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2 months ago · · Bullying,
So I just finished watching a 13 reasons why, season 3 and it got me thinking about bullying and what comes out of it, how it changes you and why it happens. Before I talk about my feelings, I'll say that if you watch this show, watch it at your own risk. It is a heavy and intense show and if you're ever in need of help, please talk to someone.
Now, about bullying. I was bullied in high school. I am now in university and my experience in high school had really shaped my personality into what it is today. In high school, I would never want to acknowledge that I was getting bullied for two reasons. One: because it was never physical bullying, like they portray in tv shows, and two: If I admitted it, it would become real and I was not ready to deal with the pain that comes after saying "I'm getting bullied". It was all verbal, but it was to a point where I felt completely alone, ostracized, isolated and really lonely. After high school, I thought it was over but I didn't understand that the emotional baggage followed me in the form of anger issues, diminished self-esteem and anxiety. And with all these emotional rollercoasters, I ask myself "These horrible people from my past have such a drastic effect on my life, so is it better to forgive them so that I can live at peace? And what does forgiveness even mean? And if I forgive them, does that excuse their behaviour and let them get away with it? And how can I stop them from having power over my life? Do I want an apology after 8-9 years?"
I've heard phrases like "only those who are insecure bully people" and "resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die" and "forgiveness is the best gift you can give to yourself" but what does that really mean?
After watching 13 reasons why, I realised that bullies aren't born, they're made. Bad behaviour comes from a source. I think about my high school, and it was a toxic environment where everybody wants to seem cool and fit in. Sometimes at the expense of others, people want to fit in by making others feel small. And it works, because hey, it's high school. And the really really mean people? They're broken. Maybe they were neglected at home, maybe they had toxic masculinity issues, maybe they felt lost and empty, maybe they were trying to mask pain. In short, maybe bullying someone, at the time, was the only way it gave their lives some sort of meaning or validation. And at this point in my life, I'm starting to realise that by bullying me, they've hurt themselves as much as they hurt me. I have no clue whether any of them think about me and think about the pain they've caused, or if they ever feel like apologizing. I am not sure if I even want an apology, because it won't really change anything. I don't think forgiveness in the form of "I forgive you for everything you put me through" is something I'm really capable of doing. But what I am willing to finally see, is that those were some mistakes made by some really troubled human beings. And human beings make mistakes, especially when they're hurt. And that when someone hurts you, it doesn't mean that something is wrong with you. It means something is happening internally with them. So what I can do is realise that my belief that "I am worthless, I am not intelligent, I am unattractive, I am a small insignificant human being with no value", as a consequence of their actions towards me, was never true to begin with at all.
I've spent years, almost a decade, trying to recover from this and I'm hoping that in the future, I will begin to unlearn some of the negative stuff I began to feel about myself. And begin to believe that I am a strong, intelligent, humble human being capable of empathy and can do a lot of good in this world. I'd like to be able to help people, contribute to society and be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I can learn to love myself and always take care of myself and make sure I'm in the best possible mental state that I can be in.