'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.
Today I want to tackle a difficult and important matter. I must admit that it’s hard for me to write this, but I have a feeling it’s necessarily. Lately I’ve been noticing that a lot of people like to stamp things as bullying. I hate when this happens. It makes me sad, angry and disappointed.
I don’t like to see myself as a ‘victim of bullying’ but being someone who has been bullied in the past, it’s hard to see this term spreading around. It makes the real case look trifle, because if your unhappy feelings are compared to honesty.. do people then really know what bullying means? It's also hurtful if you call an innocent person a bully. The word seems to lose it’s power and true meaning, so today I want to clarify the meaning of the word to me.
Deliberately hurting someone, playing with their feelings and trying to make them feel as miserable as possible. Doing it over and over again until you find someone’s breaking point. Shutting someone out and making them feel like they are weird. Calling them names, saying they are hideous and that they will never find the happiness of a relationship; because nobody wants you. Taking advantage of you and manipulating you by brushing everything of as ‘teasing’ and ‘kidding,' because you are friends right?
Violence, but never enough to really hurt you. Just to make you feel uncomfortable, unwanted and scared. Make you feel like you don’t belong, until you start to question yourself and wonder what is wrong with you. Why can’t they like you? Clearly it’s because you are too ugly and stupid. You start to believe them and you start to change yourself to blend in. You try to act like it all doesn’t matter, but it does. You laugh when they laugh, when all you want is to cry. It’s a darn damn lonely feeling. And then comes the moment you break.
It’s NOT being honest in a review. If you talk about the things you dislike in a book, it’s not bashing the author. If you give a book 1 stars and a negative review, hell, even if you burn the book to the ground, it’s still not bullying. You have the right to be honest and to tell your opinion, as long as you stick with the book. It’s very easy for authors to hide behind the bullying excuse, but they need to grow a pair of balls and they need to be realistic. Not everyone is going to love the same book. If you can’t handle critic, don’t look for it.
It’s NOT being honest in real life. If my sister buys a shirt she loves and I tell her I don’t like it, it might be hurtful for her. But am I bullying her? Not at all. Anything you say can be hurtful to anyone, but it’s the intention that matters. You should always feel comfortable in voicing your own opinion.
It’s NOT being honest on the internet. Telling someone they made a mistake and pointing out where they went wrong is trying to help them. It’s hoping that they change and truly realize what they did. It’s still possible that they are hurt and that they feel like shit, but that’s how life works. You make a mistake, you fall on your face and you stand up again. Being honest is all about how you phrase your thoughts and what you try to achieve with your words. If it comes from a good heart, it’s not bullying.
I also like to end with the definition of Wikipedia:
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.
Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.
So PLEASE people, be aware of how offensive it is to people who are truly bullied - and how hard it is to be called a bully when you're not.