When You Have the Nerve, the Audacity, the Chutzpah!… to Think for Yourself!

Make no mistake! You will be hated. You will be demonized- considered a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a riffraff, or a crazy person who’s “mentally imbalanced.”

Thinking for yourself, or being an independent thinker, whatever you prefer to call it, is such sweet freedom. Yet most people have always been afraid to do it because it’s much safer to be a follower and to do as you’re told without question or without even thinking about it.

Most choose to take the easy path- the safest route and follow the lead of a person in power, even if that person hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. Even sadder is the fact that people will follow an influencer or person in power, even when evidence is presented that this person who does the speaking is likely leading them to their own demise!

People automatically take orders from someone deemed superior or powerful without ever asking themselves what the person giving the orders has to gain from their compliance.

There’s much truth to the old saying that people are less afraid of death than they are of being ostracized by society.

I can certainly understand the fear of being the object of bullying, shunning, and ostracization. No one wants to be ousted from “the social club” because human beings are hardwired by God and nature to be social animals. The ability to socialize, nurture relationships, and be a part of a tribe was how we survived back during prehistoric times, and anyone who was ousted from the tribe risked starvation and extinction.

However, it’s easier for the shunned to survive today. And I’d much rather have my freedom. Freedom requires the ability to pick, choose, and think independently despite what others may think of us.

Understand that when you think for yourself, you step out of your comfort zone and open up unlimited possibilities for yourself. Thinking for yourself means trusting your gut and following your instincts. It means knowing that your gut will always tell you when something doesn’t sound or feel right.

Realize that the reason why people have intense hatred toward a person who thinks independently is because the free thinker is least likely to be controlled or to fall for any tricks and manipulation.

The person who thinks for himself is more likely to see right through smoke screens and fakery as if looking through glass. This is because independent thinkers know themselves well. They think critically, and, again, they listen to their gut instincts and refuse to engage in anything that feels unhealthy or dangerous.

Sadly, we live in a culture of bullying- one that demands that we deny our God-given sixth sense and follow along, even to our own detriment. Bullies in power demand that we deny our own needs and human rights. They send the unwritten message that we have no right to defend ourselves and our families. They decry that we should put them first and ourselves and our loved ones last.

So, they use big and rich Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, politicians, media personalities and other people of influence and great power to persuade us to go along with them and their way of thinking, living, and doing things. Individuality is strongly discouraged, ridiculed, and even severely punished, as is creativity, originality, and meritocracy.

Simply put, bullies in power demand that we do not think for ourselves but only the way they want us to think. And sadly, most of us are hoodwinked into believing that, just because the people giving the narrative have great power and influence, they automatically know what they’re talking about and “only want what’s best for us and the rest of humanity,” when, in most cases, the exact opposite is true.

Remember that these people are not gods. They are human just like the rest of us and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. Understand that they are just as fallable and capable of error.

We must realize that power corrupts, and it takes a special and unique person to not be corrupted by power. We must understand that the vast majority of those in power do not have our best interests at heart but are only out to use us to fulfill their own agendas and end goals. And once they feel that we’ve served our purpose and they no longer need us, they will discard us like dirty diapers.

People in power, who are corrupt, often use beautiful-sounding words and phrases, such as, “for the common good,” and “for the good or betterment of humanity.”

They often portray themselves to be the saviors of humanity or warriors and champions for social justice, all while working behind the scenes to destroy the very groups of people they claim to represent and care about.

In short, they hide their evil intentions behind the veneer of philanthropy, love, and goodwill.

Remember that Satan never appears as an ugly red devil with horns and a pointy tail, he always comes as our biggest dream come true, whether it be the man or woman of our dreams, or a sweetheart of a deal that’s hard to refuse. The devil always comes as an angel of light. That is why we should keep our focus on the person’s actions and not their words.

That’s why it’s so important that we think for ourselves. We must also understand that there will be sacrifices for it and we will more than likely endure a truckload of hatred and vitriol from countless others, even those we think are friends and allies. Finally, we must trust that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, it will all be worth it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Counting My Blessings!

