The Nerve! The Audacity! The Chutzpah!

So, you have the gall to think for yourself. Make no mistake! People will hate you. They will demonize you. Others  will consider you a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a riffraff! People will deem you a crazy person who’s “mentally imbalanced.”

Thinking for yourself or being an independent thinker, whatever you prefer to call it, is such sweet freedom. Yet, most people have always been afraid to do it because it’s much safer to follow the leader.  Safety and comfort always come with doing as you’re told without question or without even thinking about it.

Most choose to take the easy path- the safest route and follow the lead of a person in power. And they’ll do it, even if that person hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. Moreover, they’ll comply, even when there’s evidence that the influencer is leading them to their own demise!

The Human Tendency to Allow Others to Lead You to Your Demise

People automatically take orders from someone deemed superior or powerful without ever asking themselves what the person giving the orders has to gain from their compliance.

There’s much truth to the old saying that people are less afraid of death than they are of ostracization from society.

I can certainly understand the fear of bullying, shunning, and ostracization. No one wants others to oust them from “the social club.” Because human beings are hardwired by God and nature to be social animals. Living as a part of a tribe was how we survived back during prehistoric times.  Whereas, anyone who wasn’t a part of a tribe risked starvation and extinction.

The Powerful Urge to Conform

However, it’s easier for the shunned to survive today. And I’d much rather have my freedom. Freedom requires the ability to pick, choose, and think independently despite what others may think of us.

Moreover, when you think for yourself, you step out of your comfort zone and open up unlimited possibilities for yourself. Thinking for yourself means trusting your gut and following your instincts. It means knowing that your gut will always tell you when something doesn’t sound or feel right.

Realize that there’s a reason people have intense hatred toward a person who thinks independently. It’s because the free thinker is least likely to be controlled or to fall for any tricks and manipulation.

The Freedom to Think for Yourself 

The person who thinks for himself is more likely to see right through smoke screens and fakery. Also, independent thinkers know themselves well. They think critically, and, again, they listen to their gut instincts. In that, they refuse to engage in anything that feels unhealthy or dangerous.

Sadly, we live in a culture of bullying- one that demands that we deny our God-given sixth sense. It’s easier to allow others to pressure us to follow along, even to our own detriment. Bullies in power demand that we deny our own needs and human rights. They send the unwritten message that we have no right to defend ourselves nor our families. They decry that we should put them first and ourselves and our loved ones last.

Power Corrupts

Therefore, they use people of great power and influence to persuade us to do their bidding. They pay Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, politicians, and media personalities to convince us. Their message is that we should go along with them and their way of thinking, living, and doing things.

On the other hand, individuality is strongly discouraged, ridiculed, and even severely punished, as is creativity, originality, and meritocracy.

Simply put, bullies in power demand that we do not think for ourselves but only the way they want us to think. And sadly, they successfully hoodwink the majority of us. They dupe us into believing that, just because the people giving the narrative have great power and influence, they automatically know what they’re talking about and “only want what’s best for us and the rest of humanity,” when, in most cases, the exact opposite is true.

Even Powerful People are Fallable 

Remember that these people are not gods. They are human just like the rest of us and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. Understand that they are just as fallable and capable of error.

We must realize that power corrupts, and it takes a special and unique person to not be corrupted by power. We must understand that the vast majority of those in power do not have our best interests at heart but are only out to use us to fulfill their own agendas and end goals. And once they feel that we’ve served our purpose and they no longer need us, they will discard us like dirty diapers.

People in power, who are corrupt, often use beautiful-sounding words and phrases, such as, “for the common good,” and “for the good or betterment of humanity.”

The Masks Evil People Don

They often portray themselves to be the saviors of humanity or warriors and champions for social justice, all while working behind the scenes to destroy the very groups of people they claim to represent and care about.

In short, they hide their evil intentions behind the veneer of philanthropy, love, and goodwill.

