A Deeper Reason for Self-Acceptance

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Today, we live in a world that consistently judges us. It seems that people feel they have carte blanche to point a finger at someone else.  They love to announce their flaws and weaknesses. Sadly, this seems to be the norm.

Everyone is trying to be (or look) better than the next person and lord it over them. You see it in the media. Also, you see celebrities calling out other celebrities in the Twitterverse. And everyday people do it on the street, in the supermarket, workplace, and at school.

What bullies don’t realize is that in pointing a finger at someone else, they only reverse it back on themselves. Because they’ve got to be pretty darned insecure with their own life to feel the need to disparage another person.

Anytime you come at another person without provocation, here’s what it says about you.It says that you’re trying to hide or distract attention from your own shortcomings by trying to redirect the negative attention to someone else. In short, it’s only proof of your own lack of self-acceptance. It also shows a lack of self awareness.

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Self-acceptance has always been a must-have but nowadays, it’s even more essential than ever before.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t be self-aware because we should. But too much self-awareness isn’t good. Why? Because, when we’re hyper-aware, we focus too much on our weaknesses and not enough on our strengths. Sadly, this is what targets of bullying are conditioned to do after so long.

There are two extremes to everything but there’s also that happy middle that we should stay in.

We must work on changing the way we see ourselves and begin loving ourselves more because only then will we be able to love others.

If you can’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to accept others either. Being a bully doesn’t score any points and it doesn’t make you feel any better in the long run. It only makes you look like an insecure little coward.

As the old saying goes, “You do you and let me do me.”

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Choose Your Friends Wisely

friends

And no, I don’t mean the type of friends who only tell you what you want to hear. You can get that anywhere. And many people will tickle your ears just to manipulate you or soften you up.

It goes much deeper.

It’s not about how much money or prestige they have- the hot car they drive or the latest fashions they wear. Neither is it about how good they look or how popular they are.

It’s all in how they make us feel about ourselves, and the space they give us to grow. Even better, it’s how they help us to grow and vice versa.

Therefore, if the person makes you feel bad about yourself and makes you doubt yourself- if she makes you feel left out and discarded, that’s your first clue that this person is not right for you! They’re not worthy of your time and are a waste of energy.

Don’t walk. RUN!

Always keep company with those who make you feel the best about yourself- that means the people who want to see you do good for yourself, the people who point you in the right direction, and the people who remain loyal even when the chips are down.

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Associate only with the people who love, encourage and want your very best. Reserve your friendship only for those who have your back! Choose the friend who is willing to walk through the fire with you.

In closing, never chase anyone who doesn’t care or makes you feel terrible about yourself. Because if they’re a true friend, they won’t tear you down and make you feel worthless.

They won’t block your path to success. You won’t have to fight for their time or their love. They will make time for you and give love freely. Therefore, be selective of who you let in your life.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Babies Can Teach Us About Confidence

Babies are so adorable! They have that charm and innocence that no other age group has. They don’t worry about what others think of them and they never try to impress others. These little darlings display sweetness, purity, complete authenticity, and hearts of gold.

Babies have not a care in the world what people think of them. They have no inhibitions whatsoever. They’re not afraid to cry and express their wants and needs. You can see it in the way little toddlers shamelessly coo, laugh, babble, skip, run, and dance. And they’ll do it in front of anyone. These little sweeties are fearless. They’re not afraid to show their emotions, express their thoughts, show their creativity.

Furthermore, their precious little souls are completely open. They give, share, and receive love with an open and grateful heart. They love being loved and doted on and will receive it with a soft coo or laugh.

Everything starts with self-love and babies are a perfect example of it.

Sadly, as time passes and these babies grow bigger, they slowly and incrementally become tainted by the ways of people and the world. Many grow up in toxic environments and with parents who excessively criticize and abuse them.

Therefore, they build a protective wall around themselves to try and keep the contamination out. Because family members and others discount, ridicule, even punish them for their feelings, they learn to mask those feelings. They collect emotional baggage as they become preschoolers, school-aged kids, then teenagers, and finally, adults.

