When You Assert Boundaries, Get Ready for People to Accuse You of Having “an Attitude.” (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1 last month)

Your boundaries and standards are the invisible fortresses surrounding you with protection. They keep you safe from harm. When you set boundaries, it means that you don’t allow others to take advantage of you. It also means that you refuse to be a pushover and won’t let other people make you do things that aren’t in line with your goals, values, morals, or convictions. In short, you don’t allow yourself to be manipulated.

And it requires that you call out anyone who tries to stick so much as one knee, one foot,  or one toe over those boundaries. You’re assertive but not overly aggressive. You’re strong but not overbearing. When you say no, you mean it, and you say it without feeling guilty over not saying yes. And when you do say yes to others, you can do it without saying no to yourself.

Sadly, it can be hard to set boundaries and standards, especially when dealing with overly-aggressive bullies who have anger issues. Our first instinct is to protect ourselves any way we can- even if it means we must appease these people to ensure our safety.

Many targets have zero boundaries and feel that to keep from being bullied worse than they already do, they must always bend over backward to make sure the people around them feel comfortable and at ease, which is wrong and a horrible way to live!

And sadly, that only works temporarily because bullies and abusers always come back for more.

Many targets don’t feel strong enough to keep invaders out of their bubble. And it’s because of this that they feel guilty and like failures when they’re unable to enforce their boundaries and standards. Targets also feel as if they’ve let themselves down, and, let me tell ya! It’s the worst feeling in the world.

I want you to understand that, no matter what others may tell you or how they may act, it’s okay to refuse their mistreatment and disrespect. It’s okay to say no to bullying by those who insist they have the right to cross your boundaries and invade your space physically, socially, psychologically, or spiritually. Know that you deserve a seat at the table of life, not one in the corner.

Setting boundaries and standards is not having an“attitude.” It’s your right! It would be best if you accepted that any limitations you put in place will get a ton of resistance. So, take this as a given! And again, look at it this way. The resistance you will get will be a sign of who your real friends aren’t.

Resistance is soooo telling! It can help you find out who’s really for your good and who isn’t.

It’s never good to be a yes-person, nor is it smart. Caring about others is great but caring too much is unhealthy. Boundaries and standards are needed because, without them, you subject yourself to living your life on autopilot- you’re a car without a steering wheel- a ship without a rudder!

But with them, you have a rudder, and you can chart your life’s course. The winds and currents may change, and the waters get rough, and you may indeed go off course, but you’ll still have some degree of direction. In setting boundaries and standards, you’re not completely powerless over what happens to you. You have some say over your destiny.

That’s why it’s so crucial that you stand in your power and speak your truth. Never dumb yourself down and make yourself less than the awesome person you are. Never settle for less than what you want and deserve.

Put yourself first instead of everyone else before you. Stop being a people pleaser. Stop putting your wants and needs on the back burner to keep others satisfied. It would be best if you practice self-love and self-care.

Accept that people won’t handle it well and be willing to let them go because they don’t deserve a seat at your table. And once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better life gets and how many people of integrity and sound quality come into your life. And I can say this from experience.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When You Assert Boundaries, Get Ready for People to Accuse You of Having “an Attitude.”

Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus

Many times, when we set boundaries and refuse to lower our standards, we’re accused of having “an attitude.” Lord only knows how many times I got that response when I either said no to something I didn’t like or refused to be manipulated or to take abuse. Therefore, it’s better to accept, even embrace, the reality that others will see you as doing just that- having an attitude when you stand on your principles.

Toxic teachers will assume that you’re insubordinate. Abusive managers and supervisors will think you’re not a team player, and bullying peers will see you as a ‘difficult’ person to be around, and that’s only a very mild version of what they may call you.

Understand that anytime we enforce our boundaries and standards, we become threats to abusers. We expose the manipulative people in our lives through the limits we set and see them more clearly. Why? Because we force them to tell off on themselves through their very reactions toward us.

Through having boundaries and standards, we can better tell the difference between real friends and fake ones. We can better see which people are truly for us and value our friendship and which ones are only in our lives because they want something from us.

Like all abusers, bullies feel entitled to devalue you and expect you to “just go with the flow” and not object to it. With these types of people, your healthy boundaries and standards are an insult to them. Why? Because they don’t recognize limits.

In their minds, anything goes, and the world and everything in it is one big free-for-all. In other words, any rules, laws, or limits don’t apply to them.

