Bullying is a traumatising experience for anyone who has been through it. But what if the bullying isn't coming from an external source? To quote a classic horror movie, "What if the call is coming from inside the house?"
It might not sound like a real thing but it’s possible that YOU are your own biggest bully. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- Telling yourself that you’re not smart enough to do something
- Thinking you’re not cool enough to hang out with certain people
- Saying you’re not talented enough to do the things you’d like to do
- Putting yourself down in front of other people
- Imagining other people badmouthing you or laughing at you
- Watching social media and feeling like it’s pointless to create anything because it won’t match up to what’s already there
Think about how you talk to yourself when things go wrong or when you make a mistake.
Do you call yourself an “idiot”, berate yourself for being “so stupid”, or say that your friend or sister or classmate would have “seen it coming a mile away”?
If you do any of these things, ask yourself why. You would never dream of saying any of those things to someone you care about so why say it to yourself?
Loving yourself isn’t just a trite or corny thing parents and teachers encourage for no reason. It’s a crucial part of life. If you don’t love yourself or back yourself in the things you do, how can you expect anyone else to?
You teach other people how you want to be treated. So be kind to yourself.
If you’re feeling sad or unhappy about yourself, your life or who you are becoming, that’s okay. It’s normal to question things and to feel confused or even trapped by the boundaries of your daily life.
Firstly, self-awareness of how you’re feeling is always a good thing, as is the ability to reflect on your situation. Be proud that you’re able to do this.
Are there specific triggers that make you feel worse, like social media or being around certain people in school?
It’s good to know that not everything you see on social media is true and there are so many tools people can use to edit their images and videos.
Also, just because someone is confident or seems popular at school, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect for them either. We have no idea what other people are dealing with behind closed doors which is why we should always lead with kindness.
Forget bubble baths and manicures and any other superficial things social media has told you is self care.
Yes, these things are fun to do but they don’t equate to looking after your mental wellbeing.
Have you heard about the concept of resilience? Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversities that we may face in the course of our lives. Here are some basic things that we need in our daily lives in order to build a foundation of resilience and to maintain our wellness:
- A good night’s sleep; using a mindfulness app can help with trying to settle racing thoughts
- A balanced approach to food; what we eat directly affects how we feel
- Water; keeping hydrated can help reduce feelings of tiredness
- Being outdoors; natural sunlight and fresh air can help to lift our mood
- Movement and exercise; exercise can release feel-good chemicals in our brain that boost our mood and energy levels
Embracing our Differences
When we see fashion, beauty or travel influencers on social media, it’s very easy to feel less than or wish that we looked like them or had their body/home/lifestyle/hair etc.
But, if you think about it, how boring would it be if we all looked the same? Or if life was picture perfect all the time? We need the rain to appreciate the rainbow. We need the cold depths of winter to appreciate the warm, sunny heights of summer.
Each one of us is unique in our own way, and this is true of our bodies and our personalities. It can be a good idea to take the time to identify and focus on the things we like about ourselves and our bodies, and to work on not comparing ourselves to others.
Talking it Out
Sometimes speaking with a trusted adult can be helpful. They may be able to offer support and advice for dealing with your feelings around what is going on for you right now.
This trusted adult could be a parent, teacher, aunt, uncle, etc., whoever you feel comfortable with and that will take the time to listen and help you.
Childline is here for you anytime – we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The services are free and confidential.
If you are not yet ready to discuss it with your trusted adult, you can talk to Childline by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or through our web chat on www.childline.ie.