Self-consciousness can influence the trajectory of your life. It causes us to forgo taking risks that lead to opportunity and great outcomes. Why? Because, we to place too much focus on how others perceive us and what they think.
Therefore, we become too fearful of making decisions for ourselves. Therefore, we don’t follow own paths and do what fulfills us.
“What will others think of me?”
“How will they treat me if I decide to do this?”
“What will my friends say?”
You’re constantly on alert, allowing these questions to replay in your subconscious, over and over again. However, what if I told you that these friends and “others” are just as self-conscious as you? And what if your bullies bully and ridicule you because they are scared of what others will think of them if they don’t bully you?
Here’s what my mother told me years ago.
“Most people worry too much about how they appear in front of others to care about how you appear. Also, any time someone points a finger and judges you, they do so from a place of their own insecurity. Most do it out of self-consciousness and it should be of no consequence to you.”
As usual, she was right!
In other words, they’re too busy monitoring themselves to monitor you. And if they do watch you and wait for you to screw up, it’s for the chance of taking the spotlight off their own imperfections. Put another way, they’re so worried about how they appear to others that they’re more than willing to point out your flaws in order to conceal theirs. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book- keep the spotlight off your own screw ups by highlighting someone else’s.
At the root of bullying is self. Self-servitude, self-validation, self-centeredness. But most of all, Self-consciousness.
If this isn’t a real confidence booster, nothing is!
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. However, too much of it 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.
a little girl hiding behind her mother’s skirt
Each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. However, over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.
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.
The Slow Erosion of Self-Esteem
Young girl bending down, covering her face with her hands, trying to protect herself from men’s’ fists, finger guns, and hands pointing at her. Women’s rights. Violence against women. Domestic violence.
Before long, we regard others’ feelings and suffering with indifference. In other words, 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. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold of our personalities. In other words, we secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.
We must make a conscious effort not to allow negative outside influences to make us cold and mean. Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc., we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem. And we do that by how we allow others to treat us. We protect our self-esteem by setting boundaries and standards.
The words we hear from others can affect how we see ourselves, but they don’t have to if we don’t let them.
Targets of bullying are picked apart daily in every minute detail, and in every aspect of their existences. A bully may criticize something as minute as the way they write. Bullies may criticize a woman for sitting with her legs crossed or the way she applies her makeup. But I guarantee that it has nothing with the way the woman sits or puts on her cosmetics, it has everything to do with the bullies’ own insecurities that are buried within themselves.
In reality, the bullies may think the woman is awesome and their criticism could be taken as a compliment because the bullies know they can’t compete with her and certainly don’t deserve the time of day from her because they know they aren’t even on her level, so, they do whatever they can to tear her down and bring her to their level.
However, the criticism surely doesn’t feel like a compliment and can make you feel like crap, so, I’m very careful when I use my words here. Insecure bullies and abusers will say terrible things to us and they can stick with us if we’re not careful.
“Your clothes look like hand-me-downs!”
“Your hair looks too straight!”
“Your nose is too long!”
“Your ears are too big!”
“Nobody likes you!”
“You don’t have any friends!”
This doesn’t mean what they say is true, but so many times, we let the words of bullies get into our heads. When bullies assault us with hurtful words, targets often sit and wonder:
“Why don’t they like me?”
“Why am I not good enough?”
“Am I too fat?”
“Am I too short?”
“Am I too weird?”
“Is it my makeup, my hairdo, or my clothes?”
And they do it regardless of whether what was said to them is true.
Understand that our insecurities will scream at us from time to time but if we chose to listen to those pesky little voices, which are most often only voices from past abusers, it only serves to damage our self-confidence and self-esteem. Granted, there will be times when you will question yourself and this is perfectly normal. But when you make it a habit, then it becomes a problem.
There will also always be someone prettier, better looking, smarter, or financially better off. That’s just life. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything going for you because you do but again, there will always be someone with more.
Therefore, never compare yourself to another person because you do yourself more harm than good. Realize that each one of us is blessed with great qualities, although some may not know what they are.
