I've been thinking a lot about bullying for the past few months. I suppose there is irony in all of the anti-bullying campaigns because in that same breath people are so quick to tweet and flood the internet with hate. I'm pondering deleting my facebook because every time I log on my feed is full of venomous articles and statuses. I've also thought about shouting out my hurt and filling cyberspace with rebuttals and hypocritical exposés. But that's just it. I would be doing the same thing I so strongly dislike. Last week in General Conference Elder Holland said, "Be kind and be grateful that God is kind." So I will keep my silent vigil on controversial topics because I don't think I'm ready to say something nice. (And you know what Thumper says. . .)
Many of my favorite blogs have lightly touched or deeply bit into riotous topics, and I was tempted to share my voice with the chorus. I, at times, felt shame because my hesitance was brought about by cowardice. But as I've examined myself and my intentions I realized I was not scared as much as I was concerned-- concerned my thoughts would hurt someone they way I've been hurt.
It is often difficult for me to be in a confrontation. I was bullied as a child and became very defensive. In high school I was quick to make sassy remarks to those who might try hurting me. Once I was told, “You teach people how to treat you.” Since I didn’t want to be walked over, I tried to demand respect.
I carried this attitude from my locker straight into adult life. But it was not a peaceful way of life. It still isn’t when I choose to go down that road. Christ taught, “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.” (Luke 6:27-29) I guess people will learn how to treat me by the way I act, but it's not my job to teach them.
I am also learning it is more important to be righteous than right. It is also harder. Restraining my first reaction and replacing it with one more thought over takes more patience than I have some days. But when I try to approach conflict and biting remarks with kindness my relationship with my husband and family are better, and I feel happier.