(This didactic speech was inspired by my friend's child being bullied, and on a support group for children with auditory processing disorder where she posted about it, parent after parent wrote: "It happened to my child too!" Pair that with what is happening everywhere we look in society, and I had to express my opinion. )
As a society, we need to take that next big step into enlightenment. What I mean by this is we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and garnering our self-worth from how much better we are at something than someone else, how much more attractive we are, how much wiser we think we are, or how much more money we have. None of that matters! We are all human beings and our self-worth needs to come from the knowledge that we are actively compassionate people who strive to do our best and recognize the value in ourselves as well as that in others. It’s time to believe that there is room in this world for all of us to shine and one light does not extinguish another.
You see, I have read account after account of children being bullied by other children and unfortunately, sometimes by adults. Why are they being bullied? They are being bullied because they can’t do something as well as another, they don’t have the same looks as someone else, or they somehow are different. Some children, following the path that society has laid out to them as the right one, have learned to value themselves by putting down others. They position themselves as a “leader” in a social setting by excluding others through actively harming them. This creates the “haves” and the “have nots” that society is so fond of: the smart and the not smart, the pretty and the not pretty, the rich and the not rich, the whites and the not whites, the Christian and the not Christian, the American and the not American, the men and the not men. Do you see where I am going here? It’s all about comparison and nothing about compassion!
Of course, it is worse than just those actively bullying. The others just stand aside and accept it. Why? Well of course it is for survival. In a world where you are either a “have” or a “have not” and the “have nots” are tortured, most people actively align themselves with the “haves” no matter the cost. The only ones who do not are the ones whom have already taken that next step and realized how ridiculously foolish and harmful the whole game is. They have their self-worth in being a compassionate human being who values everyone (which does not mean everyone's ideas, beliefs, or actions - just that they are people who have some value in some way), and so they have the strength to not go along with the crowd – to stick up for the one being bullied.
It’s time to start actively pursuing this goal of compassion. Start pursuing it on an individual basis. Start actively teaching it to our children. Start demanding it be reflected in our larger society. How? Support compassion where you see it: put your heart, your money, your work into compassion being practiced, whether it be the child sticking up for another at school, the business putting its profits into helping others, the politician refusing to support discriminatory laws, the movie where there are main characters eliciting kindness in others, the fashion magazine that showcases a variety of body images and price levels, the church that accepts everyone, etc. Refuse to support intolerance! Refuse to support those people and those entities drawing the line and categorizing into the “haves” and “have nots”.
Or as John Lennon put it so many years ago, "Give peace a chance."
-This article is cross-posted on both this blog and my personal blog as it is relevant to both.