Insecurity is a tricky animal because it has a way of hiding in obscurity. Sometimes, we don’t even know we have it. Bullies are such people. Most bullies are bogged down with insecurities, which is why they always point out the shortcomings of others in attempts to hide their own and the self-esteem fix they get from it is only short lived. Then bullies will only come back for more.
Another reason why insecurity is so tricky is because the insecure person not only doesn’t realize it exists, but they also don’t know when they became insecure nor what caused the insecurity.
We aren’t born with insecurities. They are given to us by other people, those who unfairly criticized you during your early years. Maybe someone called you stupid, or ugly. Maybe someone told you that you didn’t look good enough or, weren’t smart enough to pass that class.
Maybe you had an abusive parent or family member who told you that you would never amount to anything. Maybe your dad left and never cared to spend any time with you. It could be that you had an older sibling who bullied you. Maybe your classmates repeatedly told you that you weren’t good enough and never would be. Maybe others trivialized your successes and told you that they didn’t matter. They stem from many different factors.
Nevertheless, there had to be that first person who berated you- that person who planted that seed of insecurity and they repeated the same behavior and nurtured that seed so that it would grow. Maybe others helped to grow that seed and it’s only festered inside of you. And that seed has negatively affected your relationships with others and continues to do so today.
But understand that we all have flaws and the best way to get comfortable with them is to own them and accept that you have them. You might as well get comfortable with your flaws if they’re things you can’t do anything about. Also, once you embrace your flaws, no one can hold them against you any longer. By accepting and embracing your flaws, you take back your personal power and squash any power that bullies ever had over you because the insecurity ceases to be.
Many bullies have also been victims of others. This is the reason they try to break your confidence, only bullies refuse to have that discussion because it would only cast them as being vulnerable. Also, bullies never took the time to acknowledge and heal their own hurts and insecurities.
Therefore, bullies will tear you down with their actions and words because they feel either inferior to or threatened by you.
Once and for all, I want you to understand that there will be that partner who tells you that you dress like a floozy even though you dressed the same when your partner met you and you actually dress rather conservatively. There will be classmates who criticize your laugh or your smile. There will be people who flat out tell you to shut up when you speak even if the words you speak make sense.
The criticisms that hurt us the most and have the potential to destroy us come from spouses, family, and friends- people we love and trust the most. It is those remarks that can do the most damage because these are the people who are supposed to love us, take care of us, and protect us. And we believe they do. We believe they only want what’s best for us so we attempt to modify and change who we are to satisfy them and gain their love and approval. And the more they berate us, the more we shape-shift, trying to attain that allusive approval, until we twist ourselves into a pretzel!
It amazes me how many broken children there are out there who don’t yet understand that there was never anything wrong with them. These children become bullies and grow up to be angry and bitter adults who will only spread their toxicity to others.
It’s much easier to make others feel small than to deal with what others have done to us. I was broken for a lot of years, brainwashed into thinking I wasn’t worthy of being treated well. I always thought I was vermin compared to others because that’s what I’d been told repeatedly by others.
It took me a 2 ½ decades to realize that there was nothing wrong with me and that none of the bullying, abuse, and torment people subjected me to was ever my fault. I was not defected, and I was never a bad person. In fact, I now realize that I’m an awesome person and if people who don’t know me choose to judge me and have issues with me, it’s their problem not mine.
And I hope and pray they get their mental stuff together before it’s too late because it takes someone who lives a miserable existence to go through life making other people feel like dog shit to feel superior.
Insecurity is a seed that plants itself deeply, which is why it can be difficult to deal with. But in order to heal, you must cut out the roots of it too.
And if you don’t take the time needed to deal with and heal it, you will continue to carry the insecurities that someone else gave you and they will affect the way you handle people and your future relationships- every one of them, whether they’re romantic, friendships, or family.
Realize that the insecurities you have were caused by other people who wanted to look and feel better and more powerful than you. They saw a good quality in you that threatened to overshadow them somehow. So, they went on a mission to tear you down to keep you from stealing their spotlight.
