Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Your biggest bully is yourself

I’m my biggest bully.

This may sound strange because we see our biggest bully as someone else. Most people don’t think that they are self-bullying and sometimes blame it on others to take the pressure off themselves. Now that I’m older and I look back, I realize that all those voices saying I was worthless and ugly were actually me, but why?

Sometimes we can trick our minds into thinking that we are bullied. I did this and most likely you have too. I was easily caught up in thinking of what other people WOULD think of me that I didn’t take the time to hear what people DID think of me.

I thought I had no friends and no one liked me; the reality was that people did, I just never wanted to accept it. I think for some reason I liked to think that other people were bullying me I guess it took the pressure off of knowing that I was the real problem.

It still doesn’t make sense on why we would bully ourselves if no one else is there to justify it. I’ve learned that sometimes being told you’re good not enough, can be better than not being told anything.

For example, the saying goes “If you don’t have anything nice to say than don’t say anything at all,” a lot of us know this rule and hopefully follow it every day. Yet, if you were never told that you were beautiful, wouldn’t it make sense to just assume that others thought you were ugly?

I think often what young teens do as we are trying to find out our identity is based on of what others have to say about them. So having some sort of opinion based on what others think of you can help teens understand the truth and be less likely to assume. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should tell people how ugly and stupid they are because that in itself is bullying. I’m saying that it’s a good explanation of why teens bully themselves and it most likely can’t be stopped.

“It’s not something born in you, because if you see little kids there all about themselves looking in the mirror… Something happens at a young age, usually in girls more often, that I think it’s a learned thing that they see people around them,” said Crystal Fragley.

Social media probably has one of the biggest parts to play in self-bullying. It’s so easy to hide behind a screen and say bad things about yourself just to get attention. My sister says how even people say “No, no you’re so beautiful,” to a lot of girls it doesn’t change how they view themselves.

“I don’t think that it does [boost girls self-confidence] because I think that’s what they want to happen but like it does not  do anything,” she added.

There’s this message locked inside their head that they are ugly and people are just trying to be nice. What confuses me is if the attention and reassurance doesn’t change what we think about ourselves, then why put it out for everyone to see?

There are so many people who have created this trend on social media. Really, I think it’s something that we have all been pressured to do as girls.

I asked my friend, Tammy Mao, if people who maybe didn’t say negative things about themselves but in fact the opposite would be considered arrogant.

“I don’t know if it’s considered arrogant as much as it’s just not able to identify or put language to what’s happening… I wouldn’t go as far to say that they were arrogant, I think that it would unfortunately just coin something in a negative light and don’t know if that’s necessarily true for our generation, and I don’t know if that’s helpful,” said Mao. This surprised me because I feel like we have put that stereotype on girls and we are afraid to publicly declare ourselves as beautiful, yet I think that’s all our society needs.

It’s so easy for us to encourage each other when we are feeling down, so how would we react if girls were doing the opposite?

Something else I found interesting was when Fragley made the point several times of girls having self doubts and never brought up boys. After I asked her why, she didn’t even have an answer. I’ve found this to be true for a lot of people, they don’t tend to think about boys self-bullying.

Most people who are putting themselves down are girls, and maybe it’s because of the stereotype that girls only do it because that’s what they see other girls doing. My question is, why don’t we have that stereotype created for boys?

“I also think self-bullying can be something that isn’t super visible on the outside and so it can manifest in a lot of different ways too,” said Mao. “So maybe, a lot people won’t know that this specific person is self-bullying but it can be really detrimental to them on the inside.”

Everyone self-bullies; we just all do it and hide it in different ways. As girls, we tend to make it more obvious, but I think we need to make it more aware that boys go through the same thing. Boys aren’t supposed to have those emotions and maybe that’s why they are less likely to speak out about it.

There’s not a specific thing or way we could stop self-bullying. Yet, if we start informing girls and boys that it’s okay to call yourself amazing and talented, and not follow the stereotypes we’ve been creating, then who knows what impact it might have.

If the next generation would see people who truly loved themselves and were confident in who they are, it would inspire them to be the same. It’s always good to encourage others, and sometimes it doesn’t always work. We just need to start by breaking the stereotype and then maybe it will help others except who they truly are.

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