In my job to help women see their beauty, I am most often faced with each woman’s deepest wounds.
Most come from outside herself. Almost all are words. Most are about someone’s appearance. I’ve long preached being kind to yourself and others. When I get a mean comment from someone who means nothing to me, words could never hurt me.
This is not to say that words don’t hurt. Words can HURT.
But personally, I don’t let a meaningless person’s words hurt me. It’s liberating to get to a point where your own self-worth means so much more than angry little words thrown from a precarious glass house. The old nursery rhyme should read: but words should never hurt me. We really should not hurt others with our words just because we feel less than. We could erase so much future hurt by taking care to vent our anger appropriately.
Someone called me “fat”.
I actually laughed. Ten or fifteen years ago a comment like that would have hurt my feelings. But now, I don’t give a DAMN. If you’re skinny and you’re happy, more power to you.
Skinny means nothing if you’re ugly on the inside. Fat means nothing if you love the people around you and they love you back.
I don’t care how you feel about me. I don’t care how you feel about my body. My body has carried me through life, through illness, through motherhood and it is a blessed body with ALL it’s so-called “imperfections”.
What I do care about is the next generation.
Every single bully learned their behavior from another bully. Children are impressionable.
Children are supposed to live their lives in a semblance of innocence at least for a time.
It’s our duty to protect them. And teach them how to be in the world.
Whether it’s talking about your own body or the body of someone you hate, your kids are listening.
They’re LEARNING. Everything around them is teaching them how to be in the world. Bullying can effect a child’s grades, their health, and even cause mood disorders that can persist into adulthood. If you’ve ever been teased and you catch yourself saying something like this, imagine if it was being said to your innocent and naive child self. I bet you wouldn’t say it. Imagine how it would feel to hear those words coming out of your child’s mouth to you.
If you need to vent, call a good friend. But in front of the kids, you need to show love to other people. I could quote endless Bible verses and snippets from the brilliant people through time. When you use your words to hurt, you’re not hurting me. You’re hurting the ones who have to listen to you.
Tips for if your child is being bullied. Validating their feelings is one of the most affirming things you can do. Let them get in touch with feeling that it’s wrong so they develop empathy for others. Try to stay calm when you listen. They’re probably already scared and upset. Depending on their age and the situation (is it words or is it physical bullying?) give them language to say, “That hurt my feelings. Stop.” Older kids and teens should walk away.
And here are tips for an adult being bullied. Above all, remember that it’s not about you. It FEELS personal, but it says more about the person bullying than it does about you. It’s difficult to make that separation but it’s vital to recognize.