You know how most people say they miss their childhood? Well, I’d never go back but those experiences as a child are what shaped me into who I am today. I grew up as a misfit. I was the “weird” kid as many children would call me. Surprisingly, it’s not only just kids who treated me different, sometimes my own teachers would single me out or treat me as second rate. I was chubby, had messy hair, was a ball of excited energy, excelled in academics and at one point I even had the cliché braces and glasses all rolled into one. I was a huge target for people to make fun of and some individuals made it their mission to terrorize me.
I could have become introverted or turned into someone who moulded herself into what others would deem acceptable. Instead I conveyed confidence even in my most insecure moments. When snide remarks were made about me, I behaved as if those words didn’t even make me flinch. Even when I was scared while being bullied by others I stood as tall as I could (I was always one of the shortest kids) and spoke with firmness.
Growing up through those experiences and not fitting in anywhere taught me the beauty of having tough skin and not changing who you are to suit others. It taught me how to stand my ground even when people would intimidate me and it also taught me the beauty of appreciating everyone for who they are as a person and not for what they looked like on the outside. It gave me the courage I needed to be different and do things outside of the norm because I had already built the backbone to deal with any hostility that came my way. So what if people didn’t accept me? I was an outlier anyway, right?
If we are to live our lives concerned with what everyone says and thinks of us, we’ll never progress to be anything greater. It’s not easy to not be affected by what others say but it is a skill you have to hone if you ever want to accomplish things in your life. Now I’m not saying ignore constructive criticism because there is no way you can develop without it but there is a distinct difference between that and plain negativity and hate.
People will always have an opinion about you and everything you do. I wouldn’t even be surprised if someone was rolling their eyes while reading this but the difference here is that I’ve made the effort to put things into words and do stuff with my life, like blogging about fashion for example, while that same person who’s rolling their eyes probably hasn’t done much at all. The people who view you in a negative manner and try to berate you, many times, are the same people who wouldn’t take the risks and chances that you have.
When you try and break out of a mould that is different from the norm you make yourself an even bigger target for people. If you let that negative energy affect you, you’ll be paralyzed from moving on in your life. Don’t ever allow someone else to drown your ambitions or make you feel any less of a person. No one who has made something of themselves has ever been free from the negative opinions of others, not even the greatest politicians, inventors, artists, scientists, activists…etc.
Very recently I had a really rough experience with someone who I barely knew that was spewing hatred towards me when I had only been nice to them. I don’t mean they were just being rude, I mean this person literally behaved like they wanted their soul to devour me and I had no clue why. I was so shocked but after I composed myself, I took in situation and it lit my spirit in such a positive way that I’m actually happy I went through that. The very next day I formulated these words to convey my thoughts:
“Unwarranted negativity and hate from others can do one of three things: it can defeat you, it can poison you and twist you into an angry and hateful individual, or it can fuel you to become even more successful in your life. Learning how to harness that kind of fire is one of the most amazing skills that can carry us through in life.”
Remember, there is tremendous power in being able to brace yourself against the negativity of others but there is an even greater power when you’re able to use those same stones that were thrown at you to build the base upon which you stand and flourish.