Bullies want you to believe that you’re nothing without their approval.
They want you to think that they control your very existence and that you can’t make friends, find a date, make the sports team, win a prize or have any successes without their say so.
Understand that this is how they brainwash you to wrest complete control and domination over your life. If they can make you believe that you’re nothing without their approval, then they succeed in taking away your power!
But know this! You do not need approval from anyone except the people who love you back. If the person doesn’t see your worth, their opinions of you shouldn’t matter.
Putting others first isn’t a bad thing. It shows that you care about your fellow man and that you’re willing to contribute some good to the world. It’s an outstanding character trait to have.
Many people have been conditioned, often by well-meaning parents, that the polite thing to do is to put others ahead of ourselves. That making sacrifices for others shows manners and that we’re “good people”- that we are well-mannered and have morals. Nothing wrong with it.
However, when that courtesy is overdone or done at your own expense, that’s when it becomes a bad thing. The problem is that people will come to expect you to be a yes-person and take their crap. You’ll soon attract users and abusers and become a doormat.
In taking this advice, many of us found out the hard way that giving too much of ourselves sometimes involved overlooking abuse. Even worse, we found that it didn’t make the mistreatment go away but only encouraged the person to abuse us later.
Growing up, I heard every excuse you can imagine.
“Oh, they’re just having a bad day.”
“Maybe they have an abusive or cheating spouse at home.”
“Oh, but you never know what that person is going through.” Blah-blah-b-blah.
A few adults in my family and a few teachers advised me to,
“Give them a break.”
“Cut so-and-so some slack.”
“Try to overlook him.”
“Oh, but try to put yourself in her shoes.”
That got old very quickly. I eventually grew fed up and wanted to scream, “Um- EXCUSE ME! I’ve been ‘reasonable,’ and the only thing I ever got from it is taken advantage of! Would you be reasonable if this happened to you?!”
The point is that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s okay to put yourself first. And no law or rule says you have to tolerate unacceptable behavior- from anyone! Ever!
Anytime you’re mistreated, then advised or forced to “be nice” or “understand what Joe Blow is going through,” it only means that, subconsciously, the givers of this advice either don’t care about your boundaries, or they’re afraid of making the offending person angrier, and of the situation escalating. Some people can’t handle conflict.
They are only trying to silence you to appease the person who’s being a total jackass.
These kinds of advice and expectations can do one of either two things to you as you get older:
A. It can program you to be over tolerant of unacceptable and abusive behaviors and set you up for a life of getting bullied by other people.
You grow up being so afraid of pissing anyone off that you accept any abuse to avoid conflict. You end up living a life of being crapped on by others.
B. It can have the exact opposite effect and give you an “F-you” attitude and a bad case of The Don’t-Give-A-Shits.
Because of being forced to accept bad behavior in the past, you become a mean, bitter, and apathetic adult and could care less about anyone. That’s not good either.
I’m one of the lucky ones. It gave me an equal blend of both. I believe in treating others how I’d want them to treat me and don’t mind lending a helping hand to someone who needs it.
But if for one moment, I suspect that someone is taking my kindness for being a fool, I’ll drop that person like a bad habit and they’re on their own!
It’s okay to be kind. It’s okay to put others before you, but only in particular circumstances.
It’s perfectly fine to give an older adult your chair in a crowded doctor’s office.
It’s okay to get up and offer your seat to a combat soldier in a crowded airport.
In fact, it’s called having respect for elders and servicemen and women who fight for your country.
But never take abuse nor accept excuses for unacceptable behavior. Anytime someone crosses a line with you, go ahead. Respond in kind. Give it back to them because only then will the person realize that you aren’t a doormat and find someone else to abuse.
This is not selfish or being self-centered. It’s called self-preservation.
Haters hate because of their own insecurities. They’re the type of people who resent everyone who dares to do better than them. And they’re everywhere! You see them at school, in the workplace, in the neighborhood, and even in the family!
Haters are people who go out of their way to make you feel bad about yourself. They badmouth you, discourage you, give scathing reviews, undermine your achievements, and sabotage you to slow down or stop your progress.
Here are things haters will say when they find out you’ve succeeded at something:
1. “Oh, but you’ll never do that.”
2. “Oh, but you can’t.”
3. “She recorded a CD? Well, she didn’t do much! Anybody can do that!”
4. “She’s not so hot!”
5. “She thinks she’s so (pretty, so much smarter than everyone else, etc.).
When your hater sees you happy and doing good for yourself, it makes her feel worthless and she’ll stop at nothing to block any success you aim for. Understand that these people may or may not want the success for themselves, the power (and pleasure) is in the taking of yours.
Haters hate because they feel inadequate. Therefore, they must make you feel inadequate. Do you see where this is going?
Haters will come at you with a barrage of insults and name-calling. They may talk trash behind your back and try to kill your relationships. And you don’t necessarily have to be successful to have haters.
