Greetings to all my fellow bloggers and readers. I’ll be taking a much-needed rest for the next week or so as I’m exhausted and haven’t been feeling well. I also need to do a good Fall cleaning. In the meantime, I have posts that are scheduled. And know that I shall return and when I do, I’ll continue to respond, read and converse with you all.
Wishing you all a great and prosperous week and weekend!
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.
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.
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!
Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.
1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.
2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullies taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.
3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in some trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.
4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.
5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.
6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”
Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!
To become comfortable in your own skin, it takes several years and plenty of life lessons and experiences. It takes being knocked down enough times by enough people before you can finally say, enough is enough and choose to be happy.
And when we choose to be happy, despite our imperfections and what others think or say of us, we choose to be truly free! Free from the constraints of longing to fit in- free from the constraints of conformity!
To be comfortable in your own skin means loving and accepting all parts of you- the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
It means doing what fulfills you and makes you happy.
It means living life on your own terms.
It means refusing to apologize for who you are.
It means allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
It means refusing to live up to standards and expectations other than your own.
It means making time for hobbies and interests.
It means making time for your family and closest friends.
It means not being afraid to say no or to set boundaries.
It means not being afraid to ask for what you want.
It means following your dreams.
It means working toward your goals.
It means celebrating your successes and accomplishments.
It means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
It means being selective of friends and who you spend time with.
It means accepting and embracing differences in people.
It means having empathy and compassion for others.
It means putting yourself and your health first.
It means being realistic with goals and patient with the time it takes to reach them.
It means being present in the moment.
It means knowing your limitations.
It means knowing what you want in life and going after it.
It means being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
It means loving yourself enough to know when it’s time to walk away.
It means knowing that you’re worthy of respect, love, compassion, friendship, and peace.
Putting others first isn’t a bad thing. It shows that you care about your fellow man and that you’re willing to contribute some good to the world. It’s an outstanding character trait to have.
Many people have been conditioned, often by well-meaning parents, that the polite thing to do is to put others ahead of ourselves. That making sacrifices for others shows manners and that we’re “good people”- that we are well-mannered and have morals. Nothing wrong with it.
However, when that courtesy is overdone or done at your own expense, that’s when it becomes a bad thing. The problem is that people will come to expect you to be a yes-person and take their crap. You’ll soon attract users and abusers and become a doormat.
In taking this advice, many of us found out the hard way that giving too much of ourselves sometimes involved overlooking abuse. Even worse, we found that it didn’t make the mistreatment go away but only encouraged the person to abuse us later.
Growing up, I heard every excuse you can imagine.
“Oh, they’re just having a bad day.”
“Maybe they have an abusive or cheating spouse at home.”
“Oh, but you never know what that person is going through.” Blah-blah-b-blah.
A few adults in my family and a few teachers advised me to,
“Give them a break.”
“Cut so-and-so some slack.”
“Try to overlook him.”
“Oh, but try to put yourself in her shoes.”
That got old very quickly. I eventually grew fed up and wanted to scream, “Um- EXCUSE ME! I’ve been ‘reasonable,’ and the only thing I ever got from it is taken advantage of! Would you be reasonable if this happened to you?!”
The point is that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s okay to put yourself first. And no law or rule says you have to tolerate unacceptable behavior- from anyone! Ever!
Anytime you’re mistreated, then advised or forced to “be nice” or “understand what Joe Blow is going through,” it only means that, subconsciously, the givers of this advice either don’t care about your boundaries, or they’re afraid of making the offending person angrier, and of the situation escalating. Some people can’t handle conflict.
They are only trying to silence you to appease the person who’s being a total jackass.
These kinds of advice and expectations can do one of either two things to you as you get older:
A. It can program you to be over tolerant of unacceptable and abusive behaviors and set you up for a life of getting bullied by other people.
You grow up being so afraid of pissing anyone off that you accept any abuse to avoid conflict. You end up living a life of being crapped on by others.