Also, many are raised by drug-addicted, mentally ill, and neglectful adults and they build walls to protect themselves from that as well. Therefore, many must learn to raise themselves.

Low self-esteem and lack of confidence are not the characteristics we’re born with. They’re instilled in us by either by well-meaning family members who wish to keep us humble and sweet, or they’re force-fed to us by bullies and abusers.

Consequently, many babies grow into people who are under the false belief that they are unlovable. They don’t feel they deserve to have their wants and needs met. Thus, they grow into people who are filled with either anger and self-loathing, or sad, depressed, helpless victims.

Life Has Ways of Eroding That Confidence and Goodness We Were Born With.

We all go through these terrible changes, even those who aren’t bullied. Only few people in this world manage to keep that confidence and joy they were born with. Furthermore, life’s disappointments, hurts, and heartaches have ways of doing these things to all of us. However, people who are bullied and abused suffer the worst changes.

They stop expressing emotions and give up asking for anything. Why? Because sometime during their childhoods, they were conditioned by other people. These others conditioned them to think that they’re self-centered and wrong for ever needing or wanting anything out of life.

Therefore, they resign themselves to the attitude that, things are “just the way they are” and that there’s nothing they can do to change anything.

Consequently, when you tell them about self-love and how important it is, they wince at the idea because it makes them uncomfortable. But, again, other people program them to think that self-love is somehow self-absorbed and evil. I can relate to this because, when I was thirteen and fourteen years old, I did the exact same when I was first told about the idea of self-love and self-care.

The thought of looking at myself in the mirror every day and telling myself “I love you” or “You’re beautiful,” “You’re Smart,” “You’re awesome,” etc., felt both weird. In fact, it felt downright sickening because I was under the impression that it was all a sign of sheer vanity.

It’s Sad When People Can Successfully Condition You to Believe that Self-love is Vanity

Self-love can feel downright painful after you’ve wasted years and decades hating and degrading yourself. After all, it’s not something you’re accustomed to practicing. Anything new and out of the ordinary feels painful at first. Like all things, it must first become a habit. And it can only become habit through rigorous learning and practice.

‘You see? My bullies and a few abusive others sold me on the idea that any form of self-care or self-love was abhorrent and self-serving. I was under the misguided belief that self-degradation and self-criticism was a virtue. It was a sign of being humble and meek. Therefore, I thought that was what normal people did, as I watched a few family members do the same thing.

Some of my family members still do this at times and it breaks my heart. If only they could see, I mean, truly see their value. . In my eyes, their worth is more than that of gold.

The truth is that self-hatred is the equivalent of having a millstone hung from your neck. You drag it around everywhere you go because it’s exhausting. Therefore, it zaps your energy. It takes the magic, wonder, and excitement from your life. And it keeps you stuck and worse, invites more disrespect and abuse from others.

Self-love doesn’t equal Vanity, It equals Virtue!

Self-love can only come from within, never from without. It doesn’t come from a partner, a spouse, or a boatload of friends. It can’t come from a banging body or fancy clothes, hairdos, or makeup. Money can’t buy self-love. Power doesn’t give it to you and neither does prestige. Self-love comes from the heart and only the heart.

Additionally, self-love is about self-acceptance and being perfectly okay with your imperfections. It comes from being comfortable in your own skin and not caring even the slightest what others think or say of you.

In order to find peace and joy in life, self-love is a must-have. It helps you to achieve your goals and realize your dreams and aspirations. It determines your outcomes- whether you succeed or fail. Also, it helps you to better re-frame bad situations and see them as learning experiences. Self-esteem and self-love give you peace of mind.

In a nutshell, self-love gives you complete freedom! It is the key to happiness and joy!

Don’t you think you deserve to be at peace with yourself? Don’t you think you deserve happiness and joy? I do.

