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.

approved not rejected concept with checkbox

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!

“Who Do You Think You Are!”

Have you ever had people seemingly mistake your confidence for conceit? Or worse, get offended by it? And you knew it but never understood why? Heaven forbid you actually have even a minuscule amount of self-esteem and take pride in your accomplishments.

Sadly, we live in a world that’s insecure, self-conscious, and unhappy and there will be people who resent your spirit and your happiness. There are environments that are very toxic and the toxic people within them have an intense hatred of those who are cheerful and have a strong sense of self.

Bullies are such people. But realize that, though they’d tell you differently, bullies aren’t happy people. They can’t be because anyone who’s truly happy wouldn’t try to make others feel lousy.

Moreover, they wouldn’t resent the happiness, confidence, or successes of others.

I’ve dealt with these types of people- people who resented my confidence, which was confidence that I’d worked hard to rebuild. I saw it written all over their faces- the scowls, how their eyes would narrow and turn into slits and brows would furrow anytime they saw a smile on mine or anyone else’s face. I can just imagine what they were thinking: “The nerve!”

I’ve even heard the disdainful remarks:

“She thinks too highly of herself and needs to be brought down a notch or two!”

“He’s an arrogant jerk!”

“She’s so uppity!”

“He loves himself too much!”

“She needs to bring herself down to earth with the rest of us!”

I could go on and on.

Many people act as if being confident and loving yourself is wrong. The message you get is that it’s “selfish,” and that you need to climb down off your high horse, or you’re too big for your britches. They try to make you think that having pride in yourself is something to be ashamed of. ”How dehhhhh you!”

Bullies tend to think that if a person has confidence and high self-esteem, he is pompous and sanctimonious- he’s the worst person in the world. In their minds, it’s horrible to have even a modicum of self-value and to believe in yourself. “Who do you think you are!”

As much as I hate to admit it, back when I was young and had self-esteem issues, I said the same thing about the same people. And do you know what else? I’ve since realized that I was wrong for it and that it was said out of pure stupidity.

So, I want you to know that, if you have the audacity to like yourself, there will be those who’ll try to tear you down for it. They will attempt to make you feel ashamed of it. Some will even punish you for it. But realize that these people aren’t happy, nor confident and they’re jealous of you because you are. Your bullies and others are bitter toward you because you have something they don’t have. And because they think they can’t have it, they want to take it from the people who do.

So, go for it! Be happy! Be confident! Believe in and love yourself! Treat yourself well whether anyone else likes it! And never let them take it away!

Don’t worry about the people around you. Know that how they act says nothing about you but everything about them. Their actions only expose them as the miserable, sorry pieces of crap they are. So, dig in those heels and double down on your positive sense of self.

Do everything you can to hold on to your joy and self-belief, and let the haters stew in their own juices.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

10 Things that Happen if You Don’t Love Yourself

If you don’t love yourself, who will? And how can you love anyone else if you don’t first love yourself?

These are valid questions.

When someone doesn’t love themselves, we can tell. We can see it in their demeanor, their face, and their posture. We can hear it in their tone of voice and the way they talk. Why do you think these people attract users and abusers to them? Why do you think they end up with people who mistreat and control them?

Here’s what happens when you don’t love yourself:

1. You’re never able to properly love anyone else. You will be codependent- always searching to get love from another source- a source outside yourself, instead of letting love come from within. When you finally find someone who does love you, you won’t love them the way they need to be loved. Instead, you’ll only smother your partner to death because you’ll always have to be right there under the person’s nose.

dreamstime_xs_116631302

Also, you’ll be suspicious of others, wondering if your partner’s going to leave you or wondering if they’re cheating. You’ll wonder if your friends really like you or if they’re only pretending to. In essence, you’ll end up making a new partner or friend pay for something someone else did in the past and it’s not fair. Being in constant worry and suspicion is no way to live!

2. You rely too much on others to make you feel loved and wanted and be afraid of being alone. You will always believe that to be happy, you must always be one half of a couple. But understand that if you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy in a relationship either.

3. You move too quickly into a relationship. Once you are in a relationship, you’ll love your partner more than they deserve and before they have time to earn that love. Also, you’re likely to scare the other person away. Realize that love needs time to grow.

4. You give away your power. When you give away your power, you automatically put yourself at the mercy of someone else. And believe me, they take full advantage. You put your own needs on the back burner and always put your partner before yourself, doing all the giving in the relationship in exchange for your partner’s love. You’ll even do things you really don’t want to do just to satisfy the other person.

You’ll stop making your own decisions and allow someone else to choose for you. You’ll also agree to every single thing he or she says. When you do this, you leave nothing for yourself. After a while, the feeling of unfairness will slowly build. Soon, you will become resentful after so long of not getting anything in return.

