a position where I was dealing with a co-worker and we got into an argument over something that was so utterly pointless and stupid, yet he insisted on making an issue of it because he had nothing better to do (that’s my guess anyway).
It grew to the point where I was literally raging internally and could really feel my heart pound against my chest. I wouldn’t have had a second guess about clocking the guy across the jaw and smashing his face, but then I remembered my training and what I’ve been taught: restraint and control. What would attacking him accomplished? Nothing, except being arrested and spending the night in a holding cell, along with termination from my job and a potential civil suit. But having that mental restraint was extremely handy. I would encourage anyone who is bullied at any age, to seek out the martial arts and start to build up that mental toughness so that you may learn to dismiss the idiots in your life and, should you find yourself in a position where you need to fight, as unfortunate as it may be, you can successfully defend yourself and (ideally) teach the bully a lesson he/she won’t soon forget.
What do you all think? What advice do you have for dealing with bullies?