Always remember that the bullying and abuse was never about you, it was about them. It was about their fear of you overshadowing them. It was about their being afraid that you’d reach success and leave them in the dust. It was about something they saw in you that threatened their fragile egos.
Young girl bending down covering her face with her hands trying to protect herself from mens’ fists, finger guns and hands pointing at her. Women’s rights. Violence against women. Domestic violence.
Why do I tell you it’s a psychological operation of a sort? It simply because of the purpose of it. Just as the purpose of any psy-ops operations in military warfare and propaganda campaigns is to demoralize the enemy, the same is also the purpose of bullying- to demoralize the target. If you are a target of bullying, I want you to understand that if bullies can demoralize you, they can then crush your will to stand up for yourself and fight back.
Bullies tell targets things like:
“You’re not strong (pretty, smart) enough.”
“No body likes you” or “You don’t have any friends.”
“You can’t fight against us.”
“You’ll always be a nobody” or “You’ll never amount to anything.”
“No one will ever date you (or) marry you.”
“You’ll never win that contest.”
“You’ll never make the team.”
You’ll never this and you’ll never that. You must realize that these statements are all design to tear down your confidence and to keep you mentally subdued- to get you to overcome your natural reluctance to bow down and take abuse, they must slowly weaken you so that you won’t stand up to them and you’ll give up on yourself and let your bullies just walk all over you.
Again, this is all designed to weaken your resolve and force you to surrender to their abuse.
Bullies want you to believe that you’re worthless.
They want you to believe that you’re powerless.
They want you to believe that you can’t do anything right.
They want you to believe that you’re an evil person.
They want you to doubt yourself
They want you to feel inferior.
In short, they want you to hate yourself.
Why? Because bullies know that whatever you believe about yourself, others are more than likely going to believe it too. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to have confidence in you?
These bullies want you to stop focusing on your goals and going after your dreams because they were too lazy to go after theirs. They want to convince you that you’re a failure and that everything you set out to do is going to fall flat. They want you to give up and submit to their subjugation so they can feel superior.
Psy-ops are also conducted to create opportunities that otherwise might not come to fruition.
The opportunity to keep you silent and from talking about their abuse.
The opportunity to bully you freely and with impunity.
The opportunity to use you to further their selfish and evil agendas.
You see, if they can weaken you, they can silence you and they can bully you safely, without being detected and continue to feel superior and get that rush of power. They can use your weaknesses and shortcomings to distract attention from their own. They can make you the bad guy and the object of suspicion while they get to go on doing their dirt without fear of being caught.
Think about it, if they can ruin your reputation and make you into a known troublemaker, then people won’t suspect it’s the bullies stirring up all the discord. They’ll look over at you instead. Understand that where there’s smoke, there’s fire and if people expect trouble to come from a certain person, then that person is where they’re going to look.
To do what the bullies want to do to you requires changing public opinion about you. If bullies can demonize you in the eyes of others, and they often do, they can cut you off from having any friends, allies, or support. Once they cut you off from support, then they can bully you at will because no one else will like you and any bystanders will either not care or they’ll refuse to help you because they will believe that you deserve the abuse.
Bullies are experts at breaking down barriers that would prevent them from abusing you. I urge you to see it all for what it is. Never let them cause you not to believe in yourself. Never let them destroy your confidence. Never let them gaslight you and try to tell you that their behavior is your fault. Never let them cause you to hate yourself.
Always stand up for yourself and call the bullies and their behavior out. Because, in doing so, you keep those barriers in place to protect you. You keep your reputation; you keep the support of others. Most importantly, you keep your confidence, your self-belief, and your healthy self-esteem.
Bullies ritually beat their victims down to the point that the poor targets have come to view themselves through the eyes of their bullies. Toxic shame is, perhaps, the worst type of shame a person can have. Because once you begin to view yourself through the eyes of your abusers, that’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom.
Their contempt, disgust, and aversion toward you have rubbed off on you, and you began to hate yourself. But I want you to understand that this is what your bullies want. They want you to hate yourself. Because the bullies know that if they can work on you and finally get you to hate yourself, they know they’ve won.
