Caution – this post is not appropriate for children.
Every time we have a terrorist attack, our instinct is to fight back. Or rather, some people’s instinct is to fight back. The problem is – fighting back not only doesn’t work, it also changes you.
John Oliver, in the wake of the Paris Attacks several months ago, opened his show with this monologue.
His point was that the fight with ISIS wasn’t about arms or military strength. It’s about ideology and philosophy. It’s about good people being good with good food and good culture and good arts, and bad people being jealous assholes trying to destroy the good people. It’s about good people not changing who they are to prevent the next attack. That would make you boring.
Sounds a lot like what bullies do to me. To fight this, we need to not become like the jerks of the world. We have to remain loving and kind. This is about how we want to be as people.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have to protect ourselves, but protecting yourself is very different from attacking someone back. The advice to ignore a bully and they will go away is not good advice.
We cannot afford to ignore them, but that doesn’t mean we have to fight them either. It means we have to be strategic and recognize that in a battle for the hearts and minds of the world, you win by being wonderful and they ultimately loose by being horrible.
I realize that in the moment, when you are being attacked by a bully, it doesn’t feel like being wonderful is enough. After all, if it was – then you wouldn’t be attacked. Right? Wrong. People who are unhappy and don’t want to blame themselves will also find someone else to blame for what is wrong in their lives. You can do everything right and still attract haters. Their behavior isn’t about you. It’s about them.
How do you fight them? By not giving in to the hate. By calling them out on their hate. By being a better more loving and considerate person. Trust that other good people will be drawn to you when you do.