Remember that Satan never appears as an ugly red devil with horns and a pointy tail, he always comes as our biggest dream come true, whether it be the man or woman of our dreams, or a sweetheart of a deal that’s hard to refuse. The devil always comes as an angel of light. That is why we should keep our focus on the person’s actions and not their words.

Dare to Think Independently 

That’s why it’s so important that we think for ourselves. We must also understand that there will be sacrifices for it and we will more than likely endure a truckload of hatred and vitriol from countless others, even those we think are friends and allies. Finally, we must trust that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, it will all be worth it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Define Yourself or Other People Will Do It for You

Bullies may think they know you, and they may attempt to define who you are, but only you know the definition of who you are. By having the audacity to tell us who we are, not only to bullies attempt to force us to replace our thoughts of ourselves with theirs, they also try to play God.

In doing this, bullies also want to force us to deny our beliefs and convictions, and ultimately, deny ourselves. They want us to tell ourselves that what they did to us was all in our minds and only make-believe when it is they who are in a world of make-believe.

Understand that to accept someone else’s definition of you; you must discard your own. When we allow bullies to dictate our inner reality, we lose bits and pieces of ourselves. Also, little by little, we lose awareness of our emotions each time we allow them to do it and eventually grow numb.

For example, when we cry about a legitimate hurt that cuts us to the core, bullies will often invalidate the pain we feel and replace it with their perceptions of it.

They do it by making these biting statements:

“It isn’t that serious!”

“You’re too sensitive!”

“Oh, boo-friggin-hoo! You’re just a little cry baby trying to get attention!”

 “Grow up!”

 “Put your big-girl panties on!”

“Get over it!”

Understand that when you feel sadness, you feel sadness, and when you’re angry, you’re angry, and you should allow yourself and be allowed to feel those emotions. No one has a right to tell you how to feel. Ever!

Motivational inspirational be your own hero

In making these types of statements and accusations, bullies cause many targets to feel guilty for being a human being- for being a person. But realize that bullies don’t see you as a person with thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and convictions of your own. They see you as an abject- a robot they can control.

Bullies don’t see you as an independent and separate being. They see you as a subject who’s only here for their purpose, pleasure, and entertainment. In their minds, your sole purpose on earth is to make them feel powerful. Nothing more. So, instead of allowing you to own your truth, bullies will tell you what your truth is- or should be. And they’ll force-feed it to you and cram it down your throat.

Therefore, this is the kind of response you should expect from bullies.

And if you’re not careful, you’ll allow their statements to overtake you and, in that, allow their perceptions to replace yours. You’ll begin to see yourself through their eyes until you let them blind you to your true nature. You’ll slowly lose sight of yourself until you don’t know who you are anymore.

Even worse, you’ll lose the intuition that they’re abusing you and will no longer know when to protect yourself- you’ll grow numb to the abuse. Realize that this is how bullies and abusers train you not to defend yourself, and once they succeed, they then have you right where they want you- this is how bullies slowly and subtly take the fight out of targets and render them pacifists.

Understand that you must muster the strength to withstand your bullies’ attacks, do all you can to maintain your sense of self, and refuse to accept your bullies’ opinions and definitions of you. Never allow others to trick you into believing that they know you better than you know yourself. The truth is that you know yourself better than anyone else in the entire world because you’re the only one other than God who lives inside you.

Realize that bullies are persistent, so targets must maintain their sense of self and their clarity of who they are. Your beliefs, convictions, likes, dislikes, preferences, authenticity, autonomy, and your ability to decide when something doesn’t feel good add up to equal your definition and your truth.

Your self-definition, sense of self, self-belief, autonomy, confidence, self-esteem are like precious gems, and you must guard them against thieves who wish to take them.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Why Bullies Virtue Signal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vector illustration of a grovel in business

But here’s the thing.

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

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

Here’s another thing.

