When I was a teenager, I wasn’t exactly the most popular with guys. Even after I escaped the ridiculing and teasing, I became obsessed with making my former tormentors jealous. I constantly fantasized about running into those guys and saying, “Yep. This is me now. Maybe you should have treated me better back then.” However, I eventually realized that I needed to get over that unhealthy mindset. Here’s what I learned…
I hated giving them my power. Growing up, I always heard that giving into bullies was the same as giving them my power. By letting them affect me, I was just giving them what they wanted. Even though they probably weren’t aware that their comments still hurt, it was frustrating that their words still had that much power over me.
Staying stuck in the past was hurting my present. It has never been healthy for me to dwell on the past. By focusing so much energy on showing the guys from my high school what they “missed out on,” I was forgetting to live my life for myself. I wasn’t enjoying the everyday moments that were so precious.
I found that their opinion had no affect on my future. In job interviews, not once did anyone ask me for a reference from a guy I went to high school with. Newsflash! Nobody in the “real” world cared what my teenage years were like. It took me a long time to actually realize that my past didn’t matter. Like, at all.
I needed validation, but not from them. Let’s be honest, we all need a compliment here and there. However, I discovered that sometimes the best validation comes from within. Positive affirmations are no joke, and they changed my life more than anyone else’s words – kind or otherwise.
I had more important people to worry about. As much as I hated to admit it, there were some people in my life whose opinions did matter. However, these people were not the HS football team. I established that it was okay to care about what my genuine friends, family, and bosses thought of me, but not the trivial boys who didn’t ask me to homecoming.
I wanted to be the most confident version of myself. It’s true what they say, confidence breeds success. After I learned that lesson, the decision to put everything behind me became much easier. I couldn’t be the best person I could be if I was fixated on negativity.
I knew that the most successful adults weren’t always popular. Almost every well-known, well-respected, career-driven woman has dealt with her fair share of negativity and ridicule. Did they let it bring them down? Hell no! I decided that I wasn’t going to let those dumb boys bring me down either. I had to forget about them completely in order to aid my accomplishments.
It was my differences that made me unique. The things that I was made fun of for, were really the things that made me special. The way I dress used to be mocked, but now I am complimented for my bold choices. I was teased for my intelligence, but it is my greatest quality.
I learned how to deal with criticism. As painful as it was at the time, I became a stronger person after learning how to brush off criticism. It ate away at me for so many years, but I finally concluded that I didn’t need to let it get me down. In the long run, it gave me a thicker skin. I will always be grateful for that.
I realized that it was my choice to be affected. At the end of the day, I had to make the choice to heal from the wounds of my past. Once I decided that I no longer wanted to make it my life goal to “get back” at my bullies, it was like a weight was lifted off my chest. From now on, I am living my life for me.