We groan at the poor choices.
We click a photo to show others.
Some of us might even post it for the whole Internet to get a chuckle over.
But, we don’t consider ourselves bullies.
Just a little harmless fun. No harm, no foul.
We can’t be bullies if we never even talk to the person. We’re not physically causing harm, and the odds of them seeing themselves on some website? No reason to worry.
Just sharing a chuckle. That’s all.
Did you know that there is a website dedicated to making fun of people in Walmart? I only know this because my Facebook page is bombarded by snapshots of innocent people living their lives. Average people plastered on screens by others who think it’s funny to pass on a little slice of humiliation wrapped in poor tasting humor.
I am the first to admit there have sadly been times where I have joined in on the snickering bully train.
But, then I remember, it could be me.
It’s not just Walmart that collects the jokes, though it seems to be a favorite stomping ground for the bullies. It is any person anywhere who is dressed differently, acting oddly, or has an unexpected feature that seems to be fodder for those who love to poke fun at others.
I think we ALL can be accused of jumping on the bully bandwagon at some point in our lives. We cave under the pressure of others’ expectations of humor, or are so uncomfortable by the innocent person’s look or attire that we have to share the experience with others.
We are weak.
We speak a good game against bullying, but we turn around and laugh at another person’s clothing or weight.
We embody the disease that is bullying when we do that.
How can we expect our children to rise above these pitiful actions when we as adults are even worse?
We live in a world that hides behind screens and usernames. It removes us from the pain we have inflected. It gives those of us who have been mercilessly bullied in “real life,” power to cause the same harm on those who might be considered popular. We remove our filters when we stare at the false example of life that is found on the computer screen.
Misplaced hate and fear spew across the keyboard with all the vitriol possible.
It does absolutely no good to the other person to be mocked. It does us no good to mock anyone. We may think that it doesn’t do any harm to us the mocker, but I think it stains our souls. It makes us less compassionate to another’s blight. It makes us less willing to help someone in need. It ultimately makes us less willing to acknowledge the other person’s humanity.
We make those who are being mocked into the “Other.” Someone who is not worthy of participating in our brand of humanity. Someone who is not worthy of common decency.
We participate in the act of attempting to crush their spirits. To make them less.
That is bullying.
So, I urge all of us, myself included: if you don’t like another person’s clothing, hair, or weight–don’t look!
It is truly that simple.
I know someone who feels like she has to say something about someone every time she sees them. Comments range from, “If you walked more you wouldn’t limping.” Or “Long dresses make you look old.” “That man needs to see a barber.”
It wears on my soul to hear her negativity. It’s constant. There is no edification in what she is saying. She sounds so bitter and hateful. She does not add beauty into the world when she talks like that.
There is an old childhood saying I grew up with, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It really needs to apply to our presence not only in real life but on the computer as well.
We should be helping put a stop to mental illnesses that are abounding. We should not be adding our mean thoughts to those whose brains are already being bullies. We should not push people into self harming themselves because our words do indeed have power.
Yes! Sticks and stone do hurt, but words wound so much deeper than the fleeting pain of bruises. Words create large open wounds in our minds and hearts that never truly close. Because we wonder, maybe what they are saying is true. Maybe I really am worthless. Maybe I really am a waste of space. Maybe I really am ugly.
Clothes are just fabric made out of fads that change with the days. Ultimately they have no bearing on your standing in life. We must look past the ripped jeans and tube tops. Clothes just cover a body that God created with love.
You have no idea why someone’s weight is the way it is. We all struggle with forms of eating disorders. Americans do not know what a proper serving is anymore. So we all either love food too much and over indulge (guilty) or despise it and the pleasure God has created for us in the ability to enjoy it. We judge people on eating meat or not eating meat rather than asking what makes you personally more healthy? Our dietary needs are all different, and we need to encourage each other to find health rather than our idea of the perfect weight.
We perpetrate negativity and harsh unattainable goals which cause people to starve or cut themselves or seek oblivion in drugs or death. We do this to each other. Our beloved friends and family members in their off handed comments about others, dig into our souls and cause us doubts.
We bully each other without even realizing it.
The next time you see someone that makes you want to snicker and point, instead see the humanity in their face. And give them the respect and decency that someone might deny you. If a person’s clothing or weight makes you uncomfortable, don’t look.
Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already.
You are better than someone who mocks others simply because you can. We are all better than that. Let’s remember to be good humans who add beauty to the world when we speak of others.
Be good. No matter where you might be.