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

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

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

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Resilience of The Target of Bullying

Understand that we, as humans, know what we need to nourish and flourish. And if we’re not getting what we need and want in our current environment, we’ll get it somewhere else.

Targets of bullying are like flowers that lean toward the sunlight to grow.

If you’re a target of bullying, you will find someplace where you’re accepted. You will find friends. You’ll find love, and you’ll find happiness.

My bullies weren’t able to keep me bullied and broken. After I moved to a new school, their power ended. I was no longer within their reach. As badly as they wanted to, they couldn’t keep me under their bootheel forever. I moved on to a place with people who accepted me as I was.

Understand that bullies can only keep you down for so long. They can’t do it forever. There’s always somewhere people will accept you- just for being your awesome self. Always remember that. There’s always a better tomorrow!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Critical Thinking- Another Reason People Become Targets of Bullying

Having been a target of bullying in the past and spoken to other survivors of bullying through the years, I’ve noticed another factor that marks people for bullying- a virtue that bullies, authoritarians, and despots despise in others- virtues that make targets, well… targets.

People like us tend to think critically. We’re not like most people. We don’t blindly trust, follow, and obey authoritarian types who think they know more than we do. We question authority. We automatically ask ourselves, “If we follow along, what’s in it for them?” We figure out what their possible motives are.

We aren’t too lazy to read the fine print or do our research and figure out the facts. We’re also superb at reading between the lines- reading subtext and deciphering context, non-verbal communication, and probing for incongruencies. If something feels “off,” we’re automatically suspicious of it. We know that 2+2=4, not 5! And we know when someone is trying to manipulate us. We practically have a radar for manipulation.

We question narratives. We probe the status quo. We do things differently and make it a point to live life on our terms, not someone else’s. And we’re willing to take whatever comes with it. We refuse to be controlled by feckless fools who are drunk with power. We know all too well that power corrupts because we’ve been victims of it. Everyone is at some point.

People like us are not likely to be ruled by fear. We follow our own intuitions and are very creative with new ideas. We consistently search for better ways of doing, living, and being. Most others hate that about us. Why? Because most people are trained to follow, and they fall in line and take the safest way through life.

But we’re not afraid to be different. Again, bullies loathe us for that! And the unspoken messages we get from every direction are clear:

How dare you?

How dare you question those in power?

How dare you scrutinize the beloved and timeless status quo?

How dare you think that you can live your life your way?

Who do you think you are?

How dare you presume to know what’s best for you? Better than peers, teachers, supervisors, institutions, media, governments, and other entities of the ruling authority?

How dare you think that you know more about yourself than we do?

We’re the experts! Not you!

We have the degrees and credentials! Not you!

Oh, the nerve!

The audacity!

The chutzpah!

How dare we?

Oh, yes! People like us get those subliminal messages every day. And when we see that it’s all to their benefit and not ours, we’re not afraid to give the rule-makers a proverbial middle finger. We may not come out and say it, but we show it in our calm and quiet disobedience and refusal to go along. We do it by simply continuing to live our lives the way we want and in a way that gives us advantages.

Bullies hate us because we don’t walk lightly. We’re not afraid to make waves. We’re willing to rock the boat if we don’t like something. We don’t mind going against the grain if we suspect that “the rules” might harm us. Why? Because we cherish freedom, autonomy, and self-determination. And we’ll die before we give them up.

Only we can possibly know what’s best for us and no one else. Only we can determine what makes us happy and what will make our lives better. Only we can choose our individual destinies. Only we can define our individual inner realities. Nobody else in the entire world is privy to these things.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

28 Affirmations That Help Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

I love being me – positive affirmation – handwriting on napkin with a cup of coffee

Affirmations That Help Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

NOTE: Parts of this blog post references the following:

(“Stopping Wife Abuse,” Jennifer Baker Flaming, 1979, p.64)

(“The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” Patricia Evans, 2010, p.149)

1.I am not to blame for being bullied.

