Drinking Dirty Water Means You’re Thirsty

You might look at the title of this post and think, “Well, duh!” So, let me put it another way.

Just because you’re thirsty doesn’t mean you have to drink dirty water. Even if it seems that dirty water is all that’s available. In other words, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people just because good people are hard to find.

“Settling for toxic friends because you’re lonely is like drinking dirty water because you’re thirsty.”  – Cherie White –

Many times, when you finally get enough of being used and abused by fake friends and decide once and for all to walk away, you may be alone for a while. Life may put you to the test to see if you’re really and truly done with the creeps you once, very naively, called friends. Even worse, life may decide to drag it out over a few weeks or months just to test your strength.

This happens with many targets of bullying. And, consequently, they may wait a little while, but eventually they cave in and go back to the same people who treated them so badly. Or the target may allow their frenemies to sweet-talk them back into the friendship. However, what happens once they do go back?

Patience is a Must!

It’s true that these fake friends may be extra friendly. They treat the target well for a few days, weeks, or maybe even a month. However, they will eventually go back to treating the target shabbily again. Why? Because they see any second chance the target gave them as evidence that he was only bluffing when he broke off the friendship.

You’ll only look desperate, or, as the kids say today, “thirsty.” And ewww! that’s not a good look at all! Cringe is what it is!

Therefore, these fakers only lose respect for the target and no longer take him seriously. Even worse, if the target again gets tired of the abuse and walks away a second time, the fakes will only look at each other and say, “he’ll be back. He just needs to cool off.”

There’s a reason for the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I’m all for giving second chances, don’t get me wrong. Because people screw up from time to time. However, you should use judgement when doing so. Who is it that you’re giving the chance to? And have they blown any chances you’ve given in the past? ‘Very important!

Don’t Give Chances to Those Who Only Abuse Them

Again, second chances are fine. Just make sure you don’t end up giving them a third chance, fourth chance, and so on. And realize that there are instances when even a second chance isn’t deserved- there are some things you just can’t come back from. So, if you decide to give another chance, make this your rule of thumb- the second chance is always the last chance. If they blow that chance, that’s it and it’s on them.

When it comes to situations such as this, you must stick to your guns. Otherwise, your fake friends, your bullies, and others who are around to see it will only use you as a cat toy.

Therefore, when you walk away from fake friends, do it and mean it! Do it with the presumption that you may have to wait a spell before better friends find you. Then stick it out! Wouldn’t you rather be by yourself rather than with people who only use and abuse you? If you’re going to be alone anyway, it might as well be for a damn good reason. Because nothing feels worse than being alone…in a group!

The next time you get fed up with shabby treatment and decide to walk, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people. Be patient and wait it out! I promise you that better people will come along eventually. Dry spells don’t last forever and if you hold true to yourself and stick it out, you will have better friends. And they will be people who are worth your time and consideration- people who deserve to have you in their lives.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

It’s Up to You to Protect Yourself

If you’re a target of bullying, can you truly and totally rely on people in authority to help you? Can you rely on them to do something about the bullying you suffer and hold those who are bullying you to account for their horrible behavior? Can you rely on others to bring you justice?

I used to be all about laws against bullying and yes, the idea sounds great. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. However, I’m beginning to gravitate away from making bullying a crime. Why? Because most people aren’t going to protect targets until it happens to them or one of theirs. And even then, that’s still debatable.

Let’s Stop Relying too Much on Others

We cannot rely too much on laws and policies because they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Entities, such as schools and workplaces, can write all the rules and policies against bullying they want. But until they enforce those policies, they’re only as cheap as the ink and paper administrators use to make them.

What good are laws and policies if these entities don’t enforce them? At what point do we stop relying on the system to protect us and begin protecting ourselves?

Understand that, no matter what anyone says, you don’t have to put up with anyone else’s crap. Therefore, it’s up to you to stand up to bullies and do it properly. And if defending yourself doesn’t work, you have the option to remove yourself from the situation and environment.