Bullies and frenemies believe they should have carte blanche to treat you any way they choose. They get super offended when you get enough of their abuse and finally have the courage to put your foot down. Accept that you will lose people you think are friends when you establish boundaries and standards. And they will often be the people you’d never expect.

But realize that these peoples’ condescension and dismissal are only proof of their discomfort and their only recourse. Bullies can’t handle an assertive person of incredible strength because they can never meet them on their level.

Also, understand that you cannot grow, be safe, or be free if you don’t set boundaries, and in many cases, people go out of their way to prevent targets of bullying and abuse from imposing any limits. It seems that boundaries and standards are okay for anyone else but strictly prohibited for targets.

But realize that you cannot continue to live your life as a doormat. Therefore,  you must dig deep and pull out the courage to establish your boundaries, which include,

Physical boundaries

Psychological boundaries

Time boundaries

No entry sign with barrier tape

Material boundaries

Intellectual boundaries

You are a flesh-and-blood human being who has rights! And sometimes, you must “cop an attitude” to defend those rights and enforce your boundaries from relentless bullies and other fakers who won’t take no from an answer and continue to violate them.

When you set firm boundaries and standards and enforce them, you protect your physical well-being, emotional health, self-esteem, and identity from anyone who seeks to destroy them. You make yourself an individual human being who asserts your right to make your own choices and decisions.

(Continued in Part 2 Next month)

Self-Esteem and the People You Spend the Most Time With

One thing that few of us think about is that we each are the sum of the types of people we spend the most time with. In other words, if the people you spend most of your time with are negative, then negative is what you become.

On the other hand, the opposite is true also. If you spend most of your time with people who are positive and uplifting, then you will feel and be the same.

Likewise, when a target is surrounded by bullies eight hours per day, whether it be at school or work, this takes up most of his day. It’s even worse if the target has negative family members at home. Therefore, he spends most of his day with bullies which will, over time, turn him into a negative person if he isn’t careful.

So, if you’re the only positive person in the room, you’re in the wrong place! If you’re around people who drain you and make you feel bad, you must find a way to fix it without hanging around and trying to fix them.

Realize that each person has a mind of his/her own and to try and “fix” them is a waste of your time and energy. It’s up to the other person to improve themselves and they must be the one to do that. Moreover, you wouldn’t want that responsibility. Understand that any internal fixing is their job, not yours.

You can only fix things by removing yourself from their company.

You always know when you’re with the wrong people because you will immediately sense that something is off anytime you’re around such negative folks. You will feel exhausted just being around them because it will be as if they’re sucking the oxygen out of the room. You’ll feel yucky because they’re killing your good vibes. Therefore, you must get out of there… fast!

Don’t stifle your own peace, happiness, and, most of all, growth by continuing to hang around. Make it your goal to get out of that environment!

Take the steps needed to find a pleasant environment filled with people who are either just as or more positive than you. Then soak up their uplifting personalities, dispositions, and vibes. In doing this, you allow yourself to grow and continue to move toward self-betterment.

Realize that people can only meet you from the place they’re at. In other words, if the person is negative, they can only meet you from a negative place. And if your places contradict, it can only cause division and conflict. Therefore, you must go where you get the most positivity and that also means choosing your friends wisely.

And once you do, you’ll be glad you did!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Drinking Dirty Water Means You’re Thirsty

You might look at the title of this post and think, “Well, duh!” So, let me put it another way.

Just because you’re thirsty doesn’t mean you have to drink dirty water. Even if it seems that dirty water is all that’s available. In other words, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people just because good people are hard to find.

“Settling for toxic friends because you’re lonely is like drinking dirty water because you’re thirsty.”  – Cherie White –

Many times, when you finally get enough of being used and abused by fake friends and decide once and for all to walk away, you may be alone for a while. Life may put you to the test to see if you’re really and truly done with the creeps you once, very naively, called friends. Even worse, life may decide to drag it out over a few weeks or months just to test your strength.

This happens with many targets of bullying. And, consequently, they may wait a little while, but eventually they cave in and go back to the same people who treated them so badly. Or the target may allow their frenemies to sweet-talk them back into the friendship. However, what happens once they do go back?

Patience is a Must!

It’s true that these fake friends may be extra friendly. They treat the target well for a few days, weeks, or maybe even a month. However, they will eventually go back to treating the target shabbily again. Why? Because they see any second chance the target gave them as evidence that he was only bluffing when he broke off the friendship.

