Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by a label.
Not just the big labels such as Tiffany, Gucci, Jimmy Choo or Cartier but those other big ones; stupid, skinny, liar, disabled, thief, fat. Yes- all THOSE labels that we don’t think of.
When I was 12, I was labeled with a learning disability, a blessing and a curse that made me feel different from my peers around me. I was pulled out of certain classes to get extra help that I needed but during that time, I felt isolated and unfamiliar with those around me. Middle School is hard enough and I didn’t want to be different from my peers. I wanted to just try and fit in with everyone else.
Around 16 I went shopping with a few girlfriends and one of them told me she couldn’t shop with me because I made HER feel insecure about her body and labeled me as “TOO SKINNY”. Then a few of my friends would ask how much I ate that day, why I never put on weight, what my secret diet of the week was. The truth was, I did eat and they all knew that but never let me just be who I am.
When kids get called a loser by a few people, they suddenly begin to believe they are one and then sometimes they can even act like a loser. Just because you failed, doesn’t mean you are a failure. You think “Wow I’ve failed two or three times at this so I must fail at everything but we all know the truth- it just means those time didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Instead of caving, what we need to figure out is how to approach it differently next time.
The point in all of this isn’t to give myself a pitty party but deciding on WHO you are really does take time and I’ve needed about 32 years to really figure out WHO I am and who I WANT to be.
I am a wife
I am a Mom
I am a goal digger
I am a latte addict
I am a lover of good conversations
I am me
One thing I am aiming as a parent is to teach my children that if they know who they are and feel good about themselves, there isn’t need to believe the bullies in our lives. We are all going to have them at one point or another. As the saying goes “hate people..hate people” and usually those that bully others are really trying to siphon energy and self-esteem off to other people because they are lacking whatever it is. As often as possible, I’m making sure to tell my five year old ” I believe in you and I see the best in you”. You truly never know what those words mean and when they are needing to hear it. Never underestimate the value of repetition- it’s truly huge with kids, especially at a young age and into their teen years.
Do what you can to teach the important of self-esteem, and help guide them and yourself on loving yourself for you, who you want to become and who you are right today. It takes time for sure and something we need and should work on as often as we can so it suddenly becomes a habit. I’ve even started to do gratitude every day where I list out 5 things I’m grateful for to start my day off in a good mind set ( especially after body shaming happened )