Being bullied at such a young age could really alter your mind as you grow older. A simple taunt about your looks or financial status as a child eventually shows its effects as you start to make decisions for yourself. Although memories fade, hurtful words and actions can constantly replay at the back of your mind. While the bullies may have long forgotten what they did, you continue to unconsciously beat yourself up for having insecurities. But I’m here to say that you don’t deserve any of that at all!
As someone who has dealt with bullying for many years, I can attest that it still affected me even as I entered adulthood. However, I was clueless about how much it affected my whole life. The thing with bullying is, it ultimately hinders you from being your true self and from opportunities that you could’ve enjoyed. That’s why a lot of us resort to inner child healing during our 20s. Overcoming bullying may take some time, but you could utilize that time to heal and value yourself even more.
Editor’s Note: This article should only serve as a guide on how to overcome bullying. If you’re experiencing trauma or any mental health issues, please consult with a mental health professional.
Surround yourself with good people.
Replace toxic people with supportive ones because they will help you realize the beauty in YOU. For a long time, I settled for people who didn’t actually consider me their go-to friend. So when bullies targeted me, I had no one to back me up. In cases like this, it’s important that you have someone to reassure and comfort you. Bullies are great at triggering your traumas or insecurities, so having trusted friends around can help you see yourself in a different light.
Learn how to handle your triggers.
Be aware of what triggers you ? whether it be body-shaming comments or a certain group of girls. Familiarize yourself with these triggers, so you could learn how to compartmentalize your emotions. If you get triggered by someone making fun of you, acknowledge this trigger and act on what you think would be best in that situation. You could talk to your friend about it or leave for a minute to take a breather.
But never ever let this slide without acknowledging it, because it would surely trigger you again later on. I find that doing this allows me to understand the negative emotions I feel so that I could control what I do about it. If you’re still having a hard time handling it, then consulting a professional counselor or therapist could provide a better solution.
Learn to stand up for yourself
Sometimes you can’t really escape from having bullies even in the corporate world. Although it’s nerve-wracking to speak up against a bully, defending yourself allows you to set boundaries on how you want to be treated by your colleagues. It took some time for me to gather the courage to stand up for myself. I eventually did when I found the right support group that boosted my confidence. My parents have also taught me well to understand that I should never let others walk over me. So, always do what is best for your mental health.
We are not often aware of how bullying takes a toll on our lives. No matter the gravity of our experiences or the years that have passed, bullies can do huge damage to our self-esteem. Although I’m not advising you to forgive your bullies, I’m rather telling you to forgive yourself. Most of the time we are our own bigger bullies than the bullies, themselves.
I, for one, have blamed myself for not being able to afford branded clothes or expensive gadgets to fit in with my classmates. But that was something I had no control over as a child. You can’t move past bullying if you continue to blame yourself and think of the “what ifs.” It was never your fault to begin with. Therefore, you could do yourself a huge favor by being kinder to yourself.
Be the friend you needed.
In order to forgive myself, I decided to be a better person than my bullies and ex-friends. If I know that I have grown as a better human being than them, then that’s the sweetest revenge I could ever ask for. To make up for the past, one must learn from it. And the best thing I have learned is how love and support can bring so much light to others. It’s the least we can give to our loved ones, knowing that it is also what we needed in times of trouble.
Although we do have different ways of coping with the after-effects of bullying, perhaps now is a good time to ponder on it too. In the first place, it’s already 2023. Bullying is so ~overrated and irrelevant~. Always choose to be kind to others, and most especially to yourself.