You’ll only look desperate, or, as the kids say today, “thirsty.” And ewww! that’s not a good look at all! Cringe is what it is!

Therefore, these fakers only lose respect for the target and no longer take him seriously. Even worse, if the target again gets tired of the abuse and walks away a second time, the fakes will only look at each other and say, “he’ll be back. He just needs to cool off.”

There’s a reason for the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I’m all for giving second chances, don’t get me wrong. Because people screw up from time to time. However, you should use judgement when doing so. Who is it that you’re giving the chance to? And have they blown any chances you’ve given in the past? ‘Very important!

Don’t Give Chances to Those Who Only Abuse Them

Again, second chances are fine. Just make sure you don’t end up giving them a third chance, fourth chance, and so on. And realize that there are instances when even a second chance isn’t deserved- there are some things you just can’t come back from. So, if you decide to give another chance, make this your rule of thumb- the second chance is always the last chance. If they blow that chance, that’s it and it’s on them.

When it comes to situations such as this, you must stick to your guns. Otherwise, your fake friends, your bullies, and others who are around to see it will only use you as a cat toy.

Therefore, when you walk away from fake friends, do it and mean it! Do it with the presumption that you may have to wait a spell before better friends find you. Then stick it out! Wouldn’t you rather be by yourself rather than with people who only use and abuse you? If you’re going to be alone anyway, it might as well be for a damn good reason. Because nothing feels worse than being alone…in a group!

The next time you get fed up with shabby treatment and decide to walk, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people. Be patient and wait it out! I promise you that better people will come along eventually. Dry spells don’t last forever and if you hold true to yourself and stick it out, you will have better friends. And they will be people who are worth your time and consideration- people who deserve to have you in their lives.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

It’s Up to You to Protect Yourself

If you’re a target of bullying, can you truly and totally rely on people in authority to help you? Can you rely on them to do something about the bullying you suffer and hold those who are bullying you to account for their horrible behavior? Can you rely on others to bring you justice?

I used to be all about laws against bullying and yes, the idea sounds great. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. However, I’m beginning to gravitate away from making bullying a crime. Why? Because most people aren’t going to protect targets until it happens to them or one of theirs. And even then, that’s still debatable.

Let’s Stop Relying too Much on Others

We cannot rely too much on laws and policies because they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Entities, such as schools and workplaces, can write all the rules and policies against bullying they want. But until they enforce those policies, they’re only as cheap as the ink and paper administrators use to make them.

What good are laws and policies if these entities don’t enforce them? At what point do we stop relying on the system to protect us and begin protecting ourselves?

Understand that, no matter what anyone says, you don’t have to put up with anyone else’s crap. Therefore, it’s up to you to stand up to bullies and do it properly. And if defending yourself doesn’t work, you have the option to remove yourself from the situation and environment.

We Must Learn to Take Care of Ourselves

Here’s another reason I’m gravitating away from making bullying a crime: It’s because most seasoned bullies have ways of making innocent targets look like the bullies. Therefore, if lawmakers make bullying an imprisonable crime, many innocent targets would end up behind bars. Because, again, bullies, especially narcissistic bullies have a flare for flipping the script and, very convincingly, painting the target as the bad guy.

Too many targets have been conditioned to think that self-defense is wrong and it isn’t. And the people who condition these targets are often bullies themselves. Therefore, if bullies target you for bullying, you must know your enemies. You must do a lot of study and research on bullies, then use the knowledge you gain to outmaneuver them.

Also, yiu must do your own investigation and gather your own evidence. That means detailed documentation. Moreover, you may need to use the last resort and bust the bully in the mouth if all else fails and the bully tries to physically attack you. It’s the only way you can effectively defend yourself. Remember!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiving your bullies and anyone who’s ever wronged you isn’t easy, but it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself.

I know, I know! I can practically hear the groans of dread and scoffs coming from a few already. To be honest, I once had the same attitude myself anytime someone advised me to forgive.  I wasn’t ready to because I hadn’t healed yet.

Sometimes, you need time to process the abuse you suffered and heal before you can forgive. Completely understandable! And only you can know when you’re ready. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that the transgression they committed against you is okay, nor does it mean that you have to buddy up with the person who wronged you. But when you’re ready to forgive, it will only benefit you, not your attacker.

Allow me to delve a little deeper:

Forgiveness is a must! It is a prerequisite for re-empowerment and happiness. It’s not about letting anyone off the hook; it’s about setting yourself free from the toxic feelings of anger and hate, which will hold you back.

