On the heels of a viral post shared around the world tens of thousands of times over, I feel the need to share what may be quite the unpopular opinion on bullying.
Yes, I’m referencing the Quaden Bayles situation.
Yes, I just called it a situation.
In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, a Facebook Live video of Quaden (filmed by his mum), went viral earlier this week because he was tragically sobbing over having been bullied for his dwarfism. At nine years old, he is suicidal. “Just give me a knife,” he says in the video.
It is a gut-wrenching six minutes, that much is certain.
I cried hard when I made myself watch it in full. I had an ugly cry over my morning coffee while I thought I must be a horrible human for even witnessing this while my perfectly privileged ass was having morning coffee.
Then I reminded myself that just a few short years ago, not everyone had the privilege of carrying a camera and video recorder in their pockets in order to make such a tragedy go viral. Worldwide.
A live glimpse into the life of a suicidal child dwarf, no less.
What have we become?
In a matter of days, Quaden has gained celebrity status and has had actual celebrities publicly proclaim their support. This is wonderful and beautiful and amazing for Quaden. I think he will be fine…until the publicity dies down, anyway.
But what of the millions of children, and for that matter adults, who are bullied daily who don’t receive this level of public support?
That’s really what is on my mind today.
I’m not here to pick apart the theories surrounding his true age nor am I here to shame his mother for filming the moment instead of comforting him. It has been said that she may have already exhausted all avenues of comfort. Regardless, she made her choices and here we are.
What I’m here for is to address the fact that regardless of motive, the viral video of Quaden has definitely shined a light on bullying.
Let’s take a look at that, on the heels of my public post that I believe most people are just doing the best they can on any given day.
Seriously, I felt so shitty having posted that and then seeing that viral video of a potential testament to how awful humans can actually be just one sleep cycle later.
Yet I have been able to take the time and really dig deep into what matters here and that’s the bullying itself.
There has been an outcry of edicts to the tune of:
“This must stop!”
“Where are the teachers and school administrators?”
“Teach your children to be better!”
Yes. Sure. All of these things.
Or what if none of these things?
Listen, bullying has been happening since the dawn of time and the existence of humanity.
It won’t end.
I don’t care how fucking outraged you are.
It will always exist.
There will always be another human being who is in his/her own pain and doesn’t know how else to deal with it aside from lashing out at another.
That’s just how the world works.
Certainly, if you are a parent or in the sphere of influence of any child, and you have a shred of conscious, you are going to do your best to teach that child that bullying is never okay.
That doesn’t mean the child is going to listen.
That doesn’t mean that the child won’t become an adult bully.
Bullies do what they do to others because they don’t know how to deal with their emotions.
Those on the receiving end of bullying allow themselves to be victimized because they don’t know how to deal with their emotions.
Many of us have sad stories about how others treated us in childhood and even in adulthood. I could easily write a book on the topic of sad stories, but who would want to read it?
We want to hear about lifting ourselves up, overcoming adversity, and rags to riches stories.
That is who we really are.
As a parent, I believe there are two approaches I need to take with bullying.
That doesn’t include looking to teachers, school administrators, the government or society as a whole to eradicate it. That is impossible.
That doesn’t include changing someone else into our own ideal of what a good person is. That is impossible.
I believe that if our son on the receiving end of or a witness of bullying, he needs to stand up for himself or for the other human who for whatever reason in that moment in time simply can’t or won’t do it.
I also believe that he needs to understand that absolutely no one else has power over his emotions.
No one else on this earth can make you feel any way. Not greater than, less than, or anything else in between.
Allowing another person, especially a bully, to push your buttons is surrendering your power.
Don’t ever do that.
The most powerful thing that you can do in the face of a bully is to stand in your power. Straight and tall, loud and proud.
When you submit to the role of victim, you are doomed to own and live it.
When you bring your self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-worth into the arena, you are claiming your power and no one, absolutely no one can ever take that from you.
I don’t care what hatred they spew or how much dirt they kick in your face. I don’t care what army they seem to have behind them.
When you truly believe that you are a human being worthy of love and that by default of your own humanity, you have that, then you don’t need validation from anyone.
When I say, “I don’t care,” that doesn’t mean that I am not touched or even moved to tears when I see someone in pain, especially a child.
When I say, “I don’t care,” I mean the circumstances are irrelevant and your response is everything.
Entirely your choice.
In that moment, you can choose to believe the hateful rhetoric that is thrown your way, or you can choose to realize it’s never about you. It’s always about the bully’s own pain.
Please, for the love of all that is real and true in this life, take ownership of your feelings.
Your world will be so much easier to live in when you do.
I know this to be true.
Would you like to be coached on this or another area of your life? Book a free consultation with me here.