I Don’t Wish I’d Been More Popular, I Wish I Had Loved and Respected Myself More

I wish I had put myself first.

I wish I’d said “NO” a lot more than I did.

I wish I had been true to my own heart.

And I wish I had known my worth and realized my full potential.

In a nutshell, I wish I had been better at being me. But we all wish we’d done these things when we get older, don’t we? That we’d done something a little different- a bit better?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown a very thick skin and learned to handle any confrontation with composure and aplomb. As we get older, we shed that shell we curled up and hid in when we were younger. We grow to love and accept ourselves as we are and become comfortable in our own skins and let me tell you! It’s immense freedom that you can’t describe!

I’ve learned that the reason people bully is not because of something the victim has said or done and that it is not the fault of the victim.

The reason bullies bully is because they have issues, whether it be a bad case of narcissism, low self-esteem, problems at home, jealousy of something the victims have that they don’t, or they have something to prove. I’ve learned that bullies, at their very core, are great big cowards and attention-seekers. That knowledge alone is freeing!

Just knowing why unsavory people do harm only serves as a huge buffer to any psycho/emotional blows.

Today, I no longer get bullied by anyone, but if anyone tries, I am easily able to swiftly put the person in their place, or laugh and blow the idiot off. Instead of getting hurt or angry, I get amused by them and am usually able to have fun with it.

Unfortunately, that takes time, learning, and most of all experience. I feel a sense of regret when I think of all the years I spent feeling insecure and sorry for myself. What a total waste of my time and energy!

You mustn’t take anything your bullies say as the truth. You must know that their actions or words have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them! Hey! I know it’s hard not to, and I know it hurts. I know it’s hard not to blame yourself when it seems that everyone, from every direction, is bombarding you with negativity.

However, I want you to love yourself and see the bullies for who they truly are- pathetic souls who are so desperately trying to look tough, smart, or cool. I want you to understand that bullies are trying their hardest to get attention. You must know your value. You also need to realize that some people are just wrong for you and do not belong in your life!

Most of all, rest assured that you will eventually find people who are right for you. And when you do, they will love you for being your loveable, beautiful, intelligent, and awesome self! There will come a day when you will be loved, appreciated, and celebrated for all that you are!

It happened to me, and if you don’t give up, it will happen to you too! You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

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.

Steps to Having Confidence When Others Bully You

There are things you can do to take the sting out of being bullied. These steps can serve as a buffer to the effects of bullying on self-esteem and the psyche.

1. Watch and Listen – Because bullies get talked about too. Believe me when I tell you. Bullies have enemies and lots of them. They have been walking over people for a long time. So, you can bet they’ve left a long trail of foes behind them, adversaries who are more than happy to dish out the tea.

2. Know that you aren’t the only one these people have bullied – seasoned bullies have had plenty of practice over the years. I guarantee it! There have been others before you, and there will be more after you. Why do you think these people are so good at making you feel bad about yourself and doubt your worth?

How do you think they got that good at it? They certainly didn’t get that way overnight. It came from so many years of trial and error. They’ve figured out what worked and what didn’t, and they’ve had many guinea pigs (previous victims/targets) as practice. They’re doing what for so long has worked for them.

3. Collect info on your bullies – find out about their personal and family lives. You can bet that bullies have problems too. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to prove something to an audience at your expense.

As I stated earlier, they have enemies. Find these enemies, cozy up to them, and have them tell you what they know about your bullies. I have done it many times, and I can tell you that you’d be surprised at the tidbits you found out! I’ll get more detailed in the next step.

4. Ingratiate yourself with others your bullies have bullied – You and these people have something in common, so this should be a cinch! Align yourself with these other victims. Bullies run in packs, so why can’t targets?

Understand that strength always comes in numbers. If you ban together, I guarantee that your bullies will think twice before accosting you. Remember that bullies are cowards and would prefer to catch you when you’re alone rather than confront you while you’re in a group.

5. Keep company with and make friends only with people who love you, want the best for you, and make you feel good about yourself – A good sign of a true friend is someone who uplifts you and helps your confidence soar. They uplift you, encourage you, have your back when you’re in trouble, and cheer for you when you reach success.

All too often, victims end up with fake friends- frenemies who only tolerate and are passive-aggressive toward them. These frenemies will subtly humiliate victims in public and throw them under the bus when they’re in trouble or danger.

Victims often latch on to frenemies because they’re desperate for friends and companionship. They’d rather have sorry excuses for friends who treat them poorly than to have no friends at all. These victims are under the false belief that anything is better than being by yourself. I made that mistake myself when I suffered bullying in school.

Trust me when I tell you, anyone who belittles you even a little bit is not your friend! They’re only there because they know that you’re lonely. You are vulnerable to them, and they only hang around because anytime you have a weak spot, you’re accessible for them to use and take advantage of you. That is the only reason they come around!

Do you want friends like that? I hope not! I hope that you will do what I finally did the last year of school, ditch those creeps, and find friends who respect you, who genuinely like you and want to be with you!

6. Show off your talents and gifts – If you can sing, enter talent shows! If you can write, enter writing contests! If you know you’re good at something, find ways to show it off! You’d be surprised at what it will do for your self-esteem. I promise you!

When my classmates bullied me, it was so bad that I was scared to show what I could do. I knew that I could sing but was too afraid to belt it out and show off my best voice. If there were do-overs, I would have sung as best I could, came out of my shell, and took every opportunity to showcase that talent! Who knows where it might have taken me?

Anytime people are bullying you, you must take care of yourself. We exercise and eat well to take good care of our bodies, but we forget. We must also take care of our psyches! It is imperative that we also take care of our minds. And we do this by taking steps to buffer our self-esteem from the onslaught of bullying.

