Today I discovered a marvellous video that everyone that was ever bullied should watch. I promise you that it's worth your time. It's beautifully made and if you've been bullied, I'm sure you'll see parts of yourself in it.
It also set me thinking. One of the worst parts about bullying is, of course, how much it can affect the bullied, but I've also often wondered about how the bullies never seem to realise the pain they are causing. Even years after events, the victims will still be affected by things bullies said or did but they very often don't realise. People usually know when they've been bullied, but bullies knowing what they are doing are actually much more rare.
I changed schools after my third year of high school because the bullying became too much. Now I'm in university and every now and then I run into one of those bullies on the streets. Still I feel that inner panic that I used to feel every single day in those three years. But that is not the shocking part. The most devastating part is that every single time I try to get away from that place as fast as possible, this person smiles at me as I walk past them. Not a mean grin, but an actual, 'long-time-no-see' smile.
Most of these bullies seem to have no idea of the impact something they find unimportant can have on someone's life. And I know this is not just me, I know this is something that happens all the time. Most children and teenagers don't actually see the harm they're doing by calling the 'different' children names, pointing out how weird they are and why, mocking them. To them it's just a game they play among their friends, they tend to forget that the outcasts also have names, feelings and backstories. And that is tragic.
Children should continue to get taught not to bully, of course, but in the first place they should be taught what bullying actually is. Everyone knows the meaning of the word, but very few seem to actually recognise it.