I will never forget the day I first experienced being bullied. I was in fourth grade, I got along with all of my classmates and I loved my teachers, and I especially loved to laugh. While this is not surprising in the slightest, a couple of these classmates wanted to "bring a problem to light." After class, they told me that my laugh was "annoying" and that I should "learn when to stop." I remember getting into my sister's Jeep in the carpool lane, sobbing the moment the door closed.
Now, while it may seem like a minor inconvenience, to a little girl in fourth grade it was the end of my world. I had just moved to the school and making friends came naturally to me, the majority of the time, but I still wanted everyone to like me. Of course, after my mom found out about the incident, we went to talk to my teacher. She was incredibly upset for me and assured my mom that she would not only talk to the students but create a lesson for the rest of the students.
I don't remember everything about the lesson, but I do remember these words written in black ink on the board: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart." My teacher dived into talking about how bullying doesn't have to be physical, that words can hold as much power like a sword if you let them.
It's been nearly 10 years since this incident occurred and I sometimes forget that it happened to me. Both of my now friends apologized, and of course, I got over it. But, a lot has changed about me in 10 years.
I have learned a very valuable lesson over the course of high school and into college: if you spend so much of your time worrying about what people say about you, to you, or even simply what they think of you, you're wasting a lot of time being unhappy.
There is a very short list of people whose opinions I care very much about, including my parents, friends, teachers, and future bosses. But, everyone else? They can take me as I am.
You shouldn't change yourself for other people, not to make them like you or to try and fit in. You'll attract the people that God places in your life by just being yourself.
So while sticks and stones can break my bones and words can break my heart, calling me a b*tch is NOT going to hurt me and neither will telling me my laugh is annoying won't hurt me either.
Be kind, always.