So, be like a baby. Love yourself. Know that your true colors are vibrant and never be afraid to show them. Dance like you’ve never been ridiculed. And play like you’ve never fallen and scraped your knee. Express your emotions. Love, laugh, and live.

You’ll be surprised at how everything will change for the better! I promise!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Life Begins When We Stop Seeking Approval

Sadly, many targets of bullying seek approval from others. Often, the people they seek approval, validation, and acceptance from are mostly people who absolutely could care less about them. Even worse, those many targets seek approval from are their bullies-  people who have absolutely zero respect for them. Counterproductive, no?

What targets don’t realize is that most others’ opinions have absolutely no bearing on their lives. Yuck!

If you are a target of bullying and this applies to you, ask yourself these questions aloud:

If these people never gave a hoot about me or my life to begin with, then who are they that I should seek approval from?

Who are they that I must impress?

Are they really so important that I should pretend to be someone I’m not?

Who are they that I have to lie?

Who are they that I must expend so much of my effort and energy for?

Are these creeps people I should chase and crawl up behind?

Who are they that I should beg?

Never Give Anyone Value They Haven’t Earned

Notice those last two questions and the words “chase,” “crawl up behind,” and “beg.” They will immediately jump out at you and may even make you angry. And you know what? They should. Remember that you’re seeking their approval. Therefore, those three things are basically what you’re doing. Never seek approval from bullies, abusers, or anyone who neither respects you nor gives a crap about you. Because, when you do, you are, in a sense, giving them value they haven’t earned.

If, at any time, you must suppress parts yourself to gain validation, approval, or acceptance from another person, you short change yourself.  Realize that a bully will never add value or benefit to your life. Therefore, they haven’t earned the honor and privilege of being in your life. They don’t even deserve to be in your presence.

When you submit to and follow the standards of others for the sake of validation and acceptance, you only lower your own standards.

You Don’t Need the Approval of Anyone Who Isn’t Worthy

Stop busting your butt to gain other people’s approval because their approval isn’t needed. And their opinions need not apply. If anyone ever tries to impose their so-called rules and standards on you, especially if they aren’t your parents, or a well-meaning teacher or supervisor, you have not only a right but an obligation to yourself to tell that person to go crawl back under the horse-apple they wormed and wiggled their way from beneath.

Understand that you only give these creeps something they haven’t earned, don’t deserve, and have no business having- you give them your power! You give them your freedom!

You give them control over your life! The above are things they have no right to and that are yours and yours alone, and these precious commodities are those they will only exploit, use, and abuse.

But once you take them back by ceasing to care what they think, your life will only get better. Take it from me. I’m living proof.

Life begins when you stop caring about their opinions and begin living life on your terms. Try it. I guarantee that you’ll thank yourself later!

Don’t you know you deserve to be happy? I do.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Responding to Non-Verbal Bullying

If someone wants to harm you, they don’t have to come out and tell you. Just the same, if they want you gone, they needn’t tell you to “get the hell out.”

All they must do is glare at you and hope they can either intimidate you into leaving, or make you think you’re about to get hurt. In a case like this, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Worse even, others might feel the animosity between you and personal history may ruin an otherwise good day.

So, you’re a target and you’re at a party or get-together, and suddenly, you see your bully across the room. Your eyes lock and she sends you a threatening glare. She is giving you the message that she intends to make your day a really bad one. You have choices. Either you can turn tail and run, or you can spend the rest of the day avoiding the bully.

Again, how you handle it is your choice.

But wait! Here’s another choice- a better choice! You can smile at the bully, nod your head, then turn your back to her. If you want to be a smart alick, add a wave.

Therefore, you will non-verbally send your own message back to your bully, one that is very clear. You signal that she doesn’t scare you and that you have no intentions of running. Instead, you intend to stay and enjoy yourself with the other people at the shindig. And you will do this whether the bully likes it or not.

Ouch! This is not the response your bully expected!

In that, you’ve responded to the bully without being aggressive or capitulating to their silent demands that you either cower or leave.