We Must Learn to Take Care of Ourselves

Here’s another reason I’m gravitating away from making bullying a crime: It’s because most seasoned bullies have ways of making innocent targets look like the bullies. Therefore, if lawmakers make bullying an imprisonable crime, many innocent targets would end up behind bars. Because, again, bullies, especially narcissistic bullies have a flare for flipping the script and, very convincingly, painting the target as the bad guy.

Too many targets have been conditioned to think that self-defense is wrong and it isn’t. And the people who condition these targets are often bullies themselves. Therefore, if bullies target you for bullying, you must know your enemies. You must do a lot of study and research on bullies, then use the knowledge you gain to outmaneuver them.

Also, yiu must do your own investigation and gather your own evidence. That means detailed documentation. Moreover, you may need to use the last resort and bust the bully in the mouth if all else fails and the bully tries to physically attack you. It’s the only way you can effectively defend yourself. Remember!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiving your bullies and anyone who’s ever wronged you isn’t easy, but it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself.

I know, I know! I can practically hear the groans of dread and scoffs coming from a few already. To be honest, I once had the same attitude myself anytime someone advised me to forgive.  I wasn’t ready to because I hadn’t healed yet.

Sometimes, you need time to process the abuse you suffered and heal before you can forgive. Completely understandable! And only you can know when you’re ready. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that the transgression they committed against you is okay, nor does it mean that you have to buddy up with the person who wronged you. But when you’re ready to forgive, it will only benefit you, not your attacker.

Allow me to delve a little deeper:

Forgiveness is a must! It is a prerequisite for re-empowerment and happiness. It’s not about letting anyone off the hook; it’s about setting yourself free from the toxic feelings of anger and hate, which will hold you back.

This message is for targets of bullying today and for survivors of bullying. Forgive them when you’re ready. I can tell you that for me, the ability to forgive was like a huge weight that was lifted off of my shoulders. There’s truly no better feeling!

Anytime you hold on to grudges and hate for a person, that individual controls you whether you realize it or not. They may have exerted control over the years they bullied you, but you don’t have to let them control the rest of your life.

Let me put it another way, holding onto and carrying around anger and hate doesn’t hurt the person it’s aimed at. It hurts you. Because the people you hate and hold grudges against either don’t know about it, or they don’t care.

While you’re sitting around stewing over someone who did you wrong, that person could care less. They’re going on with their lives and not giving you so much as a thought. So, why should you allow them to take up space in your mind?

Forgiveness is the only solution to this problem. It’s the only way that you will be able to take back control of your life.

If you want to be happy, successful, and live in peace, forgive the people who wronged you. It’s the only way!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Looking at The Bully’s Perspective

Bullies perceive their target as their enemy even when the target has done nothing to them and even as they’re ritually abusing and torturing the poor soul. And once the target speaks out about the abuse, that enmity only increases exponentially.

The bullies get a fix on the target and he/she is all they can focus on because they feel threatened.

Bullies and abusers only see from their own perspective and their perspective has the target as an opponent to be punished- a threat who must be contained and even eliminated. Bullies aren’t concerned with the fact that their anger and hatred are irrational. They don’t think that they’re destroying a fellow human being much like themselves- a human being with thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Bullies are oblivious to the fact that the impetus of their violence comes from the primal part of their brains.

Know Your Bully

Understand that if you’re a target of bullying, your bullies see you as the enemy, right or wrong. They view you as bad and evil and they want revenge. They have no inhibitions of destroying you because they think they’re the good guys and they’re doing the right thing by destroying you: evil enemies must be annihilated.

In the Mind of a Bully, The Target Owes Them Respect

And when the target doesn’t show the bullies the respect they feel they’re entitled to, or in the way the bullies think it should be shown, they become enraged and seek to destroy the person.

The power-dynamic between bully and target is always zero-sum. The bully feels the target deserves nothing but hostility and abuse from them but, in contrast, the target owes them respect…and he owes it to them as they’re abusing him.

From the bully’s perspective, the target must atone for their flaws, their shortcomings, and their evil by lying down and “letting” the bullies torment her.

But when and where does it stop?

It doesn’t. As we know, bullying only gets worse until somebody dies or leaves.

If you’re a target of a bully, understand this. It doesn’t matter what the bully’s perspective is. It doesn’t matter what the bully thinks. Neither the bully nor anyone else has a right to violate your boundaries, physical nor psychological.