Your bullies aren’t stupid. They know that you’ll submit to the abuse because when a person hates themselves, they think they deserve abuse.
When a target of bullying suffers from toxic shame, they accuse themselves of sins of which they aren’t guilty. They apologize incessantly over things that aren’t their fault. Ultimately, targets feel guilty for merely existing!
Toxic shame causes one to lose trust in himself and their decisions and judgments, and become afraid to make them. Ultimately, it makes for a miserable life.
The points mentioned above are why we must guard our self-esteem and confidence. But before we can do that, we must educate ourselves on where bullying comes from, the mindsets of bullies, how to spot them before they strike, ways for targets to minimize the effects of bullying, and the damage bullying can do. Only then will we have the knowledge to empower, protect, and take care of ourselves.
This is what this blog is all about, and it’s my wish that targets and potential targets learn these things to defend themselves. Because if we can reduce the number of victims, we can then reduce bullying.
Bullies will often bully a specific victim for so long that the victim eventually expects maltreatment from all people. Although I no longer get bullied and have long since regained my confidence and self-esteem, I do remember that feeling all too well.
After being bullied for so long, you become fearful. Around people, you clam up, keep your eyes to yourself and go about your business. However, it seldom works because bullies are like pit bulldogs; they can smell fear from a mile away, so being reserved and staying out of the way tends to bring about more bullying.
You can always tell when a person is a victim of bullying because they continuously apologize for everything. Overapologizing is the surefire sign of bullying and abuse, as is being reserved and afraid to look people in the eye.
Understand that the person who does that is scared to death. They’ve lost all sense of their worth and are afraid to make decisions because they might make the wrong one and be ridiculed, shamed, or harmed for it.
Many targets are also afraid to talk to people because they know that, no matter what they say and how much sense it makes, they will be accused of saying something stupid or offensive and, they will again get persecuted for it. They’re fearful of going out or being seen in public because they might run into the wrong people (bullies).
They’re scared to greet people because they fear that they’ll be seen as too friendly. But if they say nothing, they’re often mistaken for being stuck up or standoffish.
If you are a victim of bullying and you do any of the above, STOP!
Living your life in fear is no way to live! It sucks! It’s a downright miserable existence, and you should refuse to keep your head down and clam up to avoid the pettiness of other people!
I want you to realize that you don’t need permission to be yourself or to exist! The day you say, “Screw it! Who cares what those idiots think!” will be the day you get your life back. Things may indeed get worse before they get better. But it’ll be worth it in the long run. I guarantee it.
Why? Because the target’s judgement, decisions, and feelings are constantly attacked, negated, and condemned by others. When a target is bullied, they’re taught that, although the abuse they suffer is painful, they either shouldn’t feel, or they have no right to feel that pain because they’re to blame for the abuse they suffer.
Targets are conditioned by bullies, bystanders, even people in authority, friends, and family to just suck it up and negate their own painful feelings. In that, they’re trained either not to understand or to deny their own suffering and that bullies and others are abusing them.
Targets are trained to believe that other people’s vile behavior is their fault and that something is wrong with them, otherwise the bullying wouldn’t be happening to them. Targets are also snookered that everything that goes wrong is because of them. In short, they’re taught that the abuse they’re getting is somehow justified.
As a result, targets often withdraw because they become afraid that they’ll only attract bullies and bullying behavior from the people around them. As a result, targets are left feeling confused and inadequate.
Targets are made to think that:
They take things wrong.
They’re too sensitive.
They asked for it or had it coming.
There’s something wrong with the way they are.
There’s something wrong with the way they express themselves.
There’s something wrong with the way they come across to people.
Therefore, targets stop believing in themselves. Even worse, they lose trust in themselves, their abilities, and their capabilities. And once this happens, they become perfect victims for bullies.
Understand that targets suffer many attacks to not only their physical body, but also their psyche and their emotional being.
Even worse, their very souls are tired, their spirits broken, and they don’t understand their own pain nor why they feel it inside.
