“If you aren’t afraid to be alone, you’ll more than likely have the courage to walk away from relationships that are bad for you.”
– Cherie White –
I won’t kid you. Being alone can sometimes make a person vulnerable. However, being surrounded by negative people makes you just as vulnerable if not more so. Therefore, being alone can be much better than keeping company with spiteful people who only bring you down.
As difficult as it may be, sometimes you must weed out all these ungrateful souls who don’t see your worth to make room for more positive, caring, and loving people to come in.
1. People will let you down at some point. Get rid of anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself and only keep company with those who love and respect you. Keep the people in your life who value your opinions, even when those opinions are strong.
2. Not everyone who smiles at you is in your corner.
3. It’s easier to get rid of people who are toxic.
4. It’s easier to say goodbye to relationships that only hinder growth.
If someone is not treating you like you deserve to be treated, never be afraid to let them go, even if it seems that they’re your only options at the moment.
Remember that we must do things that don’t feel comfortable and that are downright scary for any positive change to happen.
Many targets of bullying, sadly, get tricked and programmed into thinking they should apologize for everything- for things they need not be sorry for. Understand that these needless apologies are a survival mechanism. Targets over apologize in hope that the bullies will be appeased and back off from harming them. I completely understand and will never fault them for that. They’re doing what they feel they must do to protect themselves.
However, their apologies, in most cases, don’t work and can make the bullying worse. And if these targets aren’t careful, they can unwittingly allow themselves to be programmed to over apologize even after the bullying threat has passed, which will only make them targets of future bullies.
What happens is that when we’re bullied, abused, and made to apologize for so long, we develop new neural pathways that rewire us to become subservient. And the lines between what we should and shouldn’t apologize for become blurred.
So, what are the things you should never apologize for?
1.Your very existence. You have just as much a right to be here as the next person. Never ever apologize for being in this world. Remember that The Lord put you here for a great purpose. You have your space to fill, and you have every right to carve it out.
2. Setting boundaries. As human beings, we all have unalienable rights endowed by God. One of which is to stand up for those rights. If someone is violating you in any way, you must set boundaries. You must call them out and make it absolutely clear to them that what they’re doing is wrong. Never be sorry for that.
3. Defending yourself and your loved ones. Again, you must set boundaries. If someone is harming you and your loved ones, you have every right to defend yourself and them. A while back, media outlets were implying that if people of European descent defended themselves against home invasions, robberies, physical harm, and murder; it was wrong because they considered it “white privilege.”
Ahem! No! What it is, is human survival and self-preservation. Everyone has a right to protect themselves from harm, no matter their race or skin color! And you should never feel guilty for defending your right not to be harmed. Never! You have a God-given right to save your own life! God gave you a brain. Use it!
4. Walking away from drama. Bullies, abusers, gossips, backstabbers, and troublemakers are people who bring us unnecessary drama and life’s too short for it. Anyone who brings you drama doesn’t deserve to be around you. You have every right to get up and walk away. Never allow anyone to make you feel guilty for that.
5. Your successes and accomplishments. When you’ve worked hard and achieved your success, you have a right to those rewards. You have a right to enjoy and celebrate the fruits of your labor. Many times, jealous, insecure, and resentful people will attempt to make you feel guilty for being successful. Don’t fall for that garbage! Don’t be arrogant, but be pleased about your success, whatever it may be. You have that right.
6. Being who you are. You are beautifully and wonderfully unique. There is no one else in this world like you nor will there ever be. Understand that the original is worth so much more than a copy. Don’t be peer-pressured into cheapening yourself by becoming just another copy. Let no one make you feel guilty for being who you are- an original!
7. Your happiness. Happiness comes from within. You, as much as anyone else, deserve your joy. If you’ve done the inner work and found purpose in your life, let no one demand that you apologize for it.
8. Your lifestyle. Unless you’re a criminal and your lifestyle is about causing others pain, never apologize for the way you live. Ways of living that are unapologetic include well-earned affluence, poverty that you can do nothing about, being a single parent, etcetera, etcetera. When it comes to these things, people really need to mind their own business and you have a right to tell them just that if they have the audacity to judge your lifestyle.
To protect your self-esteem and confidence from bullies, abusers- anyone who many violate you, you must be clear on what needs an apology and what doesn’t. With this knowledge, we have a powerful weapon with which to preserve our self-esteem and, thus, our very lives.
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.
Babies are so adorable! They have that charm and innocence that no other age group has. They don’t worry about what others think of them and they never try to impress others. They’re sweet, pure, completely authentic, and have hearts of gold.
Babies have not a care in the world what people think of them. They have no inhibitions whatsoever. They’re not afraid to cry and express their wants and needs. You can see it in the way little toddlers shamelessly coo, laugh, babble, skip, run, and dance in front of anyone. These little sweeties are fearless. They’re not afraid to show their emotions, express their thoughts, show their creativity.
Their precious little souls are completely open. They give, share, and receive love with an open and grateful heart. They love being loved and doted on and will receive it with a soft coo or laugh.
Everything starts with self-love and babies are a perfect example of it.