Do I have a perfect life? Of course not. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’ve been blessed in so many ways- more than I can count.

I have so much to be thankful for:

1.A wonderful family I cherish and a small circle of friends I adore.

2. A wonderful husband who loves, takes care of me, and who I love and take care of back.

3. I still have my health.

4. God allowed me to see another beautiful day.

5. We’ve been super-blessed during this pandemic.

6. My husband, children, and family are healthy.

7. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food to eat.

8. I’ve gotten to travel and see many awesome places.

9. I’ve gotten the chance to write and publish four books.

10. I’ve overcome bullying.

11. I have a sound mind.

12. I’ve lived to be 50 years old. Sadly, many people don’t make it this far.

There are so many more blessings I’m thankful for that I couldn’t possibly name them all. What are you thankful for today?

My Tribute to a Great Musician

Sadly, as most of us already know, Dusty Hill of ZZ Top passed away just the other day. I feel as if this is the end of an era. During the last few years, many great musicians have left this world- Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, and now, Dusty Hill.

Like writing, music was another thing that helped me survive bullying years ago. It was one of my escapes and I don’t know what I would’ve done without either one.

So, here’s my tribute to ZZ Top and to the music I’m so blessed to have grown up listening to!

RIP Dusty Hill!

Would You Rather Be Accepted or Only Tolerated?

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When people talk of tolerance, I immediately cringe. I don’t find the word very attractive because let’s be real here. The word itself has a bad smell. To put it bluntly, it sounds downright gross!

Sadly, many targets of bullying are so afraid of being alone that they settle for friends who aren’t friends at all. And the people the target associates with may keep the target under the impression that he’s being accepted when, in fact, they may only be tolerating him. And you can tolerate someone without accepting them.

I know a few who assume that acceptance and tolerance mean the same but they don’t. The difference between the two is huge.

For example, you’re in polite company and the guy sitting next to you, (who happened to scarf three huge bean burritos for supper last night, then put away three eggs for breakfast this morning) covertly eases forth a silent but deadly fart. You catch the first nauseating whiff but can’t hold your nose nor leave the room without seeming rude to everyone else in the room.

Instead, you only sit there, trying to keep a poker face, and nonchalantly hold your breath until you’re sure the smell has dissipated. That’s what tolerance is.

Tolerance means that people allow the target to be around but secretly wish he’d go the hell away. And it has a way of seeping through in how they think of the person, how they act around him, and how they behave toward him.

So, how is the target to know if he’s being tolerated?

Here are the signs:

1. The target will be excluded from any events or social gatherings.
If you’re the target, you’ll often hear the rest of the group talking about the barbeque or sleepover they had over the weekend. You know, the one that none of them thought to invite you to? Show these morons you have a modicum of self-respect and walk away. You don’t need them.

2. The target will feel left out because the other members of the group will be communicating with all other members except her. You’d much rather be alone than to be lonely. Alone is when you’re physically by yourself. Lonely is when you’re among people, yet you’re still alone because to them, you don’t exist. You can be alone but not be lonely. Realize that if you ever feel lonely and you’re in a group, that’s the time to tell them to go kick rocks and be on your way.

3. The target will feel as if he’s tagging behind the group.
Again, if they seem to always leave you behind, eighty-six them and bid them goodbye.

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4. Other members of the group will voice their hatred of the target anytime he isn’t around to hear it. The target will then hear about it later. If they stab you in the back, it’s time to ditch them. You’d much rather be by yourself and keep your dignity rather than stay among those toxic people and lose it.

5. There’s always that sickening “elephant in the room” feeling.
Feeling awkward around these people is a sure sign that they don’t deserve your friendship. Understand that this is only your gut trying to warn you about these people. Listen to it!

If people tolerate a person, they only permit having them around when there’s no other choice. And they’ll take every chance of voicing their seething hatred of the person when he/she isn’t around to defend themselves. They allow the person to be around because there’s no way they can make them go away or say anything without looking like a heel. When the tolerated person is present, the rest just grin and bear it.

