Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice… don’t say anything at all?”  Even though I was personally teased and put down to an extreme amount most of my early years, the extent of blatant bullying these days continues to astound and deeply grieve me.

Just the other day while I was watching a YouTube video of an extremely popular musical group of teen sisters who are quickly rising through the ranks, I noticed some scathing remarks about one of the sister’s appearance that was totally uncalled far.  Besides the facts that she is in no way ugly, fat, etc, etc (and I am using milder terms), why did this person (and all of the others hopping on the bandwagon)  even think that it would be a good thing to put out there?  

I have also seen a tremendous amount of disrespect and insults thrown around especially this week (coinciding with the first week of Autism Awareness).  While I do not agree with the main focuses and theme campaigns of some of the more celebrated organizations, I most definitely appreciate the fact that it is now recognized that Autism is not something that can just be ignored.  There is also a lot of good being done and being amplified by the focus in April.  Many are striving to advance true awareness, understanding, and acceptance.  

I personally have been taunted and devalued this week and even more in previous years because I personally do not have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and am ONLY a parent who could not possibly understand, etc, etc.  

Although I personally DO have Sensory Integration Disorder (along with Dyslexia, ADD, and early onset Parkinsons)… no, I am not personally on the spectrum.  BUT, I am truly trying to understand and make a difference.  I am not “blindly following” or believing “all of the hype”.  I am trying to make things better for my son and everyone who is on the spectrum.  I genuinely strive for people to get to KNOW individuals who are on the spectrum.  To realize that they are an important group of individuals and are in NO way inferior to anyone else. 

One of my main focuses during April is to show others that being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum is NOT all gloom and doom.  Yes, there are challenges.  There are also characteristics that can be and ARE beneficial. 

When I think about this point, I am reminded of a quote by Temple Grandin:  “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?  You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”

Just think of a world without extraordinary people like: Albert Einstein, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Isaac Newton.  Where would we be?  

Why do people bully others?

  • To make themselves feel superior, powerful, important, more physically attractive, in control of the world around them…
  • Jealousy! ~ Clear and simple.
  • They crave whatever social recognition they can get…positive or negative.  
  • In a world where people are much more likely to get attention for saying or doing something negative or in any way antagonistic, it must appear an easier road to popularity and “fame”.
  • Maybe worry that if they do not come across as “strong” and/or as someone you do not want to mess with… then THEY will be the ones brutalized.  Do it to someone else, before it is done to you seems to have replaced “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” [Matthew 7:12]
  • Lacking the same personal skills, successes, social skills, and/or perceived attractiveness that they point out and ridicule in others.  Shine the negative focus elsewhere.
  • They often have low self-esteem and/or feel insecure.  Bullies who are “popular” sometimes  bully in order to “keep” their level of perceived popularity.
  • In contrast… Some have an over-abundance of self-esteem, arrogance, and desire power.
  • Lack of empathy, unchecked-anger, or peer pressure.

If you don’t like something or someone…

 
  • Change the channel!
  • Don’t follow, read, or listen to that page, post, or whatever.
  • Strut your own stuff and let others come to their own conclusions that you may be better or more correct!
  • Don’t feel like you HAVE to point out anything and everything you perceive to be inadequate.  If it truly is, others will clearly see it, too. 
People who intimidate and bully others need to realize before it is to late that when you tease, criticize, and intimidate others… you personally are seen negatively in the world.  Maybe not in your little niche in the present, but in the “real world” and in your future it will have a negative impact… whether you personally see it or not.  
 
Believe it or not… Bullies are Abusers.  Let’s not sugar-coat it.
 

What are the long-term effects of being a bully?

  • Additional risk of anxiety issues, depression, substance abuse, and/or an antisocial personality disorder.
  • Greater odds of future problems with the law.
  • Often have difficulties with long-term relationships and/or keeping a job.
  • Increased chances of raising another generation of bullies and continuing the cycle.

  

What can we do to stop bullying?

  • Acknowledge that…    Bullying = Abusing
  • Recognize what bullying really looks like and entails   It is not always extreme and/or done by “enemies”.  Regardless… it always does damage.  The non-physical damage is often the damage that hurts much longer.
  • Speak up or tell someone when you witness bullying.  
  • Don’t be a bystander or laugh (even nervous laughter adds fuel).
  • Be a positive example.  Treat everyone with respect.  Even the ways we behave in situations related to other drivers, poor customer service, etc, etc… teach our children negative behaviors that could increase bullying.

*  This was originally posted on my previous blog in April 2013, but it is just as relevant today.

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