Sadly, as time passes and these babies get older, they slowly and incrementally become tainted by the ways of people and the world. Many are raised in toxic environments and by parents who are critical and abusive to them. So, they build a protective wall around themselves to try and keep the contamination out. Because their feelings get discounted, ridiculed, even punished by family members and others, they learn to mask those feelings. They collect emotional baggage as they become preschoolers, school-aged kids, then teenagers, and finally, adults.
Many are also raised by drug-addicted, mentally ill, and neglectful adults and they build walls to protect themselves from that as well. Many must learn to raise themselves.
Low self-esteem and lack of confidence are not the characteristics we’re born with. They’re instilled in us by either by well-meaning family members who wish to keep us humble and sweet, or they’re force-fed to us by bullies and abusers.
As a result, many babies grow into people who are under the false belief that they are unlovable and don’t deserve to have their wants and needs met and thus, people who are filled with either anger and self-loathing, or sad, depressed, helpless victims.
We all go through these terrible changes, even those who aren’t bullied, and only few people in this world manage to keep that confidence and joy they were born with, that is, IF there is anyone who does. Life’s disappointments, hurts, and heartaches have ways of doing these things to all of us. However, people who are bullied and abused suffer the worst changes.
They stop expressing emotions and give up asking for anything because, sometime during their childhoods, they were conditioned by other people to think that they’re self-centered and wrong for ever needing or wanting anything out of life.
Therefore, they resign themselves to the attitude that, things are “just the way they are” and that there’s nothing they can do to change anything.
And when you tell them about self-love and how important it is, they wince at the idea because it makes them uncomfortable. But, again, they have been programmed to think that self-love is somehow self-absorbed and evil. I can relate to this because, when I was thirteen and fourteen years old, I did the exact same when I was first told about the idea of self-love and self-care.
The thought of looking at myself in the mirror every day and telling myself “I love you” or “You’re beautiful,” “You’re Smart,” “You’re awesome,” etc., felt both weird and downright sickening because I was under the impression that it was all a sign of sheer vanity.
Self-love can feel downright painful after you’ve wasted years and decades hating and degrading yourself because it’s not something you’re accustomed to doing. Anything new and out of the ordinary feels painful at first. Like all things, it must become a habit first and it can only become habit through rigorous learning and practice.
‘You see? My bullies and a few abusive others had sold me on the idea that any form of self-care or self-love was abhorrent and self-serving. I was under the misguided belief that self-degradation and self-criticism was a virtue and a sign of being humble and meek. I thought that was what normal people did, as I watched a few family members do the same thing.
Some of my family members still do this at times and it breaks my heart. If only they could see, I mean, truly see their value and that they’re wonderful people who are worth more than gold.
The truth is that self-hatred is the equivalent of having a millstone hung from your neck and having to drag it around everywhere you go because it’s exhausting. It zaps your energy. It takes the magic, wonder, and excitement from your life. It keeps you stuck and worse, invites more disrespect and abuse from others.
Self-love only comes from within, never from without. It’s not something you can get from a partner, a spouse, or a boatload of friends. It doesn’t come from having a banging body or wearing fancy clothes, hairdos, or makeup. Money can’t buy self-love. Power doesn’t give it to you and neither does prestige. Self-love comes from the heart and only the heart.
Self-love is about self-acceptance and being perfectly okay with your imperfections. It comes from being comfortable in your own skin and not caring even the slightest what others think or say of you.
In order to find peace and joy in life, self-love is a must-have. It helps you to achieve your goals and realize your dreams and aspirations. It determines your outcomes- whether you succeed or fail. It helps you to better re-frame bad situations and see them as learning experiences. Self-love gives you peace of mind.
In a nutshell, self-love gives you complete freedom! It is the key to happiness and joy!
Don’t you think you deserve to be at peace with yourself? Don’t you think you deserve happiness and joy? I do.
So, be like a baby. Love yourself. Know that your true colors are vibrant and never be afraid to show them. Dance like you’ve never been ridiculed. And play like you’ve never fallen and scraped your knee. Express your emotions. Love, laugh, and live.
You’ll be surprised at how everything will change for the better! I promise!
One thing I learned the hard way: If you don’t start looking out for number one, you’ll only continue playing second fiddle to others. Or worse, you might end up playing last fiddle! I cannot stress this enough. It’s not selfish to make yourself numero uno! Especially around bullies and people who don’t value you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’re a parent raising children, or you have an ailing mother who depends on you, it’s only natural that you would put your family ahead of yourself- that’s a given. We all have an obligation to our families.
It’s also a given (or should be) that you always put God ahead of everyone else, including yourself. Again, that’s completely understandable, and more than that, it’s expected.
But when you’re in a toxic environment, around people who want to use and take you for granted, understand that you are top priority and to hell with them if they don’t like it.
Understand that when you’re being bullied in school or the workplace, the only person you have is you! So, be good to yourself. How you do this is to set firm boundaries and say no- and do it early-on and often!
You have to look out for number one, because, if you don’t, no one else will. In fact, they just might use you as a rug.
I know many, many people who were conditioned to think that putting yourself first is selfish or greedy- that taking care of yourself only means that you’re self-centered. They were raised being told that self-centeredness is a huge turnoff to others and in some cases, that’s true.
