If they destroy your confidence, they’ll destroy your life.
It’s a fact! If your confidence goes, your performance in school or on the job, your social abilities, everything else will go too.
Think about it. Most bullied people do not do well in school or in the workplace if others do not treat them fairly and respect and give them space, opportunity, and freedom to learn and grow. Their performance takes a nosedive.
Anytime someone is bombarded with consistent put-downs, nitpicking, and abuse, their grades suffer because they stop believing in themselves and focus more on protecting themselves than on lessons.
Although we hear of bullied kids who get mad, dive into schoolwork, and make exceptional grades and honors to compensate for their social failures, or a bullied worker will perform extra well to compensate and prove his coworkers wrong, these people are often the exception to the rule.
So, if you ever encounter bullying, you must guard your confidence and self-esteem with everything you have in you. Because your life truly does depend on it!
Here’s how you protect your self-esteem and confidence:
• Do things you enjoy most.
• Display your talents and gifts.
• Keep company only with people who encourage, respect, and love you the most.
• Be there for others who are suffering.
• Take pride in your appearance and look your best. Because if you look great, you feel great!
• Make affirmations- “I AM” statements to yourself every day. “I AM beautiful,” “I AM smart,” “I AM better than what they say,” etc.
• Find a therapist to talk to.
• Tell the people who love you about what you’re going through.
• Whatever you do, don’t be silent about it!
We all have days when we feel down in the dumps. Fortunately, there are things you can do to remedy your situation and chase those doldrums away!
1. Listen to good music – There’s nothing that cures your ills like boogying down to some good dance music or rocking out to the sounds of your favorite rock bands. There something about music that makes us come alive and want to get up and move! So, put on some good tunes and shake your butt!
2. Go for a walk – Going on a good nature walk on a beautiful Spring day lifts the spirits and feels so good. Walking is also one of the best exercises there is, so, there are physical health benefits to it as well.
3. Indulge in your hobbies – working on and completing your hobbies brings out your creative side and gives you the feeling of success and accomplishment. It gives you pride in yourself and in your abilities. And who doesn’t love that?
4. Surround yourself with your favorite people – Being around the people you love, who love you, and who lift you up feeds your soul like nothing else. When you get together with your loved ones, you know you belong, and you get that much needed sense of belonging and togetherness.
5. Fix yourself up – As the old saying goes, when you look good, you feel good. When you take pride in your appearance, it shows. Looking your best has a way of building your confidence and your self-esteem. And it also has a way of spreading to others.
The good thing as that you have options. Do any one of these things and watch your mood skyrocket in just minutes. You’ll be glad you did. I promise!
So says the age-old proverb, and it has certainly rung true for many a century. If you are the target of any bully, rest assured that you haven’t been the first nor the only poor soul who has fallen victim to him/her.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that your bullies have enemies, lots of them. Only you don’t know it because bullies naturally put up the facade that they are the greatest things since sliced bread and that everyone adores them. But every bit of it is a lie.
Although what I’m about to advise may seem a little underhanded, it isn’t, and it will certainly help you in getting the bullies off your back. Social science has long proved that comradeship is born when two or more people can find something (or someone) they dislike…a common enemy that they all share a passionate distaste for.
Find out who your bullies’ enemies are, connect with them, and befriend them; making sure to have their backs and vice versa, then you and your bullies’ enemies can unite as allies. I guarantee that the enemies, whoever they are, will be more than happy to oblige as you instantly become comrades in the fight against the bullies!
Group of happy friends cheering with wine and beers at a boat party. Diverse men and women having drinks at a sunset yacht party.
There’s strength in numbers. Always. And rarely do lone wolves survive in the social world. Thank evolution for that one. The more of your bullies’ enemies you can make friends and allies, the more protection and support you will garner to keep the bullies at bay.
Remember that bullies are cowards, and they almost always pursue the lone wolf. So, if you can become friends with as many of your bullies’ enemies as possible, the bullying will stop. Why? Because bullies never attack anyone who is surrounded by others.
Also, you will have the kinds of friends who will protect and look out for you. Then your bullies will go find another victim and leave you alone. How I wish I thought of this back when I was in school! Things definitely would have been a lot different!
You are worth fighting for! Don’t give up! There are always options, and this is only one!
It’s something you can do. I’ve seen other people do it, and I’ve done it. However, a couple of things need to happen before you can win over an enemy: first, the enemy must be open to you winning them over. In other words, the person has to want it and not resist it. Then, you must show genuine interest in them and their lives, and it has to be real and not fake.
