The other day while I had to wait for almost half an hour to board a bus to get back home, I noticed a dog and a cow facing each other as though they were gearing up for a big fight. The dog kept barking every now and then and the cow stood there unfazed by all the tantrums thrown by the dog. I sensed that the cow wanted to move in one direction but the dog kept blocking the way, with all that it could muster.

Later that evening, when I was travelling, I heard the person next to me shout instructions to the person at the other end of the phone. I presumed he was a Team lead, he kept reinforcing the fact that some deadline had to be met and that they should consider working during the weekends if they were unable to complete the task within the stipulated time. The team were to keep everything ready before the lead got back from his impending two day vacation. What an inspiring leader!

It was then that the picture of the Cow and the Dog facing each other flashed vividly in my mind and I realized,

Just because you raise your voice,it doesn’t mean that you are more powerful and that the other person would have to necessarily budge and listen to you

Just because you seem more powerful (authority) than others, that doesn’t give you the right to take advantage of others.

Bullying does not necessarily refer to using means of force to intimidate people or harassing them. Wikipedia says it’s even a “common push factor” and it is this factor which I’m writing about.

Some people are either afraid to say ‘No’ to others or  are in the perpetual need to please everyone. They are the ones who are handpicked by the bullies to get their work done. I would not blame the bullies. They are ruthless, we all know that. I am concerned about the people who are being bullied. Did you know that the choice is actually yours? Whether or not you choose to be bullied? Doesn’t make sense? Let me elaborate.

Do you know how a lion hunts for its prey among a herd? It observes them for a while from a distance, shortlists one  and attacks. This is how bullying works too. The bully observes people and then choose their ‘target’. And how they choose, depends entirely on how we portray ourselves. If we allow ourselves to be seen as a weak person or someone who allows others to take decisions for us, we would be a very easy target.

Once the bullying starts, there is no point complaining, since it is just the result of our actions. I have seen and witnessed so many of such instances happening on a daily basis. I can list numerous incidents but I’m sure everyone has come across at least one such incident. To think of it, what people do as a favour, as a means of lending a helping hand to others, is sometimes misconstrued as a sign of weakness.But, weakness is when you do not draw a firm and clear line between what you would do to help others and what you would have to do for others under compulsion.

If you want to avoid being in such situations, learn to say No, learn to be firm and learn to draw a very clear line.After all, it is Your Choice.