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We receive the occasional compliments, where, along the way, we pick up some criticism as well. Be it behind our backs or voiced out directly, it all affect us at some point of our lives. Whether you’re just starting out or sailing halfway through, there will always be more obstacles. People talking. Time flying.

It happens ever so often that compliments don’t stick in our minds – no matter how many times they were given to you. When someone criticizes you, however, that’s the only time it’ll stick like a glue gun. Why do we practice “listen and go” for compliments so frequently that, we shift every last bit of our energy on negativity instead?

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Pause – I have to get something out of my system.

Back in primary 1-3, I was severely bullied emotionally and I didn’t even know it. There was a group of us – 4 of us. I’ll always be the last. Always the least significant of them all. Always the one being laughed at.

My sister handmade me a pretty notebook. Next day, my bag was ransacked and notebook was stolen from me. I found it in her bag, was accused of putting there instead.

I wore my favourite pink Hello Kitty dress, was told that I shouldn’t dress pretty.

Had a homework due the next day. They took my 3M paper away from me, asked me to photocopy another copy for myself.

My friend’s sister told her that 3 of them will grow up pretty. I will not.

Was complimented by my teacher. On Teacher’s Day, I was tripped, face planted on the cement floor, chipped my front tooth and went back home with swollen lips.

My parents brought my “friends” and I out for my first birthday party in A&W, I was called a copycat.

Born with monolids, was told I looked like a man because I didn’t have an oval face and a mesmerizing pair of double eyelid.

The monolids joke did continue as I stepped into high school, when some would also tease my square jaws and hairy arms. I took the jokes (or not) lightly by then, in an effort to block anything negative related to my personal appearances during my adolescence.

The series of events made me a girl who lost her right to be expressive. The girl who let others decide HOW she should feel. I refrained from wearing shorts and pretty skirts my mom got me for Chinese New Year, and opted for long sleeve shirts and jeans instead. I went everywhere my friends go. I researched profusely on hair removal. I wouldn’t voice out my opinions. Heck, I wanted to be friends with them so bad even if I knew they thought I was a joke. I pinned my fringe up and wore a ponytail all the time. I tried to please as many as I could to avoid criticisms. I was afraid to smile because my chipped front tooth will show. I started training basketball at the sunniest hour knowing no one would be there.

But now, they don’t matter anymore.

Here’s a message I’d really like to put out there.

Stay true to yourself, no matter what people say. Never succumb to peer pressure; because in the end, it will not be worth it. Have your own values and stick to them. If people pleads you to do something you’re not comfortable with, say no politely and walk away. Cut negative connections if you have to. Don’t try to fit in with a certain group/someone just because they’re the insiders. Don’t fight with your parents just because they’re not getting you your latest Gucci to feed your ego. Don’t spend thousands in night clubs just because you want to appear the richest (and with the most girls). Don’t social smoke because you feel out of place if you’re not doing it. If you ever find yourself feeling weird or socially uncomfortable in situations like these, it is often a wiser choice to walk away rather than doing what they do. Falling into their temptations don’t make you look cool in their eyes. From there, they’ll only find more ways to have control over YOUR life. Make you do things you may not want to. If your friends truly care, they’ll respect your decisions. Never ever let anyone else take over your drivers’ seat. Buckle up.

Know your values. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Take a break from socializing if you have to. Walk with the thought that you’re never alone. I was indeed very blessed to have my family and seniors to protect me while it lasted. At the end of the day, it all depends on the way we handle it ourselves. As much as verbal or cyber bullies are being ruthlessly thrown at you, they can NEVER hurt you unless you give them a right to. The more you react to them, the more glory they feel. Don’t be afraid to fall down alone. Because when you get up, you’ll be an entirely different person, a better version of who you were yesterday. Take the leap of faith. Do what you love to do, and get better at it. True friends will be there and be proud for you.

It may be easy to pull the trigger, but it’ll never hurt unless you’re the one who gets the bullet trapped in you.

Don’t bully, and don’t be a victim of emotional bully.