Dear Bully, yeah you (me),
I can see you don’t go around pushing people, insulting them, sticking their hair in inkwells, that sort of thing. But you do single people out. You find something you don’t like about them. You may not even know exactly what it is, but you’re sure its there — and you know you don’t like it. There’s always someone who’s too sloppy, too neat, too demonstrative, too grumpy, too stupid; he talks too much or not enough. She’s always saying the wrong thing. Whatever it is, it’s your job to make sure everybody knows.
So you apply your wit, your knowledge, your authority to keep that person down. You single him out from the group. You don’t tell her directly what it is you don’t like about her, out of any real concern to help. Instead, you take pride in finding subtle ways, of putting this person in his place, finding opportunities to make him feel stupid or inferior. You may even believe she doesn’t notice what you’re doing, because she’s so dense, so lame. So you find even more clever little zingers to make yourself feel superior at her expense. Perhaps you see yourself as the avenger, the teacher, protecting your friends, your group, your click, your club, your country, from this inferior clod, who just doesn’t seem to get what it is to be “normal” or fit in.
It’s called Scapegoating.
Perhaps you think you’re doing some good, but you’re really just a bully trying to show off how smart, how superior, how clever you are. It’s sadistic. And it’s pathetic, because instead of finding ways to bring people together, which deep down is your desire, you find ever newer and cleverer ways to tear them apart. That may be fine as long as the party lasts. Perhaps others find your ego-centrism quite charming. But one day, when you find yourself on the other end of that short stick, you may remember what goes around, comes around. Perhaps people will never take you to task because most of us are wise enough to know your issues are between you and God. I realize my goal is to simply find a way to accept you, because I too am a sinner.
But meanwhile, just know you may be making others miserable with your behavior. So please just stop it. It’s not charming; it’s wrong.
You may be wondering why I’m talking about bullying in an arts BLOG. It’s because art is a delicate proposition. Collaboration can only best be successful in a safe space. Bullies make that sacred space unsafe, which makes creativity less possible, or at least less fun.
If you like/don’t like or want to add your thoughts to the conversation, I encourage you to comment. Also, if you enjoy these conversations you may want to get a copy of Point of Art – Second Edition, or download it today. Remember, I offer career coaching for those serious about a career in art. Don’t forget to check out The Portrait – a painting video and The Power of Positive Painting