AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BULLIED
It’s not you. It’s them.
You and everything you do, everything you are, everything you stand for and believe in, is perfectly fine. Unless you are hurting others, you being you is exactly what you should be doing and absolutely nobody has the right to tell you otherwise.
When we are being bullied, singled out and isolated, it is very hard to see beyond what is being drilled into us every day, that we are the problem. That something is wrong with us. When you are being told endlessly by your peers that you are different in all the wrong ways, to be able to fathom the possibility that they are actually the wrong ones and that they are the problem is nearly impossible to see. No matter how much your mother (spouse) tells you you are special, it just doesn’t seem to help the way it should.
You see, the opinions of our peers are so much more important to us than our mother’s, because we human beings have a biological need to fit in. We can’t help it. It is a survival mechanism we have had for as long as we have been human. We already fit in with our mum (or spouse), we already know that she likes us, so her telling us that we are good as we are unfortunately doesn’t matter so much. It helps and it is important to have a strong social and emotional connection at home. But we also need it from our peers. Whether that is our school, university, workplace, football club or local chess club. Our need for connection is vital to our health.
So when these so-called “peers” single us out, it cuts us deep. So deep that we often end up hiding ourselves, hiding our “flaws”. Often it also leads to poor decision making as we find ourselves desperate to change ourselves in order to be accepted or to find a group that will accept us. We lose what is special about us in order to conform with who people believe we should be.
We are so caught up in trying to fit in that we are oblivious to the fact that everyone else is trying to fit in too, and some people are significantly more insecure than others. It might surprise you to learn that you are not the most insecure person in this dynamic. The bullies are.
The only reason people resort to bullying, to bringing someone else down, to “spotting the flaw” in you, is because they themselves are desperate as all hell to fit in. Only they do not have the social and emotional maturity to navigate this challenge effectively. They think that the only way they can fit in, be popular and “reach the top”, is to fight their way up. They bring others down and draw attention to the invented flaws of others not only to single you out as some sort of freak, but to deflect everybody’s attention away from their own insecurities. To keep them at arms length from their biggest fears about themselves. By being the bully, by being the alpha, they make it terrifying for another person to work up the courage to call them out, because they risk exposing themselves in the process. It is the only way they know how to manage social situations because they know that they themselves could not handle the abuse you are receiving. They are too fearful to be their true self because they are cowards, while you are strong, they bully you because they fear your potential and what it could do to their social standing. They don’t realise that you aren’t interested in bringing them down. They don’t realise that there are other ways to fit in.
These people don’t have the social maturity that you have. These people don’t understand that a social circle is a circle and not a pyramid. These people are so insecure that they believe that the only way to fit in is to knock out as much of the opposition as possible. These people lack so much self esteem and empathy that they will do anything to feel validated at the expense of anyone else. These people likely do not have the strong social connection at home that you have, so much so that I only a tiny little bit feel sorry for them. But that is not my responsibility, nor is it yours. These people that work hard to bring you down are not your people, nor will they likely ever be. It’s not you, it’s them.
Do not change who you are for the benefit of anyone. Instead, show off exactly who you are and the right people for you will show up. I know it sounds terrifying, but the right people will accept you and the wrong people won’t matter anymore.
Do not ever concern yourself with the negative opinions, judgements and words of others. What people think is absolutely irrelevant to you. All that matters is what you think, your unbiased, un-coerced, uninfluenced opinion of yourself. Not what Instagram says, not what the insecure bully says at work/school, not what any anything says. You are you and the right people for you will be there for you.
The moment I realised this was the moment I felt fully and completely free, you will too.