Being a target of bullying is a hell that no one who hasn’t been there can possibly comprehend. When you’re bullied, you’re in the fight of your life, and for your life. And when I say fight for your life, this doesn’t only mean fighting to stay alive, although it can.
“The fight for your life” can mean fighting for your self- esteem. It can mean fighting for your personal power and dignity. It can mean fighting to keep your confidence up and self-esteem from being broken so that the abuse doesn’t affect your grades, performance (at school or work), or worse, your ability to make smart decisions and life-choices. You’re fighting to keep the abuse from effecting your entire future. Most importantly, you’re fighting to maintain your health and your sanity.
Because you’re very much aware that if you allow these people to cause you to lose any of the above, then you unwittingly give them power over your entire life and every aspect of it. You may not end up dead, but you won’t really live, you’ll only exist. And that’s no way to live!
No matter what happens, stay strong. Hold on to everything mentioned above, or as much of it as possible. And most of all, know that none of the bullying you suffer has anything to do with you and that there are people out there who care. Keep the faith, keep believing in yourself, and stand strong!
There are many people in the world who are broken children and never realized their true potential or their value. Perhaps they were abused at home or bullied in school. Maybe some jealous bully in their lives made it their mission to bring these people down because their confidence was a threat to the bully’s overinflated ego. Whatever the case may be, other people attacked their confidence and goodness at some point during their childhoods and gave them an evil gag gift of insecurity. And they carried this heavy gag gift into adulthood.
These people were wounded so deeply that they were never again the same. Many became bullies because they felt that the only way they could feel good about themselves was to make someone else feel inferior. Sadly, feeling good by these types of means is only temporary and it wears off quickly.
And once it wears off, these people must deliver another put down to get back that ego boost. Because their spirits were crushed, they now have an insatiable need to crush the spirits of others to feel whole again.
It takes a miserable and broken person to go through life putting others down to feel good about themselves. It takes a person who lacks confidence and doesn’t realize their own potential to attack the confidence, goals, and dreams of another. Instead of working toward their goals, practicing self-care, and using their intelligence and merit to achieve confidence and self-actualization, they take the easy way out and achieve it through such superficial means as tearing some poor soul down.
Again, understand that these superficial means are only a temporary fix. But legitimate means, such as working on and cultivating your dreams can last a lifetime.
With that said, I have to wonder just how many people have wasted their entire lives taking this toxic path. How many people have died while weighed down with a mountain of insecurity? How many people have carried their anger, bitterness, and hatred to their graves? And how many people have gone to their graves without realizing confidence and their true potential?
Honestly, this is something that I don’t want to know because the answer just might be that it’s a vast majority of the people who are lying in the cemeteries around the world. There are millions upon millions of tombstones engraved with the names of people who had great ideas and dreams but never worked toward them because they allowed another person to cause them to underestimate and undervalue themselves. And sadly, their ideas and dreams, which could’ve made a positive difference not only in their lives, but in the lives of others and in the world, died on the deathbeds with them.
Any sane person should shutter at the thought that this could be them one day. It certainly scares me to death just knowing that I could’ve died never knowing my worth nor potential. It would have been a complete waste!
Understand that life is only a one-shot deal. There are no do-overs. If you are a bully who must use superficial means to feel whole or a target of bullying who feels useless, you must realize that as long as you’re still breathing, you still have a chance to change your ways and to realize the value you bring to this world. You still have a chance to find confidence and reach your potential. You still have a chance at reaching your higher self.
It won’t happen overnight and neither will it come easy. Nothing positive ever does. In fact, it may take years or decades and there will be forces in this life that will fight against you in the forms of toxic people and adverse circumstances- the devil doesn’t like positive change. But better late than never. And better hard-won than never. Don’t wait until it’s too late. And don’t put it off until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come for you.
Find a way to turn your pain into power- legitimate power- the type of power that isn’t harmful to another person. Find the will to turn your trauma into triumph. Began doing the inner work needed to better your spirit. Most importantly, do it while you still can. Make the rest of your life the best of your life.
You’ve heard the quote, “You are what you eat.” So, it goes with your thought processes. You are also what you think.
