Finally, I can get the second part of my Write Anything Wednesday post. Finally, I can get to the actual detailed advice. This is also for me and it is what I’d wish I could tell my 15-year-old self. Here goes:
1: Don’t Wait for an Apology.
You’re never gonna get one in most cases. We are made to apologize as little children, but we often didn’t mean it and we were too prideful to do it on our own.
2: You Need to Learn to Forgive and It Starts with You.
By this I mean you need to forgive yourself first and foremost. You may think that I’m placing blame on you, but it’s the opposite. Chances are you have blamed yourself for what happened to you.
After a while, you start to internalize all the abuse dished out. You may also be disappointed in yourself for how you handled things. That’s natural. Take the time to focus on those feelings and make peace with them. It will then be easier for you to remove emotion from the memories and to stop holding a grudge.
By holding a grudge, you’re really holding yourself back. It’s a distraction. You’re focusing on other people, when you really need to take care of yourself and realize what’s really bothering you.
By delaying this process, you are giving the abusers more importance than they deserve. You know the saying, “Why are you letting them live in your head rent free?” That’s part of what’s going on. It’s time to evict some deadbeats.
3: The Bullies’ “Self-Esteem” Is a Front.
There have been studies over the years about bullies and some of them say they have high self-esteem. There were some in 2015 that supposedly corroborated this notion. Specifically, bullies from the studies were shown to have higher social status, face less depression, and be more sexually active.
For those points, I think there are explanations. First of all, it’s easier to have a higher social standing when you walk all over others. And it might be easier to get laid if you make others feel inadequate and get more people to reinforce those attitudes. Bullying is sometimes a coping mechanism, but it’s also a game. Some people are bullies in order to assure their place in society. Others will “fall in line” because of their fear and by taking on the bullies’ baggage. In the Canadian study, there was a mention of “victim-bullies.” Those were people who became bullies after being bullied themselves. Think about that.
As for self-esteem, I feel that is a lie. Self-esteem is nothing without self-respect. Consider self-confidence along with the other traits.
If I was to list these three important traits a person had, self-respect would come first, self-confidence second. Self-esteem would be a distant third. For a visual representation:
In fact, respect and confidence are components of esteem. To get what I mean, think about a man introducing his “esteemed colleague.” What makes that person “esteemed”? For one thing, the man respects this person and has confidence in the colleague’s abilities.
Apply that to yourself. If you respect yourself and have confidence [in your own abilities], self-esteem is automatic.
Now, were any of the people characterized as bullies in those studies asked if they respected themselves? Were they asked if they were happy? I doubt it.
Anyone can see they have self-esteem, but only a few people are honest about it. Well, maybe the bullies do have high opinions of themselves. They might say that they’re terrific or at least that they’re better than someone else. And they will thus have it all wrong.
Real success and happiness shouldn’t be built off the backs of others. Your own self-image shouldn’t depend on the pain of others or some sense of superiority. That only breeds contempt and needless suffering.
I know what it’s like to be happy and you know what? When I’m really happy, I want to share that happiness others. More importantly, I know that happy people simply don’t have the time to pester others.
4: Don’t Beat Yourself up for Making Mistakes.
This is also a big one. Sometimes, we make fools of ourselves. What we need to do is move on, learn from the experience, and do better in the future.
And part of the problem is what we perceive others still think of us. Often, it reall isn’t that big of a deal. Not everyone dwells on other’s mistakes, so even people who have wronged you may make it easier for you to move on. Sure, some people will bring it up, but they’re assholes. Maybe they just need you to call them that and smile right in front of their faces.
5: Don’t Let Others Beat You up for Your Mistakes, Either.
You will often have to deal with people who disregard your feelings. You will be told that this shit is petty and that they are only “first-world problems.” That may very well be true, but the same people telling you this will throw a gasket if someone messes up their latte. In short, they are full of shit.
Other will say, “Why do you let yourself be bullied?” Don’t listen to them. Those individuals are part of the problem and they’re dishonest. Corner them in a debate and see how they respond. They will more than likely blow up quickly and resort to ad hominem attacks when it’s apparent that their arguments are weak. Oh, but they said they could handle themselves. Mmm-hmm.
6: Be Observant
You might never know what type of information you can come across. Either someone is about to screw you over. In which case, you can take actions to protect yourself. Or you might find out some compromising information. This will come in handy for the next point.
7: There May Be Some Things Jerks Don’t Like to Hear…
More often than not, it’s the truth. The truth sometimes comes in the form of what is said to you [as an insult]. The people who want to break others down are doing so because they don’t want to deal with their own problems and insecurities. They don’t like it when someone realizes this and throws it in their face. They also hate to be called out on their bad behavior.
Calling someone names is often discouraged, but it someone starts the name-calling, there are words that can shut them up. One boy said a bunch of shit to me in Spanish, including “negro estupido.” One day, I said something that he took as an assault on his masculinity. That shut him right up and he deserved it.
8: But Sometimes, You Need to Take the High Road…
You might find out that an enemy’s boyfriend cheated on her or their parents are having a messy divorce. You might want to throw that in her face for all the grief she gave you. But sometimes, that might only bring more of their abuse. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything. Let that girl be miserable. That’s why she bothered you in the first damn place.
Don’t talk to your enemies on some days. Sometimes your silence makes them feel stupid. That’s not your problem.
9: Find an Outlet…within Limits
Take your anger and find some way to use it productively. You could write, draw, play an instrument, shoot some hoops, walk, etc. Just stay safe.
In particular, writing is really good. If you have a talent for writing poetry — and even if you think you don’t — it can be therapeutic. Heck, you can start blogging. It’s like keeping a journal, except you choose to share your thoughts with an audience. Hopefully you can reach someone else with the same problems and concerns.
This option was oft overlooked (by me) but I remember that I did have ways to work past my anger even as a kid. Sometimes I drew unflattering pictures of people who pissed me off. I think this can work even for a person who says they have no drawing talent. The thing is, the picture is supposed to look bad.
10: Be Careful on Social Media.
If you are being harassed at school, some kids will take it online. I saw you should be careful about sharing images of yourself until you’re 18 anyway, but if you do use sites like Facebook or Twitter, keep things close to the vest. Don’t give away too many details and keep a close eye on your privacy settings.
11: There Comes a Time when You Will Need to Kick Some Tail
Stick up for yourself, dammit! Say what you need to say. There are people who actually respect that. When someone interrupts you, shut them down and continue saying what you wanted to say. Just know that you deserve to be treated better. When people cross the line, let them know where that line is and tell them to get back behind it (especially if you know you could kick their asses).
If you happened to read all that, know that this was hard to write. Hopefully this helps someone deal with high-school bullshit.