2. I am not the cause of someone else’s abhorrent behavior.

3. I deserve to be free from bullying and abuse.

4. It is okay for me to say “no” to what I don’t like nor want.

5. I do not have to take it.

6. I am important.

7. I am worthwhile.

8. I deserve to be treated with respect.

9. I have the power to create a good life for myself.

10. It’s okay for me to take care of myself.

11. Only I can decide what’s best for me.

12. I’m not alone. I have people who love me.

13. I am worth fighting for.

14. I deserve to be safe.

15. I deserve to be happy.

16. I am beautiful.

17. I am smart.

18. I am a good person.

19. I can live my life the way I want and on my terms.

20. I am loved.

21. It’s okay to love myself.

22. It’s okay to celebrate myself.

23. It’s okay for me to make mistakes.

24. It’s okay to put myself first.

25. It’s okay to protect and defend myself.

26. It’s okay to ask for help.

27. My life matters.

28. I matter.

When You Have the Nerve, the Audacity, the Chutzpah!… to Think for Yourself!

Make no mistake! You will be hated. You will be demonized- considered a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a riffraff, or a crazy person who’s “mentally imbalanced.”

Thinking for yourself, or being an independent thinker, whatever you prefer to call it, is such sweet freedom. Yet most people have always been afraid to do it because it’s much safer to be a follower and to do as you’re told without question or without even thinking about it.

Most choose to take the easy path- the safest route and follow the lead of a person in power, even if that person hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. Even sadder is the fact that people will follow an influencer or person in power, even when evidence is presented that this person who does the speaking is likely leading them to their own demise!

People automatically take orders from someone deemed superior or powerful without ever asking themselves what the person giving the orders has to gain from their compliance.

There’s much truth to the old saying that people are less afraid of death than they are of being ostracized by society.

I can certainly understand the fear of being the object of bullying, shunning, and ostracization. No one wants to be ousted from “the social club” because human beings are hardwired by God and nature to be social animals. The ability to socialize, nurture relationships, and be a part of a tribe was how we survived back during prehistoric times, and anyone who was ousted from the tribe risked starvation and extinction.

However, it’s easier for the shunned to survive today. And I’d much rather have my freedom. Freedom requires the ability to pick, choose, and think independently despite what others may think of us.

Understand that when you think for yourself, you step out of your comfort zone and open up unlimited possibilities for yourself. Thinking for yourself means trusting your gut and following your instincts. It means knowing that your gut will always tell you when something doesn’t sound or feel right.

Realize that the reason why people have intense hatred toward a person who thinks independently is because the free thinker is least likely to be controlled or to fall for any tricks and manipulation.

The person who thinks for himself is more likely to see right through smoke screens and fakery as if looking through glass. This is because independent thinkers know themselves well. They think critically, and, again, they listen to their gut instincts and refuse to engage in anything that feels unhealthy or dangerous.

Sadly, we live in a culture of bullying- one that demands that we deny our God-given sixth sense and follow along, even to our own detriment. Bullies in power demand that we deny our own needs and human rights. They send the unwritten message that we have no right to defend ourselves and our families. They decry that we should put them first and ourselves and our loved ones last.

So, they use big and rich Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, politicians, media personalities and other people of influence and great power to persuade us to go along with them and their way of thinking, living, and doing things. Individuality is strongly discouraged, ridiculed, and even severely punished, as is creativity, originality, and meritocracy.

Simply put, bullies in power demand that we do not think for ourselves but only the way they want us to think. And sadly, most of us are hoodwinked into believing that, just because the people giving the narrative have great power and influence, they automatically know what they’re talking about and “only want what’s best for us and the rest of humanity,” when, in most cases, the exact opposite is true.

Remember that these people are not gods. They are human just like the rest of us and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. Understand that they are just as fallable and capable of error.

