There is absolutely no reason for me to even fathom that I would be writing, let alone on a platform that is so public to the rest of the world and exposing myself to other people! It isn’t just because I didn’t like English class growing up as a kid, but it’s because I never expected myself to have a voice, a sense of power. It wasn’t until I actually started my health journey when I found it, and before I knew it, I’ve been publicizing everything I’m passionate about. My personal expectations skyrocketed as I started blogging and much after I got into health and fitness. Way before all that, I didn’t think I deserved any success. In turn, nobody else did. I don’t desire to talk about this very often, but my classmates treated me just that way–I was bullied. Recall any forms of bullying that you can think of: face-to-face, gossiping, cyber-bullying, rumors, ostracization, Through it all, I was miserable. I hated myself because I was bullied, but most importantly, it was because I believed what they said and allowed their words to control how I’d treat and how I’d feel about myself.
However, I am so happy to say that I’ve come such a long way and that I am now looking back from the other side. Sadly, I couldn’t even try to persuade my younger self that everything would be okay since she wouldn’t believe me at all. She would have laughed and teared up because she’d think I’d be teasing her, and it’s honestly so devastating to reminisce about the state of mind I endured for years prior to my health and fitness high. Regardless of what she would have thought, however, I am here now. And I am so grateful for everything. I want to share a few coping mechanisms that will help any readers who are currently dealing with some form of external harassment, bullying, or if you honestly don’t feel at your very top peak for some reason. But before you take in these tips, remember that everything here is not instructed to STOP the bullying. It is to help you see it in a different light. Sure, it may help reduce the bullying by a little bit, but this advice is ultimately for you to use and nobody else. So without further ado, here we go.
- Evaluate the reason why you are being bullied. This is NOT to prove that the bullies are right. It is to ask yourself what makes you a victim to their harassment. It could be something about your appearance, your personality, or something that you do or that you’re into that these people are teasing you for. If it’s something you cannot change, such as a birthmark, freckles, some kind of genetic trait or medical condition, you HAVE TO LEARN TO ACCEPT IT. If it’s something you CAN change, ask yourself if you want to change it. If not, accept it, love it and move on. If it is something you want to change, then read the second tip.
- Work on yourself. Basically, if you are allowing these bullies to influence how you feel about yourself, then you are allowing their negativity to manifest in your self-esteem–you are letting them win in this way. So, look at how you are treating yourself. Think about how you are caring for yourself. If you wouldn’t treat someone else the same way, such as your siblings, your parents, your dog, your grandparents, a close friend, then you need to change the way you act towards yourself. When I was being bullied, I literally treated myself so horribly that looking back, it’s honestly so sad that I could possibly have exuded that behavior towards anybody. I isolated myself from EVERYONE, I ate tons of horrible, malnutritious food, I just sat at my computer all day, I put no effort into myself. One day, I was sitting with my dad somewhere in our house, and he just saw how unhappy, how pained I was with myself, and he told me, “Cassie, you need to change.” In this situation, he was totally right because I needed to change the way I was treating myself. I wasn’t giving myself the value that I didn’t even think I deserved. I decided to change because I hated myself so much. I started cleaning up my eating habits, I started adapting an exercising routine, I educated myself on everything there is to know about health and fitness. Each day I worked further and further away from this image I held at school as this shy, odd and insecure girl that everyone stepped on. I started to gain confidence within myself to expose on the surface, and others began to see it. If you work on yourself and develop this self-assurance, this self-worth that loves you so much and treasures you in every way, other people are going to respect you. They may not understand you entirely, they may even continue to make fun of you, but at the end of the day, you are going to have the confidence and the attitude that couldn’t care less. You are going to reach a time in your life where you will NEVER see your bullies again. You are going to move on from the bullying and focus on what makes you happy and what motivates you to get out of bed.
