How to handle the bully

 

It’s never fun when the bully wins.

 

Bullies are not supposed to come out on top. They’re not supposed to get the upper hand. Good is supposed to trump bad, isn’t it? Sadly, that’s not always the case.

 

When I was a kid, bullies only existed on the school playground. They stole your lunch money or pushed you off the swings. It was upsetting, but it was contained to the schoolyard. We could look to our teachers, our elders and our leaders for an example of how to be better than the bully, and in doing so we could overcome the bullying.

 

Things are harder these days. Bullies don’t just exist in the playground. Now they’re online, on our Facebook feeds, on our Twitter and Instagram, lurking all over the internet. They’re on our TV screens, on the radio, and even in our government. These days, bullies are everywhere. And they seem to be thriving.

 

When one bully wins, it feels like a win for bullies everywhere. When bullying is rewarded with success, notoriety and acclaim, it empowers bullies en mass. It feels like the world has gone insane.

 

So when it seems that bullies are rife in our world, when they’re on our screens, our phones, our schools and even in the highest levels of government, how do we respond? What do we do?

 

We do better, that’s what.

 

We see the standard being set, and we say “we can do better”. 

We hear the name-calling and nastiness, and we say “I will not be part of that”.

We see the people who are trying to tear us and others down, and we say, “I am bigger than that.”

 

We hold fast to the truth, no matter how the bullies may try to twist it.

 

We remember who we are. We are strong, open-hearted, kind, brave, curious, generous people.

 

We do not stoop to the level of the bully. We rise up and raise the standard. The bully does not set the tone for our discourse. We set the tone.

 

And most of all, we stand together. We have each other to lean on. The bullies we encounter in life only really have power when they succeed in isolating us, in making us feel alone. I want to remind you today that you are not alone. Everyone who is part of the Youngharts Network is standing in solidarity with you. There’s thousands of us across the country, and we all stand united in our love for each other, for theatre, for creativity and for life. You are not alone.

 

So if today you’re feeling deflated because it feels like the bully’s are coming out on top, I want to remind you to be at peace: we are all standing together.

 

Let’s rise up and be bigger than the bullies, raise the standard, hold our heads high, treat others with kindness no matter how they treat us, smile, take heart, be encouraged and remember that we are not alone.

 

I’m so glad we all have each other. That’s how we’ll survive. That’s how we’ll thrive.

 

Let’s all go put some good into the world.

 

- Tim O'Connor

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