Being called a mean name hurts. My parents taught me to ignore personal insults, but that was easier said than done. Thankfully, I managed to avoid stooping to my bullies’ level and instead killed them with kindness. It’s so much more satisfying to lift someone up than to take revenge on them. The first step to reaching that goal is to overcome the fear of name-calling. Here are three examples from movies and a TV show that illustrate this.
Back to the Future Part III – I Don’t Care What He Thinks
We’re enslaved to others if all they have to do to get us to do what they want is to call us chicken. Consider the power of not caring what others think of you. Refusing to bow to the crowd, but standing alone when you decide you know better, takes a strong will. Giving in to peer pressure and acting irresponsibly is an easy trap to fall into. As I was taught at a young age, “Do what is right, let the consequence follow.” We have no control of others, but we do control ourselves. If people like you, that’s great, and if they don’t like you, that’s fine, too. Neither of those situations says anything about you, but about them. The future is bright for people who control their own destinies.
Star Trek – No Offense Given or Taken
In a world of microaggressions, it’s refreshing to hear this exchange between Uhura and Abraham Lincoln. She’s a 23rd-century woman and he’s a 19th-century man, so of course there’s going to be a culture shock and discrepancy in their use of language. Obviously, he didn’t mean to offend her by calling her that name. In order to be offended, Uhura would have had to ignore his explanation and attribute malice to his innocent remark. Let’s avoid taking offense to everything we hear that doesn’t appeal to our sensibilities. Instead, we can simply shrug off ignorant statements and realize that words are just words. Hopefully in 300 years humanity will be at the same level of maturity as Uhura.
The Big Lebowski – An Opinion, Nothing More
When someone is trying to bully you and tear you down, your last line of defense is the knowledge that it doesn’t matter what they think about you. They’re entitled to their opinion and you’re entitled to yours. Reality will be the final judge. You’ll be able to see the consequences of your actions and theirs, and the one who is proven wrong will hopefully have the courage to change. Notice that The Dude doesn’t respond in kind, trash-talking his opponent. No, he just nonchalantly shakes his head and says that that’s just his opinion. You don’t need to defend your honor and refute every rude thing said against you. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let them know their words mean nothing to you. Bullies tend to disappear when their targets don’t react how they want them to.
Our Own Terms
I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of fictional characters who demonstrate ways to overcome the fear of name-calling, but these are the ones that stood out the most to me. Feel free to share others that you like, and hopefully we’ll all be inspired to live our lives on our own terms rather than anyone else’s.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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