No, it’s not just a line from the movie Sydney White, it’s a call to anyone who has experienced rejection from their peers and remains comfortable in their own skin. One way I’ve come to terms with who I am is taking care of myself and finding people like me who aren’t afraid to stand out. Many of us spend our lives ashamed that we are forced to stand out because we aren’t lucky enough to have a choice in social situations. The minute we are proud of our strengths and our weaknesses, bullies can’t use our weaknesses against us.
After my very first bullying experience, It took a long time for me to get out of my victim mentality, put my needs first, and discover what I value. Most people who struggle with bullying and exclusion value quality relationships like everyone else, but have a hard time finding their community. The hardest part about being excluded was not the bullying itself, but how the aftermath of bullying affected my relationships with others in that environment.
Once the bullying stopped, there was an unspoken stigma amongst my peers. No matter how many times I tried to make new friends, none of my attempts to move forward worked. I treated making new friends as a goal, but the problem with that was you can’t always control someones’ feelings like you can with other things. What I could have done is keep doing what I love, be more discerning with friendships, and then the right people would find me. I learned how some people close their minds to the targets of bullying without question, feel too scared to stand apart from the crowd, choose to play it safe. As a result of this rejection, I thought something was wrong with me.
There was nothing wrong with me, and I’m sorry for spending so long being ashamed of myself. I spent years trying the please people who didn’t like me, hiding parts of myself, and even taking the right friends for granted so I could fit in.
Most people are afraid to stand out and put so much weight into what other people think. If they genuinely don’t care about the opinions of others, it typically happens when they are older. Most people want to avoid problems which is why bullies have so much power. We can stop putting up with bullies by taking care of ourselves, owning who we are, and finding a community of dorks like myself who struggled with shame and being forced to stand apart from the crowd.
Have you ever had a bully who has knocked your confidence? When and how did you get it back? Please comment below.