7 Things Victims of Bullying Wish They Had Known in High School

Discover seven truths that make dealing with bullying easier

group of adult friends

When you are bullied in high school, it is easy to believe that life as you know it is over. Things will never be what you want them to be. After all, most of your world at the time is comprised of what happens at school and on social media. So when that world is disrupted by something as painful as bullying or cyberbullying, you can quickly assume the worst. But adults who have been bullied often indicate that they learned a lot about who they are from being bullied.

Here are seven things victims of bullying wish they had known.

High school is not the best time of your life. Movies, young adult novels and television programs want you to believe that the high school years are the best years of your life. So when you are bullied and high school becomes a painful experience, it is easy to assume that the rest of your life will be just as miserable. But this type of thinking is unhealthy. Be sure to keep bullying in perspective and try to reframe your thinking. High school is a few short years in a very long life. Focus on your future and set goals. You have a lot to look forward to.

Being normal is overrated. It is no fun trying to be just like everyone else and trying to fit in with the cliques and the popular circles. So why try? The truth is, everyone is different and that is a good thing. Think about how boring the world would be if everyone in it listened to the same music, had the same hairstyles and wore clothes from the same place.

Life is much more enjoyable if you embrace diversity. And while you are at it, accept what makes you different from others and enjoy it. It’s what makes you, you.

People will love you for who you are, not the masks you wear. Most people would say that they agree with this statement, yet struggle to implement it in their lives when they are in high school.

Never pretend to be someone you are not just to fit in. It is exhausting and never as a fulfilling as being loved for who you are. Even when bullies engage in name-calling, spread rumors or cyberbully, hold onto who you are. There are people out there who will appreciate you for you, warts and all.

Everyone deserves respect, including you. Never embrace the thought that you deserve to be bullied. Bullying is painful, unfair and completely wrong. Not everyone has to like you or be your friend, but you deserve to be treated with respect. So be sure to stand up for yourself when you are being mistreated. And do not remain friends with anyone who is not a true friend. Avoid fake friends, toxic friends and frenemies. Relationships with them are just not worth it.

There is life after high school and it is exciting. Being bullied is a painful experience that taints your days in high school. But high school is just a blip on the map of life and you have so many things to do, to see and to accomplish.

Do not get bogged down by the antics of mean girls and bullies, but instead learn from the experience. Learn how to reframe your thoughts and avoid victim thinking. You do not want to be defeated by bullying in high school when the world offers so many more opportunities.

Bullying will change you, but not all the lessons are bad. While it is true, bullying can be isolating, painful and even humiliating, it also can teach you to be stronger person. It teaches you that while you cannot change other people, you can change yourself and your reaction. It also can teach you important life skills like resilience and perseverance. And most importantly, it teaches you compassion and empathy. Because you were bullied, you can relate to other people who are being mistreated. Use the lessons you have learned from being bullied to help others and what you experienced will have never been a waste of time.

You will be friends with everyone from school eventually – at least on social media. Sure, high school can be a difficult time, especially when you feel left out, uncool or awkward. But a magical thing happens about ten years after you graduate. You will get over the social hierarchy of high school complete with its cliques, peer pressure and mean girls. In fact, on social media, you will even find yourself liking or favoriting a post by a former bully and not think twice about it.

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