Georges was a scrawny boy in an unfortunate and recurring nightmare.
On this day, he was walking down the bus aisle to find a seat. Behind him, an older and larger classmate lurked.
Suddenly, he pulled George’s pants down to his ankles.
There was a cacophony of laughter as Georges rushed to pull his pants up — turning to see his crush starting at him dead-faced.
In another instance, the bully threw George’s head into the wall and pinned him down into his seat like a feral animal.
And if this wasn’t enough, the bully was handsome and athletic: the person ruining George’s life was popular and beloved by all girls.
The bully was unrelenting and things eventually came full circle.
Fearing he’d be seen as weak, Georges never tattled on the bully. He stoically took the abuse.
However, during one drive home, the bully punched him in the face, nearly knocking him out. It gave him a swollen black eye. His parents freaked out and forced him to reveal what had been happening. They now understood his depression and bad grades.
George’s father resolved he would speak with the bully’s dad. He drove to their house. The two met and spoke of the matter. George’s father urged the man to talk with his kid.
It didn’t work.
Georges was small, but he’d always been a fighter and full of pride.
He kept fighting back and lost every time. Eventually, the bully got tired of picking on him and moved on to an easier target.
Yet it wasn’t the last time the bully saw George.
Two decades later — a surprise run-in
Georges has now been a UFC champion for years, handing beatdowns to world-class wrestlers and elite kickboxers.
By the end of this run, he would defend his title nine times and be considered by some — the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
He is on billboards all over Canada and renowned for his athleticism, throwing Van Dam-Esque high kicks and lunging superman punches.
Georges sat in his car and turned the keys to go run errands.
Suddenly, a tall and disheveled man knocked on his window. Georges rolled down his window and heard, “Do you have any spare change?”
It was the bully.
The bully recognized Georges and his face drained.
Georges turned off his car and got out. He struck up a conversation with the man. They spoke for 15 minutes, talking about life and how things had been.
The former bully had fallen on hard times. He was unemployed and living on the streets.
There was a time when this bully had so much power over Georges — when Georges wanted nothing more than to kick his ass.
And here, fate handed him this opportune moment. Their power dynamic had been reversed.
And instead of laying down a beating, Georges handed him $100 and said, “You are full of potential. Go, man. Do well in your life. You deserve more than this.”
One year goes by.
Georges drove to visit his parents. As he walked into his house, his dad said, “A man came to visit you.”
It turned out to be his bully. He’d stopped by to thank Georges for giving him the money and talking to him. It changed his life.
That’s when George’s father told GSP something he’d never mentioned before.
When his father went to visit that bully’s dad all those years ago, he noticed the dad drinking hard liquor.
And when he left, he heard the father yelling at and hitting the bully. The bully was crying out for his dad to stop.
The bully had learned to communicate only through aggression and violence. And as is often the case, he repeated the behavior he saw at home.
People forget that bullies aren’t created in a vacuum.
It took me a long time to realize my own bullies came from similar dysfunctional homes and that they didn’t know how to reconcile their own feelings.
They couldn’t fix their pain, so they projected it on others. It was the only currency they knew.
Anyone who follows MMA knows that Georges St. Pierre is the nicest guy in the sport. He never badmouths people or curses at them.
He became this way because bullies drove him to pursue martial arts and learn respect.
Georges said, “At the time, I wanted to kill him. He was a terrible person. It wasn’t until later I realized — like most people — he was good on the inside.”
George’s story exemplifies the power of forgiveness over vengeance.
When we choose to forgive, we choose to be free.
When we latch onto grudges, we poison ourselves from within. We become vindictive, bitter people. We become no better than the abused bully. We spread our pain rather than heal it.
It’s as Confucius said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
One for your intended. The other for yourself.
Corny as it sounds, the best revenge is to stay kind, succeed, and enjoy your life.