B. It can have the exact opposite effect and give you an “F-you” attitude and a bad case of The Don’t-Give-A-Shits.
Because of being forced to accept bad behavior in the past, you become a mean, bitter, and apathetic adult and could care less about anyone. That’s not good either.
I’m one of the lucky ones. It gave me an equal blend of both. I believe in treating others how I’d want them to treat me and don’t mind lending a helping hand to someone who needs it.
But if for one moment, I suspect that someone is taking my kindness for being a fool, I’ll drop that person like a bad habit and they’re on their own!
It’s okay to be kind. It’s okay to put others before you, but only in particular circumstances.
It’s perfectly fine to give an older adult your chair in a crowded doctor’s office.
It’s okay to get up and offer your seat to a combat soldier in a crowded airport.
In fact, it’s called having respect for elders and servicemen and women who fight for your country.
But never take abuse nor accept excuses for unacceptable behavior. Anytime someone crosses a line with you, go ahead. Respond in kind. Give it back to them because only then will the person realize that you aren’t a doormat and find someone else to abuse.
This is not selfish or being self-centered. It’s called self-preservation.
Here’s something which most targets of bullying don’t realize. Not even I knew this at the time I was being bullied.
You teach people how to treat you. And how do you teach them this? By how well you treat yourself– by what you will and will not put up with and by the boundaries you set.
To put it plainly, you can either allow unsavory people into your life, letting them abuse and degrade you or you can put your foot down, call them on their unacceptable behavior, and give them the old heave-ho. You decide.
I have to admit. When I was being bullied years ago, I unwittingly let my classmates tear me down. I gave them the power to determine how I felt about myself- the power that never belonged to them in the first place.
I didn’t have the courage to stand up to them properly and I let the hurtful words and the physical assaults make me feel terrible about myself.
I gave up on schoolwork and my grades plummeted. I gave up on my talents and stopped doing what I enjoyed. I allowed them to turn me against myself.
I can’t even pretend it was all their fault. Because I allowed them to steal my confidence- without knowing it or meaning to, of course. Nevertheless, I let it happen, so some of the blame is on me.
But the good news is, they may have brought me down but they couldn’t keep me there. Eventually, I wised up and saw my value as both a human being and as a woman.
I can’t stress enough the importance of loving yourself first and foremost. Love should come from within and you should never look to any outside source for it. Love yourself and all of your imperfections, for we are all “perfectly flawed.”
Accept and respect yourself. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do to be accepted and for someone to love you. If a person does not want to see you for the beautiful person that you are, you can’t make them. However, you do have the choice of whether or not to keep them in your life.
With bullies, however, this may or may not change their behavior toward you, and the worst-case scenario might even make it worse. However, you aren’t looking to change anyone’s attitude, you’re looking to take care of yourself and to achieve your own peace and happiness.
It’s not about changing them, it’s about looking out for yourself and keeping your dignity and self-respect. It’s about taking appropriate measures to make you feel good.
Know your worth. Open your eyes to your value. And treat yourself better. Because if you don’t treat yourself right, no one will.
One of the greatest victories against bullies is reaching your full potential. Here are ways you can do it!
1. Don’t worry about what other people think. In life, there will be those who will try to tear you down, especially if they know you’re striving to reach a goal. But you don’t mind because they don’t matter. Don’t let them discourage you. No matter what they say, keep shooting for the stars. And don’t stop until you reach your dreams.
2. Weed out all the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers. Yes! Get rid of all the gossips, whiners, complainers, bullies, and all the people who make you feel bad and suck the oxygen out of you. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people- people who help you, not those who hinder you.
3. Never be afraid to be alone. Trust me; you’d rather be by yourself than keep company with people who are negative and drain the lifeblood out of you. Negative people are exhausting, and you will need all your energy stores to reach your highest potential. And if you have a partner who doesn’t treat you right nor appreciates the value you bring to a relationship, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the partnership, get clear on the kind of partner you want in your life and give this person their walking papers.
