When you are a target of bullying, loving yourself can be very difficult when it seems that the only thing you hear from others is negativity. Constantly being bombarded with ugly names, cruel taunts, and attacks over a long period of time can very easily have a cumulative and devastating effect on your self-esteem. If you aren’t careful, you too will begin to believe the cruel falsehoods that mean-spirited others tell you.
However, no matter how viciously others may treat you, you must do everything possible to hold on to self-love! Even if you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day and make positive affirmations.
“I AM an awesome person.”
“I AM beautiful.”
“I AM worthy of being loved.”
You must maintain your self-esteem and never let anyone brainwash you into thinking that you are less than.
You must love and respect yourself before anyone else can love and respect you. You must take care of yourself. You must command respect and love from others, including a few family members you love dearly, and be willing to make some tough decisions to receive that love and respect.
Sometimes, you have to walk away, knowing full well that there is always a chance that the person may never see your worth. And this means coming to a place where you no longer care even the slightest about the outcome.
However, there is a strong chance that your value will go up in that person’s eyes, and they will eventually see your worth and treat you better than you ever thought possible. It may not happen overnight. In fact, it may take up to several years, but it can happen.
If, by chance, it does not happen, realize that you did not turn your back on the person because you did not love them, but only because they did not love you enough to treat you with the love and respect that you know in your heart of hearts that you deserve.
You must love yourself, or nobody will love you. Never look outside of yourself for love and validation. Never depend on others for assurance of your value. Let love come from within your heart!
“You can tell a man’s vises by his friends, his virtues by his enemies.” – Ben Domenech.
There is value in having enemies. If I meet a person who has not one enemy, I’d be suspicious of that person and wonder if he/she were lying, mistaken, or a people pleaser. But if they do have enemies and (even better) are proud of that, it means they stood for something at some point in life.
Understand that everyone has enemies. They may not admit it or may not know it, but they do have an enemy out there somewhere.
Too many people feel that they must win a popularity contest, and they go out of their way to do it. They suck up, try to be someone they aren’t just to run with the pack, seek attention, and bully those they see as defective. What’s even sadder is that they reach a point where they don’t know who they are anymore.
They unknowingly make themselves slaves to other people’s opinions and, therefore, slaves to others. This is a waste of time and too much work. Even worse, it chips away at your self-esteem. You end up letting yourself down to please others, and that’s not good.
Silhouettes of hands are breaking the chain—freedom concept.
The only way you can be free is to be true to yourself and let others have their opinions of you, good or bad. Realize that opinions are just that- opinions, and they’re like elbows. Everybody has them. Opinions are just as cheap as talk.
So, if you have enemies, be proud of it. It means that you’ve taken a stand and that you’re not afraid to be different. If you have enemies and are okay with having them, then you have the freedom, and you can do anything you want. Always remember that.
Why? Because the target’s judgement, decisions, and feelings are constantly attacked, negated, and condemned by others. When a target is bullied, they’re taught that, although the abuse they suffer is painful, they either shouldn’t feel, or they have no right to feel that pain because they’re to blame for the abuse they suffer.
Targets are conditioned by bullies, bystanders, even people in authority, friends, and family to just suck it up and negate their own painful feelings. In that, they’re trained either not to understand or to deny their own suffering and that bullies and others are abusing them.
Targets are trained to believe that other people’s vile behavior is their fault and that something is wrong with them, otherwise the bullying wouldn’t be happening to them. Targets are also taught that everything that goes wrong is because of them. In short, they’re taught that the abuse they’re getting is somehow justified.
As a result, targets often withdraw because they become afraid that they’ll only attract bullies and bullying behavior from the people around them. As a result, targets are left feeling confused and inadequate.
Targets are made to think that:
They take things wrong.
They’re too sensitive.
They asked for it or had it coming.
There’s something wrong with the way they are.
There’s something wrong with the way they express themselves.
There’s something wrong with the way they come across to people.
Therefore, targets stop believing in themselves. Even worse, they lose trust in themselves, their abilities, and their capabilities. And once this happens, they become perfect victims for bullies.
Understand that targets suffer many attacks to not only their physical body, but also their psyche and their emotional being.
Even worse, their very souls are tired, their spirits broken, and they don’t understand their own pain nor why they feel it inside.
Being a target of bullying is a hell that no one who hasn’t been there can possibly comprehend. When you’re bullied, you’re in the fight of your life, and for your life. And when I say fight for your life, this doesn’t only means fighting to stay alive, although it can.
“The fight for your life” can mean fighting for your self- esteem. It can mean fighting for your personal power and dignity. It can mean fighting to keep your confidence up and self-esteem from being broken so that the abuse doesn’t affect your grades, performance (at school or work), or worse, your ability to make smart decisions and life-choices. You’re fighting to keep the abuse from effecting your entire future. Most importantly, you’re fighting to maintain your health and your sanity.
Because you’re very much aware that if you allow these people to cause you to lose any of the above, then you unwittingly give them power over your entire life and every aspect of it. You may not end up dead, but you won’t really live, you’ll only exist. And that’s no way to live!
