On Bullying (and How to Put it Behind You)

I wrestled with this subject a while back and decided that I needed to write about it, as a form of self therapy, as a means of inspiration to others and as a reminder that will always be here on the website, which I can refer to later on if need be. This is a difficult topic to approach, a rather delicate one, because it is one I tried to avoid (at least verbally) for so long, but I feel that it is time to speak up, not so much for myself but for others. I would not be my most authentic self if I were to hide who I am. I don’t think it’s weakness to show the human side of me or to share my pain with you, rather it takes an incredible amount of courage. I want you to know that you are not alone and that wounds are not permanent. Even though high school may be over, it can take a while for some of us to get past old scars. I don’t want you to think of it as weakness, everyone has insecurities and things from the past that bring up negative thoughts, but these thoughts can be self-sabotaging, and so it’s time to face them head-on.

When I was growing up, bullying was an everyday occurrence. I would go to school frightened and come back home crying. While there are many forms of bullying, mine was all verbal. This form may appear less severe but the scars it leaves behind is certainly not minor and cannot go unnoticed. Some of us, despite ourselves, may still cling on to those negative emotions but being older and wiser, it’s now time to let go.

The first process in healing, and I’m sure you’ve encountered this many times before, is to address the issue. Then, you need to use logic to tackle the problem and perhaps put what happened into perspective. My focus is on high school bullying, bullying tends to become less as we mature but it can still take place (e.g in the workplace), but for the sake of this post, we’re referring to school bullying, although all forms are interrelated.

Growing up, words like ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’ were rather frequent, and it’s taken me time – years to be exact (and to be honest sometimes I still relapse) – to get past this distorted view of myself. This perception of me, the idea that I am ‘stupid’ – a word that resounded in my head for so long – is not really me, rather something I was made to believe I was. It stemmed from ignorance, from this idea that quiet meant you were stupid, that not answering back meant you were weak. Of course, I was and have never been any of the things they associated with me.

When you put bullying into perspective, you begin to understand the root cause of it. From there, it becomes clear that it’s nothing more than a need for attention, to put others down in order to feel superior, to cover up whatever insecurity the bully is dealing with on the inside or at home, but more often than not, it’s simply a manifestation of lack of knowledge or to put it plainly – lack of intelligence. If you think back to the really smart kids you knew at school, they were probably always too busy and frankly too smart to pick on you. The bully is (I’m afraid) not very smart, probably jealous and in constant need of attention and acceptance. Through the act of bullying, the bully gains popularity, which is something he or she very much desires. You must also remember that teenagers are still growing, they have yet to reach that level of maturity in order to understand the consequences and lifetime implications of their actions. For them, it’s just a silly game, a game to fit in with their friends. So now that you understand where bullying comes from, you know not to feel defeated by it.  You know who you are and that’s enough. They can say what they want but you will remain as you are – intelligent, kind, strong and beautiful.

So be kinder to yourself, take care of yourself and never, ever, use words like ‘loser’, ‘ugly’, ‘stupid’ or anything negative really when thinking of yourself (or others!). You are none of those things. Like my mother told me in my moments of struggle, “You are the most important person to yourself. You’ve got to be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. If you’re not kind to yourself, who’s going to be?”

Thanks for reading. I hope this post helps. I’ve struggled for so long with old wounds so believe me when I say I do know what it feels like, but you’re strong enough to heal. And you will. Go on caterpillar, shed that cocoon – you’re ready to fly.

XOXO. Nina.

NB: I am not a professional. This article is based on experience (on my own knowledge of the human psyche and the topic aforementioned) rather than research. Please conduct your own research for findings validated by science. 

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