If not now, when? If not you, who?” ―Hillel the Elder
Bullies come in all sizes and exist in all occupations. There are playground bullies, cyber bullies, bullies in the workplace, and even bullies who run for president.
Bullies may be famous and powerful, or they may be virtually unknown except to those they bully.
When I was young an adult told me that the best way to deal with bullies was to stand up to them.
Such a stand against bullying, of course, requires courage.
One or more people standing up to him or her—one-to-one or in group settings—is often all that’s required to end the bullying or at least blunt its effects.
Given that courage doesn’t mean acting in the absence of fear, but rather acting in spite of it, the presence of fear is not a sufficient reason to allow bullies to destroy what others have created or want to create.
Sometimes standing up to bullies is no more complicated than that – it literally involves standing and looking the bully in the eye because deep down many bullies are very afraid.
One of my favorite moments in the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was when moderator Lester Holt asked Trump to explain to Clinton why she didn’t have “a presidential look,” given his public statements on that subject. Trump, not surprisingly, tried to change the subject.
At other times standing up to bullies may require clarifying one’s principles and perhaps even rehearsing a confrontation with a trusted colleague or friend.
In 1954 Joseph Welch’s, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” was a turning point in the history of McCarthyism.
Many of us have one or more bullies in our lives.
Sometimes it is no more complicated than thinking deeply about your response to this question: If not now, when? If not you, who?