Never give another person that kind of power! You must have your own mind and be your own person.

5. Because you can never control how another person acts nor how they feel about you. What happens when your partner gets tired of you and decides he/she no longer wants to be with you? It will devastate you. It’s only natural that the end of any friendship or relationship is painful. But it should never be crushing. It should never feel like the end of the world.

6. You’ll be on an endless search for love and friendship. You’ll spend your whole life searching for love. That in itself is not only off-putting to others, but it’s also exhausting to you. You’ll waste your time, hopping from relationship to relationship.

When one partner gets bored with you and leaves for someone who challenges them, you’ll be on another search for someone else to take their place. And this cycle will only continue to repeat itself. Before long, you’ll have a string of broken relationships behind you. Not good!

7. You’ll settle for just anyone. And you’ll get even less than what you settled for. No one should settle. Ever! If the person isn’t the person you want or is less than what you thought they were, you’ll be much happier if you move on to something you really want. Always be selective of the friends and partners you choose and of the company you keep.

8. You attract takers instead of givers. Predatory people have a keen eye for those who are desperate to be loved and accepted. And they’ll sniff you from a mile away. These people will be more than happy to befriend or date you just to get what they want from you. Once they’ve used you long enough and bleed you dry of resources and dignity, they’ll only drop you and move on to the next poor sucker. When you stop being afraid of aloneness, you magically begin to repel predators and attract better people.

dreamstime_xs_47262974

9. You’ll repel the people who either do or would otherwise love and accept you. If by chance you happen to find someone who truly loves you, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy it. You’ll be so scared of losing the person that you’ll be too clingy and likely run them off because of your incessant neediness.

Understand that when you do this, you automatically make them responsible for your happiness and it’s not fair. Being held responsible for another person’s happiness is a heavy load for anyone to carry! You’ll only zap the other person’s energy as you expect them to fill a void that can’t be filled by anyone but you and God. Realize that only you are responsible for your happiness. No one else.

10. You stay in toxic relationships and put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone. You’ll likely end of with an abuser who’ll physically or mentally abuse you. Love and friendship shouldn’t be painful.

You may also end up with someone too lazy to work and who expects you to keep their worthless ass up. No one has to work that hard to keep any relationship and if you do, it’s a sign that you need to show somebody out the door- and fast.

The last thing you want is to be tied down to some broke chump who treats you like crap or won’t get off their dead ass and work to help pay the bills. I’ve seen this happen to so many people I’ve known in the past.

Being alone is a part of loving yourself. It’s not the worse thing that can ever happen to you. It’s very healthy sometimes because you get to know yourself during times of solitude.

But when you’re afraid of being by yourself, you’re likely to give others control of your life and put yourself at their mercy! STOP THAT! Never cheat yourself by settling for anything less than what you deserve!

Never put your happiness in someone else’s hands! Ever!

Courage isn’t The Absence of Fear, It’s Staring Fear in the Face and Doing it Scared!

Fear will enslave you if you let it. It’s like a prison without walls because a fearful person is a controlled person. The good thing is that you don’t have to let fear imprison you.

So, how do you break out of that jail?

You face your fears. You do the thing you fear anyway- and you do it scared!

Many people have the wrong idea of the word “fearless.” Fearless doesn’t mean you don’t feel the fear. What it means is that, although you may be scared to death, you do it anyway. A perfect example of this would be jumping out of an airplane with a parachute on your back.

I skydived for the very first time during the summer of 2004, and let me tell you! The fear is the worst right before you go out the door. But if I’d let my fright stop me, I never would have known that awesome rush I got during the 75 second free-fall before the chute opened. I never would have seen the beauty of the world below me as I floated downward, and would never have known the thrill of skydiving. Even worse, I would’ve been kicking myself later, because skydiving was something I’d always wanted to try.

I consider myself blessed to have gotten the chance to parachute and I’d love to do it again and again. And when I do, I plan to do a solo jump instead of tandem. So, if there’s anything you want to do, anything at all. Don’t be afraid to do it scared! After all, you only live once.

Go ahead. Take the plunge. Do it while you can and before it’s too late.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

No One is Born with Low Self-Esteem. It’s Instilled in Us by Others!

dreamstime_xs_22802293

No! Insecurity and a lack of confidence are not characteristics that we’re born with. They are taught! Not only by bullies or abusive family members but can also unwittingly programmed into us by caring family members who call themselves trying to teach us humbleness and humility.

These characteristics are both good virtues to have, but only in moderation. Too much of it, however, can cause us to suppress a little too much of ourselves and hide our own awesome personalities, talents, and gifts, which can grow into insecurity and in worse cases, self-loathing.

I believe that each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

dreamstime_xs_107360185

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier to protect ourselves. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it.