This message is for targets of bullying today and for survivors of bullying. Forgive them when you’re ready. I can tell you that for me, the ability to forgive was like a huge weight that was lifted off of my shoulders. There’s truly no better feeling!

Anytime you hold on to grudges and hate for a person, that individual controls you whether you realize it or not. They may have exerted control over the years they bullied you, but you don’t have to let them control the rest of your life.

Let me put it another way, holding onto and carrying around anger and hate doesn’t hurt the person it’s aimed at. It hurts you. Because the people you hate and hold grudges against either don’t know about it, or they don’t care.

While you’re sitting around stewing over someone who did you wrong, that person could care less. They’re going on with their lives and not giving you so much as a thought. So, why should you allow them to take up space in your mind?

Forgiveness is the only solution to this problem. It’s the only way that you will be able to take back control of your life.

If you want to be happy, successful, and live in peace, forgive the people who wronged you. It’s the only way!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Looking at The Bully’s Perspective

Bullies perceive their target as their enemy even when the target has done nothing to them and even as they’re ritually abusing and torturing the poor soul. And once the target speaks out about the abuse, that enmity only increases exponentially.

The bullies get a fix on the target and he/she is all they can focus on because they feel threatened.

Bullies and abusers only see from their own perspective and their perspective has the target as an opponent to be punished- a threat who must be contained and even eliminated. Bullies aren’t concerned with the fact that their anger and hatred are irrational. They don’t think that they’re destroying a fellow human being much like themselves- a human being with thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Bullies are oblivious to the fact that the impetus of their violence comes from the primal part of their brains.

Know Your Bully

Understand that if you’re a target of bullying, your bullies see you as the enemy, right or wrong. They view you as bad and evil and they want revenge. They have no inhibitions of destroying you because they think they’re the good guys and they’re doing the right thing by destroying you: evil enemies must be annihilated.

In the Mind of a Bully, The Target Owes Them Respect

And when the target doesn’t show the bullies the respect they feel they’re entitled to, or in the way the bullies think it should be shown, they become enraged and seek to destroy the person.

The power-dynamic between bully and target is always zero-sum. The bully feels the target deserves nothing but hostility and abuse from them but, in contrast, the target owes them respect…and he owes it to them as they’re abusing him.

From the bully’s perspective, the target must atone for their flaws, their shortcomings, and their evil by lying down and “letting” the bullies torment her.

But when and where does it stop?

It doesn’t. As we know, bullying only gets worse until somebody dies or leaves.

If you’re a target of a bully, understand this. It doesn’t matter what the bully’s perspective is. It doesn’t matter what the bully thinks. Neither the bully nor anyone else has a right to violate your boundaries, physical nor psychological.

I want you to know that you have a right to learn, work, or live in a safe environment. You have a right to be in a nourishing environment that allows you to flourish. And you owe respect to no one who hasn’t earned your respect. Bullies and abusers deserve no respect from you. Anyone who deliberately sets out to hurt you does not deserve anything from you. Understand that you must value yourself and put yourself first.

If someone is abusing you, you have every right to take care of yourself. You have not only a right but an obligation to yourself to either walk away from the person or, if you can’t walk away- if the bully won’t let you walk away, then you have a right to defend yourself. Realize that you are valuable, and you matter just as much as the next person.

And everyone has flaws, not only you. If anyone bullies you, then they have no business coming anywhere near you. Always remember that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Self-Love Irrespective of What Others Think

No lie. This can be hard to do, especially if the people around you hate you and are bullying you. Loving yourself in the midst of bullying and in a room full of people who think horribly of you takes a mountain of hard work when all you hear from others is:

“You aren’t worth a damn!”

“You suck!”

“You’re a drain on society!”

“You’ll never amount to a hill of beans!”

I understand. If you hear that long enough and from enough people, it can break your spirit if you let it. And how you refuse to let it get to you is to see it for what it is- noise pollution!

Here are a few more ways you can refuse to let their abuse get to you.

Give yourself permission to be yourself.

Know that’s it’s okay for you to be you.

Train your inner voice, through practice, to love you unconditionally.

Know that it’s okay to have needs, wants, and desires.

Deny the urge to compare yourself to others.

Understand that it’s okay to walk away from drama, and that it’s not out of fear that you do so, it’s out of smarts and self-care.

Allow yourself to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Realize that it’s okay to leave if you’re in an environment where you aren’t valued.

And lastly, know that it’s okay if people get angry with you.

