Friday, October 17, 2014

Bullying Unaware

In today's hyper-sensitive awareness to bullying, it surprises me how much I see it happening daily.  I think we are all very aware of the bullying that occurs when words are used to tear each other down, or when actions are used to make someone feel bad about themselves.  The bullying I am talking about is that of absence - an absence of inclusion, an absence of caring, an absence of reaching out.

We've all been in situations where we feel excluded.  It may be as simple as being left out of a conversation, or feeling awkward in a room where everyone else seems to be in on something you are not, or even just feeling like you are present but everyone else seems to think you are invisible.  Putting it simply - It's not a good feeling!

What makes the difference in a circumstance like that?  All of us know, because all of us have been rescued by some sweet, caring soul who has reached out.  He/she took a moment to acknowledge our presence, to come say something/anything, to let us know that we were noticed and wanted. It sounds easy enough, yet it takes awareness.  It takes effort to notice someone feeling this way, and commit to making it different for them.

We often hear the story of the Good Samaritan and we wag our heads in disbelief.  How could that priest or the child of God, Levite walk by...completely ignoring, pretending not to see or have the time to help?  Yet, how many times have we sat in our seats, knowing there was someone who needed a "hello" or conversed in a room full of people and been too busy to reach out to the uncomfortable.  This omission of kindness should shame us.

I've been on both sides of this. I've been the one feeling ostracized and I've been the one too wrapped up in myself and my conversation to go out of the way for someone hurting.  I've also seen it happening to my own children.  I don't like it, and I'd love to rescue them from it, but it is true that character can be built and trained from uncomfortable circumstances such as this.  Instead of fueling their hurt and anxiety from being left out or uninvited, I try to encourage them to be that much more aware of others struggling with the same feelings and learn to reach out, to remember how it felt when they were the one and to make it their mission to rescue a kindred spirit.  If only we can take a second to look around a room, it is obvious who needs our attention.  It may not be in our comfort-zone to go sit with them, or invite them over, but every single bit helps and the more we do it, the more comfortable we will be with it.

Please take a moment to think of those who are looking over with longing eyes, reach out to them in even the tiniest of ways.  It won't only help them feel better, but you may make an amazing friendship you would have completely missed out on.  Yes, enjoy your friends, fellowship with your brothers and sisters, but welcome others (even if you don't think they want it); it can only do good.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Thank you for reminding us. God bless! :)