It was last year when I was a freshman that I learned some of the most essential lessons I would learn, probably even in my remaining two years. I was naive and eager to scope out the environment in my school and make some friends. The first months I had been part of this huge group that I later separated from, but being in the bigger group is what taught me the most.
Eager to socialize as most extroverts are, I assimilated into my schools environment and would hang out with my “clique” everyday. It was composed of some upperclassman and two of my closer friends that were in my grade. My belonging in that group stemmed from the fact that I just wanted to feel part of something and because we all shared a major in my school, vocal. What I know now that I didn’t know then, is that in my search for social validation and friends I chose the wrong crowd.
Sometimes in the midst of figuring out who we are, we associate with people and validate abuse we otherwise wouldn’t. You may be wondering, what made this crowd the wrong one?
It may not be unique to desiring a sense of belonging or naivety, it could just be ones lack of confidence, but you shouldn’t allow friends to degrade you or make you feel insecure. I would allow daily verbal abuse from my “friends”. We later split up due to indifferences between people in the group. But early on I came to this realization which also assisted in sparking my departure from the group.
Even if you don’t want to feel like an outcast, you shouldn’t sacrifice your self confidence being diminished. It doesn’t have to be on a large scale and it could be just “joking around” as my friends use to call it but no matter how subtle, if your friends know you aren’t fully confident they shouldn’t do it. The thing is the way people treat others reflect their internal stuggles more than anything else. After middle school I was still trying to grow my confidence and I didn’t really have the voice to defend myself to the point that I should have. The reason being that I partially believed those things since I was neither insecure or confident but somewhere in the middle.
People in high school and just adolescents during development tend to pretend to be things they aren’t because they don’t quite know yet. People degrade others because it gives them a feel of superiority needed in their misery. In order to feel content with themselves they have to degrade someone else. It’s a funny world because if we could see peoples intent behind actions, it would be a much more loving and understanding world. As peoples intent don’t usually coincide with their actions.
People have different ways of coping with pain, and the weak tend to do it by hurting others.
Although I was analyzing this and questioning my lack of defense for myself and unfortunate circumstances, I was grateful because being treated badly made me discover what I deserved and how I should be treated. It helped me discover myself by seeing the things I liked and didn’t. Being insulted all the time by my supposed friends made me aware that I deserved to be treated better and that I wasn’t going to accept it anymore.
In middle school I had gained a reputation for defending myself so no one would mess with me unless they wanted to get into a heated debate, but of course people still did. By high school I was tired of standing up for myself and was out of practice. People in middle school learned to leave me alone most of the time because they knew I wouldn’t shut up.
If you have friends who insult you daily in a way that makes you feel less about yourself, even if they say it is in a joking context which is always the defense, just drop them. Know your self worth enough that you don’t need to be treated horribly to understand that you deserve better. Sometimes not having any friends is the best way to go especially if you are not at a place where you are secure in every aspect of who you are, because you would be too vulnerable and people are too careless. We really only have friends because we all don’t want to feel socially awkward, no one wants to be the outcast. But your self worth should be prioritized above all. You should love yourself so much that your willing to let anybody who mistreats you take the nearest exit from your life.
For me it took mistreatment to realize how much I valued myself but it doesn’t have to be for anybody out there reading this.
This is a lesson that has unlimited value because it even extends to other relationships. A lot of people become attached to things that hurt them because those things made them happy at one point, so when they no longer can, people feel compelled to stay because they still have hope for that original happiness. In reality this is when you need to value your happiness the most. The most crucial time to prioritize your happiness is in a time when, if you don’t walk away you’ll just suffer on a greater scale longterm.
Sometimes we don’t want to, but we need to close chapters on people or things that although we have gained dependence on, have only began to cause more damage than benefit.
Walking away saves you the pain and suffering in the long run because when you walk away you command ownership to the direction of your life. So that only you decide to make your life what you want and not let it be threatened by anyone or anything. Things and people nowadays are too temporary, to be given so much authority over the orientation of your life.
Situations in life as I have said before are either blessings or lessons, and this situation was both because it began my journey of self love. It did this by teaching me to know my self worth and this in turn was a blessing. Had I not received the lesson I would have missed the blessing. It initiated my ever expanding journey of self love, being happy and unapologetic with every inch of myself.