Understand that bullies use nonverbal means to not only send you a cruel message, but also to make their bullying less obvious to anyone else but you. Therefore, it’s better not to respond to nonverbal bullying with words. Instead, reflect your own nonverbals back to the bully that signal that you aren’t afraid of her.

Again, nonverbal bullying requires a response that is also nonverbal. And your response should say that you will not cower or run. Instead, you will stick around, ignore the bully, and do your thing.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Which Would You Rather Be?

Hated for Being Smart or Pitied for Being Dumb?

I ask this question because many intelligent people try to hide their smarts for fear of hatred and bullying. They let others convince them that, because of their smarts, they come off as know-it-alls. Others tell them to dumb down because they “don’t want to make others feel bad about themselves.” They may even tell them to tone it down a little or they just might offend some people.

This is total BS!

I want you to know one thing right now! It is not your responsibility to make someone else feel good about themselves. Whether your intelligence offends others is not your problem. Their hatred of you is also not your problem.

Continue to be Your Smart Self

Understand that the reason why your intelligence may offend some people is because they are either jealous, intimidated, or insecure. It’s because of their own unaddressed psychological issues- issues that they’re trying to lay off on you.

Your intelligence may inspire some to doubt their own smarts and mental capabilities. Also, it may provoke others to compare themselves to you. Again, not your responsibility. They are the ones doubting and questioning their own intelligence. They are the ones who are making comparisons. You aren’t doing these things to them. They are doing it to themselves!

You are Not Responsible for Someone Else’s Feelings

Again, you are not responsible for another person’s self-esteem. Only they can do the inner work needed to raise their confidence levels. Therefore, if they’re too lazy to do that inner work, that’s on them!

Here’s another point I want to make: The hate that’s directed at you never feels good and can be frightening. But always remember that there’s dignity in being hated, but none in being pitied.

Yes, you read that correctly. When people hate you, you still have your dignity. But when they pity you, you’ve lost all dignity and respect!

Others hate smart people, but they pity the stupid.

Therefore, never hide your intelligence from anyone. Let yourself stand out and shine. And never feel tempted to hide your brilliance because you’re afraid of being bullied, ridiculed, or hated by others. Instead, ask yourself,

“Would you rather be hated for being smart or pitied for being dumb?”

I rest my case.

The Environment That Conditions You Most

What is the environment that conditions and shapes you the most when you’re in school or working? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t the home!

Our environments determine our mental health.

They have ways of molding and shaping us, especially during our formative years. For example, a child who grows up in an abusive environment is, more than likely, going to either grow up to be an abusive adult. Or worse, they will grow up to be weakened and powerless. Remember that a person’s formative years (childhood) is the most impressionable and it determines their future!

Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. There are a few kids who develop a strong sense of self, either through dogged determination or an outside mentor. Those are the kids who make it out and create successful lives from themselves. However, most do not, and it’s sad.

You have three types of environments:
  1. Nourishing Environment (Very Healthy)
  2. Neutral Environment (Somewhat Healthy)
  3. Toxic Environment (Unhealthy)

Understand that the environment you spend most of your day in, will the one that will likely condition you. And if you spend most of your day-to-day life in a bullying environment, your mental health will suffer!

For example, a certain school kid lives in a loving and healthy home. But his classmates at school bully him mercilessly and without fail.

Now, let’s do the math:

A child or teen who is growing must have around 10 hours of sleep per day. So, subtract 10 hours for 24 hours and you’re left with a total of 14 waking hours. The average young student then spends about 8 hours per day in school. Subtract 8 hours from 14 waking hours and you have only six waking hours away from school.

Then we must figure in school bus time, or commuting time, which, for the average schoolkid, is 30 minutes to 1 hour, one way. Therefore, that’s 1-2 hours roundtrip (Keep in mind that most kids who are bullied at school are also bullied on the school bus).

Subtract that from 6 waking hours and the schoolkid in this scenario has only 4-5 waking hours at home in her loving and nourishing environment.

