Where do we go from here?
“Anti” is a prefix that means to be against, in opposition to, or to act as a rival. Matched with certain nouns we have the foundation for many local and international movements including those which are anti-drugs, anti-war and anti-globalization. There is a sense of fierceness to these descriptions. Anti implies there is no gray area: the line is drawn; you are either with us or against us. To be anti-anything suggests that the only way to stop something is to meet it with a forceful resistance.
The question I have to ask is how successful are these resistance movements in being the vehicles for change?
I wanted to scream in frustration when I read post after post of violent words directed towards the bullies who contributed to Amanda Todd’s suicide. I am sure these people felt good and righteous about their literary actions but the gut ripping hate that spewed from their fingertips belied their anti-bully message. Is it not obvious that these cruel words are forms of bullying? Can violence really eliminate violence?
It has been said that whatever you give your attention to will persist regardless of its positive or negative nature. We see this in politics when the most controversial and extreme talking candidate wins because of the extra publicity and we see how celebrities stay in the limelight despite bad behaviour and negative press. We also see it with anti-bullying campaigns. Despite efforts to stop bullying, studies show it is increasing. Is it possible we are focusing too much on bullying and not its opposites: compassion, kindness, and empowered living?
It is well known that Mother Theresa never attended an anti-war protest. She would, however, happily attend a pro-peace rally. What if we followed in her footsteps and instead of focusing on anti-bullying, we focused on pro-empowerment? What if we saw bullies as needing the same love and care that victims of bullying require? What if we went from holding anti-bullying days to Compassion or Kindness Days or even, February 27: Empower Each Other Day.
Einstein poignantly quoted that “problems cannot be solved by the same thinking that created them.” How can we think outside of the box around bullying? Where do we go from here?