Those who nurture others, who love and care unconditionally, start doing so the moment a playground pal with a booboo and a face full of alligator tears needs a hug or a kind word.
The same can be said for the self-centered and the self-involved; the narrow perspective that began in infancy pretty much stays intact in the workplace, in interpersonal relationships, in how we act as members of a team, as leaders of others, as followers of men.
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We tend to turn knives, back bite, produce confusion, and those are habits learned from our parents and guardians, or those in positions of influence. These skills — and they are skills, if only used for survival — are tested before 10, focused as a teen and perfected as a young adult.
Considerate children become considerate adults. Look at the kids around us, the ones who make eye contact and the ones who don’t. And of the ones who don’t, how do their parents respond? Do they let it go, or do they say, “Hey, this person is talking to you.”?
Unchecked, inconsiderate, aggressive children will become unchecked inconsiderate, aggressive adults. Bullies. It’s what they know, and left to their own devices, they go with what works, long after it no longer works.
There are gray areas to all of this pop-psych exposition. I could be full of crap, trying to get some meaning out of my abnormal perspective of the world, filtered through a cracked kaleidoscope of self-absorbed, painfully self-aware babble.
Yet as these observations apply to bullies — in youth, in adulthood, on the playground, in the workplace — there is little wiggle room. As such, bullies can’t be allowed to simply steamroll without repercussions.
We’ve seen the aftermath of childhood bullying in worst-case scenarios. Physical taunting and cyber-bullying in extreme situations have led to extreme consequences.
Adult bullying doesn’t get nearly the same attention as we are all either meant to play nice, to have outgrown our domineering tendencies or have learned to stand-up for ourselves.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way, and adult bullies need to be called on the carpet. I’m not talking about a physical confrontation, or some underhanded revenge plot, because that gets no one anywhere, but in the real world, simply ignoring someone does not always work.
Sometimes victims need to bring along the endgame more quickly, especially if they are being wrongly defamed, the subject of outright intentional lies.
It’s important for bullies to understand a few basics about human nature and unintended consequences. Not everybody rolls over. Not everybody allows this kind of aggression to go unanswered. Not everybody succumbs to the natural evolution of another’s force of will because, well, that’s the way it’s always been.
When an immovable object meets an irresistible force, multiple outcomes occur, and usually none of them are good, usually none of them work in anyone’s favor entirely.
The lesson that can be learned, if there is any that can be learned by mean, nasty people, is that there are always meaner, nastier, smarter versions of them: bullies who bully back, in a more effective, officious manner.
People are who they are, so tread lightly.