Understand that enemies are naturally resistant to us. Why? Because, to an enemy, you’re the bad guy. It doesn’t matter that you’re a great person with a giving heart. You may be the most fun and cheerful person in the world, even liked by many. None of that will make a difference to your enemies.
To an enemy, you’re suspect even when you’re on your best behavior and whether it’s real. An enemy doesn’t care how kind and down to earth you are. They could care less about your charm and charisma. Any kindness, genuineness, smarts, and talents- any positive qualities you may possess are all null and void to your enemy.
All that matters to an enemy is that you are who you are, and they resent you for it. Nothing more.
But would you even want to win over such a person? I wouldn’t. With an enemy such as this, it’s better to leave them where they are and keep it moving because there’ll be some enemies you can’t win over no matter what. Others, you can but be cautious.
Whether you win over an enemy depends on the person with whom you’re dealing.
Years ago, I did win over an enemy from school- a staunch enemy. We became close friends and remained close until the day she passed away. It was a blessing because she became a blessing to my life, and I became a blessing to hers. And I did it by showing genuine interest in her after she brought her defenses down and showed me the same. It was one of God’s beautiful miracles, I believe.
We discovered things about each other that we never even suspected. This lady had been a target of bullying herself. She, too, had been judged and persecuted by others, and harshly so. And other than the petty rumors I’d heard about her, I hadn’t known it was as bad as it was. She’d had to fight her way through school, and like me, she was only trying to survive.
I want you to realize that this doesn’t work with everyone, especially an enemy who’s narcissistic. If you show genuine interest in a narcissist, you’ll only be feeding them their much-needed narcissistic supply, and they’ll only steamroll you with it. A narcissist only sees another’s genuine interest or love as bowing down and kissing their arse.
Narcissists only get a thrill out of it and take it as a green light to use you for what they get out of you- even if the benefits are nothing more than an ego boost. To a narcissist, you’re not a separate human being with feelings, thoughts, perspectives, and goals of your own. No. You’re an object who’s only here for their convenience.
True friends are hard to find and don’t come along every day. You must pick and choose wisely.
It’s the same with enemies you chose to win over. Yes, turning an enemy into a friend is fantastic and can be rewarding. But it’s wise to be selective of those you chose to win over because not everyone deserves a place in your life.
To feel better about themselves and keep from feeling powerless, too many targets of bullying resort to bullying others who are even more vulnerable than them. And it’s not right.
In many cases, targets of bullying who bully, or “bully-victims” bully not because they want to. They bully because they feel like they have no choice.
In bullying, bullies unwittingly teach their targets that to degrade and disparage another person is what it takes to stay on top or off the bottom! And let’s face it, nobody wants to be on the bottom.
One of the uglier characteristics of humans is that everyone wants to be better than somebody! The attitude is that if you’re not above somebody, anybody, then who are you better than? The sad reality is that people equate not being better than someone, even if it’s only one person, with being powerless. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.
But just the same, they do it because they don’t believe there’s any other way to stay out of the basement and boost their self-esteem. But!
What if I told you that there was a better way to get the same psychological benefits? What if I told you that there was another way you could feel better about yourself and eliminate those toxic feelings your bullies have instilled in you for so long? Even better, what if I told you that you could get those benefits without causing harm to another person?
Well? You can!
Here’s how you do it!
Instead of targeting more vulnerable people, how about connecting with and befriending them? Because they get bullied just like you. They may get bullied worse than you. You never know.
And let’s face it. No one person is an island. There’s no way you can have even a little bit of power by yourself. We’d like to think that we can survive and do anything in this world just fine by ourselves and that we don’t have to depend on anyone, but that’s not reality.
The reality is that power means relationships. And we all need people as loved ones, friends, and allies.
Therefore, make friends with those who are weaker than you! Stick up for those people and be their buddy instead of their bully. Make them feel good about themselves and encourage them to stick up for themselves and to realize that they too matter in this world.
These targets need someone who they think has more strength than them to have their backs, and to be someone they can trust and look up to. These people will need you and depend on you, and that’s what you want.
Let me explain this a little deeper,
If you’re a target of bullying, the last thing you want to do is seek the approval of your bullies or their followers. You never want to build a power base with people more powerful than you are. They’ll only eat you alive!
And if they’re stronger than you, how can you expect them to depend on you? To make friends in your situation, you must look for people who will count on you. And they have to in some way, shape, or form, need you.
