Thursday, August 23, 2012

It Started with a Whisper

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about bullying.   As a child who was bullied, I was often told to “ignore it” since “kids can be cruel”.  How I longed to be an adult … FAST!  If only the adults in my life had told me that adults can be even crueler! 

Remember the old rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?  Don’t you wish it was true?  To be honest, people say crazy things and, sometimes, words can really sting!  It takes a lot of courage and confidence to hold your head high and continue to do the right thing in the face of ridicule by so-called “adults” or “friends”.

Even a look can sting, can’t it?  Over the past several weeks, I have been running into a woman who I only know by first name.  We met once through a mutual acquaintance.  That has been the extent of our relationship. 

Since that meeting, I have occasionally noticed her staring at me with a big grin on her face.   I can feel her staring from a distance. When I turn to look at her, she starts to laugh and turns her head away! 

At first, I was able to blow it off.  Then, her behavior continued over a period of weeks.  It started to wear on me a bit.  I would think, “What could it be?  What could she possibly have against me?  Why doesn’t she like me?”   Then, I wondered what I should do about it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to find out why she was being so cruel?  And, then, I laughed at myself.  Who cares?  I do not know this woman.   However, I did take time to consider what I might learn from this experience.

Truthfully, I no longer wish to know this woman.  She is, apparently, getting something out of making fun of me in her mind.  Oh well.  She will not get a rise out of me.   Although it may feel "personal", it most certainly is not.  This has more to do with her own issues than it does mine.   Maybe she heard a rumor or something derogatory.  But,  I am not responsible for what she thinks! 

I bet most of us can recall a time when someone's words and/or actions stung.  Hopefully, we have learned not to gossip about others.  It is a negative thing to do.  Focus on your own life or the friends that are there in front of you.  If you do tend to gossip, try to figure out what you are getting out of it.  What is it doing for you to badmouth someone else?  Are you judging someone for flaws you don't want to look at in yourself?  How would you feel if someone said the same things about you?   Think about these questions next time you are tempted to gossip.  And, remember, what goes around comes around!

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