7. Do things you enjoy doing, and that fills your soul – whether you love to swim, hike, camp, find opportunities to do these things if they truly make you happy! The more happy moments you have, the less of an effect bullying will have on you!

Do all these things and you’ll be able to add a good balance of happiness in your life to minimize the negative.

Only for Purposes of Self-Preservation

“I could never be that desperate and you could never be that lucky.”

That was my comeback to a group of male bullies after one called out to me as I walked past them, “Hey! My buddy says he’s madly in love with you!” Being in the seventh grade and the smartass that I was, I made sure not to miss a chance to deliver a snappy and scathing one-liner to someone acting like a total arse.

I knew that this was his cowardly way of instigating a conflict between me and his buddy, then standing back, at a safe distance to watch. It was also his way of baiting his buddy into insulting me in front of everyone and getting his kicks from my humiliation. Only it backfired in his face.

Those that heard it either shouted, “BURN!” and laughed at the boys, or scowled at me and reminded me of how I’d “stooped just as low as them”, by countering with such a scathing return-fire.

Why am I telling you this story, you may wonder? It’s to make a point.

And my point is that sometimes, you have to go just as low as the bullies- you must not be afraid to get down and dirty and you mustn’t care what anyone else thinks about it.

Understand that with bullies, sometimes there’s no being polite and no being the bigger person. There’s no such thing as “playing fair” nor being nice about it.

Bullies don’t comprehend the meaning of class or couth. They don’t understand morals and scruples. They have no concept of decency and respectability. The only language bullies understand is a language that is cheap, tacky, and unsavory.

Bullies (and anyone who is even remotely impressed by them) are a dime a dozen. They really are. And sometimes you must speak in the only language they understand before they’ll get the message and back the hell off!

I understand your discomfort with this. It sucks when you must get down and wallow in the bullies’ foulness and filth with them. But for purposes of self-preservation, sometimes there’s no other choice but to lower your own moral standards.

The good news is that you don’t have to stay in the mud but only reserve the nastiness for emergencies like the one in the above story.

Responding in Kind

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with responding in kind when someone tries to mistreat you. It shows that you command the dignity and respect that’s due to the next person and that you won’t tolerate crap from bullies. It also shows that you have the guts to stand your ground when some creep violates your boundaries.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned by politicians, the media, corporations, educators, and even certain members of our families that responding in kind only makes us as bad as the bullies. And we’re still being conditioned to believe it. We’re being told to “ignore” people’s atrocious behavior, and in some cases, even submit to it.

However, I want you to understand that the only thing bullies understand is strength and power and anyone they deem as weak is fair game.

Therefore, if you don’t respond in kind to bad behavior, bullies will get the message that there are no consequences for their abuse and that they can walk on you anytime they feel like it. There’ll be no stopping them from escalating the bullying and no limit to what they’ll try next.

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You must set boundaries, and how you set boundaries is by imposing consequences on anyone who violates those boundaries. But how do you impose consequences? By responding in kind to bullies when they cross the line.

Notice I say “respond” and not react. By responding the right way, you show that you’re not afraid to stand your ground and that you command the same dignity and respect given to the next person.

There’s no law that says that you must accept abuse from anyone. Yet, we’re very subtly being told that we should take it, and with a smile, and a yes sir/ma’am, then ask for seconds. In today’s world, society tries to dictate that we should agree to abuse.

Um- no! That’s now how life or human nature works! Every action is followed by a response!

Bullies must realize that there are consequences if they harm another person. And we must realize that it is the threat of consequences that keeps the bad guys from coming for us and keeps us safe. Without accountability, there would be chaos and anarchy! Bullies would have free reign over us all.

So, never be afraid to respond in kind and never feel guilty for it. It’s normal, expected, and it’s how you defend yourself and treat yourself well.

The more you know…

Self-Love Doesn’t Mean Self-Centered

Some people get the two confused. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re self-centered. But you can bet that bullies will accuse their target of it when they realize she’s growing a backbone.

Understand that when you start loving yourself enough not to take your bullies’ opinions of you seriously, the bullies will take notice of it right away. They’ll realize that they no longer have power over you. To get that power back, they will try like the devil to guilt you by accusing you of either selfishness or self-centeredness.

Don’t fall for that con game! When bullies lose the benefits they’ve grown accustomed to getting at your expense, they always get irate. Right or wrong, whenever someone has had power over another person for a long time and has gotten used to having that power, then suddenly loses it, of course, they’re going to be upset- and intensely so.

But don’t concern yourself with how your bullies feel. After all, they never gave a thought to your feelings the entire time they jerked you around.

Ditch these people! The sooner, the better! You’re not being selfish by choosing to put yourself first. What you’re doing is having the courage to love yourself and treat yourself better.

Realize that the bullies are the self-centered ones, in expecting you to go on being their doormat. No one has the right to expect you to put up with something they wouldn’t tolerate if it were happening to them.

To expect any differently from another person than what they’d do shows a complete lack of respect for people other than themselves and is sheer arrogance, self-entitlement, and stupidity.

There’s a name for this- double-standard!

Remember that we teach others how to treat us. And how we teach them to treat us is by how well we treat ourselves- by the boundaries we set, our ability to say “no,” and whether we continue to allow them to be in our lives.

So, treat yourself well! You’re worth it!

What Being Bullied Taught Me

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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.

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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.

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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!

What It Means to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

positive always be yourself

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.

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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.

Most of all, it means the freedom to be.

Low Self-Esteem Is Not Something We Are Born With

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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. Too much of it, however, 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.

I believe that each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. Yet over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

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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.

Before long, we regard the feelings and suffering of others with indifference- we just don’t give a damn 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 and we secretly or openly, take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc.; we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem.

Bullying and Toxic Shame

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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.

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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.

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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.