I wanted to take a moment talk about how bullying has effected me, because it’s something that has taken me a long time to come to terms with, and something that so many people struggle with every day.
A big part of the bullying that was directed at me when I was younger was all to do with body shaming me, and that’s something that makes me so angry. No one has the right to body shame someone else, period.
Lets be clear that when I say body shaming I’m not just talking about fat shaming, because skinny shaming can have just as many negative consequences. At the end of the day, having someone comment on your appearance in a negative way isn’t going to do anything for your sense of self worth, whether you’re fat, skinny, tall, short, male or female…whoever you are, it hurts.
So why do some people insist on knocking someone else down because of the way they look? All I can say that if they do it to help build themselves up, then something has evidently gone so wrong in their life, that their own sense of self worth is low enough to become numb to the effect that their hurtful words will have on another human being. Maybe they’ve been victims of bullying themselves, I don’t know, but either way…it doesn’t make it right!
In the past I’ve been driven incredibly low by bullies, and often I used to kick myself for not standing up for myself. I thought I was weak and pathetic for not shouting horrible things back at them and if I ever tried to I just ended up sounding a bit wet. But looking back now, I can see that it was because I wasn’t prepared to get that personal, to really hit them where it hurt, and focus on the things that I knew would get to them. I wasn’t prepared to lower myself that far, even though they were, and I’m so thankful for that… because once the barriers are gone, where does it stop?
But this attitude left me open to increased emotionally bullying for a long time, and because of this (amongst other things) my sense of self worth became almost non existent for a very long time. When we’re at a point like that in our lives, we end up doing things we’re not proud of, things that we’ll look back on with sadness because we didn’t value ourselves enough to treat ourselves with the respect that, as human beings, we deserve. Whether it’s poor life choices, bad relationships, unhealthy eating habits, or something totally different, it’s all one big self fulfilling prophecy and it’s intrinsically linked to self esteem.
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve been able to fix me, and only in the last year that I really felt equipped to do something about my weight. I no longer care what those people thought about my body all of those years ago and the word fat is simply something I used to be and I’m proud of over coming. Fat isn’t a dirty word. I have a healthy, happy approach to life nowadays and it’s no thanks to everyone who made me feel crap about who I was for so long! With the support of my amazing boyfriend, my wonderful family and my incredible friends (as well as my epic Slimming World group and all of the slimmers online!) I have been able to get to an entirely happy place for the first time in a very very long time!
But there are so many people out there every day who have vile things said about their physical appearance. Whether they’re too big, or they’re too small, someone always has something to say. The fact of the matter is that in the eyes of the faceless, emotionless, conscienceless people who now live predominantly on the internet, others can do no right! They’ve moved on from the playground and the common room, and they now seem to exist purely to say nasty things on someone’s Instagram, comment on their Facebook or to retweet them with some sarcastic emoji and a snarky comment…and they are the ones I feel sorry for.
Many people, when dealing with a bully online, feel the need to fight fire with fire. But lowering yourself to the standards of a bully means having to lower your sense of self worth to their level, because how else are you going to delve deep enough to come out with the same kinds of nasty things they do? I believe that every time you are forced to do this, it takes a bit more effort to bring yourself back up and you might just lose something when you do. If we all continue to become so desensitised to hurtful words and nasty taunts whether it’s in self defence or not, then it only goes to increase the levels of nastiness flying around.
Just remember this… If you’re happy with your body, and your health isn’t at risk, then it is your prerogative to stay the way you are…but if you chose to change something about yourself then you can, those internet bullies can’t change who they are on the inside and that’s so sad for them. To face the rest of your life as a nasty, judgemental, insecure person seems to me, to be a pretty shite future, and frankly they’re welcome to it! I can only hope that they grow up one day and feel genuine remorse for what they’ve done…not that that’ll make any difference to the countless lives they’ve made worse with their words.
I’m no keyboard warrior, I’m not going to spend my days seeking these people out and rebutting their horrid comments, but I urge anyone experiencing this to stand up in a positive way. Instead of sinking to their level, make it clear that their words don’t effect you and they will stop eventually! Live your life to the fullest, show how positive you can be in the world, and make sure that the person on the other end of that keyboard knows how little they mean to you…that’s the best way to stand up to a bully.