I want you to know that you have a right to learn, work, or live in a safe environment. You have a right to be in a nourishing environment that allows you to flourish. And you owe respect to no one who hasn’t earned your respect. Bullies and abusers deserve no respect from you. Anyone who deliberately sets out to hurt you does not deserve anything from you. Understand that you must value yourself and put yourself first.

If someone is abusing you, you have every right to take care of yourself. You have not only a right but an obligation to yourself to either walk away from the person or, if you can’t walk away- if the bully won’t let you walk away, then you have a right to defend yourself. Realize that you are valuable, and you matter just as much as the next person.

And everyone has flaws, not only you. If anyone bullies you, then they have no business coming anywhere near you. Always remember that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Self-Love Irrespective of What Others Think

No lie. This can be hard to do, especially if the people around you hate you and are bullying you. Loving yourself in the midst of bullying and in a room full of people who think horribly of you takes a mountain of hard work when all you hear from others is:

“You aren’t worth a damn!”

“You suck!”

“You’re a drain on society!”

“You’ll never amount to a hill of beans!”

I understand. If you hear that long enough and from enough people, it can break your spirit if you let it. And how you refuse to let it get to you is to see it for what it is- noise pollution!

Here are a few more ways you can refuse to let their abuse get to you.

Give yourself permission to be yourself.

Know that’s it’s okay for you to be you.

Train your inner voice, through practice, to love you unconditionally.

Know that it’s okay to have needs, wants, and desires.

Deny the urge to compare yourself to others.

Understand that it’s okay to walk away from drama, and that it’s not out of fear that you do so, it’s out of smarts and self-care.

Allow yourself to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Realize that it’s okay to leave if you’re in an environment where you aren’t valued.

And lastly, know that it’s okay if people get angry with you.

Realize that if you don’t love yourself no matter your circumstances, it can have negative consequences later. Therefore, it’s so important that you do!

Although you can never control how others view you. And you can’t control what others say to you and how they act toward you. We must realize that another person’s behavior is beyond our control. However, what you can control is how you behave. In other words, you can control how you respond to the behavior of bullies and other idiots who try to steal your joy.

Loving yourself in the face of bullying is revolutionary!

Therefore, you must do what you can to drown out this noise pollution. And how you do it is to see your bullies for the creeps they truly are, think good thoughts of yourself, and remind yourself of your good qualities. Believe it or not, working to think highly of yourself when nobody else does is the greatest act of rebellion against bullies!

Again, see it for what it is. The judgements and verbal abuse you consistently hear from the cowardly creeps around you, is nothing but a bunch of racket. In other words, it’s noise pollution!

When you work to like yourself when others don’t, you refuse to let bullies get into your head. In that, you train your brain to filter out other’s negative comments and remarks that serve no purpose but to damage your self-esteem. Also, you silence that inner critic that would otherwise nag you night and day.

Moreover, when you love and accept yourself, others outside the bullying environment and strangers who have no history with you will be inclined to also love and accept you. No, your bullies and abusers won’t like or love you even if you love yourself, but who cares about them?

So, love yourself despite what others think of you. You will be surprised at how it will protect your self-esteem. When you work to feel good about yourself, even while bullies are tearing you down, it will work as a buffer to the psychological attacks they launch.

You may come out of it bruised but not broken.

With knowledge comes power!

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.

dreamstime_xs_101678999

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!

Loving Myself: The Hardest Lesson I Learned

I had to be torn apart to put myself back together again.

I had to be naïve to become wise.

Also, I had to be weakened by bullying for several years before I could finally realize my own strength.

I had to be cheapened by others before realizing my worth.

I had to feel hate from others before I could finally love myself, all parts of myself.

When I was young, I was a beautiful girl to look upon. However, I didn’t think I was so beautiful. Because my classmates had bullied me for so long, I thought I was worthless. And why not? They had drummed that brutal narrative into my head for years.

They wanted me to hate myself as much as they hated me.

Every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. Therefore, I would jokingly put myself down to keep from seeming arrogant. My classmates and a few others had brainwashed me into thinking that “to like or love yourself was arrogance.”

