I was a bully. I was bullied. Now I’m a witness.
I was a severely spoiled adolescent. I truly had no reason at all to be insecure or unhappy because I wanted for nothing, yet I was still hurting. I didn’t like myself, and I often made myself feel better at the expense of others. That was junior high. In high school, the tables turned. When I failed socially somehow (which happened often), I was bullied by those who were ranked higher than I. I internalized their hateful comments, which made me hurt and dislike myself more. Once I was back on top socially, I would begin to project my hurt to others again. It was a cycle. I see that now.
The difference with my story is that I was privileged enough to have periods of bullying rather than being bullied. Some don’t. Either way, I was always a part of the problem, never the solution.
After reading this blog, a lot became clear to me: why I bullied, why I was bullied, and now Why my students bully. I am in a perfect position to reach young people with Dan’s message, and I hope I can. PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEMSELVES DO NOT HURT OTHERS. It is that simple. It explains everything I see happen as a teacher, youth leader, parent. We are called to love others and to help them love themselves.
I’m so sorry about the way I acted. But Dan is right about the bullies and those who are bullied not being able to see beyond their current situation. I never thought I would grow into an adult who would rather eat glass than hurt another person’s feelings. A person who would care so much about the comfort of others. I never thought I’d be a mom who wants the world to treat her children like the beautiful little souls that they are. I never thought I’d carry so much regret. I wonder if those who mistreated me do too? It doesn’t matter. Thank God the past doesn’t matter. But the future does: for my students and for Talan and Tessa. I hope people can begin to love. We can’t afford to hope it will go away on its own.