I used to judge… and get bullied.

I remember making jokes about people. People my age at the time and adults (…mostly. Unless, there was something really funny or awkward about some child or baby.)

For the most part, I was making “jokes”, not meant to insult or hurt.
Though there were times where my egoic inner scowl cut a little deeper than a joke, I’m sure. And at times, the “jokes” may have sounded much worse than I intended them to be, but really, could any one tell the difference? Could I?

I got picked on and bullied by many people. Starting when I was really young, by teasing cousins and joke-making relatives; and then it expanded into kids from school. When THEY started “making jokes” about me was when I began to feel the most self-loathing. (I got so paranoid for a while, that any comment or noise in the classroom felt directed at me, that somehow everyone was constantly talking crap about me. I felt I was the punchline of every joke.)

And who knows, maybe they were only "joking", not meaning to traumatize me. I’m sure my own collection of traumatizing experiences made every new comment feel even more painful for me. For some reason, the words would stick to me as if they were the sharp, scratchy side of the Velcro and I was the fuzzy, mess they clung to.

After while, in grade 8, I started to notice how certain kids, who I’ll label “the bullies” (ok, back then it was “the idiots”, but I don’t want to be as harsh now!) were picking on other people too, it wasn’t just ME they were picking on!

I was torn.

On the one hand: I was relived that other people were hated just as much as I was! That I wasn’t the most un-liked person in the world! That felt good—for thirty seconds…

Because, on the other hand (after I was done feeling happy about other peoples misery), I felt such a huge amount of sadness for those people. I felt so much love and empathy towards them- I knew exactly how gut-wrenchingly awful they felt because of those other kids. It was probably the first moment I fully felt empathy to its highest degree. And it was then I decided to become an unofficial, self-titled bully-killer and spoke up most times I saw people picking on people (I was told I even punched a guy in the face repeatedly that year, I dont recall it, though---apparently, being a bully-killer involved some black-out moments.)

Though, don't think I was completely enlightened, I hated those bullies! I would judge them about anything I could find about them… but that didn’t last either, I saw how hurtful I was thinking, and how sometimes they felt hurt and got picked on (mostly by each other!)… I tried to let the hate go… I didn’t always succeed.

And there were times when I was completely wrong about a person who i thought was being a bully. Meaning, a friend would tell me: so-and-so said this about me.. where, in turn, I would get enraged (see? not enlightened!) and go "talk" (or yell?) at the person in my friends defence. Which resulted in my losing more people as friends. Not good.

I remember I started to look at the other kids who were getting picked on, and wondered: why do we get picked on?

I made a list of things that might have been the cause (which, for a long time, added to my paranoia and a caused major decrease of self esteem):

1. Do those people look different? (Wait. How do I look? (From then out: obsessed with mirrors and searching for my ugly- and back then, always finding it!) (HAPPY NOTE: everyone looks different! and it's OK!)
2. Those people don’t really talk a lot. (Neither do I, why don’t I!?!? What’s wrong with me? Am I stupid? Why don’t I have anything to say? In ways, this lead me to saying anything that popped into my head and especially saying some things other people wouldn’t say (which made people laugh, and I liked that). However, in other ways, it caused me to vow to never speak again- times when I really sould’ve used my voice, I didn’t.) (HAPPY NOTE: I found my voice and i hope the other people did too!)
3. Do those people dress different? (what’s wrong with how I dress? *looks down*
Then, I spent the next 4 years going in godawful fashion directions, on-a-budget (I didn’t have a lot of money back then to spend on clothes), desperately searching for the style that wouldn’t get me picked on. And LORD there were some awful disasters that warranted getting picked on! (HAPPY NOTE: it shouldnt matter to anyone what anyone else wears. What's the big friggin deal!?)
4. Maybe they don’t have money, like I don’t? (To me, it seemed the people who didn’t get picked on: were rich.) (HAPPY NOTE: can't think of anything, but be happy anyhow!)
5. Those people must be awful human beings like I am, they aren’t as good as the other kids who have fun and happy moments with each other in class. (yes, seeing my bullies act all sweet and funny with the other girls in class, obviously, made me compare myself to them. What’s so great about them? What’s so awful about me? (Being left to do all this ‘sorting out’ on my own, brought me to some sad, pathetic thought patterns about myself and the world around me- I could’ve been guided, shown how to see things more helpful to me… but I wasn’t.) (HAPPY NOTE: I wasn't awful and neither were any of the other kids who got picked on. The bullies weren't even awful, they were just off track.)
(but. maybe. we all just had shit going on at home that caused us to be insecure and lack confidence, and bullies thrive on people like that!)

Having support at that age, someone to talk to me about all of this stuff, may have helped me think more positively about my self, and my life, and could’ve helped me avoid a lot of pain, sadness and tragic rebelling.
Instead, I had movies and t.v shows to “gimme some truth” (-john lennon), and, where I came from, we didn’t get “Truth Tv” or rent “truth” movies.
Most of what I saw in movies and on TV only strengthened the limited beliefs I already had (in fact, I’m pretty sure, movies and TV mixed with my limited guidance in real life, was largely the cause of my limited beliefs and tragic rebellion.)

As much as I was empathic towards people who got picked on, there were times where my mind would judge the crap out of people just because it was the pathetic egoic thing to do, a survival mechanism created for the mind to not fall collapse under the pressure of feeling useless. Making me think that other people were ‘worse than me’, was probably the mind saving itself from me killing myself.

Sadly some victims of bullying are pushed past that limit.

It’s a clever trick of the ego. It is beneficial in some ways… but if we don’t get control over it at some point in life, it can keep us hidden in a dark, unhappy, judgmental place, or lead us to full-on self destruction.

I titled this, “I used to judge”, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that I am completely without judgment now- because I’m not! There are still moments that someone will walk by or say something and my mind goes: WHOA that’s weird in some way!

However, I have learned how to spot my judgmental moments more. Therefore, as much as I have judgmental thoughts, I don’t judge people in light of them (for longer than 10 seconds at least).
When I see a judgment flash in my mind, I question it: why did I think that? And then I make myself look at the person with love. Look at the amazing things about them.
May sound cheeky, but it is truly more beautiful than leaving it at the judgment.

Do you recognize when you are judging?

"We choose our destiny in the way we treat others." -Wit

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