24 Hours (One Day)

-10 hours (Sleep)

-8 hours (School)

-1 or 2 hours (School bus)

= only 4 to 5 hours awake at home

So, that bullied child, although living in a loving and nourishing home environment, spends twice as many waking hours in a toxic school environment. Therefore, the bullying he suffers at school is likely to nullify the love and acceptance he gets at home. And he will be conditioned either to hate himself, or not to think much of himself. Because he spends more time with his bullying peers than he spends with his loving and accepting family, he’s still more likely to have self-esteem issues and lack confidence.

Now, do you see how this works?

Even sadder, the self-esteem and confidence of kids who are bullied at school and abused or neglected at home will take an even bigger hit to their mental health! Why? Because they never get a reprieve from bullying, as abuse at home is a form of bullying in and of itself.

In conclusion, how a student is treated at school has a huge impact on their mental health. It doesn’t matter how loving and nurturing their home life is. Granted, having a positive home life certainly helps, the bullying a child or teen suffers at school will likely negate any love and acceptance she receives at home.

So, how do we reverse the damage school bullies have caused a child?

We simple create opportunities for the child to make friends outside of their school. This will create more positive social experiences for them. It will help to create a more even balance between the bullying and negativity they suffer and the friendships and positivity they enjoy. Even better, it might even tip the scales and create more positive experiences and social interactions than negative!

Therefore, the resulting rise in positive experiences and interactions outside the school environment will serve to buffer person’s self-esteem and mental health from the blows of negativity they get at school.

You can help the youngster create these positive connections and experiences by sending them to summer camp. Also, you can do it by enrolling them in a martial arts class or attending neighborhood family get-togethers where there are other kids present. Attending church and church functions is another great idea.

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There are many, many opportunities available for the seizing! So, go for it! Give your bullied child these wonderful experiences! They will turn into awesome memories that will last a lifetime!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Bullying can be devastating to a child’s or teen’s self-esteem. And the damage can last a lifetime. It can have a negative effect on their progress even into adulthood.

No, it isn’t your fault. You and your child are innocent in this, but you still must do some damage control.

The parents of bullies should teach them kindness and empathy, yes. However, the targets’ parents also have work to do- they must teach their children confidence. Neither side gets out of this without some degree of responsibility.

I realize that it isn’t fair that most of the confidence-building work must be done on the target’s end. But nothing in life is fair and we can’t change that reality. We, as parents of bullied children still have to take action. We still must do our part to ensure our children’s confidence stays in tact so that they’ll be able to flourish. Therefore, it’s up to us to tip the mental health balance more in the target’s favor.

Teaching targets confidence involves teaching them never to look to bullies, or anyone for that matter, for confirmation of their worth and validity. Most of all, it means creating experiences for them that naturally balance out all the negative experiences they face at school. To neglect this work would be devastating for our children!

How do you do that?

By giving them opportunities to make friends outside their toxic school environment.

For instance, they can join a martial arts class, a scout troop, or go to summer camp, to name a few. There are so many options available for targets to forge lasting friendships. And you will be amazed at just how it will help build their confidence and self-esteem.

Yes, kind words, encouragement, and verbally re-enforcing positivity to your child is important. But giving them the positive experiences that back up your well-meaning words will work doubly well because it will serve as confirmation that they really are good and normal kids and give the self-esteem that extra boost.

So, give your bullied child fun, exciting, and positive experiences that they can look back on with confidence and assurance! They will thank you for it later! I guarantee it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 Reasons Targets Fear Setting Boundaries

All too often, targets of bullying have a hard time setting boundaries. Many just keep their mouths shut, grin and bear it while others wipe their feet all over them. They suffer in silence and obscurity, which only further damages their mental health. If being used as a rug hurts so much, why do they allow it to continue?

There are several reasons:

1. They don’t have the confidence.

Many targets of bullying feel helpless and simply think it wouldn’t do them any good. So, they see no point in speaking up because they know that they’ll likely get bullied worse for it. It takes confidence to set boundaries, which, sadly, is something a few bullying targets have.