Realize that if you don’t love yourself no matter your circumstances, it can have negative consequences later. Therefore, it’s so important that you do!

Although you can never control how others view you. And you can’t control what others say to you and how they act toward you. We must realize that another person’s behavior is beyond our control. However, what you can control is how you behave. In other words, you can control how you respond to the behavior of bullies and other idiots who try to steal your joy.

Loving yourself in the face of bullying is revolutionary!

Therefore, you must do what you can to drown out this noise pollution. And how you do it is to see your bullies for the creeps they truly are, think good thoughts of yourself, and remind yourself of your good qualities. Believe it or not, working to think highly of yourself when nobody else does is the greatest act of rebellion against bullies!

Again, see it for what it is. The judgements and verbal abuse you consistently hear from the cowardly creeps around you, is nothing but a bunch of racket. In other words, it’s noise pollution!

When you work to like yourself when others don’t, you refuse to let bullies get into your head. In that, you train your brain to filter out other’s negative comments and remarks that serve no purpose but to damage your self-esteem. Also, you silence that inner critic that would otherwise nag you night and day.

Moreover, when you love and accept yourself, others outside the bullying environment and strangers who have no history with you will be inclined to also love and accept you. No, your bullies and abusers won’t like or love you even if you love yourself, but who cares about them?

So, love yourself despite what others think of you. You will be surprised at how it will protect your self-esteem. When you work to feel good about yourself, even while bullies are tearing you down, it will work as a buffer to the psychological attacks they launch.

You may come out of it bruised but not broken.

With knowledge comes power!

Choose Your Friends Wisely

friends

And no, I don’t mean the type of friends who only tell you what you want to hear. You can get that anywhere. And many people will tickle your ears just to manipulate you or soften you up.

It goes much deeper.

It’s not about how much money or prestige they have- the hot car they drive or the latest fashions they wear. Neither is it about how good they look or how popular they are.

It’s all in how they make us feel about ourselves, and the space they give us to grow. Even better, it’s how they help us to grow and vice versa.

Therefore, if the person makes you feel bad about yourself and makes you doubt yourself- if she makes you feel left out and discarded, that’s your first clue that this person is not right for you! They’re not worthy of your time and are a waste of energy.

Don’t walk. RUN!

Always keep company with those who make you feel the best about yourself- that means the people who want to see you do good for yourself, the people who point you in the right direction, and the people who remain loyal even when the chips are down.

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Associate only with the people who love, encourage and want your very best. Reserve your friendship only for those who have your back! Choose the friend who is willing to walk through the fire with you.

In closing, never chase anyone who doesn’t care or makes you feel terrible about yourself. Because if they’re a true friend, they won’t tear you down and make you feel worthless.

They won’t block your path to success. You won’t have to fight for their time or their love. They will make time for you and give love freely. Therefore, be selective of who you let in your life.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Loving Myself: The Hardest Lesson I Learned

I had to be torn apart to put myself back together again.

I had to be naïve to become wise.

Also, I had to be weakened by bullying for several years before I could finally realize my own strength.

I had to be cheapened by others before realizing my worth.

I had to feel hate from others before I could finally love myself, all parts of myself.

When I was young, I was a beautiful girl to look upon. However, I didn’t think I was so beautiful. Because my classmates had bullied me for so long, I thought I was worthless. And why not? They had drummed that brutal narrative into my head for years.

They wanted me to hate myself as much as they hated me.

Every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. Therefore, I would jokingly put myself down to keep from seeming arrogant. My classmates and a few others had brainwashed me into thinking that “to like or love yourself was arrogance.”

Turning Pain Into Power

Many of my bullies would accuse me of being just that, arrogant. They called me stuck-up, full of myself, snooty, snob, or crazy. And those names were tame compared to the other names I was called, which I won’t mention here because of vulgarity.

Some of them referred to me as “Miss Prissy,” “Empress,” and other sarcastic names. Moreover, these names seemed to come anytime I smiled or showed even a sliver of confidence.

‘You see? When people consistently tell you that you’re this way or that, and in large numbers, you begin to believe it too. Therefore, one of the hardest things to do is to change that mindset once it’s instilled in you, especially after you reach young adulthood.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Self-depreciation is so unhealthy because it often determines your outcomes in life. Furthermore, it breeds laziness and failure. Any success I had wasn’t enough to satisfy me and I would shun it. I always thought that I should be doing more and being better.