- Find something that you’re passionate about and cultivate it. This stems from focusing on what makes you happy, and that is to find something that is meaningful to you and that fulfills you in every way possible. Me, for example, I was so passionate about health and fitness once I started changing myself, and that passion basically enforced the birth of my Instagram, my blog, my YouTube channel and everything about my character and my life today, and I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am of all of that. Obviously, this passion doesn’t have to be health and fitness–it can be art, yoga, Buddhism, gaming, comedy, science, writing, anything that enables you to thrive and to flourish. And if this is the thing that people make fun of you for, do not abandon it. Only take action to change something if it is holding you back from being the best person you can be. Make this passion meaningful. Join a club or an organization. Apply for a job that’s related to your field of interest. Establish a social media platform such as a YouTube channel and vlog about your passion. Create a blog and pour out your dreams and your feelings on every post. Open yourself up and those who are willing to listen will gravitate to you and the right people will support you. When I started my blog and Instagram, I was so shocked as to how many people I connected with. There are so many kind, understanding and thoughtful people out there who have the exact same interests as you, but it is in your power as to whether or not you want to find them or you want to isolate yourself. You will feel so accomplished if you decide to take on something so much greater, and it’s going to occupy you so that you don’t think about the bullying as often. Bullies want your undivided attention and if they find that you are not giving them the attention they want, they will eventually have to find something else to do.
- Brush off the bullies. This tip is going to be super brief, but if you find that there are bullies still coming to you despite all of what you are doing, then you literally have to give them NOTHING. They don’t deserve your energy. If they’re spreading rumors about you, ignore the rumors because they say much more about those people than they do about you. If they’re making mean comments, then just dismiss them very tersely. For example, someone came up to me in sixth grade and told me, “Hey, you have fat lips.” I didn’t know how to respond in that actual moment, but if I were to encounter anything like that, I would just reply with “Okay, whatever,” and roll my eyes to show that I don’t care. You would have reached a mental state where these comments are not going to harm you, hence you have to be prepared when they do come, especially if you make a platform that exposes you to a world full of hate. In a nutshell, don’t give the bullies your attention, and if you’re in a position where you need to respond, like if they ask you “Hey why are you so weird or why are you so fat?”, simply ask them why they’re wasting their time on you, tell them how sorry you feel for them, and wish them the best for themselves because they are dealing with insecurities or something problematic in their own lives that you might not be aware of, and they don’t know how to handle them and only do so through hate.
- Heal yourself. This can be done in so many ways. The first way is to congratulate yourself for pulling through such a dark, rough time in your life. You’ve evolved as a stronger, more confident and wiser person. You’ve built so much character that a lot of people can learn from. You’ve proven that you can be productive, you CAN fight back, you CAN be successful, and you ARE absolutely worth everything. The second way is one of the hardest, and it is to forgive those who put you down. You need to give your bullies compassion. The fact that they have the energy to tease you only shows how clueless they are with time management. Don’t stoop down to their level. So all you have to do is to acknowledge their wrongdoings, forgive them because they are human and they are IMPERFECT, and let them go. It’s going to be so hard, but you need to have the mental clarity that what they did led you to become the person you are today, and without that, you wouldn’t be where you are right now. They ultimately did you a favor through negative energy.
I really hope that these tips give you some insight on how to change your perspective on bullying. These tips won’t guarantee that the bullying will stop, but it will enable you to no longer see the harassment as anything that will really hold you back. I wish you the best in everything. Know that you are beautiful. You are capable of something so powerful: change. You can let go of all this sadness in your heart and convert everything that is making you miserable into something that will make you happy. You are ultimately the vehicle that can drive yourself out of this state of mind. You are a treasure to this world. I will be the first person to say that I love you and that I will support you if you ever need to talk.
To those who choose to hurt others around you, understand that everything is going to be okay. You’re in a position where you’re confused, you’re hurt, you’re suffering, or you’re just lost. But what you’re doing right now is not going to help you. At the end of the day, you are ultimately going to have to lie in bed with yourself and think about everything that you have done and understand that every action and word you say contributes to your future. Are you putting your energy into something that is meaningful and productive for you? Please. You are insecure. You are afraid. I am sorry for what you are going through. But don’t step on others for happiness. You need to bring others up. You need to work on yourself. Do exactly what I said before. Look at yourself. Find something meaningful that you love to do. Nurture it, allow it to grow, and become the person you never thought was even possible to measure up to.
Lastly, to those who have bullied me in the past, I hope you are in a better position. We were so young in middle school, and I understand that you were simply overpowered by the immaturities of youth and recklessness. You are not perfect, I am not perfect. But we are better now. You have taught me so much about myself and what I can do. You’ve brought the best in me, and while I am sorry that you had to take such a hateful route to do so, I am so grateful of what we’ve been through. To be honest, what’s really interesting is that you might remember me more than I do you. That’s okay. I didn’t need to. I only remember how you made me feel. That’s way more significant. But otherwise, thank you.