In fact, you might not even know why they’re hating on you. But understand that if you know you haven’t provoked them in any way, it’s a good bet that it all comes from jealousy! There’s something you have that they don’t and they don’t think they can get. Or, there’s something you’re getting to do that they can’t do.
Realize that your success highlights and reminds them of their failures. And the only thing haters can do to feel good about themselves is either insult and ridicule you, or avoid you altogether. And in doing so, they get to forget about their unfulfilled dreams.
They’re only raking you through the mud because the mere sight of you reminds them of what they could never achieve.
It only goes to show that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not your fault that these people are either too scared or too lazy to put in the work required to live the life they want to live.
I want you to realize that the hatred itself is an admission of your awesomeness, your worthiness, and your value. It is the confession of your accomplishments. It is also the unspoken admission of their fear, insecurity, and inferiority; and a testament to their cowardice, laziness, and lack of confidence!
Because if the haters had any confidence in themselves, you wouldn’t trigger so much hatred in them, you would only trigger motivation. You would inspire them to get off their butts and work to reach their goals and dreams.
Instead of hating you, they would look up to you and want you to mentor them!
This is why you should never allow them to make you feel bad about yourself, or guilty for your successes and for having something they don’t. Instead, you should use their hate as your motivation to achieve greater success. Hate should be used as fuel! There’s a reason why it’s often said that “Haters make you famous!”
Success produces enemies, always! Accept it. Better yet, embrace it and love it!
You must avoid people who have a dark disposition and who are consistently unfortunate and do it at all costs. It’s okay to help someone when they’re in trouble and provide a listening ear to someone who’s sad and needs to talk. Nothing wrong with that.
But if a person seems to live in a dark place, never seems to get out of the funk they’re in, and has bad stuff happen to them nonstop, it’s best to either limit time spent with them or avoid them altogether.
‘You see? Moods and emotional states are as contagious as the flu. And another person’s bad moods and misfortunes have a way of rubbing off on the people around them.
It’s much better to keep company with people who are happy, successful, and satisfied with their lives. Now, before I go on, I realize that bad things sometimes happen to good people and that just because someone is unfortunate doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re negative.
Some have been brought down by circumstances beyond their control. They are the ones we offer a helping hand to.
However, others bring misfortune on themselves by their negative attitudes, actions, and effect on others. We should avoid these people like the plague because there’s no changing them. In fact, they will only end up changing you and not for the better.
Again, understand that we’re all susceptible to the moods, emotional states, and ways of thinking of the people we spend time with. And those who are unhappy and unstable have a contagion effect on us because of the extreme intensity of their emotions.
These are people with a victim mentality and most bullies do present themselves as victims. They will never admit that they bring a lot of bad karma on themselves by the way they treat others. And if you’re not careful, they’ll only bring you down too, because they will overwhelm you with their forceful nature.
How you keep a positive attitude is to keep company with positive and happy people. These people don’t have to mistreat or bully anyone to feel good about themselves. They’re already happy and enjoying their lives.
And they’re such a pleasure to be around. When you befriend and spend time with people who are happy and positive, you get to share in their happiness and prosperity. You become a part of the happiness they embody and the happiness they attract to themselves.
So, why not keep them around and let their joy infect you? You’ll be so glad you did!
Many times, I’ve noticed that it’s the quiet person who often gets targeted by bullies. So, why do bullies go after those who have little to say? The silent types usually mind their own business. They have no need for attention, and they don’t bother anyone.
Quiet people don’t feel the need to be a part of a group to feel important. They work hard and stay out of the way. So, again. Why do bullies target them?
There are several reasons:
1. Bullies presume them to be weak and timid. Most people are under the misguided belief that anyone quiet is afraid of conflict. They think that the silent types are socially awkward misfits who others have shot down in the past and are now using avoidance to play it safe.
But in reality, they have better things to do and have no time for gossip and other meaningless chit-chats.
2. Bullies mistakenly believe they’re least likely to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, bullies think that because someone isn’t loud and obnoxious like they are, they won’t defend themselves when provoked. This is a fallacy. I’ve seen many bullies push silents too far and end up with a face-full of humble pie.
3. They’re are mistaken for being standoffish. Bullies will presume that silents are stuck up and think they’re too good to speak. And bullies can’t stand it if there’s a possibility that someone is ignoring them. So they target the person to get a reaction out of them. Or, they punish them for “being so stuck up.”
4. The silent are thought of as sneaky and having something to hide. So bullies will often target them to shake them up and make them slip up and accidentally reveal “whatever it is they’re hiding” out of nervousness.
Bullies often believe the stereotypes they’ve heard about people of few words:
“It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!”
“The quiet ones are the most dangerous!”
But wait! It goes much deeper.