Here’s why the target should drop these people:

1. By continuing to be around people who tolerate him/her, the target decreases his value as a person. That’s right. Anytime you must crawl behind people who don’t give a crap about you, you make yourself look like you have no other options. People who see this lose all respect for you and think you’re weak and worse, desperate. Therefore, your value will drop like a meteor!

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2. You’ll risk being used and abused. Any time you’re desperate to have friends, you’ll settle for any crumb of human connection. You’ll be willing to put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone.

Users and abusers will take notice of this and hang around only to get something from you. And those who are decent people and would otherwise be good friends will want nothing to do with you because desperation is so off-putting and only repels them.

3. You’ll only embarrass yourself and further erode your self-esteem. If you don’t have respect for yourself, no one else will either. No one respects anyone they deem pathetic.

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You need to muster up some pride and stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself! Begin rejecting them and have nothing more to do with them. Then watch your value rise again and see how much better you feel about yourself afterward.

Tolerance just plain sucks! For both parties! It sucks for the others because they don’t want to be around the target but don’t know how to get rid of them without looking like a bunch of jerks. It also sucks for the tolerated person because he/she in a place they’re not welcome and in a situation in which they’re mistreated and even abused. It sucks for everyone involved because the energy in the room is bad.

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Anytime a person in a group of people is only tolerated, everyone feels it.

Tolerance includes resentment. It’s gritting your teeth, sitting there with contempt on your face, and drumming your fingers until the person finally leaves. Tolerance makes the tolerated person feel crappy because it’s begrudging and there’s suffering on the part of the tolerating people.

We tolerate people we find disgusting and abhorrent.

Acceptance is a much better term. With acceptance, people are at least willing to see the value the disliked person brings to the table although he’s a person they wouldn’t have chosen. It’s receiving the person and allowing them a degree of freedom and respect despite differences.

Acceptance is sitting quietly and letting the person just be. It’s embracing her good qualities regardless of your dislike of him.

With that said, understand that you don’t deserve to be around the people who only tolerate you. Better yet, they don’t deserve the privilege of even being in your presence. It’s much better, not to mention healthier, to be by yourself until you meet people who will not only accept you but celebrate you.

I can’t stress this enough! You deserve to be among those who love you and who care deeply about you. Never, ever settle for people who only tolerate you just to keep from being alone.

Sometimes life tests us and we must be alone for a while before it finally rewards us with people who are meant to be in our lives. In the meantime, use this time of solitude for a deep self-evaluation and for getting to know yourself again. You just may discover strengths and qualities you never knew you had!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Here’s What Being Bullied Taught Me

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Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.

1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.

2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullied taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.

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3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.

4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.

5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.

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6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”

Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!

Finding That Healthy Balance Between Positive and Negative Experiences

 

Everyone has both positive and negative experiences with others, which can determine the level of confidence and self-esteem. The trick is to keep the positive either equal to or higher than the negative.

When targets of bullying feel hopeless and pushed to the breaking point, it means that they’ve had so many negative experiences with people that any positive experiences they once had become irrelevant.

Think of confidence and self-esteem as a bank account. If others bully a child nonstop for long enough, their positive account can quickly be depleted, then go into the negative.

If you’re a parent and your children are targets of bullying at school, it’s imperative that you and others who love them continue to deposit “money” into their banks every day with words of encouragement and love. You also contribute by teaching them the importance of confidence, and creating plenty of positive experiences for them.

Positive words, actions, and experiences must equal or, better yet, outnumber the negative ones they get from bullies at school. Only then will the self-esteem be prepared, and the victimized child begin to regain that confidence.

Finally, once confidence is restored, the child will be better able to combat bullies and, ultimately, cease to be a target.

Understand that, although talking about the abuse they suffer and getting it out in the open does help with healing, it only does so much. For any target of bullying to keep their self-esteem and confidence from completely tanking, we must, at the very least, help them create just as many positive experiences as the negative experiences they get from being the target of bullies.

We must help them establish friendships outside of the bullying environment and create wonderful memories. That is the best kind of therapy there is.

Add that with encouraging the target to open up about the abuse and being a good listener, then you have a sure-fire way for them to restore their confidence.

With knowledge comes empowerment!