"Just Bants" The subtle art of Bullying
I was bullied from an early age. Yes me! Numerous reasons, sometimes because my Dad was a police officer, so that gave grounds for countless bacon references. I grew boobs and discovered mascara so that made me a target to be bullied. I was bullied as someone's boyfriend had eyes on me. For being the awkward one. The one who didn't fit in. Actually if I asked those bullies why me, they probably couldn't tell me why or could even remember the events. I can, 30 odd years later, still name those who made my life tough, school and beyond.
The pain of a parent when they know their child is suffering at the hands of "bants". I hate that phrase. We are all guilty of banter and sometimes forget that it is too easy to get carried away and go a step too far.
It wasn't fun then, and I am grateful that there wasn't any social media in those days, but it was still grim. My parents found out because one day I asked my parents where Coventry was? In the old days when you were being ignored you were "sent to Coventry". I was 8 years old. So many times I begged and pleaded with my parents to not get involved over the years because I felt it would make a difficult situation worse. So many tears and the main reason why I wouldn't go back and revisit my past at a reunion. If they didn't like me then, why would I give them a chance to pick over my bones now? That's what I used to think. It's alright, I'm ok, I see a lot of public "Bants" in my role and observe this baiting and bashing as a coach in businesses and in networking. I agree competition is good but bullying is a serious issue in today's society. Choose your words, choose your battles. Today, I love to surround myself with goodness and beautiful souls.
But of course "Bants" is NOT bullying, it is simply having some fun. Only teasing! Try saying that to the teenager who is self harming, or the mother being told her son has hung himself!
"Bants" is everywhere. In the workplace, at school, even at the gym. Having been on the "being bullied" side, I have sensed it in my own classes. Group behaviour can be perceived as threatening and can often look "clique" to the outsider looking in. I have had ladies, deliberately push others in classes to get out of the way. It is rude, and really ugly. Be mindful of how others perceive your body language and the "in gang jokes" it puts people off attending group classes for that reason.
With the overwhelming use of social media, we now have fancy names for bullies. Trolls. That is my favourite name. Memes. The ones who simply follow the masses but have no idea the damage it can cause. We can have a really nasty streak in us or are we simply not thinking outside of our own four walls?
Businesses slate competitors on Trip Advisor and other social media platforms. How do people have the time to do this? Legally, opinions are allowed. Can't we settle disputes without an audience? Crowd mentality becomes overwhelmingly threatening and can really disrupt lives. Enablers in crowds allow the bants to go ahead and fuel further disharmony. Character assinations are ok because you can't crush dreams.
I was raised well and taught always to be respectful, never to humiliate, degrade or disrespect. Never get personal. I was raised to get up and show up with your head held high no matter how much it hurts. Show respect even to people who don't deserve it: not as a refection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.
These people can consume your time and your feelings, you are amazing, never forget that in yourself. Don't let anyone's ignorance, hate, drama or negativity stop you from being the very best that you can be. Remember you won't look good trying to make someone else look bad. "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" asks Dr Seuss.
To learn that the greatest prison we live in, is the fear of what others think. People may stare, so make it worth their while!
Be an encourager, the world already has enough critics. Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire. Be that somebody who makes everybody feel a somebody. Have courage and be kind, as you will never regret being kind.