Criticism, Gossip and Bullying

Before this blog post I just want to remind you that I am not a trained expert in these things, I am just a person with my experiences and understanding of how things have worked for me.

Well I guess it is about time to address the subject or criticism, gossip and bullying. Firstly let me start of with how we handle these things today rather than how we did so in the past.

We are now training our youth to accept criticism as part of life’s development process – providing that criticism is thoughtful and considered by the deliverer. And when we receive such criticism we are being told to take it on board and maybe use it as a catalyst for developing ourselves in a positive way for other people.

So I ask, why do we always need to be pleasing other people. Why should we have to change the way we do, say or discuss things purely so we don’t upset other people. When it seems as if they don’t have to afford us the same courtesy. I suppose it is when you don’t pay credence to other people’s feeling – then that’s what makes you a bully. And if your feelings are hurt by what the ‘bully’ says or does, then we need to get the parties together and work though the issues in a responsible and responsible manner.

The sad thing is, all the warm and fuzzy do gooders think that this approach works. Sadly, the truth is more like the bully thinks that everyone is soft and that he/she has got away with their bullying without any real punishment. Then they think “Pick of the little guy/girl, no punishment. I like being the big tough guy/girl, no punishment for enforcing my power on others… keep doing what I am doing”.

My experience indicates the only way to stop a bully picking on you is to fight back either physically or mentally. While I do not condone the use of violence against others, I do believe that it is any person’s right to protect themselves from an attack with enough physical force to fend off the aggressor. My experience has also shown that if you do fight back, the bully then no longer sees you as a soft target and will leave you alone. Usually moving onto another person but, hey, at least you are safe now.

I guess it’s a bit like parking your car next to an expensive car in the car park – hopefully the crooks will find that car more attractive and break into it, rather than into yours. By fighting back with a bully, you are showing him/her that you can hurt them as well – they will then seek others to be their victim.

Of course this then could make you feel like you are causing someone else pain by refocussing the bully on them. Then, by our new way of thinking, you will feel guilty. Well don’t! The new victim can also fight back if they want to – if he/she does, the bully will quickly run out of victims.

While physical violence is one tool of the bully, another is gossip. But gossip is not just limited to the bully, it is also available to anyone looking to ‘one up’ themselves in the eyes of others to be accepted into a group. But there are two types of gossip – the spreading of true stories that might not be wanted to be shared (I saw Sue kissing Sally behind the bike sheds and she thought nobody could see them), and the spreading of made up stories with no basis of truth (I have a friend who told me that she knows Sally is a slut).

In all honesty, there really isn’t much you can do about gossip. If you respond you just fall into the same boat as them. Then they respond with more force and venom – then it just spirals out of control. I have found the best way to get through this is to just let it ride. It will be uncomfortable for you but by ignoring it and moving away, the bad guys will no longer find it fun to slander you or try to bring you down. Like a fire front, it will hurt badly for awhile but eventually it will pass.

So we now come back to criticism… we are being taught to accept it as a part of life and, of course, we all pretend to like it and accept it. Well, I don’t know about you guys but every time I am criticised, I find it hurtful and demoralising. I am am sure most people are really the same – despite the false front of accepting it as a positive opportunity for improvement it hurts and destroys any positive vibe we had at the time.

An example of this is seen in the putting on of stage shows. There can be 1,000 people in the audience and everyone loves the show… afterwards they leave buzzing and singing the songs. You speak to them and they are overjoyed at what they have just seen. You are on a real high knowing you have provide some great enjoyment for the audience. Then one person comes up to you and says “Oh I didn’t like how you did that song”, or “I was disappointed you never did such and such”, or “Next time I think you should do…”. Immediately this brings you down to focus on the complaint. It doesn’t matter that you have done this show 50 times with no complaints, not that 999 people have just left happy and entertained – this one person’s complaint destroys the positivity and you then spend hours or days mulling over whether or not to cancel the rest of the shows, or change the show completely… yes it is completely illogical but that’s how the brain works.

So, anyhow, there is to be no negative criticism of this blog but I look forward to any comments or thoughts you might have.

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