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)