5. Quiet people intimidate bullies. Only the bullies will never in this lifetime admit it. So, why would someone so silent be so intimidating to bullies?
a. They’re unpredictable. Remember that bullies rely on a target’s predictability to bully effectively. And if you can’t predict what a person’s next move is likely to be, that, in and of itself, can be very frightening. And if the person is the kind who’s stoic, all the more difficult it will be to “get their number.” The less you say, the harder others must work to figure you out.
Also, many bullies see the silence as a challenge and will rise to it by provoking the person to get a reaction.
b. Having little to say keeps people off balance. If bullies can’t figure out where you stand on anything, where your hot buttons are, or your desires, likes, and dislikes, they have less fodder and ammo to use against you.
And if they aren’t sure what gets you excited, ticks you off, or makes you nervous, they can’t control you so easily.
Also, because you don’t show your cards, bullies resent you for making them work so hard to pin them.
c. Quiet people expose bullies by staying- well, quiet! They’re very in tune with what goes on around them and listen very deeply while those around them rattle off at the mouth, exposing everything about themselves.
d. In their silence, quiet people terrify bullies. They keep them under their control. Subconsciously, bullies know this, and it drives them nuts!
e. People desire to know what others are thinking. Again. Quiet people make bullies uncomfortable and their silence makes it difficult to guess their intentions.
f. Quiet people put bullies on the defensive. Their answers are short and silences are long, which automatically puts bullies on the defense because the bullies assume the person is getting short with them.
If you’re a silent person and a target of bullies, don’t let them shake you. Continue to play your cards close to the vest. Your lack of predictability is what protects you. You must understand that silence has a power all it’s own. Use it.
When I posted “My 12 Takeaways from Being Bullied” a while back, perhaps it should’ve been titled with a thirteen instead of a twelve.
Later, another takeaway came to mind that I hadn’t thought of and failed to mention. But before I tell you what it is, allow me to elaborate a little first.
Many of my bullies in school were the most irresponsible and incompetent people I’d ever met. They were spoiled, coddled and babied which caused them to be self-entitled, demanding, arrogant and ignorant. Many of them would get into trouble with the school, juvenile authorities, or the police. And they would do these things repeatedly.
Any time they got themselves in a jam, here come Mom and Dad to the rescue. Their parents would either pull a few strings or pay through the nose to pry little junior’s butt out of the crack he’d gotten it stuck in.
If they made a bad grade, the parents would come to the school and chew the teacher out for giving the grade. Or they would cheat their way to a passing grade.
Many of my female bullies would end up pregnant, some repeatedly, and their parents would swoop in to fund their abortions to keep her from bringing shame to the family. What’s even funnier is that some of these kids were those no one ever in a million years thought would end up in such predicaments.
This is not to say that I look down on anyone who goes to jail, who has gotten PG out of wedlock or has had an abortion because we all screw up- and screw up BIG- at some point in life. So, understand that I’m not judging anyone, nor am I expressing any views.
My point to this post is this: They never learned to take responsibility for their own lives. And why would they if they were never made to?
I look back now and realize that it’s no wonder most of these people had the attitudes they had.
With that said, here’s my 13th takeaway:
I learned early on that I was the only person responsible for my own safety, success, and future happiness and no one else! And I had to be willing to do whatever it took to bootstrap my way back up. And it was the same with my other siblings.
There were no freebies nor piggyback rides.
If I screwed up (and I did many times), my parents didn’t bail me out. They stood back, let me fall flat on my tookus, then pick myself up afterward- all by myself! And they did it to teach me responsibility for my actions.
And when you’re a kid, you don’t realize the tough love and good intentions behind it. You don’t see the eventual payoff. You don’t think about how this will mold you into a much better person and make life much easier for you in the future.
All you’re looking at is the here and now. All you see is what’s in front of your face, which is every other kid getting to do whatever wrong they want and getting a pat on the head and a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card while you’re having the book thrown at you. And no, it’s not fun. In fact, it downright sucks!
But! Though it may not have felt good nor seemed fair at the time, through it all, I learned independence. I learn self-control. I discovered my own strength and that I was unstoppable!
And if I can go through six long years of brutal bullying and remain standing, then nothing is impossible, and there’s no limit to the heights I can achieve.
The majority of people who are bullied are those who come from families who’ve instilled morals, integrity and the importance of accountability in them. These people are often the brightest, most hard-working, decent, caring, and, most of all, bravest people around.
When you’re bullied, you learn to overcome so many obstacles and move on with life. And you learn by yourself. You learn to fight like the dickens for your safety, well-being, and your happiness. You also learn that if you want anything in life, it’s up to only you to put in the effort to get it.
In closing, I want to thank my bullies for showing me my own strength and for giving me the grit to stay in the fight, to adapt, to overcome, and to win!
“You will spend your entire lives trying to figure out how to keep others down because it makes you feel more important. There is a bigger world out there, bigger than prom, bigger than high school. It won’t matter if you were the prom queen or the quarterback of the football team or the biggest nerd in the school. Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.”