The timeline of our pre-teen and teenage years unfortunately encompasses a certain degree of bullying in schools and online. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, I’m sure you know someone who has. Despite the pressing anti-bullying movements, we ultimately cannot control the way others treat each other, speak to each other, speak about each other, or have any power over what is said online or in the privacy of someone’s home.
Considering this, almost everyone has dealt with being a victim of bullying to some level. Kids make fun of each other, cliques form, and people say mean things to each other growing up to make themselves feel better… it’s all about fitting in. The less confident you feel, the more likely you are to attack others, because putting someone else down for something makes people feel better about themselves.
They need to talk about you to get attention because if they talked about themselves, no one would care.
It is awful and disgusting, but a reality. And to convince ourselves that this stops as we get older would be a lie we tell ourselves to think the world is a bright and shining place. But the sad, unfortunate truth is that even adults bully others.
Some people just never grow out of it.
We just need to learn how to filter people out of our lives that don’t ever strip themselves of these nasty habits.
Life is too short to live by someone else’s standards, by someone else’s critiques and shameless attempts to bring you down.
I scrolled through my Instagram feed one day and saw a quote that really stuck with me and prompted me to write a blog on this topic. The quote was by social media coordinator @alisaysdance and posted on Elite Daily’s page:
“I used to care what people thought about me, until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions.”
Umm, yes. YAS. So, so, so true. This just goes to show how little people’s opinion of you matters. When is the last time someone’s negative perception helped you do well in school, helped you get a job, helped you complete honorable milestones, helped you on your journey to happiness, helped you pay your bills, helped you do what REALLY matters in life.
Never. The answer is never.
People will always have something bad to say about others. But at the end of the day, it matters not.
I heard this comparison once (I wish I could remember where I heard this, but for the life of me, I can’t remember but I don’t take credit for it as my own quote) that really displayed this message in a good light.
“Picture a peach. It could be the most beautiful, perfectly shaped, delicious and mouth-watering peach you’ve ever seen. But at the end of the day, there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.”
This is the exact analogy people should think of when regarding someone else’s opinion. There will ALWAYS (cannot stress this enough) be people who don’t like you and have something to complain about your character or personality. You cannot please everyone and it should not be your mission or the prime focus of your thoughts to try to get everyone to like you… because the ONE time you find someone who doesn’t like you, it will tear you apart and you will do things out of character and fake certain aspects of your personality to try to get their approval.
But please remember, their approval does not matter. If they do not accept you just the way you are, maybe they just weren’t meant to be a part of your life. And that’s perfectly okay. I can’t even tell you how many “friends” I have filtered through in my life for so many different reasons… but guess what? None of their opinions have stopped me from succeeding in all that I do. The most important part of life is accepting yourself, loving yourself, and being completely happy being just you. You should not have to adapt your unique personality to get someone to approve of you. Your REAL friends will be accepting, appreciative, and welcoming of everything you have to offer as a human being.
KNOW. YOUR. WORTH.
Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you affect you because it infringes on your own happiness. You should work on your happiness like a full-time job.
In all honesty, bullying can also help you build a thick skin. In my experience, going through years of being bullied sucked at the time. It really killed my self-esteem and made me feel like I was worth nothing…as if no one would care if I ceased to exist on this planet. Like it would make no difference in the world if I woke up in the morning. But I stuck through it because I knew I was better than that. I knew that no matter how long it took (and it took years, unfortunately) that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That someday, I would meet someone who would like me just the way I am. Someone that could appreciate my successes, talents, and efforts to be a valuable and skilled person. Someone that could see past my flaws and see me for who I am inside. A true friend WOULD walk into my life someday and that was a reason to carry on.
This is not to say I never let mean comments get to me because I totally did. It destroyed me and ripped at my heart like a knife slicing through fibers of wounded tissue. Mean comments definitely leave a scar.
But I felt that this helped me grow and built me into a stronger individual. After dealing with so many hurtful things people said, I started to feel numb to these comments.
“Jamie, you’re ugly and no one likes you.”
“You’re such a nerd.”
“ You can’t sit with us.” (Okay so no one actually said this to me, I just used this quote because it is a stereotypical example from the movie Mean Girls… but people DO say this.)
The list goes on.
At first, when people did not approve, it destroyed me. All I wanted was to be accepted. I shattered myself by letting their negative, IRRELEVANT opinions affect me. But that’s what it took. I had to destroy myself before I ever learned to fix myself, and build myself up stronger, better and more confident than before.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the poetry book “Salt.” By Nayyirah Waheed:
does not want me
it is not the end of the world.
if I do not want me
the world is nothing but endings.”
Man, was THIS hard for me to get a grip of as I grew up. But it holds a lot of truth. What happens when you live for the acceptance and value of others? When you put other people’s contentedness before your own? When you don’t allow yourself to be happy?
As Waheed beautifully puts it, your world will have nothing but endings. You will never be satisfied with the life you are living if you are constantly obsessing over what other people want from you. Do what YOU want. Whatever will make YOU happy, do it… even if other people don’t agree. It is YOUR life, not theirs. No one has the authority or the jurisdiction to dictate how you live your life other than you. Don’t let the bullies control how you see yourself. They can’t pull the trigger if you don’t give them the gun.
I’ll end this post on another good quote from Elite Daily’s Instagram page as a thoughtful blurb you should consider every time someone gets you down:
“You have this one life. How do you wanna spend it? Apologizing? Regretting? Questioning? Hating yourself? Dieting? Running after people who don’t see you? Be brave. Believe in yourself. Do what feels good. Take risks. You have this one life. Make yourself proud.”
*drops the mic…