I remember in school when I was in the 6th grade, I used to be bullied by a 9th-grade student on the school bus. He would eat my tiffin, poke pencils into my hands, and get the sheer pleasure of seeing fear in my eyes. I was too afraid to tell my parents, thinking they would think I am less of a boy, who came home to them crying like a sissy.
So I took the bullying for about some time. Till I decided to fight back. I knew I could not outfight the bully with my strength because I was a skinny bop kid but I did know that I could outsmart the bully.
On the day that I decided to hit back and ensure this bullying ends once and for all. I went and sat behind the seat of a senior student. I knew the senior student and often greeted him courteously. As expected, the bully came and sat behind me. He started to irritate and intimidate me. So I got up instantly and whacked the senior student sitting in front of me hard and sat down. Of course, the senior student was fuming with rage, turned around to see who hit him and I pointed out to the bully to him. I suppose he trusted me because I was known to be a sweet innocent and courteous boy, who always greeted him with respect. So without a doubt on me, he unleashed his fury on the 9th-grade bully. After that, every day I went and sat with the senior student. The bullying stopped. I figured out, the bully realized that I may have been weak but not dumb.
I remember a similar incident not too long ago when a powerful political person was irate about a story I did that showed him in a bad light. Of course, as expected, he resorted to bullying and intimidating. Until I decided to adopt a similar strategy to bond with a person more powerful than me and the political bully to cull the bullying and maintaining order.
There is really only one rule in life. You are born to be happy and free. You are not a doormat or inferior to any other human.
At every step in our lives, we will always find people who try to overpower us mentally, emotionally, and physically. The need to make others submissive is so dominant in most humans.
As a journalist, I encounter bullies all the time. These bullies are powerful bullies. That their power is momentary is a fact that most powerful bullies are oblivious to. So I have learned to deal with them fearlessly and unflinchingly.
I often hear friends complain about their jobs, about senior colleagues and bosses. My first question to them is always; why do you continue to be humiliated and distressed? And most often I get a reply that it is a good job, I might not get another job or life is a struggle and this is my cross to bear. I empathize with such individuals but at the same time also laugh at their foolishness because they have allowed themselves to become a doormat to the egos, insecurities, and bad attitude of senior colleagues or bosses.
I have a simple yardstick to measure if a person is working keeping your betterment in mind or just being a bully at the workplace. A boss that takes you aside shows you where you are wrong and encourages you to do better in the confines of his cabin, is a boss that values you. He holds your self-respect up. The exact opposite of someone who is not working in your interest is someone who constantly ridicules and humiliates you in front of others at the slightest provocation. Those are not leaders, they are bosses, who have to prove to themselves first and the world that they are important. Bullying makes them attain that importance. If you have such a boss and you are the target of the attack, then unless you stand up to the bullying, you will surely be a doormat.
Like work relationships, marriage relationships too have their fair share of dominance and submissions. I have sat in conversations with women who have been victims of mental, emotional, and physical abuse by their spouses. In most cases, they suffer the doormat treatment because they feel that this is their destiny. Sometimes they do not the confidence to walk-out, sometimes it is because of the children in their relationship or sometimes it is because they are so blinded in their love that being a doormat is normal and part of love.
I often like to highlight the words of Jesus, who gave his disciples just two commandments to follow. The second of those commandments being, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Such a powerful message!
Many people in varied relationships who are victims of mental, emotional, and physical abuse at home or their workplace assume that their sacrifice stems from the love they have for their neighbor. But how can you claim to love another human when you do not love yourself and allow yourself to be subjugated to such treatment. The simple fact is that you do not love yourself. You assume you love your spouse or respect your boss but the truth is that you do not love them either, you just tolerate it.
The general philosophy passed down from generation to generation is that it is normal to be a doormat. But let me tell you that it is not normal. You are not a sacrificial lamb. You are a unique person and you deserve to have your self-respect.
You hear stories of children coming home sometimes talking about a bully in the bus, or class, or playfield. If the home environment has no talk time, the children do not even talk about it. Sometimes the bullies are the teachers or senior students. If we as parents have not been able to conquer our fears of bullies, we will teach our children to do the same, become doormats.
If you feel that your life is being drained because of a bully in the workplace or at home. Stand up! If you do it once and with conviction, you will save your respect no matter what the consequences because this world is full of surprises for you to lead a God-planned life.
As a journalist, I have learned that in order to stand up to a bully, you must first stand for the truth of your beliefs. Truth is more powerful than any false assumptions that a bully might have. If you stand up to a bully once against all odds, the bullying will stop. It is about taking that first step to say, ‘No I will not allow you to bully me.’
The worst anyone can do is to harm your body, which will hurt and pain but heal. But what will be completely devastating is if we allow the bully to hurt our minds and soul. By being a victim of bullies you are putting yourself in a position to hurt your mind and soul. Fight now! You deserve much more out of life.
I don’t believe this universe has planned for you to suffer. I believe this simple truth of this universe is that you are free.