Archive | November 2017

Your Gut Instinct: Why You Should Listen to It

gut feeling

At different times in my life, I have either met, or been around certain people whom my inner alarm tried to warn me about. I cannot explain the feeling I got. The only way I can describe this gut feeling is to say that something seemed to be “off” about these people and I would get a sinking, creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I could literally feel the bad vibes that seemed to pour fourth from these people.

When I was young, I would often mistake this feeling for “just being paranoid” and ignore the feeling, which is something that a whopping majority of bully victims do. And it proved to be to my disappointment…every time! I have since learned that had I listened to my gut and avoided these people, I could have saved myself a truckload of heartache.

God gave us all that “sixth sense” or as it is more commonly called, the “gut feeling” or “instinct”, for a reason. Anytime you get a bad feeling in your gut about someone, you are not being paranoid, you are not over-reacting. It is only your inner alarm trying to warn you about a person or situation and keep you safe.

Here are a couple of excerpts from my book, “From Victim to Victor” that explains this even further:

“…My gut feeling warned me many times about my classmate’s personalities or that someone was about to harm me in some way, shape or form. I did not listen to my innate alarm because the faith in my own intuitive abilities had been shattered. As a result, I often mistook it for being overly suspicious.

Another example of poor decision making was that I became a very MEAN and VICIOUS person. As a result, I often repelled the people who had my best interests at heart, who were genuine and would have otherwise been true friends. I missed out on a lot of opportunities for friendship because I had very quickly come to a place where I did not trust anyone.

It was much safer to put up a barrier and keep everyone, including my own family out than it was to take risks and learn how to trust the right people.

Being bullied and being stuck with unnecessary labels can very easily do this to a person. It cannot only cause you not to believe in yourself and your own abilities, but it can also enable you to trust your own innate intuition if you let it. It blinds you to people who are true as it completely zaps your senses of who is for real and who is fake, thus causing the loss of your ability to avoid dangerous people.”

“…You are not stupid. It is not only in your imagination. You are not being overly sensitive. You are not being a wimp, wuss, crybaby, crazy or whatever else unsavory people call you. You always know when something does not feel good. You can see it in the way certain people cut their eyes at you and talk through their teeth. You can hear the short and cold tone in their voices. You can feel, deep down in your gut, the nasty vibes they exude. This is why you should always listen to your gut feeling because it is never wrong. Eighty-six those people pronto!”

Please don’t ignore this instinct. Never overlook that sinking feeling in your stomach because it could save you from so much trouble. It could even save your life!

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Frenemies: Why They Are Worse Than Enemies

girl bullies

Victims often pick “friends” who only tolerate them or those who wish them ill will because they’re often lonely and desperate. For so long, they have been wrongly alienated from others due to rumors and lies that bullies have spread about them to keep them from making friends. Because the target is so hungry for a connection…any connection, he/she will befriend anyone…and I mean anyone! They are not selective with who they call “friend” and end up latching on to people who are not even worth knowing…predators, who only take advantage.

Also, young victims often assume that to be “cool”, they have to have a big circle of friends. This is not true.

With that being said, I want you to know that if you are a victim of bullying, you do not need a whole slew of people in your life to be happy nor to feel like or be a whole person. You only need your family and a few true friends. It’s safer this way. Wouldn’t you much rather have just a handful of true friends then to have an abundance of frenemies? I know I would.

In fact, you should prefer to have enemies over ‘frenemies’ because with an enemy, you know exactly where they stand without having to do any guesswork. However, with frenemies, you will always be the last to know after being played for a sucker.

If at any time you wonder about a person…if your intuition is telling you that something is “off”, put some distance between yourself and that individual and do it fast! Instinct is trying to warn you.

If your so-called friends are only tolerating you, stabbing you in the back, or sabotaging you in any way, it’s time to eighty-six these leaches to your self-esteem. And the sooner you do, the better!

