Over the past couple of weeks my thoughts have been increasingly going back to my elementary school days. In my last couple of years of grade school I became increasingly mean, and discriminatory against my fellow classmates. As a young girl I always had the urge to fit in and to be the one with the boyfriends, but I was never seen as the pretty girl. I was often mocked for my thick Italian eyebrows, and my weird fashion sense. It wasn’t until grade 7, and I had gone through the majority of my puberty journey that I was finally seen as the pretty girl to the boys at my school.
You have to understand.. I went to an extremely small elementary school. There was only 120 kids.. I had 12 people in my graduating class!! So you can imagine that there was only ever a small percentage of boys that the girls wanted to impress. Because my school was in the country, and the majority of the students had grown up together, we had all developed the same kinds of values and tastes (especially when we were 12 and 13). You can imagine that there was only ever a select few boys that the girls wanted to impress. So when I finally went through the worse that puberty had to offer, and I came out the other end as the one that boys wanted to date I was NOT letting that go to waste, and because of that I was MEAN.
By the time I was in grade 8 I would have considered myself one of the “popular” girls. All the guys liked me, and I was dating one of the most popular boys in the school. I was insecure, unsure of what I was doing, and filled with so much lack of confidence that I became narcissistic. I pushed away some of my dearest friends, talked behind EVERYONE’s backs and would deliberately do things others had asked me not to do out of spite. I was so caught up in my own life and how I was looking that I was mean to literally everyone at one point or another.
I rode that wave of narcissism because I felt like I was on top of the world when I was in public.
But when I would get home, the insecurities about what others were saying or doing would creep up. I would spend hours on Facebook seeing who was online, and out of those people who was not talking to me. I would spend family time so immersed in my own social life that I honestly do not remember anything we did as a family in those two years.
Looking back now, I realize that it wasn’t just when I was 12 and 13 that I was this way. The thing is, I never consciously hurt others until I became a teenager. I was always insecure about my friends hanging out with others, always thinking I was missing out when I wasn’t invited, so I may have lashed out unintentionally, but I never did it intentionally until I was older.
I continued my hatred of myself and others until I was in university, when I finally gained the confidence to learn that what others did could not affect me if I did not let it. However, it was not until just recently that I realized why I was so mean all those years ago. It was the fact that I just did not love myself. I was so insecure about everything that I lashed out to make others feel the way I was feeling. The sad thing is, that made both parties feel worse than they were before.
It took me 22 years, a lot of introspective work, and a lot of healing to finally forgive myself, love myself, and have the courage to make amends. Today I sent a message of apology to one of the girls I hurt the most when I was going through this phase of self-hatred.
I have finally realized that I am worthy of love and so is everyone else.
So.. today… I challenge you to send an apology note to someone you have wronged. Whether it is yourself, a friend you mistreated, or even someone you do not think deserves it, because no matter who they are EVERYONE deserves to love themselves and receive love from others.