What is bullying
There are many definitions of bullying, and as people of faith we should take a moment to examine what it is and how to stop doing it. Our Holy Father has said, “We need to include the excluded and preach peace.” This is a profound statement as there so many who feel unloved, uncared for, and excluded. When we examine our hearts and ask ourselves, am I bullying? This is an important task. Bullying is any of the following: physical harm, threatening, exclusion, yelling, demeaning, unkindness, gossiping, ignoring to spite, ganging up on, pre-judging, air of superiority, meanness, and many other attitudes and behaviors. The Lord commands us care for the lonely, the forgotten, and the unpopular. We must always remember to walk away from pride and from the need to seek popularity, pleasure, and power.
How Do We Stop This Behavior?
St. Teresa of Calcutta stated that “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” As simple as this sounds it is profound and a calling to all of us. We all know people who do not feel accepted, cared for, and loved. When we begin to care more about their needs instead of being popular, beautiful in the eyes of the world, and filled with power, we realize that this is what life is all about to love those who are rejected by others. We are called to be kind, loving, and yes, empathetic. It is an important life skill to be compassionate instead of being me-centered and selfish.
Getting Serious About Stopping It
To stop bullying, start by reaching out to those who are alone and do not have support. Life is not all about fun and pleasure, so listen more and talk less. Love more and sin less. Be gentle more and bully less. In fact, cease bullying as it is a sin. Pope Francis has stated, “What do I do with my life? Do I create unity around me? Or do I cause division by gossip, criticism or envy?" Ask yourself these questions and be serious about it. The next time you are at church, with family, or in a group, resist the opportunity to speak badly of others and to be nasty. It may be hard to do, but you will thank yourself and God you did. You are on your way to being a more loving human.