4. Don’t quit. Don’t give up when it seems like progress isn’t happening fast enough or when the going gets rough. Keep plugging at it! Because somethings, things are their toughest just before you finally get your breakthrough.
5. Believe in yourself. To succeed at anything, you must believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will, and you won’t accomplish anything. Without faith in yourself and your abilities, you won’t have the morale to keep working toward your dreams. If you need to rest, then do so. But whatever you do, don’t quit!
I had to do all of these before I ever found my confidence and reached peace and happiness. It won’t be easy but I promise. It’ll be worth it in the end!
You must have the courage to love yourself, even when it angers the people around you. That means setting boundaries, being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
During grade 6, my first year at Oakley* Schools, I lacked boundaries because I didn’t know how to enforce them. Without those limits, I gave away my friendship, time, energy, and power to people who never deserved it and left nothing for myself. I was bending over backward to please others, treading lightly, being careful not to rock the boat, and make other people angry.
I had been conditioned to think that I wasn’t enough, and I should be anything other than myself. And I thought that being friendly, being accommodating, and being available would win me love and friendship.
It didn’t. It got me the exact opposite- walked over, bullied, and mistaken for a fool because the people I was overly friendly to never extended the same to me in return. Without meaning to, I gave the impression that I was desperate to fit in.
A year or so later, during the seventh grade, I began setting boundaries because I was tired of being a doormat. However, first impressions are powerful and it was too late. The power dynamic and others’ expectations of me had already been set. What I should’ve done was drew the line from day one.
In junior high, although my boundaries were clear, many others violated them every chance they got for no other reason than to demonstrate their power and show who was boss. Anytime I said ‘no’ to any of my classmates at school, I would face retaliation of some kind- guilt trips, threats, or physical beatings because they had grown too used to me being a pushover.
They were afraid that if I developed a spine, the benefits they were getting at my expense would stop. Therefore, the retaliation was their way of reinforcing their power and dominance and keeping me subdued.
But now that we’re all adults, let any of them try that today, and they will be very disappointed. Back then, I often wondered why nothing ever seemed to work out.
Understand that timing is everything. Also realize that you already have power but for it to work, you must know how to use it and you must stand up for yourself the very first time bullies come for you. Otherwise, your place in the pecking order will become iron clad and once that happens, you might as well not have any power at all.
I didn’t realize it then, but during those early years in Oakley*, I was going about it all wrong. ‘You see? You must put yourself and your needs first. Never lower your standards or your boundaries! It’s okay to be kind, but never be nice!
The difference between being kind and being nice is that kindness is genuine. People are kind because it’s the right thing to do, not because it can win friendships or favors. Also, kind people never give at their own expense.
Nice people, on the other hand, want friendship and approval. Also, people who are nice give at their own peril and stick their neck out for others to step on, thinking others will come around when they realize how much they care. “Nicies” are under the impression that the more you suffer, the more it shows you care. Um- Wrong!
It gives the impression that you’re a pushover, a kiss butt, a boot-licker! Being nice never awards you any respect because there’s usually an ulterior motive and the reason for your niceness is to avoid conflict!
Being kind, on the other hand, is genuine and others can sense the genuineness. Being kind is much more respectful. Being ‘nice’ is for wimps.
Understand that anytime you set boundaries, there will always be those who will hate you for it and retaliate. And they will fight you for a while to wear you down. That’s what bullies do!
However, stick to your guns. Keep fighting for your right to be treated with respect. Show them that you will stand up to them no matter what they do, and eventually, they’ll get tired and realize that you aren’t worth the effort. They’ll go find an easier target.
So, always set limits and be prepared to fight to protect them. Be kind, yes! But if people start taking your kindness for being a fool and treating you like crap, don’t be afraid to tell these people to kiss off!
Being kind to others means being kind to yourself first.