"Bully" is a Damaging Label Too

March 31, 2010

I talk a lot about labels on this site and how they can be harmful to people's self esteem. I absolutely hate it when people refer to those that have a mental illness as "that schizophrenic" or "that depressed person." How about "that person who has schizophrenia" or "depression" instead? You could say that I am hyper sensitive to noticing when people make these kind of comments. But I never thought about how the word "bully" is another damaging label until a girl I know got called a bully.

According to "The Free Online Dictionary," a bully is a person who "is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people." I cannot go into detail over what happened, but trust me when I say that this person is not a bully. When one is labeled a bully then that person does not have a chance to redeem herself, because people's judgements are already made. But what if what happened was a misunderstanding? What if we could not give each other labels at all and so open the door for reconciliation? Being called a bully opens the door for fear, which opens the door for hate and violence-let us open instead the door for peace and reconciliation.

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