Wednesday, October 2

The Bullies and the Bullied

So you must have heard that the world is made up of two kinds of people - the have's and have-not's.

Well, let me enlighten you on another differentiating factor - These are the bullied and the bullies.

Etymologically,a bully is someone who hurts or frightens someone who is smaller or less powerful than them, often forcing them to do something they do not want to do (Cambridge online dictionary). While this definition seems more relevant to schools, it is not unusual in the corporate or domestic world.

The rule is simple - either bully someone or be bullied. That's how the world operates. There is no room for co-operation and negotiation. Those in power will command (the decent ones might ask 'favours'), and you cannot refuse or argue. You gotta do what you gotta do. Else you must put up with the consequences which could be corporal punishment or worse, mental and emotional torture. Either way you're helpless and most people bow down to the pressure. Get it over with. Make peace with your demons and go with the boss wants.

However, once a bully is not always a bully. He could be bullying Mr. X but then there will be a Mr. Z that bullies him in turn. And he gives in. And probably dishes out even more to Mr. X since he has to vent somewhere and dominate someone. Just to make him feel good about himself in a bid to forget what a loser he actually is.

And then there are those like me, who speak up when they are bullied. I refuse to be pushed over and walked upon. I give it back, and how. Not only when the topic concerns me directly, but also when someone else who isn't brave enough is suffering at someone's hands. This gets me into a lot of bad books, but as I keep telling my mom, you can't be liked by everyone. And that shouldn't be your aim anyway. Show me one person who can please everyone all the time and I will prove you wrong.

Even people who love each other tend to fight and assert their supremacy. It's not unusual. The desire to make someone obey you meekly has crossed many minds and hearts, not necessarily evil or wicked. And as my boss once told me, it's not really that bad to be dominated once in a while. I'm still not done digesting that fact completely. The point I'd like to make is, you got to know when to stop. The perpetrator as well as the victim. If you let the bully walk over you all the time, you indirectly motivate him to do it more and you deserve it. However, if you set expectations about what is right and what is unacceptable, then there is a fair game. As they say in the soft skill world, 'assertiveness' is more effective in the long run than either 'submissiveness' or 'aggressiveness'.

I am a very inquisitive person. I love asking questions and understanding people, motives and needs. Blame the psychology streak that had me fetch my Masters with top honours. Frequently, my curiosity is perceived as resentment, disagreement and denial. I don't know how to fix that, so I tell people I am not against the view but I only seek to grasp it better, in a more holistic way since I am very uncomfortable with ambiguity and need a background and way forward to most things in life.

Anyway, after all that long winded monologue, here's what prompted me to write about bully-ism in the first place. One of my relatives hates being questioned. He takes it as an affront and becomes extremely hostile and rude. And I invariably end up being fierce myself in a bid to kill his arrogance and make him see light. A flaccid conversation ensues and I'm sure both of us end up angry and upset. The solution: control your emotions, don't get personal and over sensitive. I forget this when I am stirred up. Hopefully you can put this advice to some use.

To sum up, don't be a bully, and don't get bullied either. Live and let live. Give respect and get respect. Over and out.

Here are some interesting things I read on the web recently:
The first one is not surprisingly about rape. People generally have a hundred tips handy for the victim, but nothing to say to the criminal. This article talks about what the rapist ought to do when he feels the "need" to molest a woman. Absolutely brilliant -

The second one, to make us all feel a little more hopeful in our rape-ridden country, is this proud achievement where Mumbai was named the second most honest city in the world behind Helsinki and ahead of 14 others... Way to go, Mumbaikars! Read here and rejoice -

And the third's related to the world of bosses and reportees. Some things that you may sometimes feel but you should never say to your boss -

God bless ya guys. Be good.


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