We must realize that power corrupts, and it takes a special and unique person to not be corrupted by power. We must understand that the vast majority of those in power do not have our best interests at heart but are only out to use us to fulfill their own agendas and end goals. And once they feel that we’ve served our purpose and they no longer need us, they will discard us like dirty diapers.

People in power, who are corrupt, often use beautiful-sounding words and phrases, such as, “for the common good,” and “for the good or betterment of humanity.”

They often portray themselves to be the saviors of humanity or warriors and champions for social justice, all while working behind the scenes to destroy the very groups of people they claim to represent and care about.

In short, they hide their evil intentions behind the veneer of philanthropy, love, and goodwill.

Remember that Satan never appears as an ugly red devil with horns and a pointy tail, he always comes as our biggest dream come true, whether it be the man or woman of our dreams, or a sweetheart of a deal that’s hard to refuse. The devil always comes as an angel of light. That is why we should keep our focus on the person’s actions and not their words.

That’s why it’s so important that we think for ourselves. We must also understand that there will be sacrifices for it and we will more than likely endure a truckload of hatred and vitriol from countless others, even those we think are friends and allies. Finally, we must trust that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, it will all be worth it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Critical Thinking- Another Reason Targets are Targeted

Having been a target of bullying in the past and spoken to other survivors of bullying through the years, I’ve noticed another factor that marks people for bullying- a virtue that bullies, authoritarians, and despots despise in others- virtues that make targets, well… targets.

People like us tend to think critically. We’re not like most people. We don’t blindly trust, follow, and obey authoritarian types who think they know more than we do. We question authority. We automatically ask ourselves, “If we follow along, what’s in it for them?” We figure out what their possible motives are.

We aren’t too lazy to read the fine print or do our research and figure out the facts. We’re also superb at reading between the lines- reading subtext and deciphering context, non-verbal communication, and probing for incongruencies. If something feels “off,” we’re automatically suspicious of it. We know that 2+2=4, not 5! And we know when someone is trying to manipulate us. We practically have a radar for manipulation.

We question narratives. We probe the status quo. We do things differently and make it a point to live life on our terms, not someone else’s. And we’re willing to take whatever comes with it. We refuse to be controlled by feckless fools who are drunk with power. We know all too well that power corrupts because we’ve been victims of it. Everyone is at some point.

People like us are not likely to be ruled by fear. We follow our own intuitions and are very creative with new ideas. We consistently search for better ways of doing, living, and being. Most others hate that about us. Why? Because most people are trained to follow, and they fall in line and take the safest way through life.

But we’re not afraid to be different. Again, bullies loathe us for that! And the unspoken messages we get from every direction are clear:

How dare you?

How dare you question those in power?

How dare you scrutinize the beloved and timeless status quo?

How dare you think that you can live your life your way?

Who do you think you are?

How dare you presume to know what’s best for you? Better than peers, teachers, supervisors, institutions, media, governments, and other entities of the ruling authority?

How dare you think that you know more about yourself than we do?

We’re the experts! Not you!

We have the degrees and credentials! Not you!

Oh, the nerve!

The audacity!

The chutzpah!

How dare we?

Oh, yes! People like us get those subliminal messages every day. And when we see that it’s all to their benefit and not ours, we’re not afraid to give the rule-makers a proverbial middle finger. We may not come out and say it, but we show it in our calm and quiet disobedience and refusal to go along. We do it by simply continuing to live our lives the way we want and in a way that gives us advantages.

Bullies hate us because we don’t walk lightly. We’re not afraid to make waves. We’re willing to rock the boat if we don’t like something. We don’t mind going against the grain if we suspect that “the rules” might harm us. Why? Because we cherish freedom, autonomy, and self-determination. And we’ll die before we give them up.

Only we can possibly know what’s best for us and no one else. Only we can determine what makes us happy and what will make our lives better. Only we can choose our individual destinies. Only we can define our individual inner realities. Nobody else in the entire world is privy to these things.

With knowledge comes empowerment.