I internally belittled myself not only because I feared looking arrogant, but also because I didn’t think I was good enough. Thus, when someone would compliment me, I should have accepted the compliment and thanked the person for it. But instead, I’d say something like, “well, I could’ve done better.” I would always belittle my successes when I should have been celebrating them.

I have noticed that we may compliment friends and family on how beautiful, smart, or how talented they are. Also, we advise them never to put themselves down. However, we find it so hard to extend the same love and support to ourselves.

Reprogramming

Additionally, there were times I’d say things to myself I would never have said to another person, much less my friends and family. It’s sad when we find it so difficult to love ourselves as we would others.

Since those days, I’ve learned that the best kind of love is the love you give yourself. Because, without self-love, you won’t be able to love others properly and healthfully. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I finally decided that I was going to love myself no matter how others felt about me. However, it didn’t happen overnight.

This was the beginning a long journey. I was taking on an exceedingly difficult task, which was reprogramming my mindset. Therefore, I had to purge all the negative stuff I’d been told for so many years and it wasn’t easy by any stretch. It would take reversing and undoing many years of abusive programming. And it was going to require a lot of grunt work.

When I rose to this challenge, there were times people fought against me. Why? Because they did not like and were threatened by the positive changes that I was implementing for myself. There were times when my own mind fought against me. But, I stuck with it because that tiny spark within me always told me that I deserved better.

I continued to vomit out all the garbage others had made me believe about myself. And it was difficult to cleanse myself of the negative thoughts and self-beliefs that had only kept me shackled.

Pushback

It was a long fight, but it was worth it! Today, I’m happy, confident, and comfortable in my own skin, which means I’m free! My intention is for you to be free too!

Here’s what works:

1.Celebrate your successes even if you don’t feel up to it.

2. Make a list of your positive qualities.

3. Make positive affirmations.

4. Reward yourself.

5. Talk kindly to yourself.

6. Catch every negative thought and replace it with a positive thought.

7. Do things you enjoy most.

8. Stay away from toxic people if at all possible.

9. Surround yourself with positive people.

10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet standards that are unattainable.

11. Place no value on the opinions of people who aren’t worthy of your time and energy.

12. BE YOURSELF!

If you practice these twelve things every day, I promise you that you will see change in your overall outlook. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen fast. But it will all be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

8 Ways to Heal from Bullying

Bullying is very traumatic and impacts self-esteem; it often takes many years to heal. People who’ve never endured bullying cannot comprehend how it can change your life. The good thing about leaving a toxic environment is that once you’re gone, you can begin healing and rebuilding your life. However, in many cases, it’s easier said than done.

Here are eight things you can do that can help you heal quicker:

1. Seek Therapy.

Though I realize that there’s a certain amount of stigma that goes with it, getting therapy is the best and most important thing you can do for yourself. Therefore, you must do what you must do to take care of yourself. Moreover, don’t concern yourself with the opinions of others about your care. Right now, you must do what’s best for you.

2. Rest.

When you’re fresh out of a bullying environment, you’re more than likely to be exhausted. Get plenty of sleep. Take some quiet time for yourself. Go on a walk in the park on a beautiful day, or take a pajama day. Get all the rest you can get for a few days.

3. Music.

Music is therapy in itself. Once you’ve got plenty of rest, put in some easy listening for relaxation, maybe some slow jams like TLC or Keith Sweat? Or pop in some dance grooves and rock and roll to make you feel upbeat and like dancing.

There’s nothing that lifts the mood like shaking your booty around the house to some Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul hits or rocking out to some Van Halen, Judas Priest, or Def Leppard. Whatever your taste in music, you’ll feel much better when you do. So get out those CD’s or stream some music on your computer.

4. Lean on the people who love you.

When you’re recovering from bullying and a toxic environment, one of the most important things you need is a network of love and support to balance the positive with the negative. Therefore, keep company with the people who uplift you, love you, and make you feel good. It’ll help you salvage the confidence you’ve lost.

5. Do things you enjoy most.

Indulge in your hobbies and favorite activities. Hobbies allow us to be creative. Therefore, if you create, you feel accomplished! So, rake in those little successes! You’ll feel so much better!

6. Exercise.

Exercise is a major stress-buster. And you can get rid of all that negative energy like anger and depression by sweating it out either in the gym or, if you don’t feel like going anywhere, a workout DVD.

