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Politician Finally Gets It When It Comes to Bullying

It isn’t often you hear a politician say something  you actually agree with on any subject – especially bullying; even more rare when they say something that is one hundred percent true in the real world, and not based on ideaology or “Ivory Tower”  academic theory.

That is why when I witnessed this hard-hitting, unpopular, this-is-how-it-works-in-the-real-world truth about  uttered by a politician who was talking about bullying, I had to share it with you.

I apologize that I did not write down who this politician was – I think it was the former National Security Advisor, retired Marine General James Jones, and he was speaking of either North Korea or Iran; I Googled it and didn’t see any hits, which is NOT surprising, given the inflammatory and anti-conventional wisdom of the remark.

In the remarks  I saw, this is what he said; “I am tired of turning the other cheek when it comes to _____.  With bullies, when you turn the other cheek, you get hit with the other fist.”

Well, well, well…someone else in the world actually DOES get it when it comes to bullying.

One of the things that is considered controversial in the book, “Bullies Suck” is that I teach “turning the other cheek” is the exact WRONG thing to do when it comes to bullying.

There is much more that is taught in the course,  but just that one piece of information can radically change how you look at yourself and how you deal with the bullies in your life.

Many people mistakenly quote the Bible  where Jesus says to “turn the other cheek” to mean that the Big Guy actually wants you to allow someone to physically assault or harm you and to let them do it, showing you are the stronger person.


It may be more accurate to view that quote and “turning the other cheek” to mean referencing being insulted or slighted versus physically attacked.  It does take character, dignity and patience to be verbally attacked or insulted, be the bigger person and turn the other cheek.  In instances of verbal confrontation, you do want to stay calm, cool and collected, keeping your emotions in check and using your smarts to handle the situation effectively.

If we all fired off physically on anyone who ever hurt our feelings, insulted us or verbally attacked us, there wouldn’t be much time left for doing anything else.  Can you imagine what your workplace would look like if the standard reaction to being attacked, insulted or having your feelings hurt was to slap the offender upside the head?  The people in human resources would all have their hair turn gray and fall out.

In order to understand what this politician meant and why I say turning the other cheek is the wrong move when it comes to bullying, you must understand that when it comes to bullies and bullying, the normal rules of decency and conduct that you and I may operate by are NOT the same rules that bullies follow.

Case in point:  I have written more than once about how to deal with Iran and North Korea.  I have openly criticized how past and current administrations have handled them and, as shown by both regimes, they are still pursuing policies and acting in such a way that shows they have no fear whatsoever of the international community, sanctions or empty threats.

Why?  Because we have operated under acceptable, international social guidelines.  We have been behaving and responding in an acceptable social manner as accepted by society and the world at large.  We have been “Strongly condemning” and finger-wagging, basically saying, “Naughty-naughty; shame on you.  You are in time-out.”

Iran and North Korea could care less about “time-out”.  It doesn’t compute to them.  Why?

Iran and North Korea do NOT act nor are they coming from the same emotional place.  They are operating asocially; they are operating under a different set of rules.

It would be like you and your best friend playing football – except he doesn’t recognize and refuses to play by the rules.  You step out of bound, you stop running; he steps out of bounds and continues running to the end zone.  You say the play is over, he says touchdown.

How long do you think that game would go on before one or both of you stormed off the field, vowing never to play with each other again?

This is the same thing that happens when you are trying to “turn the other cheek” with a bully.  The bully doesn’t care that he is being mean.  He doesn’t care that you have turned the other cheek.  To him, you turning the other cheek means he has a new target to go after, or it means that you are a spineless wimp that he can continue to torture and have fun.

In order to deal effectively with a bully, you must understand where he is coming from and what set of rules he is playing by.  Only then will you be able to respond appropriately and effectively to bullying in a language and manner that the bully understands – and where your message can get through.

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