Bullying in the Background

March 10, 2013
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It has come to my attention recently that all people are, in fact, by an extension of the word, bullies. Every single one of us have on more than one occasion taken part in some form of libel, slander or physical abuse. This comes about when we gossip, in our Facebook statuses and Tweets, in arguments with friends, physical disagreements with siblings, etc. I call "minor" activities of this kind, the kind that is not typically zoomed in on and fussed over, "Background Bullying".

In my opinion, some people take the concept of Back ground Bullying to the extreme by making fun of people who possess traits that should be respected and admired, instead treating them with hostility and jealousy. For example, In my case, academic success.

The weakest, most vulnerable and most attacked I have ever felt was in a Life Orientation class at school. We were having a heated discussion in class about whether or not it was okay to post personal statuses on social media sites. It seemed like it was me and one other person against the entire class. We insisted that posting information about your family matters, relationships, and friendships was wrong and when people jump to conclusions from your vague, angst-ey statuses, it is your own fault. The rest of the class maintained that they can express themselves in any way they want to on social media sites. I was frustrated and wanted to prove my point. I posed a question to the class: "What have you heard about me from your friends? What do you talk about when you talk about me." I guess I phrased the question incorrectly. The conclusion I was trying to reach was that people don't know much about my personal life, not because I don't have a personal life, but because I choose not to expose it to the world. Unfortunately the class took it a whole other way. After some thinking, a few girls raised their hands.

One girl said that the success I have in my school life is annoying for other people. She said that it isn't fair that I get great marks without trying, that I participate and succeed in extra-mural activities and that I have good relationships with teachers and peers. All of these things should have been compliments but they were said with such hostility and were met such vigorous nods and grunts of approval, that I knew that they weren't. It dawned on me that one of the only things in my life that make me feel a single grain of self-worth and pride, my school life, was people's main reason for disliking me. I don't aim to make enemies, in fact, I actively aim to keep as many people happy as I can. Do I now have to give up some of who I am, take away from one of the main columns of my life, just to please my classmates? Of course the answer is no, not for the sake of jealousy or anything else.

Another girl told me that I am bossy and controlling. That, in itself, has no effect on me because I know that I am a control freak and those that love me accept that fact. What hurt me was that she could barely express in words how extremely annoying she found me because of it. "Yho! It's annoying bro. It just- you're just very annoying. It's very- you're- Yho, just annoying, dude. And, ja, you- you're just, ja, you're just annoying, hey," she repeated. Her words were warmly accepted by the class because they didn't see that her every word travelled in through my ears, were processed in my brain, travelled to my tear ducts and gave the teardrops there a little kick, bringing me closer and closer to tears, perhaps with every syllable. I defended myself by saying that no one can ask me to step down as a leader if there is no one willing to take my place.

It sickens me that people can make something that should be celebrated, or at least viewed somewhat positively, into something hated. So, I encourage you to think next time you pass judgement- when you're gossiping with friends, when you're in an argument etc.- whether the person deserves it. Do you know what her shoes feel like? Do you know her; her story, her feelings, her intentions, her life, her past? Are your comments rooted in jealousy? It sounds like a cliché, but really think about how you would feel if someone said to you what you're about to say, if you were in her position. Don't be a Background Bully.

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