This entry was posted on November 17, 2017. 1 Comment

Suicide is Never the Solution! (Part 4)

Rebecca Sedwick

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, pallbearers wearing anti-bullying T-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow, Fla. One of two teenage girls charged with stalking Rebecca Sedwick, a Florida classmate who complained of being bullied before her suicide no longer faces any criminal counts, her attorney said Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

In the previous segments of this post, I discussed how despite how beat down by bullying you may feel, you should never let it push you to taking your own life. For this last segment, I’d like to give you advice on how to overcome those feelings.

First, be positive and take charge!

Make their bullying your motivator and become that much more determined to live—to live a happier, more peaceful, and more successful life. Spend as much time as possible doing the things you enjoy and being around the people who love you the most, especially the positive people who lift you up and make you feel awesome. The caring people. The loving people. The happier you are, the less the ignorant actions and words of any bully will affect you.

Always look your best—for yourself, not for anyone else. Always do your best at any task—so you know, no matter how it turns out, that it represents all you can do—excel in your studies and pursue your interests and talents, whether art or music or sports or anything else that you do. Do what makes you feel good about yourself, just as long as it causes no harm to another person.

It’s okay to feel emotion when someone hurts you, but don’t get wrapped up in self-pity, no matter how bad things get. Be angry. Be sad. Cry, beat a pillow—do whatever you need to let those emotions out because you certainly don’t want to hold them in. And never dwell on them. Get out of that hurtful place as soon as you can to protect your confidence and self-worth.

Be a positive person! Be kind (without being a pushover of course). Meet new people. Interest yourself in others and what’s going on in their lives—folks love you if you are genuinely interested in them. Let them talk about themselves, their hobbies and interests and listen to them. While they are talking, listen with your eyes focused on them. People love someone who is excited about them. Show genuine interest in what they tell you about and get excited about their dreams. Be happy for them when they achieve those dreams and wish them well. Smile and greet people, calling them by name. Doing this, you will eventually make lots of friends and live down any bad any reputation caused by bullies.

That’s how I did it. I no longer have the horrible reputation I once had. I have so many friends today that it’s hard for me to keep up with all of them. I’ve also won over many of my former bullies from school. That’s right. Several of the people who once bullied me in school are now some of my closest friends!

I did it by taking my focus off of me and acquiring a genuine interest in others. I did it by replacing hate, contempt, and bitterness with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I did it by loving myself and seeing my own worth as a person. I quit worrying about what others thought of me and I made my goal to do the right thing always.

Did that make everybody like me? Of course not. But instead of concerning myself with what others think or do, I focus on how good I make others feel about themselves. Did I put a smile on someone’s face, someone who would otherwise be sad? Did I make a difference in the life of at least one person today? Did I restore someone’s hope? Was I the difference in someone deciding against taking his or her own life?

I always hope so!

Build yourself up by building up others. Meet new and interesting people and connect with them. You’ll be surprised how having those people in your life will push aside your experiences with the bad and turn things around for you. You have too much to experience and too much to offer. So get out there, do your best, make a difference, and enjoy each and every day for the gift it is!

Suicide is Never the Solution (Part 3)

brokenheart

I tell you all this because I understand what it’s like to be driven to such a dark and awful place. When I was young and bullied and felt completely alone, I resorted to an attempt to take my own life. It was one of the stupidest things I’d ever considered, ever attempted and I tell you this only because I want you to know I really do understand your pain and your desperation to get out of the corner you feel your bullies have backed you into.

In hindsight, I never should have made that attempt on my own life. All that would’ve happened was that the people who called me names and thought I was stupid, weak and beneath them would have concluded that they were right all along. Instead, I should have wanted to live and to stick around—even if for no other reason than to piss off all those who had made me so miserable that I would think about something so final and wasteful.

Besides, suicide is for quitters. I fought like hell to hold on to my pride, dignity, and self-respect! And most importantly, I lived through it and eventually things changed for the better. I lived to write a book, which has been my way of turning what was once a very negative experience into a positive outcome, and help people who are suffering as I did.

