Thursday, 22 June 2006

A Letter on Bullying

Dear friend,

As always, it was nice speaking to you. I'm really looking forward to having a drink with you some time. Remember, this was what I used to do in the first two years after my graduation. And I enjoy the stress-less, carefree chat with friends.

You are assured of my sympathy when you told me how you suspect you have been badmouthed by someone in your office. To be honest, there is little you can do to stop this, except to carry out your responsibilities dutifully and achieve excellence. Once you have developed some sort of competitive advantage at work, there is little room for people to badmouth on.

Of course, this is something easier said than done. How to deal with one's emotions over something irritating and annoying is always hard. This is especially for people like you and me, who always want to remain true to yourself and the people around us. Disguise is never our profession. We often enjoy drama and movies more than anyone else, but we hate to become actresses ourselves.

Take it easy, my friend. You don't need to jump on irresponsible remarks floating around. We can only manage perceptions of ourselves by behaviour to a minimal extent. There is little we can do to manage prejudices and discrimination in someone else's mind. The thing we should do is to try our very best to disregard unreasonable accusations, let alone making them disturbances that they are meant to be.

Again, this is hard, and requires tremendous efforts in self-convince. I'm not saying this as if I were a sympathetic autocrat speaking benevolently to her subjects. I'm just trying to share a strategy that works well for me all these years.

Believe it or not, I find that those who love bullying or badmouthing are often jealous by nature. They can be jealous of people around them for no reason. They bully or badmouth the others to show that they are better and stronger. Poor souls! They simply don't know what they are doing as human beings. They always think that they are beasts fighting with each other in a colosseum with no way out. For whatever reasons, they are taught the wrong way of life. The ruthless theorem of survival of the fittest has become their bone and flesh, even though people around them are not necessarily competitors as they always think. This is especially true at school and at work, where, at the end of the day, we always compete with no one else but our past. Worse still, those people are often too stubborn to admit that they are not doing any good for themselves by hurting people around them. They think it is glorious and essential to step (stab?) on the back of the others to reach higher, but we all agree that this is unethical and unnecessary. Let our actions speak themselves, right?

While we all acknowledge that this is far from an ideal world, we should also be able to appreciate the fundamental differences in values and beliefs that eventually contribute to the diversified cultures and peoples around the globe. When it comes to fundamental differences in values and beliefs, there is little, if any at all, we can do. It may seem too passive, but why should we bother to change or influence what someone thinks of ourselves when we don't even really care who that guy is? Call me naively optimistic, I'm convinced that even when someone hates us, there are always others who love us. And, more importantly, make sure you love yourself before anyone else does.

Sit back and relax, my friend. The jealous guys don't deserve your attention. Kick them in the ass and move on.

Truly yours,

Cecile

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