Me Then. Me Now
I spent most of my childhood upbringing in Southern California. I spend a part of that in Cal City California in 1992-93 and attended Robert P. Ulrich Elementary School. I went there a part of my 3rd grade year and 4th grade. I now live on the East Coast (thankfully) where I am pursuing my education to be a game artist and designer, and also my music career. Today, I would like to talk about something very important that almost all kids (and adults) go through at some point in their lives. It’s called bullying and self-rejection. It was very hard for me to move to a new school and make new friends. This was why stability was so important to me. But, nevertheless I’m going to spell out exactly what I went through and hope that this will be an encouragement to someone else who went through it.
Being Different in a society that has certain demands.
At each stage in our development as children, we learn to do something new, whether it is learning how to do the most basic things such coping skills, conscience, the capacity to give love and receive it, social skills, social development, self-esteem, and defining your self-worth. Often times these things are based on what has been taught by our parents and society. This may also include, but not limited to; the stereo types and labels that are put on people. Are you rich, middle class, or poor? Ugly, average, or beautiful? Popular or unpopular? What others would say had a huge impact on my social skills and self-worth. I was very shy, and it was always hard for me communicate with other kids. When you are shown to be different, here come the bullies. It’s very hard to cope with. No matter which stage of development we are at as children, there are always challenges we have to face. And being a child of the age 9 in a group full of kids that had a tendency to bully other kids who were shy, or kids that didn’t have many friends was utterly unfathomable to me as a shy kid. It was really hard for me to try and blend in with everyone else instead of being the one who was singled out (I mean all the time).
My Personal Experience with Bullies
To tell you the truth, it all started when my cousin; who was the only friend I had in my class; moved away. He literally was my only friend. So now I’m alone, and having to be forced to go out of my comfort zone. They began to single me out. I knew I had to stay away from them; the ones I knew would try to bully me. But how? I was forced to see them every day. They began their little prattling about me, and I didn’t know what to do about it. Anywhere from getting kicked on the playground, having my fingers slammed in the door, having my hair pulled, getting made fun of, or having them scream at me in my face during dodge ball, or bullied for wearing glasses, I was told I was ugly and stupid by not just one kid, but a few of them. It was very hurtful to me and I began to experience feeling of complete isolation. So I shut people out even more, therefore ruining my chance of making any new friends. This was all because I was afraid of getting hurt or afraid of getting bullied. Isolating yourself from other is not the answer. Why? I faltered in this effort to avoid bullying, because it only made it worse. I felt myself moving backwards as they began to gain up on me even more, and now the other kids didn’t want to be around me. I thought “They think they are better than me.” There were only a couple of kids who would actually let me hang out with them, that is; until the other kids came and ruined my good time with them. They would ask them why I was following them like I was some type of parasite of annoyance to them. I would run away from them because I didn’t want to be around that! It was nothing against the other kids who were nice to me. This saddened me even more, and my response was to withdraw myself even more. There was no one to talk to about this, and I wasn’t sure how to overcome my problem. It was a nightmare.
Overcoming a Low Self Esteem
First of all, know your worth. There are many kids who are bullied begin to think low of themselves. I know I did. I let the opinions of others define who I was, what I was, and my worth. But if you recognize that your worth is not defined by any of those things, and you begin to look to God as your source of worth, you will soar!
Though I wasn’t treated well by the kids at school, when I was with my family and friends who were outside of that school, it was so different because I was in the midst of people who actually valued me and loved me because they actually knew me. This may be one of the reasons for the feeling of uneasiness and disconnect. The mistake I made on my part was that I didn’t allow other people to get to know me so that they could learn to love me. When I was around others I didn’t know, I didn’t feel valued, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t be valued by someone. Therefore, a lack of confidence would kick in per se. I was stumped! One thing that needs to be realized here: you should never let the opinions of others shatter your confidence. I knew I was worth more than that! I knew I wasn’t an ugly person. But when I was around those mean kids, it was hard not to feel that way. But you can’t give into that thought. As Mary J. Blige quotes: “The important thing to realize is that no matter what people’s opinions may be, they’re only that – people’s opinions. You have to believe in your heart what you know to be true about yourself”.
Real self-esteem is based on emotion, not self-image.
The reason for my extremely low self-esteem is the ‘feeling’ that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t cool enough. It stems also from the core beliefs that I had to be a certain way for people to like me. Here is the truth, you can’t please everyone. The only person you can be is yourself, no one else. The first way to overcome a low self-esteem is to change the way you feel about yourself! Secondly we must not measure value by comparing ourselves with others. Often times the core belief is that changing who we are to please someone else is necessary when it comes to success. But we must get out of this way of thinking if we want to raise our self-esteem.
An unrealistic image will damage your self-esteem.
Do you want to know what an unrealistic image is? Look no further than the cover on a magazine. You’ll never see imperfections there. But can I tell you about the lights, makeup, and digital touch ups they did with that unrealistic image? And yet, so many people measure themselves by this unrealistic expectation. So do we on many other occasions. If we don’t measure up to this or be good enough, then it creates what we call ‘self-rejection’. If you were to reject this idea of reflecting this image of being good enough, you can also shred the feeling of not being good enough and insecurity issue.
Read Part two of "Know Your Worth" and find out how I overcame bullying and low self-esteem.