Targets of bullying can start off as confident and outgoing people. But after years of bullying and abuse, they become insecure, afraid, and withdrawn. Sometimes, they can turn against themselves. They began to think that they aren’t worthy of anything good in life. They stop believing in their own good qualities. They no longer think they’ll ever be loved, ever be accepted, or ever be successful and that nothing will ever go right for them.
Then, sure enough, things begin to happen that matches their thoughts and feelings. These poor people began to fall out with friends and family, they have back-to-back bad breaks. They finally develop feelings of self-loathing and end up alone, rejected, unsuccessful, and unlucky.
Here’s how it works:
You must realize that your thought patterns determine your outlook (attitude).
Your outlook determines your decisions and behavior.
Your decisions and behavior determine your outcomes.
Your outcomes determine your life and the events that happen in it.
All this then re-enforces your outlook or attitude.
This becomes a cycle and cycles always repeat themselves.
Anytime you think a thought, you send a message out into the universe and, sooner or later, you get a response that matches, and the response always returns as an event, situation, or circumstance. And once it becomes a vicious cycle in your life, it’s damn hard to break that cycle.
Know that this cycle can be broken, but it takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work. I can tell you from experience that the changes won’t happen overnight, and the reason is that, once a pattern is set, unseen forces (like your subconscious mind, for instance) will, at first, fight against any change you try to make. You could say that these unseen forces (your subconscious) have become comfortable with the way things are and, just as most people hate change, so do the higher powers at work.
But know that if you keep at it, your breakthrough will present itself eventually. It has to after a while because of your refusal to give up.
Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, you must be very careful that you don’t allow your bullies and the lies and toxic messages they send to influence the way you think of yourself. You must fight like the devil to hold on to your self-belief. Your life and its trajectory depend on it!
If you hold on to your positive attitude and sense of self from the very beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hard work in the future. Most of all, you’ll save yourself from a lot of future pain and misery.
Many targets of bullying, after people bully them so severely for so long, become painfully shy. I did. So, I understand entirely.
When a target has personal attacks hurled at them from every direction, and others scrutinize everything they say and do down to the tiniest detail, it’s easy for that person to withdraw, shut out the rest of humanity, and hide in plain sight. It seems to be the safest thing to do.
However, it’s a terrible way to live. Shyness is like a prison without walls. It stops you from being your true, authentic self, and you end up missing out on so much. Shyness keeps you from having fun and enjoying life.
When you’re shy, you don’t properly connect with others because you’re too busy thinking about yourself rather than others.
There. I said it.
You’re too busy thinking instead of connecting- thinking of what to say next, wondering what others are thinking of you and of how they can benefit you, and self-conscious of how you’re coming across. You’re too busy thinking about you!
But what if I said that there was a way to get rid of shyness? What if I told you there’s one- just one ingredient?
It’s true! Are you ready for it? Here it is.
How you get rid of shyness is to take the focus off yourself and become interested in others. And when you do that, you put yourself out there and take risks.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” How right she was.
When you’re so shy that you can’t bear social situations, it’s a sign that you’ve already given your power over to other people. Not good! You owe it to yourself to take that power back.
It won’t be easy. It may feel awkward at first. But put yourself out there and take risks. Greet people- even total strangers, with a smile and a “Hi. How are you?” You’ll be surprised at the positive outcomes you get and how your confidence begins to soar.
I know what some of you are thinking.
“What if they reject me?”
Rejection is a part of life. You just have to deal with that. Better yet, embrace it. It’s a risk you must take. Life is full of risks.
But if you don’t take risks, you don’t really live, you only exist.
Realize that human beings love it when you’re genuinely interested in them. Let them tell you about themselves and listen not only with your ears and eyes but with your whole heart. Do it long enough, and soon, it will no longer feel awkward. You won’t even need to think about it. It will feel like second nature.
Only when you develop a genuine interest in other people will your shyness disappear. The key is to focus outside yourself.
So, get out there and schmooze it up! I guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised not only at the results you get but how confident you feel!