Most of you reading this already know me but if you’re reading this because you stumbled across it or your friend told you to read it, my name is Austin and I make YouTube videos HERE. It’s nice to virtually meet you. :)
Last night my wife and I watched the documentary Bully. It absolutely broke my heart to hear the stories of these kids and, in some cases, see the abuse first hand. As a father, it pissed me off that my daughter may have to be subject to this kind of behavior. As an adult, it pissed me off that there is seemingly no real change taking place in these schools by the teachers and staff. And as a human, it reminded me that we’re all broken individuals and sometimes that brokenness overshadows the goodness of so many people.
Now I could go on to write paragraph after paragraph about how we need some real change in schools, how parents of bullies need to be held responsible for the actions of their kids even if it means their child is kicked out of school after more than one accusation/instance of bullying, how kids need to band together and confront bullying (which I wholeheartedly agree with and think that it would fundamentally change the landscape of schools across the world, by the way), and so on and so forth.
However, that’s not what I want to write about. I want to write about how you, the victim of bullying and degradation, are loved and cooler than you even understand. I know it sounds cliche but it’s true. Let me explain more:
- Everyone has something they’re good at and that includes YOU. Maybe you’re not a jock or some rock musician (which is not the coolest thing in life despite what society tells you) but you have something that you’re good at and that makes you valuable. Maybe it’s graphic design, web development, being a good listener, making people laugh, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is (or how “big” or “small” you think it is). It makes you valuable and you affect other people’s lives in a positive way by being good at whatever it is you’re good at.
- Most bullies are more insecure than you but they act out in a different way than you or I would. They have problems at home or had a rough upbringing and don’t feel loved so they take their anger and frustration and look to destroy the happiness of a “nerd” or someone who’s not as “cool” as them. What this means for YOU is that you should understand that although they may do terrible things to you, you are so much cooler than them. We all have bad things that happen to us in life but only the strongest are able to deal with it in a healthy way while the weak ones act out in a negative way. Embrace that strong and awesome part about yourself and remember it when someone calls you a terrible name so you can laugh at them knowing that you are so much stronger than them.
- Lastly, everyone has the right to be cool. It’s not just for the good looking or the successful (although I’d argue success and good lucks are both relative so screw what society tells you anyways). I’ve met tons of people and because of my preconceived thoughts just from looking at them, and what society has told me they will be like because they look a certain way, I assume that they’re not cool or will be kind of awkward. I’ll admit those thoughts have entered my head before. However, I engage those people because I don’t want to let my thoughts be the determining factor of what my idea of this person ultimately is. I can’t tell you how many people immediately erase any of those negative thoughts I had because they are confident and understand that they are cool because they embrace who they are to their core. Believe that what you say matters, embrace the way God made you and engage with people in a way that erases preconceived notions of each other and, instead, simply relate to them as one human to another.
The bottom line is this, NEVER allow someone to determine what you can or can’t do, who you are or how you should feel. That may be easier said than done but everyone has that ability. Unfortunately, some of you may come from broken homes and maybe your parents don’t show you the love that you so desperately need and long for. I feel like this is an unfortunate reality for many kids who are bullied. They go to school, work, etc. and experience terrible things just to come home and have dead beat parents who don’t care about them or encourage them and that breaks my heart. (Side note: If you find yourself in a terrible situation like this feel free to reach out me via Twitter. I want to be your friend more than ever.)
I want to also address YouTube and the fact that bullying does take place online and is prevalent on YouTube. I get hate comments every day about being too skinny, having a dead tooth (yeah, I tripped and fell when I was little and now one of my teeth is dead and really yellow. I go hard. #ThugLife), being in an interracial marriage, having a baby that is worthless because it is half black or half white, being accused of being gay (that one always makes me laugh the most), being a terrible parent for having my child online, being a terrible husband because I should “do more” for my wife (whatever that means since they see an average of 1 hour of our total day per video), and so many other things, many of which I wouldn’t even post here because they’re so vulgar. And these are only the ones that relate to me. Add these and more that are directed towards my wife. It’s out of control and if you’ve experienced issues of online bullying REPORT these channels to the respective sites to have them banned.
The the thing is, though, I don’t care what people say about me. I understand that these people are hurting and have so many problems so they pick someone they’re either jealous of or even do actually believe some of the things they’re saying but I could care less. I’m secure with who I am and I find my worth through the love of Jesus Christ and the many blessings and gifts he’s blessed me with. However, that doesn’t make these terrible comments ok and it doesn’t mean everyone of you have found that level of security within yourself yet.
So what is the point of writing all of this? Will it inspire you or comfort you if you’ve been bullied? Will it encourage all of you, bullied or not, to band together and build a ballin outrageous community of awesome people in your schools, neighborhoods and workplace? Will this be read by just one person and get buried amidst the endless amount of tweets, Facebook posts, etc.? I don’t know. But if only one person can read this and be affected in a positive way then I’d be happy.
My heart goes out to you if you’ve been bullied. I truly believe in you, support you and love you and we’ve never even met. Feel free to tweet me @thenivenulls on Twitter. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, your story of being bullied or just have you reach out and make a new friend.
If you know someone who’s been affected by bullying please share this with them and share this on Twitter and Facebook in hopes of reaching people who may need to be encouraged and you never knew it. Stay strong, love each other and remember that you are a valuable human being no matter what anyone says.
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