However, I’ve also noticed that bullies and abusers also tell their targets and victims those things only to shame them into staying around, taking their abuse silently, and accepting their inferiority to them (the bully/abuser).
Know that there’s a difference in being self-centeredness and self-care.
Self-centeredness means that you think you’re better than everyone else and that you think that any rules don’t apply to you. It means that you’re entitled- that you think everyone else is inferior to you and they should bow down and let you treat them however you deem them worthy because they have no boundaries.
Self-centeredness is one of the roots of bullying and abuse!
Self-care, on the other hand, means that you know that you’re no better than anyone else, but you’re just as good as the next person. Self-care means that you know that you’re equal to the next person and that you don’t deserve to be bullied or abused. Therefore, you know your rights and you’re not afraid to stand up for those rights.
It means that you hold yourself in high regard, just as you hold your family, friends, and the people you love and that you treat yourself just as well as you would another human being deserving of dignity.
It’s funny how quick bullies are to call us selfish or self-centered if we dare to stand up to their abuse. In fact, it’s part of the bully’s (or abuser’s) playbook. Accuse the target of that which you are guilty of yourself. Right?
If you have bullies or abusers who abuse you, always know that if they accuse you of anything- anything at all, you can bet that they are doing it themselves.
So, continue to look out for number one, even if you must find a way to do it on the sly. Don’t you think you’re worth it? I do.
It’s best to begin standing up for yourself in the early stages or you’ll come across as a doormat to others and teach them how to treat you based on what they see. Sadly, many targets of bullying do not realize this until the bullying gets so bad and so out of control that their lives are in danger. By then, it’s usually too late to change anything and the only option left is for target to remove him/herself from the environment.
Understand that bullying always escalates and the more you ignore it, deny it, and tolerate it, the more emboldened, brazen, and full of themselves the bullies become until they become drunk on their own power. That’s when the abuse will get out of control and you’re most likely to end of getting severely hurt or worse.
Bullying is like a drug. As we know, it takes one smoke, one drink, or one snort or two for a person to become hooked and once he/she gets that first high, they always want more. It’s the same with bullying. All it takes is one backhanded compliment, one offhand comment, or one insult or two to get the target to react and give the bullies that first rush- that first power high, then they always come back for more.
Also, drug addicts slowly build a tolerance to the drug, and, as time goes on, they need a bigger dose, then an even bigger dose to catch that high. First, they need one milligram, then two, then four, then eight, and so on! It’s no different with bullies. With time they escalate the bullying, then escalate it further to keep getting that rush of power.
First, they start with offhand comments, backhanded compliments, and petty insults. Also, they may smear you to others and give you the silent treatment. When these lose their thrill, the insults become more blatant and hurtful, escalating to yelling, cursing, and severe name-calling. When that loses its luster, the bullying progresses to borderline physical abuse- accidentally on purpose running into the target in the hall, light shoves, and tripping.
When bullies can no longer get their power rush from light physical bullying, they take it up, yet, another notch and progress to more obvious physical beatings- slapping, punching, choking, kicking, etc. Next, they use weapons like textbooks, slamming heads against lockers or the sides of vehicles, then sticks, bottles, pipes…and so on.
boundaries, respect yourself
So, understand that bullying and abuse always- always…escalates! In other words, it always gets worse and more severe. It also becomes more frequent!
I’ve said it before, bullying is best countered and quashed in the earliest stages of it. The best time to stand up for yourself is during the “testing phrase”- when bullies are testing you to see what how you will react and what you’ll allow them to get away with.
Treat yourself better by not allowing others to abuse you, because how you treat yourself shows in how you allow others to treat you. Remember that you deserve better and you don’t have to put up with abuse from anyone.
Today, we live in a world that consistently judges us. It seems that people feel they have carte blanche to point a finger at someone else and announce their flaws and weaknesses. Sadly, this seems to be the norm.
Everyone is trying to be (or look) better than the next person and lord it over them. You see it in the media, you see celebrities calling out other celebrities in the Twitterverse and you see everyday people doing it on the street, in the supermarket, workplace, and at school.
What bullies don’t realize is that in pointing a finger at someone else, they only reverse it back on themselves. Because they’ve got to be pretty darned insecure with their own life to feel the need to disparage another person.
Anytime you come at another person without provocation, it either shows that you’re trying to hide or distract attention from your own shortcomings by trying to redirect the negative attention to someone else. In short, it’s only proof of your own lack of self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance has always been a must-have but nowadays, it’s even more essential than ever before.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t be self-aware because we should. But too much self-awareness isn’t good because, when we’re hyper-aware, we focus too much on our weaknesses and not enough on our strengths. Sadly, this is what targets of bullying are conditioned to do after so long.
There are two extremes to everything but there’s also that happy middle that we should stay in.
We must work on changing the way we see ourselves and begin loving ourselves more because only then will we be able to love others.
If you can’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to accept others either. Being a bully doesn’t score any points and it doesn’t make you feel any better in the long run. It only makes you look like an insecure little coward.
As the old saying goes, “You do you and let me do me.”