Hello! So the other day, I tweeted/asked my followers if they would share a personal experience of a time when they were bullied or witnessed bullying and attempted to handle the situation themself. I quickly heard back from one woman, and for the sake of privacy, we’ll call her ‘Emily’. Emily tweeted to me that she had been bullied by 3 ADULT women during a charity event in a foreign country. This wonderful reader later sent me a detailed email about her experience. With Emily’s permission, I wanted to share it with you all.
Read Emily’s story after the cut! (more…)
Good evening, friends! I hope everyone did something nice today for MLK Day. While it’s nice to have the day off, it’s always important to observe the day by doing something nice for others. If not today, I hope you do something in your communities for the good of others. Do you have a favorite organization or cause that you donate time, money, or resources to? If not, may I recommend clicking this link? This link will take you to the United Way’s worldwide website. If you click on “Take Action” and then “Volunteer,” you can put in your zip code and your interests to find an organization near you that’s looking for volunteers. As for myself, I’ve been volunteering with the AMAZING organization, New Haven Reads for years. I absolutely adore NHR. NHR’s mission is “to share the joy and power of reading”. And, according to their website, “New Haven Reads provides an environment where children and adults have access to free books and tutoring to increase their literacy skills and academic performance.” While we’re all so busy with work, school, friends, family, and other commitments, I feel it’s important to give back. It’s also important, though, to find an organization you feel connected to, that way you look forward to it rather than seeing it as ANOTHER thing on your plate. Martin Luther King Jr. did an incredible amount for mankind and for our world, it’s nice to carry on his legend by doing something that will help improve today’s world. Anyways, if you haven’t already, please take a moment out of your day and remember what he taught us all.
Do you have a favorite MLK quote?
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
As some of you twitters may have seen last night, I tweeted this:
If you’re feeling hopeless, desperate, or in need of someone to talk to, please please PLEASE reach out & seek help <3 1-800-273-8255
— My Kindness Counts (@Kindness_Counts) January 13, 2012
In all honesty, it was the only thing I felt I could do after reading about three recent youth suicides within a span of about 5 minutes. Whenever I read about a young person feeling depressed, hopeless, or having thoughts of suicide due to bullying or because they feel they can’t be accepted for who they are, I’m always at a loss of what to do. Internally, I feel so much sadness, anger, and empathy towards what they’ve had to endure and I’m unable to sit back and do nothing. In reality, who knows if the tweet I put out actually made a difference in someone’s life, but at least I know that I didn’t sit back and do not do anything.
While reading through Twitter and various websites last night, I came across these 3 tidbits of info regarding mental health and suicide I wanted I’d share:
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among college students. source
- Half of all college students have had suicidal thoughts while in college. source
- 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, even this isn’t enough to get people to talk openly about it without the fear of being stigmatized. source
If you or someone else you know is having suicidal thoughts or having a tough time dealing with school, friends, online conversations, or just need someone to talk to, please reach out to someone. It could be a teacher you look up to, a counselor at your school or university, a friend, or even a lifeline like the one I posted above. I promise you’re not crazy, a mental health professional will not think you’re crazy, you’re not a baby, and while you’re probably tough, you’re most likely not tough enough to battle negative feelings on your own. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself and keep those feelings inside. Talk to someone. It does get better. :)
Self-doubt. Self-doubt is single-handedly my biggest opponent in life. It’s been one of those things that has followed me from the time I was a young kid. Whether it was with dance, tennis, organizing events, college exams, and even now in my work performance, I just have always had the feeling that whatever I did wouldn’t be good enough. Interestingly, my self-doubt seems to rear it’s ugly head most when I’m working on something that I’m really passionate about. For example, in college I did an independent study. It was a 35ish page paper on a topic of my choice. I’d meet with my professor once a week and talk about my progress, writing skills, etc. I wrote my paper on the effects bullying and cyber bullying have on youth, a topic I’m obviously really passionate about. At the end of the semester, I received an A+ on this paper that I was incredibly proud of. My professor recommended I submit the paper into a writing contest within my university and I immediately turned her down. While I was proud of the paper and knew I had done well on it, I was anxiety ridden over other professors outside of my department reading it. My professor knew how passionate I was about the topic and how hard I had worked, but would these other professors? They didn’t know me. What if they read my paper and thought it was completely awful? The thought of putting myself out there could not have caused more anxiety. While in the end I submitted my paper into that contest, I felt sick knowing there was a possibility I would be rejected. How would I feel if the paper I poured my heart and soul into was considered a joke?
I have been having that same feeling of self-doubt recently with my anti-bullying efforts. This website was created in an attempt to conquer my feelings of self-doubt by putting myself out there and also, to give me a platform to create some kind of strong anti-bullying program. I often say to friends, “I know what I want to do and where I want to go with this, I just don’t know how to get myself there.” Well, maybe that’s because I’m not necessarily 100% willing to put myself out there yet. If I want to be successful and really make an impact, I’m going to have to take risks (something I admit is not my strong point) and I’m going to have to open myself up to connect with people.
Ultimately, I know I want to make a difference because we’re losing too many amazing young people to feelings of inadequacy. I want to help kids, teens, and parents conquer bullying and help them be happy with who they are. I want to help people learn to appreciate others for their differences, not make those differences a focal point and fodder for bullying. I want to be by their side, be an advocate, and really work to inspire a change in how the world is handling bullying.
Let me just add “learn to conquor with self-doubt” to my 2012 resolution list first! :)
Does self-doubt ever get in the way of your goals?
Have you guys seen this? This story has been showing up all over Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs I read. I’ll link to the article if you’d like to read it for yourself, but basically, while driving home one day, a father witnessed his own 17 year old son and 15 year old daughter physically attacking a smaller child. The father, who was a victim of bullying himself when he was just a teenager, was so upset, he pressed charges against his own children after bringing the victim home to his parents. In the video at the source, the father explains his utter disgust towards his children’s behavior. He even added that he would stand behind the victim’s parents if they chose to press charges themselves. While some may raise their eyebrows at a story like this, many people feel the father did the right thing by turning his children in. I would imagine that turning them in must have been hard, but by doing so, he has made it clear that he has zero tolerance for harassment. Check out this video and share your thoughts regarding whether this father did the right thing.