Okay, let me preface this post with the fact that what I think is that laughing at someone is just plain wrong. It absolutely doesn’t take into account the person being laughed at, their feelings, or the possible outcome of that moment in time affecting someone for the rest of their lives, and don’t think for a moment that life will necessarily be long. Laughing at someone is the act of a bully, period.
I also want to say that this post is not meant for children. Kids, if you are reading this I have two suggestions. If you are the bully, and trust me if you are laughing at someone for some unkind purpose, you are the bully. My message to you is stop. It’s that simple. For any young person reading this that is the victim of being bullied my suggestion is this, stop reading, go find an adult you can talk to and tell them what is happening. You are not alone! I speak from experience, very harsh experience. Talk to someone you can trust. Get help.
Now my post for adults. Those of us who have somehow survived the adolescent social ladder, even if we did it from the bottom rung. We are older and wiser now, or at least we like to think we are wiser. What is the difference now? Is it the same as when we struggled with acne, liked computers before they were in every house, had to wear the brace for scoliosis, or whatever it was that gave us the “geek”, “nerd”, “loner”, “nobody” status. When I first had the idea for this post I was thinking of what I have learned over the years. And really only recently learned to put into practice. But as I type and the years of being bullied come back to me, I am not sure what to say. I don’t know what I think. And I find this distressing.
I know that I sometimes perceive someone laughing at me. But then my perception is wrong. I know that sometimes when someone laughs at me, should it be a small matter, I join in and it changes everything. Now I have begun to laugh with them. If their intent was to be a bully I have deflated them. If I have misconstrued the whole thing I have defused the situation for myself.
However, bullying is just as wrong for an adult as it is for a child. So do we laugh along at the cost of our own bruised psyche? I started out answering the question, “Laughed at or with – what’s the difference”, with our own attitude toward it. But I think now I am wrong. The difference is the pain it causes, even if it is a small pain, the sting is there. So I guess the key as adults is to learn to let go of the sting. We don’t have the advocates that a child might have, hopefully has. So learning to move past it, that is something I wish I knew how to put into this post.
Well, like it or not, and I don’t think I do, this is where it ends. Bullying is wrong at any age, and laughing at someone is definitely a form of it. No matter what rung of the ladder you feel you are on, stay on the ladder. That is my hope for you.