No matter what happens, stay strong. Hold on to everything mentioned above, or as much of it as possible. And most of all, know that there are people out there who care.
That means maintaining a healthy and positive sense of self.
It means refusing to take in and accept your bullies’ assaults on your pride and dignity, no matter how powerful or influential they may seem. After all, they’re only people just like you.
Countering the attacks from a bully means being able to withstand the barrage of attacks or your humanity, personhood, and character.
It means not letting your bullies persuade you into thinking that they know you better than you know yourself.
It means being super-self-aware- so much so that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt who you are and that you’re a great person who doesn’t deserve shabby treatment.
It means having a clear vision of your value as a human being.
It means keeping company only with strong people who are positive influences in your life- people who consistently validate and affirm your positive qualities and the good you bring to the lives of others and this world.
Then, when a bully tells you that you’re ugly, stupid, evil, or crazy, you can stand with confidence and say, “No, I’m not. You are,” and walk away with more pride in yourself because you stood up to bullies.
Many targets fall for the garbage bullies feed them because there’s more to countering the attacks than words or fists. It takes mind and spirit power just as well. Most targets, sad to say, are either insecure in themselves, to begin with, or, over time, bullies succeed in making them that way.
They may do like I did in the earliest stages of bullying- “ignore the attacks without responding or fighting back. And we know how that usually ends.
Maintaining mind power and a healthy sense of self is the very foundation of self-defense and protection. Always remember that.
Your mind and your thoughts are free! Keep them that way!
When you know yourself inside and out, you are better able to define yourself instead of letting others, particularly bullies and abusers, do it for you. And when you learn to accept only your definition of who you are, you can more easily avoid bullying because you’re better able to recognize it. And when you’re able to identify abuse, you’re least likely to put up with it.
In other words, when you know who you are, you also know what you want and what you will and will not tolerate, which is why knowing who you are is of the utmost importance.
Knowing yourself means knowing your feelings, senses, and instincts and trusting them to guide you through this crazy thing called life. Tuning in to your feelings and instincts means tuning into your gut. As we all know, your gut can guide you out of dangerous situations and environments if you allow it to.
Knowing yourself also means refusing to allow bullies to shame or ridicule you into staying in situations and circumstances that don’t feel good to you or around toxic people. To know yourself means to trust yourself to make the right decisions.
For example, during the years my classmates bullied me, there were times when they would accost me, and I’d put my hand up to them and walk away. I didn’t have time for their drama and foolishness. Next, one of them would shout, “Hey! Where are you going, you big chicken!” or “Oh, that’s right! Walk away like you always do!” or “You’d better run!”
Understand that when you turn your back and walk away from a bully and he calls out these things to you, it’s only their attempts to control you by defining you- to shame you into sticking around and taking their crap. Or, it could be that they’re trying to bait you into a fight because they know the chances are that you’ll get blamed for it.
No one wants others to think them to be a coward. But people will try to define you as one to corner you and trick you into doing what they want. They know that you’ll feel compelled to hang around and you’ll do it for no other reason than to prove to the rest of the world that you aren’t afraid.
Again, this is why you must know yourself. When you know deep down that you’re not what people call you, you won’t feel any need to do any posturing nor virtue signaling because you won’t have to prove anything. Although the name-calling may sting a little, it won’t bother you as much.
Another good thing about knowing yourself is that you won’t feel the need to hold back emotions. You’ll be able to recognize them better and allow yourself to feel them. You won’t let others tell you how you should feel or bullies to shame you into suppressing them.
You don’t have to put on a big front and try to act like someone you’re not.
To know yourself means freedom!
Understand that people who don’t know themselves will follow the crowd and try to fit in. People who don’t know themselves will accept other’s definitions of them without realizing it. They’ll build a fake identity based on how others view them and others’ expectations and ideas of who a real person should be.
Sadly, if a target is told by abusers that he’s stupid, no good, lazy and that he’ll never amount to anything, in many cases, they’ll live up to it. It will show up in their grades, performance, and how they interact with people.
During school, I lost knowledge of who I was only for a little while, and that was before the suicide attempt. Later, I become angry at myself for allowing them to define me.
It was later when I decided that I was going to be true to my own heart. It may not have looked that way to the outside observer. Still, inside, I got in touch with my inner sensations and instincts and began to realize that I wasn’t to blame for what was happening to me. I realized that their abuse was no reflection on me but spoke volumes about their lack of morals, decency, and character.
Getting to know myself brought confirmation that what they were doing was wrong. Now this inner realization didn’t stop me from being bullied and may have made it worse. But instead of hating and blaming myself, I listened to what my gut told me. I paid close attention to the vibes I was getting and maintained a strong sense of self while enduring the pain of not being accepted.
I decided from then on that I was going to maintain my inner strength. I would listen to my instincts when they told me that I had reason to fear certain people. Even better, I was no longer going to be ashamed of it. I began paying attention to how my body tensed up when I was around certain people and realized that it was only a cue for me to get away from those people.
And today, I trust myself enough to reject others’ definitions of who I am. In that, bullies are no longer able to have power over me, and I’m a much happier person for it.
And I want you to know that you too can get to that beautiful and peaceful place.