Before long, we regard the feelings and suffering of others with indifference- we just don’t give a crap about anyone, how they feel, or what they think. Sometimes we even grow cold toward the people who love us because we have lost the ability to trust.

We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. We end up doing and saying things that only further degrade ourselves and others. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold of our personalities and we secretly or openly, take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc.; we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem. Self-esteem determines our life course. Therefore, we should guard it as we would our lives.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Why Bullies Virtue Signal

Seasoned bullies are masters at virtue-signaling and making themselves look like the angels they aren’t. Many of my classmates were expert virtue signalers. I remember sitting in class and being pregnant with my first child. One of my bullies, we will call her Amy, told me I was a sinner because I’d gotten pregnant before getting married. What was funny was that this came from one of those girls who everyone knew slept around with every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Not that I ever judged her for it because what she did on the weekends was nobody’s business but hers. However, the point I make here is that, in her infinite hypocrisy, she took it upon herself to judge me in front of an audience. And she did it to prove something to them.

She also told me that my child was a bastard and would be better off dead than to have me for a mother. The last thing she said was that I should never be allowed to get married nor have kids.

Understand that any time a bully publicly passes judgement on you, they only do it to feel like they’re better than you- so they can delude themselves, you, and everyone else into thinking that they’re above you on the totem pole of morals and decency.

The reason this bullying classmate accused me of being “unvirtuous” is to try and prove to everyone else that she wasn’t. She wanted everyone to think that she was as pure as the driven snow and that she was above someone else. But, although no one said a word, I think they all knew who she really was and what her attack on me was all about.

Sadly, we see the same from radicals. They pander and virtue signal by raising their fists and worse, kneeling and bowing down to extremist groups and the only reason they do it is to try and prove to the rest of the world that they’re moral, decent, and above ignorance.

Vector illustration of a grovel in business

But here’s the thing.

If you know yourself and you know that you aren’t the label of the day, be it a “whore”, a philanderer, a racist, a conspiracy theorist, a nut job, or anything at all; you won’t feel you have to attack anyone else, pander, or virtue signal to prove it. Your goodness, morals, virtues are already there, and you know it. There’s no need to prove it.

When you truly know yourself and the definition of who you are, you won’t try to prove anything because it’s too much work and you know it’s a waste of your time and energy. You do not have to show others you have something if that something is something you already have.

Here’s another thing.

If anyone feels they must bend over backwards to prove something to the rest of the world, know that their willingness to pander and virtue signal- all that extra effort and energy expenditure comes from a guilty conscience and that there is something about themselves that they’re trying like the devil to hide.

These people are under the presumption that, the more efforts they make, the more personal sacrifices they make, and the more they try to “atone” by forcing themselves to do the most degrading and demeaning things, the more it shows that they’re not what the label of the day and current narrative says they are.

What they don’t realize is that it only means the opposite of what they’re trying to prove. Do you see where I’m going with this? If your conscience is clear, don’t ever feel like you have anything to prove. You don’t.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Your Mind Is Yours and Yours Alone. Keep It That Way.

Bullies don’t only want to hurt you or destroy your good name. More than anything, they want to get into your head and alter your mind.

The worst thing about bullying isn’t the physical assaults. Cuts and bruises heal easily. It isn’t even the name-calling, the smears, the rumors, or the marginalization. It’s what it can do to the mind if we aren’t careful.

The worst thing that can happen to a target of bullying is when he begins to believe what he’s being told. The worst thing that happens is when she begins to see herself through the eyes of the very people who hate her and who want nothing more from her than her complete destruction and ruination.

Anytime a target begins to believe he is nothing, he does himself a huge disservice because he discards his own definition of him and replaces it with that of his bullies. He values the bullies’ opinions over his own.

I cannot stress enough the importance of loving yourself even when it looks as if others don’t love you back. You must continue to believe in yourself even when it seems that no one else does. You must also continue to stand your ground even when people want to bury you in it.’

That’s how you keep your confidence and self-esteem from tanking. It’s how you keep even a little bit of your dignity and it’s how you protect your spirit from being broken.

Yes, your confidence may take many blows, but it doesn’t have to die. Your self-esteem may be pummeled, but you can keep it for hitting rock bottom. Bullies may break off pieces of your dignity, but you don’t have to give them the piece of it you still hold for yourself. Your spirit may take a hard beating, but only you decide whether to let them break it.

In short, you don’t have to surrender everything that matters to your bullies.’

You have more power than you know. Your thoughts are the freest commodity you have. No matter what they take from you, they can never take your mind if you don’t let them.

“Power is not what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.” ~ Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals)

Think about that quote for a moment and realize that it’s what all bullies live by.

With knowledge comes empowerment!