I was the bully
Yesterday evening I shared something with a group of people that I haven't often shared with anyone, for sure the first time I have ever talked about this publicly.I was at an event that was discussing how we can combat hate, bias and help overcome judgement of others. The topic of bullying came up later in the conversation. A lady had mentioned that her daughter had been bullied in school and that several families in her circle of friends recently had to endure the unimaginable pain of losing a child of theirs, who chose to end their lives as a result of being bullied. A man also mentioned that he had also been bullied in school when he was younger. As I listened to these stories of pain at the hands of bullies, my heart began to sink and my eyes welled up. Not only from the words of pain and heartache they were speaking, but because I too have had first-hand knowledge of bullying. But my situations were different from theirs. Because I was the bully. I raised my hand to share a few words, most maybe thought I had something to say about how I too was bullied. I began to tell a story of a young kid at school and on the playground, that I had a lack of understanding and a lack of empathy. And that more deeply I am sure I struggled (and still do to this day) with many insecurities myself. Though I know I was not the only one who bullied, I feel fully and wholly responsible for the hurt and suffering I caused others who I felt deserved it just because they were being who they were, or because I saw them as different. I was young then but if I look closely I can still see remnants of it here and there in my life today. And I went on to share something that I had not intended to share. That all these years later I now know, in part, what it feels like to be bullied. Not because anyone ever bullied me, but because of my actions as a bully in my early years, I bully myself. For the actions and lack of judgement to be a more capable and more understanding person. That I suffer at times from depression and I have thought some of those very thoughts, I am sure most of those who are bullied feel. I can't pretend to know how someone who is bullied by others feels. But it is a start, a road toward empathy and understanding. As I finished speaking I began to realize that for me bullying has come full circle. But I was a bully and the bullying I get from myself I often times feel is fully deserved. I try most days to forgive myself and though I don't expect it, I hope others can begin to forgive me as well for being part of the problem.