Turning Pain Into Power

Many of my bullies would accuse me of being just that, arrogant. They called me stuck-up, full of myself, snooty, snob, or crazy. And those names were tame compared to the other names I was called, which I won’t mention here because of vulgarity.

Some of them referred to me as “Miss Prissy,” “Empress,” and other sarcastic names. Moreover, these names seemed to come anytime I smiled or showed even a sliver of confidence.

‘You see? When people consistently tell you that you’re this way or that, and in large numbers, you begin to believe it too. Therefore, one of the hardest things to do is to change that mindset once it’s instilled in you, especially after you reach young adulthood.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Self-depreciation is so unhealthy because it often determines your outcomes in life. Furthermore, it breeds laziness and failure. Any success I had wasn’t enough to satisfy me and I would shun it. I always thought that I should be doing more and being better.

I internally belittled myself not only because I feared looking arrogant, but also because I didn’t think I was good enough. Thus, when someone would compliment me, I should have accepted the compliment and thanked the person for it. But instead, I’d say something like, “well, I could’ve done better.” I would always belittle my successes when I should have been celebrating them.

I have noticed that we may compliment friends and family on how beautiful, smart, or how talented they are. Also, we advise them never to put themselves down. However, we find it so hard to extend the same love and support to ourselves.

Reprogramming

Additionally, there were times I’d say things to myself I would never have said to another person, much less my friends and family. It’s sad when we find it so difficult to love ourselves as we would others.

Since those days, I’ve learned that the best kind of love is the love you give yourself. Because, without self-love, you won’t be able to love others properly and healthfully. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I finally decided that I was going to love myself no matter how others felt about me. However, it didn’t happen overnight.

This was the beginning a long journey. I was taking on an exceedingly difficult task, which was reprogramming my mindset. Therefore, I had to purge all the negative stuff I’d been told for so many years and it wasn’t easy by any stretch. It would take reversing and undoing many years of abusive programming. And it was going to require a lot of grunt work.

When I rose to this challenge, there were times people fought against me. Why? Because they did not like and were threatened by the positive changes that I was implementing for myself. There were times when my own mind fought against me. But, I stuck with it because that tiny spark within me always told me that I deserved better.

I continued to vomit out all the garbage others had made me believe about myself. And it was difficult to cleanse myself of the negative thoughts and self-beliefs that had only kept me shackled.

Pushback

It was a long fight, but it was worth it! Today, I’m happy, confident, and comfortable in my own skin, which means I’m free! My intention is for you to be free too!

Here’s what works:

1.Celebrate your successes even if you don’t feel up to it.

2. Make a list of your positive qualities.

3. Make positive affirmations.

4. Reward yourself.

5. Talk kindly to yourself.

6. Catch every negative thought and replace it with a positive thought.

7. Do things you enjoy most.

8. Stay away from toxic people if at all possible.

9. Surround yourself with positive people.

10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet standards that are unattainable.

11. Place no value on the opinions of people who aren’t worthy of your time and energy.

12. BE YOURSELF!

If you practice these twelve things every day, I promise you that you will see change in your overall outlook. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen fast. But it will all be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

8 Ways to Heal from Bullying

Bullying is very traumatic and impacts self-esteem; it often takes many years to heal. People who’ve never endured bullying cannot comprehend how it can change your life. The good thing about leaving a toxic environment is that once you’re gone, you can begin healing and rebuilding your life. However, in many cases, it’s easier said than done.

Here are eight things you can do that can help you heal quicker:

1. Seek Therapy.

Though I realize that there’s a certain amount of stigma that goes with it, getting therapy is the best and most important thing you can do for yourself. Therefore, you must do what you must do to take care of yourself. Moreover, don’t concern yourself with the opinions of others about your care. Right now, you must do what’s best for you.

2. Rest.

When you’re fresh out of a bullying environment, you’re more than likely to be exhausted. Get plenty of sleep. Take some quiet time for yourself. Go on a walk in the park on a beautiful day, or take a pajama day. Get all the rest you can get for a few days.

3. Music.

Music is therapy in itself. Once you’ve got plenty of rest, put in some easy listening for relaxation, maybe some slow jams like TLC or Keith Sweat? Or pop in some dance grooves and rock and roll to make you feel upbeat and like dancing.