If I had it to do over, the most important change would be that I would have worked on me. I would have gotten busy practicing and honing my talents, and I would be unafraid to display those talents. I would have entered talent shows and writing contests—winning all sorts of prizes! I would have begun striving toward self-improvement and a deeper understanding of both what was happening to me and the world and the people around me.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the same gawd-awful place I was then, let me tell you something: You are not a quitter! You are a fighter, and if you remain tough long enough, you will emerge a winner! I can almost guarantee it! So don’t give up! Don’t quit! As long as you keep on living, you keep on fighting. And as long as you keep on fighting, you’ve already won.

You just don’t know it yet.

Suicide is never the answer. Never. I didn’t realize then that I was playing right into my bullies’ hands. I was giving them exactly what they wanted—they were already out to destroy me, and I was making it easier for them.

Now that I know better, there will be a cold day in Hades before I will ever let another person beat me that far down again. Instead, I will only be that much more determined to keep living and enjoying the good things.

There is beauty in life, if you look for it.

(To be continued.)

Suicide is Never the Solution (Part 2)

bullycide7

In Part 1, I discussed how suicide not only cheats you out of all the great possibilities ahead of you, it only really hurts the people who love you, and how it really just gives your bully the final say over you. Today, I’d like to expand on who you let have say over you.

In terms of who you are, it’s not what anyone calls you or say to you.

It’s what you answer to.

Your life does not depend on who does or who does not like you. Neither does it depend on who hates you.

I recently went to my twenty-fifth class reunion, where I got to see about thirty classmates, most of whom either bullied me or sold me out at some point when we were in school together. Although the vast majority of them have grown up and become kind people, there were still maybe two or three who—after all these years—still hold resentment and contempt.

Although, they never came out and said anything (for fear of looking bad in front of our other classmates—remember that one of bullies’ biggest fears is having their own flaws exposed), when they looked at me I could see their disdain plain in their eyes, in their facial expressions and in their body language. One woman—a grown woman in her forties—even threw a dig at me while sitting right beside me at a meeting just a month prior to the reunion.

How did I respond, you’re wondering? With a smile, of course, before receiving a genuine hug from another classmate in the room.

More mature and far stronger than I was in high school, I could have fired an evil shot of my own back at her. But why would I? Rather than waste the energy on her, I simply—and very gracefully—blew her off, giving only more proof to my understanding that there are, believe it or not, adolescents over the age of forty out there.

Age does not equal maturity.

I was the adult, and she was the petty high school girl looking for someone to bully to make herself feel more important. I take great pride in myself for responding to such immature ugliness with class. And I had an awesome time at the reunion! I continued to be my authentic and fabulous self. I socialized and danced! I let my hair down, let myself shine, and ended up having a wonderful time and being very glad I went!

What I didn’t do was let a few nasties spoil it for me.

The bullying didn’t stop at graduation twenty-five years ago. As sad as this sounds, all through life, you will encounter ignorant and unpleasant people.

I want to prepare you for this.

You must learn now how to let the ignorance of these few small-minded people roll off your back. There will always be people who won’t approve of you. But remember: it’s their issue, not yours. If it isn’t you, it will be someone else. Don’t take what they say and do as truth about yourself. Never allow yourself to be sucked into thinking that there is something wrong with you just because people refuse to see your worth. There is nothing wrong with you.

They may call you the foulest, most horrible names in the English language—so what? It doesn’t mean that you’re what they say. Remember that bullies are liars! You are strong, resilient, determined, intelligent, and they don’t like it because it reminds them of what they are not!

Refuse to let them bring you down! Never give anyone the power to determine how you feel about yourself. Never let them decide if you’re having fun or what mood you should be in. And for sure, never give them the power to cause you to end your own life. All that happens then is they get to know they were right about you.

And you won’t get to see how truly pathetic they are at your high school reunion.