And the “weaker” targets will be the ones who must have you around to ensure their safety and to validate their importance and their deserving of love and friendship. They will need a friend, protector, and advocate. And you can be those things to them!
It’s much smarter to seek out and make friends with the “weaker” targets and create a relationship on their dependency on you. Because when you do, you become their pillar of strength. You become their voice and their backbone.
And because the other targets are more vulnerable, they’ll know that to turn their backs on you would be to do so at their own risk. Throwing you under the bus would only bring them hardship and pain.
In a friendship like this, you will have the power. So use that power to promote solidarity with them, uplift them, and have their backs!
And if ever you need something done, you won’t have to use force to get your new, less powerful friends to help you out. They’ll be more than happy to oblige because you’ll be their fearless leader, their encourager and protector, and the last thing they’ll want is to lose you. They’ll know that without you, they’d be in a pickle.
The beauty of this is that you and all the other victims will become a group. You’ll band together and become as one. And you’ll gain strength from your numbers.
I promise you that things will only get better once you put this into action. And the only things you’ll have to lose are your low self-esteem and your feelings of powerlessness!
There is always a possibility that bullies eventually become friends. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. And when it does, it often becomes one of the best friendships ever! I don’t know why it is but it seems like the bonds are much tighter than if you’ve never been enemies.
I turned a years-long bully into a buddy by appealing to her self-interest and realizing what her desires were. And what I learned was that, more than anything, she wanted to feel validated, valued, and loved.
This lady had been bullied in school herself. And I found that she would get bullied and afterward, she’d come around and bully me. Then, being a smart-mouthed teenager, I would bully her back. Between the two of us, it was tit for tat.
We both left high school, got married, had families of our own, created our own lives, and didn’t see each other again.
Almost twenty years later, I ran into her again at a bar and grill. If looks could kill, I would’ve been dead on the floor because, when we locked eyes, she immediately knew who I was and that look came over her face- the same expression I remembered from high school.
It was clear that even after all those years, the same hatred was still there- the only things that changed were that we were now adults, we were both mothers, and had marriages behind us. So naturally, I mirrored her reaction.
A few weeks later, I saw her again when I sang in a karaoke contest and won. She was in the audience. After the show was over, she came up and congratulated me, and although I was stunned, I was grateful and thanked her.
We soon began talking as she whipped out of her purse a mini photo album and showed me pictures of her woodwork and paintings. And I’ve got to tell you! This lady was uber-talented!
Her work looked so professionally done! As I gazed in awe at the pictures and admired what I saw, an epiphany hit me. I realized that all she wanted was to be validated.
I’ll never forget how her eyes lit up when I genuinely complimented her work.
With time, we grew closer and she soon became one of my best friends. ‘You see? She needed someone to make her feel as if she mattered and I gave her that.
We grew to love each other very much. The two of us would go to lunch together, spend girl-time together laughing, chit-chatting, and talking about our kids and our lives. We’d even stick up for one another when we had to.
She and I stayed friends until she died after a three-year-long battle with cancer. She’s been gone for two years now and I still think of her- a lot! I miss her just as much as I did the day she passed away and I’m wiping away tears as I type.
Life hasn’t been quite the same without my beautiful girl-pal. How I wish I could call her!
Our early enmity and later friendship taught me so much! And that to turn an enemy into a friend, it takes finding out what the other person’s deepest desires are, what voids they may have, and what kind of wounds they’re nursing. You must then help them fulfill those desires, fill the voids, and heal the wounds.
You must make them feel good about themselves by giving them recognition for their talents and successes, respect for the person they are, and unconditional love and friendship. You must value their trust as you would gold. Then make sure it’s reciprocated. Once those requirements are met, you know you’ve turned an enemy into a friend.
This is not to say that this will work for everyone because some bullies will think there’s an ulterior motive and only double-down on their hatred of you. Some will only fear that their softening toward you will be a win for you. But we were the lucky ones.
May you sing and dance down the streets of gold
May you wade in the Crystal Sea
Until I see you again at the pearly gates
In Loving Memory Stephanie Rains Shoemake 1971 – 2017
And no, I don’t mean the type of friends who only tell you what you want to hear. You can get that anywhere.
I’m talking about something that 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. It’s not 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.
If the person makes you feel bad about yourself and makes you doubt yourself- if she makes you feel left out and discarded, then that person is not for you! They’re not worthy of your time and are a waste of energy.
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.
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.
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.