Sure it was horrible at the time, I didn’t enjoy school and it was the start of the social media generation so there was’t much escaping even after the schoolboy rang. But I don’t like to dwell in the past because what it did teach me was a few life lessons. I always try and turn every negative experience around into a positive, because you can’t change your past, you can only learn and grow from it.
It taught me empathyI don’t want to roll out all of the usual bullying cliches about the bully having a bad life themselves to become a bully, because we’ve heard it all before, but as pointed out by Rufus Humphrey a la Gossip Girl:”There’s always something beneath the surface with people like that to make them act the way they do.” I wasn’t very empathetic at the time but looking back I do feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that they got pleasure out of making another’s life worse, that they weren’t completely happy in their own lives so they had to affect someone else’s to feel better.
It taught me to be strong
Bullies work off emotion and reaction so what that tough time taught me was strength, how to hide my feelings and be the bigger person. As Kelly Cutrone wisely said: “If you have to cry, go outside” and it’s true. Yes sometimes crying is good and in the right moment is fine to do in the public eye but getting bullied taught me how to find inner strength and not expose my weaknesses.
It taught me to forgive and forget
I once read a quote (wait, who am I kidding, I ALWAYS read quotes) that is completely true. “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal. The only one it ends up hurting is you.” Once you’ve accepted what’s happened to you, deal with it, cry, throw things, shout or quietly come to terms with it and move on. Because you holding onto that emotion means they’ll continue to win. Do you know what the best revenge is? Happiness. So try to forgive and forget.
It taught me to not repeat history
Now I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, I’m even more alert to any form of bullying and whereas I was quite weak before and reluctant to speak up - if I see it now, I say something. Because I know what it’s like to feel low, I’d never want anyone I come into contact with to feel that too, so the final thing that it taught me was to not let history repeat itself.
Bullying showed me that not everyone is a bad person, that there are good people in the world who only want you to be happy. It made me appreciate when I found happiness once again and it brought great people into my life that make it a better place, and me, a much more confident version of myself.