Have you ever wanted to belong? I know I have.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? I’ve been there too.
Have you ever wanted to belong so badly that you were willing to do something (to someone) even if you knew it wasn’t right? I have.
When the topic of bullying arises, there are two parties that are often discussed: the bully and the victim. But there’s a third group that needs to be discussed. It’s the bystander-the one who is neither the bully nor the victim…the one in the middle.
See the thing is, there is power in the middle. It’s the power to make a difference. It’s the power to stand for something…and more importantly, someone. It’s the power to do what is right (even if it’s unpopular, inconvenient, challenging, etc.). There is power in sympathizing with the victim and there is power in understanding the root cause of the bullying. Is it anger? I believe it goes deeper than that. For at the root of all anger, is hurt. Can we see the hurting soul who is dressed as “the bully”? Can we see the hurting soul who is dressed as “the victim”?
Friends, bullying happens everyday. This act of making someone feel less than is not reserved for the school yard and 9-year olds. No, this act occurs in the workplace between adults who “should know better,” in structures of hierarchy, on teams, and in the world of media/advertising/product design, among others.
We see it in companies who insist on using ingredients which have been proven to be detrimental to our health and well-being, farmers who are pressured to used genetically modified seeds, companies who compromise on quality in exchange for higher profit margins. Let’s set the record straight, money is not the cause of this behaviour, greed is.
Greed is the bully and the undereducated are the victims. But what about the people in the middle? That group a.k.a. society’s centrefold (who are the ultimate changemakers). They are the ones who see what is happening and have the power to make a difference if they so choose. Do nothing and greed gains power. Do something and nothing substantial may happen or something significant could happen. See the thing about being in the middle is the illusion that you don’t matter so why do anything? The truth is, you matter beyond a reasonable doubt. You matter and so do I. The choices we make moment-by-moment, day-by-day matter. We can choose to say nothing and do nothing, or we can use our power to stand up for the undereducated.
It takes guts. It takes courage. It takes a willingness to say “hell-no” to convenience and “hell yes” to we deserve better…what you and your company are creating just doesn’t cut it.
This is not an anti-bullying campaign so much as it is a movement and commitment to a society that honours dignity, is rooted in compassion, and frankly gives a damn. This isn’t a policy thing or something reserved for people with fancy titles. This is a you and I thing and is… a matter of LOVE. Saying, “Hell No!” to all forms of bullying is really…an act(ion) of LOVE.
How will it happen? By realizing that it begins with you and I. We don’t need to check out what everyone else and their mother are doing. We simply need to acknowledge that the person that we see in the mirror matters. And as Phil Munsey (@philmunsey) always says, “I count and can be counted on.”