Growing up, I seemed to be an irresistible target for bullies. From elementary school on, it always seemed like I had a string of kids lining up to pick on me. Some were subtle, some more cruel. But it always seemed to play out the same. They would find something irresistible to make fun of, and then the "fun" would begin. It was a painful game of trying to outlast the tormenting, to not let them know just how much they were hurting me.
Over the years, my hair got less frizzy, I grew into my large front teeth, and out of my social awkwardness. Bullies still seemed to find me, but I slowly learned how to deal with it.
Only on this side of it all can I say that facing a constant string of bullies has made me a stronger person. It made me dig deep down inside myself to find things about myself that I liked. I learned that my worth isn't found in the eyes of others, but in the Lord, and that He loves me with unconditional love. Check out Isaiah 43:4 if you don't believe me.
Like many children and adolescents who were tormented, I was convinced that once I became an adult, the bullying would magically stop; that people would magically change and be nice.
One of the most disappointing things about adulthood is that bullying still exists. The games just have higher stakes and crueler consequences.
While I was at work today, I found myself once again on the receiving end of the bullying game. A co-worker made a horribly inappropriate comment to me, and it brought on a flood of emotions.
After I got over my initial shock, I realized (for the first time) that the person saying it was miserable inside, and that their picking on me was a way to take the focus off of themselves.
I don't have the answers on how to fix the problem. But I do have words of encouragement for those going through bullying situations. Keep your chin up. Know that the horrible things they are saying aren't personal -- they are coming from a very insecure and hurting person who just wants to make someone feel as bad as they do. Their words don't mean anything. Your worth is found in the Lord, and He loves you just the way you are.
And I am always here if you need someone to listen. firstname.lastname@example.org