7. Take a trip.

After being in a toxic environment for so long, sometimes, we need to get away for a while. Visit a family member in another state. Embark on a camping trip in the mountains or hit the beach and relax in the sun as you listen to the sounds of seagulls and crashing waves. I guarantee that you’ll return home feeling much, much better!

8. Treat yourself to a day or night out with the guys or gals.

You and your pals could go to a concert or out to lunch or dinner. Maybe go window shopping or to a bar and listen to a live band. In other words, don’t isolate yourself. Get out and have fun. Because sometimes it pays to go out and paint the town red!

Just go easy on the drinks, as alcohol is a depressant!

Healing can take a while to do and may also take much work. But in the end, it’ll be worth it!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Low Self-Esteem is Taught.

Insecurity and a lack of confidence are not characteristics that we’re born with. They are taught! Not only by bullies or abusive family members but can also unwittingly programmed into us by caring family members who call themselves trying to teach us humbleness and humility.

These characteristics are both good virtues to have, but only in moderation. However, too much of it can cause us to suppress a little too much of ourselves and hide our own awesome personalities, talents, and gifts, which can grow into insecurity and, in worse cases, self-loathing.

a little girl hiding behind her mother’s skirt

Each and every one of us is born with confidence and a heart of gold. However, over time, our environments, circumstances, and sadly, the people in our lives can slowly erode the natural confidence and goodness we were born with.

After being hurt for so long, we withdraw from others and put up a barrier to protect ourselves. We turn cold and began to harden ourselves to numb feelings of rejection and the pain that comes with it.

The Slow Erosion of Self-Esteem

Young girl bending down, covering her face with her hands, trying to protect herself from men’s’ fists, finger guns, and hands pointing at her. Women’s rights. Violence against women. Domestic violence.

Before long, we regard others’ feelings and suffering with indifference. In other words, we just don’t give a crap about anyone, how they feel, or what they think. Sometimes we even grow cold toward the people who love us because we have lost the ability to trust.

We no longer have any respect for others, much less ourselves. Lastly, we come to that evil place where schadenfreude takes hold of our personalities. In other words, we secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing others, especially those we despise, suffer.

We must make a conscious effort not to allow negative outside influences to make us cold and mean. Just as we take steps to protect our health, finances, property, etc., we must also take steps to protect our self-esteem. And we do that by how we allow others to treat us. We protect our self-esteem by setting boundaries and standards.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

When You “Embrace the Suck”

Embracing The Suck

Many young targets of bullying are trapped in a school that hates them. It’s easier to get out of a toxic environment when you’re an adult target bullied at work. You can transfer, and if you can’t transfer, you can always quit. However, when you’re a minor, it’s almost impossible. What if your family cannot afford to move to a new school district? Also, what if your parents refuse to move or to transfer you? What if your parents can’t afford to home school you?

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a toxic environment and in a horrible situation. When you’re suffering from bullying with no way to escape it, it’s the feeling of entrapment! Just imagine you’re in this situation and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it! And you can’t get away from it! You’re just stuck there!

So, What Do You Do?

You embrace the suck. Embracing the suck means that you just grin and bear it. You just accept the god-awful, crappy mess you’re in because there’s no other choice. In other words, you’re just plain screwed and there’s no way out of it. You learn to live with it and make peace with the possibility that things may not get any better. And yes, it sucks!

Sadly, many targeted kids are stuck in schools with a toxic culture of bullying. These kids get attacked daily. They’re attacked psychologically and physically. Teachers and principals view these children unfavorably because bullies have them convinced that the targets are the instigators. Therefore, school staff are constantly watching these young targets, waiting for a reason to drag them into the principal’s office.

These kids suffer from plummeting grades and poor school performance because they’re forced to live in survival mode. Why? Because having to prepare for a hostile learning environment takes priority over studying and learning. Therefore, school staff see them as lazy and hopeless and refuse to give them the extra help they need.

Gee! That’s an awful lot of suck!

And how much suck can one child deal with?

Understand that if you’re a child dealing with these kinds of circumstances, you don’t have to just “embrace the suck.” There’s always School Choice. Nowadays, families can get vouchers to make it easier to transfer you to a new school and start fresh. Also, there are other things you can try if, by chance, School Choice isn’t an option where you live:

  • You can document the bullying and have your parent or legal guardian help you with your documentation.
  • Also, you can, depending on the jurisdiction you live in, hide a body cam or digital device in your backpack or on your person.
  • Thirdly, you can practice self-care.

And keep the faith. School Choice may not be available in your area now but it doesn’t mean it won’t be later.

