Hello my lovelies! I’ve received so many requests for this blog post, and although I wrote it a few weeks ago, I had to sit on publishing it because it’s extremely personal. To be honest, bullying is one of the worst and most painful experiences anyone could go through and I don’t wish it on ANY ONE. There are also so many different kinds of bullying including verbal, physical, social, emotional, prejudicial, and cyber—sadly I have experienced all the above. Some forms have left scars I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get over, but for the most part, I think (I hope!) my experience made me kinder, more understanding, and more accepting of others.
I opened up the topic on my Instagram story and was flooded with responses, most of which broke my heart, and many made me tear up. Some of the stories I received included:
- I was bullied for my quirks due to anxiety
- I was bullied because people assumed my sexual orientation to the point it was physical
- I was bullied and mocked for my voice, I had a speech impediment
- I was bullied for being foreign
- I was bullied for being mixed
- I was body shamed
- I received death threats from classmates because they were annoyed by my niceness
- I was set up on a fake date and humiliated
And the consequences you sent me? Here are some:
- Bullying took a hit on my self esteem
- Bullying made me feel guilty for being me (even though I hadn’t done anything wrong)
- Bullying made me stop trusting people
- Bullying made me question myself and made me stop being myself
- Bullying made me think bad about the rest of the world
- Bullying made me question what I wore
- Bullying made me self conscious
This is NOT okay. My heart is with all of you. You do NOT deserve this. Nobody does. Originally, I had a long post typed out about my own experiences, but it didn’t feel right to just post that. Why add to an already heartbreaking list here? Instead, I want to share with you is how to overcome bullying. Please remember, this is all advice from my own personal experience, I am in no position to give professional counseling and if you truly feel you need an expert, reach out to one! Resources are always available! 🙂
Azadeh’s Guide to Dealing with Bullies
Step 1 — You need to realize that what people say and do is a projection of THEIR reality… is it not necessarily your truth. It’s them expressing their own insecurities and because they’re sooo insecure they have no choice, but to bully others. Irrationally insecure people can’t stand to see other’s happy so like annoying parasites, try to drag you down to their level. Remember, bullies are often filled with ignorance, anger, and jealousy. There is clearly some type of love missing in their lives. Maybe their parents put too much pressure on them, maybe they were abused. We do not know. Sadly all we see is how hatefully they act towards others, which sucks.
Step 2 — Don’t waste your energy fighting back. I’m telling you, it’s not worth it. In my experience, a non-verbal retort embarrasses them the most. Let them get loud and scream and throw tantrums. The best tactic is to nod your head, look at them with sarcastic pity while smiling, and then hit them with a “You done?” Even if you’re shaking inside, you can make them feel as dumb as they actually are. You can also just laugh at them and move along because YOU are a badass with better things to do. (My favorite example of this is in the movie Easy A, when Emma Stone proudly walks through a line of bullies and sarcastically yells out, “Oooh burn” while walking away—go watch it!)
Have you ever met a bully doing better than you? No. And if you’re thinking “but it’s the cool, popular ones who bully me” trust me, they’re not doing better than you. They’re bullying you because they’re insecure and while you’re minding your business, they’re obsessively comparing themselves to you. In reality, you already have the upper hand here and they feel irrationally threatened so they lash out.
Step 3 — Use your hurt to motivate you to be a better person, but first practice SELF-KINDNESS. This is the biggest lesson of all. If you’re being bullied, do not bully yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can’t treat others fairly, if you don’t treat yourself fairly. I recently asked on my Instagram Story how people practice self-kindness and the results were pretty sad… 🙁 This is your daily reminder that you deserve to be loved and accepted for who you are. And if your classmates, friends, co-workers aren’t giving you that? Then give it to yourself. You are a badass who made it this far already. You have dreams that matter, you have a voice that inspires others (you inspire me!), and you have so much to offer to the world. Don’t let these insecure weirdos make you second guess who you are. Proudly love the shit out of your interests and hobbies. Speak kindly to yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Be kind to your body, your quirks, and your beautiful mind. The world is a better place because YOU exist. Be kind to yourself, and then lift up those around you.
I’m not telling you to get over it overnight. Trust me, I know those scars can last for a long time. Your feelings are valid. If you need to cry, do it. But then let those tears motivate you to be kinder to yourself, and to others. Rise above. Be better. Practice blocking out the noise a little every day and eventually that’s what it becomes, background noise. That’s what I did, and look where I am. Honestly, I should thank my bullies for getting me where I am. Because if they weren’t so ignorant and racist and mean, I wouldn’t have pursued a career as a journalist to educate others on social injustices and human rights. I wouldn’t have been inspired to create my platform—this very one you’re reading right now! I wouldn’t be living in New York having my dream career. So in reality, thanks bullies for using your insecurities to get me where I am.
See, it’s all about positive perspective! 😉