“They are bullying me”, says the little girl in front of me while tears are running down her face.
Working in a school has taught me many things and in most cases it is the children who are the teachers. I was taken by surprise when this girl stood in front of me crying and telling me how she has been called names and that she is unable to do this and that. I always knew her as the cheerful, smiley student who likes to give things a go, but also doesn’t mind the attention from others. She seemed brave to me and light-hearted. But what do we actually know about what really is going on? This question ran through my mind as soon as I saw her coming over to me.
I let her tell me what happened, what the other girls had said, and gave her a moment to cry and be with her emotions. I then asked her “So, do you think those things are true?”. I had her thinking. She stopped sobbing and looked at me “No. They are not true.” I nodded and told her that’s right. I then went on to ask “Why are they not true?” and it didn’t take her long to reply: “Because I know I can do these things. I’m quite good at swimming (one thing the other girls had made fun about).” Again I nodded and told her that I knew how good of a swimmer she is as her saw her the week before trying her best in swimming class. She smiled and we started talking about her hobbies and how she spends her afternoons once school is finished. Her friend joined us and within a few minutes they both walked off enjoying the rest of their break.
Now, this is just one of many cases and, luckily, one were things turned out to be okay. But it made me think – what is it that we so often lose trust in ourselves as soon as someone talks badly about us? It might be someone who doesn’t even know us, yet, it is so easy to take comments close to our heart and forget about who we are.
Why is that? Why can we cheer on others easily, but when it comes to ourselves our cheerleading goes quiet. I have seen it happen many times and still see it a lot – whether in my classes, in school, with friends and family, with myself!
We are the ones that know best what we can do and should be cheerleading for that. Plus who cares what Missy next door thinks? Does it matter? Does it change anything about the fact of who we truly are? No. If we were to be our own best friend, I bet you we would be cheerleading so much more for what we do, applauding when we finally reached that milestone, tap ourselves on the shoulder when accomplishing that challenge. I’m not saying here that we need to become self-centered. My point is that sometimes we could be so much better at being our own cheerleader when we truly know our strengths and don’t let others tell us otherwise.
That little girl at school deep inside knew she wasn’t a bad swimmer and she also knew all those names she was called didn’t match her personality. She just needed that reminder and I hope next time she already knows without anyone’s help. Let me ask you, when was the last time you have been cheerleading for yourself and ignored comments that are simply not true?
It is easy to take on the role of failing, but it takes courage to be the one keeping the head up and jumping with joy about simply being yourself. Don’t shy away from being your own cheerleader.