There’s nothing that lifts the mood like shaking your booty around the house to some Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul hits or rocking out to some Van Halen, Judas Priest, or Def Leppard. Whatever your taste in music, you’ll feel much better when you do. So get out those CD’s or stream some music on your computer.

4. Lean on the people who love you.

When you’re recovering from bullying and a toxic environment, one of the most important things you need is a network of love and support to balance the positive with the negative. Therefore, keep company with the people who uplift you, love you, and make you feel good. It’ll help you salvage the confidence you’ve lost.

5. Do things you enjoy most.

Indulge in your hobbies and favorite activities. Hobbies allow us to be creative. Therefore, if you create, you feel accomplished! So, rake in those little successes! You’ll feel so much better!

6. Exercise.

Exercise is a major stress-buster. And you can get rid of all that negative energy like anger and depression by sweating it out either in the gym or, if you don’t feel like going anywhere, a workout DVD.

7. Take a trip.

After being in a toxic environment for so long, sometimes, we need to get away for a while. Visit a family member in another state. Embark on a camping trip in the mountains or hit the beach and relax in the sun as you listen to the sounds of seagulls and crashing waves. I guarantee that you’ll return home feeling much, much better!

8. Treat yourself to a day or night out with the guys or gals.

You and your pals could go to a concert or out to lunch or dinner. Maybe go window shopping or to a bar and listen to a live band. In other words, don’t isolate yourself. Get out and have fun. Because sometimes it pays to go out and paint the town red!

Just go easy on the drinks, as alcohol is a depressant!

Healing can take a while to do and may also take much work. But in the end, it’ll be worth it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Low Self-Esteem is Taught.

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.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When You “Embrace the Suck”

Embracing The Suck

Many young targets of bullying are trapped in a school that hates them. It’s easier to get out of a toxic environment when you’re an adult target bullied at work. You can transfer, and if you can’t transfer, you can always quit. However, when you’re a minor, it’s almost impossible. What if your family cannot afford to move to a new school district? Also, what if your parents refuse to move or to transfer you? What if your parents can’t afford to home school you?

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a toxic environment and in a horrible situation. When you’re suffering from bullying with no way to escape it, it’s the feeling of entrapment! Just imagine you’re in this situation and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it! And you can’t get away from it! You’re just stuck there!

So, What Do You Do?

You embrace the suck. Embracing the suck means that you just grin and bear it. You just accept the god-awful, crappy mess you’re in because there’s no other choice. In other words, you’re just plain screwed and there’s no way out of it. You learn to live with it and make peace with the possibility that things may not get any better. And yes, it sucks!

Sadly, many targeted kids are stuck in schools with a toxic culture of bullying. These kids get attacked daily. They’re attacked psychologically and physically. Teachers and principals view these children unfavorably because bullies have them convinced that the targets are the instigators. Therefore, school staff are constantly watching these young targets, waiting for a reason to drag them into the principal’s office.

These kids suffer from plummeting grades and poor school performance because they’re forced to live in survival mode. Why? Because having to prepare for a hostile learning environment takes priority over studying and learning. Therefore, school staff see them as lazy and hopeless and refuse to give them the extra help they need.

Gee! That’s an awful lot of suck!

And how much suck can one child deal with?

Understand that if you’re a child dealing with these kinds of circumstances, you don’t have to just “embrace the suck.” There’s always School Choice. Nowadays, families can get vouchers to make it easier to transfer you to a new school and start fresh. Also, there are other things you can try if, by chance, School Choice isn’t an option where you live:

  • You can document the bullying and have your parent or legal guardian help you with your documentation.
  • Also, you can, depending on the jurisdiction you live in, hide a body cam or digital device in your backpack or on your person.
  • Thirdly, you can practice self-care.

And keep the faith. School Choice may not be available in your area now but it doesn’t mean it won’t be later.

You don’t have to be completely powerless. Do the above three things because they are the things you do have control over. And when you do, not only is it probable that you’ll change the dynamic, but you’ll feel so much better about yourself. You will also feel that you have, at least, some control.

With knowledge comes empowerment!