This article on MD’s and bullying in the NYT's -http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/opinion/08Brown.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=md%20bully&st=cse (actually it also includes RN’s as well) speaks to an ongoing problem in hospitals that, naturally, just reflects what is “out there” in the larger world. So how come this behavior continues even though we all recognize it when we see it? Well for one thing, maybe we don’t always see it. While I know when I feel bullied by someone else am I sure that I am aware of when my behavior is felt as bullying by another? Not necessarily. So what to do about a behavior that most of us, at one time or another are ourselves perpetrators of without us even knowing it? The NYT’s article points to some possible solutions (e.g. clear rules) but does not go far enough to the core of the issue to make a difference. After all, if we are not even aware of our behavior and its effect on others then what hope is there that we can change? A deeper answer is to be found in what Virgina Satir called the core concept of awareness of self, awareness of the other, and awareness of context (you can find lots on Virgina Satir on the web). So like in real estate where the 3 most important things are location location location, the 3 most important things in both not being a bully and how to best respond to bullying are awareness, awareness, awareness. (And I also hope that am more successful with awareness practice than I have been with real estate!)
Ok you think (maybe) that sounds reasonable but how to do I do this? What do I need to do to be more aware (of self other and context)? – One answer is that there is nothing to “do” other than stop doing for a moment and observe – observing your own reactions as they happen creates a tiny space between “me” and “my reactions”. When this is seen and felt then the space created holds the potential for changing a reactive (e.g. angry) response to one that fits better with what you really want and what would really be helpful and true. How do I know this? The only way anything is ever known or learned, I have seen and felt myself the difference in my life, in the moment, when I am aware and live that way and when I am not.