(To be continued)

Suicide is Never the Solution (Part 1)

bullycide8

Last year, the suicide of Destiny Gleason drew media attention last year, driving home the sad truth of an epidemic of suicide among young people due to bullying and abuse. What I cannot stress enough is that suicide is totally fruitless and counter-productive. People who take their own lives seldom think of the ramifications.

When you commit suicide at such a young age, you cheat yourself out of possibility—possibility happiness, of fulfillment, and of any chance at a wonderful future. You also cheat the people who love you, setting them up for a lifetime of heartache and the years and years of the nagging question Why? that they will ask for a lifetime and never have answered.

Please realize that even though things may seem hopeless now, life can and most likely will eventually change for the better. As long as you are still alive, things can improve…and they can improve drastically. Taking your own life leaves you no chance for anything else, no chance to see things get better. Once you’re gone, there’s no coming back. You miss out on all the possibilities, and end up cheating yourself.

Suicide is not an escape. It’s not glamorous. And it is certainly not a way to obtain sympathy. The bullies and whoever else mistreated you won’t feel the least bit sorry about it—some, in fact, some might even be happy that you’re no longer around. The worst of them will even feel satisfied that they were able to control you so far as to end your own life! And you know what they’ll do then? Select someone else to torment and denigrate while you’re six feet under and forgotten.

Suicide isn’t a way to be remembered. People will mourn you, but only for a little while. Then they’ll move on with their lives—Life will go on after you’re gone. If I seem brutal and unfeeling telling you this, it’s because truth is both cold and hard and shock a little sense into any of you who are contemplating doing something really, really stupid.

Before you make the decision to end your life, ask yourself these questions:

Is suicide something that you want to be remembered for?
Do you really want to give your bullies the satisfaction of knowing that they had the power of life and death over you?
Do you want to give them that power?

I would hope and pray you do not!

They already have enough power over you. Don’t give them any more!

If a bully tells you “go kill yourself,” ask the bully and ask yourself who that person is to decide whether you should live or die? In fact think about these questions:

Who are they to decide your worth as a human being
Who are they to decide whether or not you’re good enough?
Who are they to decide who or what you are or should be?
And who the, um, heck are they to decide whether you should live or die?

(To be continued.)

If Adults Have a Legal Right to Defend Themselves Against a Mugger on the Street, Then Why Don’t Kids Have the Right to Defend Themselves Against Bullies in the Locker Rooms?

bullyinggirls2

Throughout my life, I’ve heard and read stories of kids enduring relentless bullying in school. I’ve even experienced it myself. These kids try to be the bigger person…they ignore the taunts and threats and walk away. However, when this happens, bullies are persistent and will only further pursue their victims.

Why? Because bullies perceive the victim’s avoidance of trouble as either fear or defiance, becoming either emboldened or angered by the passive response and more determined to “get” the victim! Bullies will only continue and escalate the harassment until a physical brawl ensues. As a result, the victim is either severely harmed or snaps and seriously harms the bully.

Only then, school officials, whom are supposed to be the adults- fair and just, find it much easier just to blame the victim. Therefore, it is the victim who gets the suspension from school while the bullies get off scot free, taking the impunity as a green light to continue the harassment.

A child in school being attacked by bullies is no different than an adult being attacked in the street by a mugger. However, an adult can successfully and legally defend him/herself against any assailant on the street and escape charges. In most cases, if an adult is the victim of a violent street crime, the perpetrator is usually identified, arrested, tried and convicted given evidence presented by witnesses and prosecutors.

On the other hand, if a child is attacked by bullies in the halls or locker room at school, most schools are only too happy to sweep the incident under the rug and deny that there is an issue of bullying at “their facility”. This would be akin to the police covering up crimes against adults on the street in “their city” to make the area look safer than what it really is.

So, here are my questions:

1. If an adult is attacked on the street by criminals and those criminals are brought to justice, why then don’t bullied children and teens get the same justice?

2. Why is it okay for an adult victim on the street to fight an attacker in self-defense, but not okay for a child/teen to defend themselves against bullies?

I’ll leave you to ponder these legitimate questions and comment below. Have a great weekend!