Also, as we know, bullies don’t respect boundaries because they don’t acknowledge them. In their minds, you’re a target and, to them, a target has no rights and deserves no human dignity. Bullies don’t see targets as human beings deserving of the same human rights as everyone else. That’s a fact.

2. They feel powerless to stop the abuse.

Again, setting boundaries is anything but easy- it’s one of the hardest things to do after people bully you for so long and brainwash you into thinking you’re to blame for their horrid behavior.

Many targets have been abused for so long that they’ve “gotten used to it.” In other words, bullies and their sycophants have conditioned the targets to take the abuse and allow them to ride roughshod over them. Many times, targets have been fooled into believing that setting boundaries is selfish.

This is why many targets cave in to the bullies’ demands. They feel it’s safer just to give them what they want and pacify them.

3. They fear the bullies will retaliate.

If you’re a target of bullying, you may badly want to tell your abusers to knock it off. You may want to tell them to get the hell away from you and stay away. You may even want to fight back, but you don’t know how they may react.

Another thing you don’t know is whether they’ll accept your boundaries, nor if they’ll want to accept them. You know that there’s a chance the bullies may act violently toward you for having the chutzpah to speak against their abuse.

Bullies despise even a hint of opposition because they see it as your challenging their power and perceived authority. And they’ll do whatever they can to tighten their grip if they suspect you’re defying them. And sometimes, things get dangerous, and you must do it scared.

But what they don’t realize is this. When you set boundaries, you enact your autonomy and speak from a place of self-care and self-love. You decide what you will and won’t tolerate. You take your power back.

However!

Before you’re able to do that, you must be clear of what you will not accept.

It takes uber-confidence to stand up to a bully. It would be best if you also gave up your old self-protective behaviors – those you tried in the past that failed, which are ways your bullies and a few other abusers in your life probably conditioned you to respond.

1. You must stop over-apologizing.

2. You must stop trying to explain yourself to anyone.

3. You must stop trying to figure out what made the bullies so hostile.

4. You must stop wondering what you did wrong.

5. You must stop wondering if something’s wrong with you.

6. You must stop asking, “why me.”

Before you can stand up to abuse, you must squash the mentality that compels you to do any of the above mentioned.

You must understand that all the why me, why this, why that, gets you nowhere. And all the wracking your brains wondering and trying to figure out what’s wrong also serves no purpose. It’s a complete waste of time and only makes you feel worse.

Instead, be real with yourself and conclude that your bullies are just a bunch of ignorant, moronic jackasses who lack character and live fake existences. You must also learn to trust yourself, which includes trusting your body and how it feels. Trust everything you see, hear, feel, sense, and the vibes you pick up from the people around you. And finally, trust your decisions.

It also takes dogged determination:

1. Even if your bullies rationalize and justify their behavior, you won’t take their crap.

2. Even if they blame you for their despicable behavior, you won’t take it.

3. Even if they tell you that you’re crazy or mentally imbalanced, you won’t take it.

4. Even if they call you a bitch, an asshole, or any other degrading name, you won’t take it.

5. Even if you made a mistake and your bullies call it out in an abusive manner, you won’t take it.

6. And, for the love of Pete! If the bullies commit physical violence, you definitely won’t take that! Get the police involved, file charges, and sue for any damages! Or, put up those dukes and throw down if you need to!

And it’ll take calling your bullies out every single time they cross the line.

You can say:

“Stop it!”

“Cut it out!”

“Knock it off!”

“Get away from me!”

“Get out!”

positive bullied victim says NO

You get power just by loudly giving either one of these commands. And who knows? I’m not making any guarantees here, but you might shock your bullies back to reality and make them leave you alone. There were times when I was pleasantly surprised, and it worked for me.

You do not have to walk on eggshells around anyone! Know that you do have a choice and a voice. You can choose not to accept the bullies’ behavior. You have more power than you know.

With knowledge comes empowerment!