You don’t have to be completely powerless. Do the above three things because they are the things you do have control over. And when you do, not only is it probable that you’ll change the dynamic, but you’ll feel so much better about yourself. You will also feel that you have, at least, some control.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Bullies Want You to Believe & What You Should Believe

Understand that bullies thrive on power and control. If they can’t control you, they’ll control how others view you. Also, they’ll use redundancy and repetition to make you believe their lies too. Here’s what they’re most likely to try and get you to think of yourself and what you should believe:

1.What bullies want you to believe

Apart from us, you can do nothing, you are nothing, and you never will be.

What you should believe

Apart from you, I’m better off. I can do anything I set my mind to do, I’m somebody, and later down the line, I’m going to be great and do great things.

2. What bullies want you to believe

You’ll never find happiness without our permission.

What you should believe

I don’t need your permission to be happy. I’m much happier without losers like you in my life.

3. What bullies want you to believe

Nobody will ever like or love you.

What you should believe

Maybe you never will, but I don’t mind because you don’t matter. There will be others who’ll love me for me. I’ll find my tribe.

4. What bullies want you to believe

You’re nothing without our approval.

What you should believe

I’m nothing with it because you are nothing. I don’t need your “approval” because it will never define me. Your opinion matters not because, for something to matter, you must first value it.

Therefore, always counter the statements, including the unspoken ones. You’ll be surprised at what it will do for your self-esteem and your spirit!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

That Empowering Feeling of Saying “No!”

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Saying “no” can be difficult and at times, even downright scary. Like when bullies are trying to force you to do something you don’t want to do.  You know the feeling when they threaten either physical harm or worse social exclusion if you don’t do what they want you to do. I know the feeling because I’ve been there.

Nobody wants to get hurt. The natural human response is to submit and make the pain, torment, or the threat of, stop. In your mind, you’re thinking, “Alright, alright! I’ll do it if you’ll go away and leave me alone!” I get that because it’s what I did. I submitted to my bullies many times, too many times. I fell for the false promises that they would let me be and stop hurting me. But-

Saying yes to them meant saying no to myself.

They never made good on those promises. The harassment didn’t stop. If anything, it only got worse! Anytime I did say no, I got threatened and yes, even physically attacked.

Saying no to a bully is never an easy option. Bullies don’t take no for an answer, least of all from their targets! However, not only is it necessary, but it feels darn good sometimes!
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve said the word “no” a lot more than I did. I wouldn’t have cared about the retaliation I might have faced. Unless one of my bullies had done something drastic, like pulled a gun, I’d have stood firm.

In no way would I advice anyone to risk their life. If someone pulls a gun on me, I will do what I must do to stay alive! I’ll do what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear. I’ll dance a jig wearing fluorescent orange and white polka-dotted bell bottoms if it keeps me from dying!

I’ll grant you, saying no is risky.

But if they only threaten me with the business end of their fists, I know I’m only going to come out of it with a shiner and a fat lip. In a situation like that, it’s much safer to say no. Those wounds will heal. But the psychological injury of wishing I hadn’t let myself down will last for years.

However, if you do choose physical safety first, I want you to know that you’re not wrong for that. In no way will I ever think less of you if you submit to your bullies’ demands. As I mentioned earlier, a natural reaction is to obey to keep from being harmed.

And the winner is...

Today, I say that little two-letter word a lot more and will continue to say it in the future. It doesn’t matter what people say, how they feel about it or what they do. I would much rather get the crap kicked out of me and still feel good about myself for taking a stand. Today, I’d rather take a beating than to cave under pressure.  I’m funny about letting myself down by doing something I didn’t want to do. To me, that’s worse than getting my butt kicked! But that’s just me.

Many times, I let myself down by saying yes.

My physical wounds healed. But knowing I let someone else force me to do something I neither wanted to nor agreed to, left a psychological injury that took a long time to recover from. I ended up asking myself, “Now, why didn’t I tell those creeps to take a flying leap off the highest cliff head first?” That feeling of powerlessness was worse than the physical pain I would have suffered.

So, permit yourself to say that tiny little word because it can be so empowering! You may indeed get your tail kicked, but at least you’ll feel good knowing you got hurt because you stood for something! Those psychological benefits will significantly outweigh the embarrassment of any beat down! Besides, you forced a bully to do something foolish and which will likely get him in trouble with an adult or the law! So, I ask you! Who’s the real winner here?

With knowledge comes empowerment!