You might feel like an outsider without any friends. You might feel like you are invisible, like you are being ignored by the world and blending into the background even though you are secretly thirsting for the spotlight.
Or maybe you have the opposite problem. Maybe you keep trying to fit in with the people around you but they have been pushing you away. Maybe you keep getting picked on for your physical features or a mistake you made in the past. Maybe you wish you would be left alone because it feels like everyone is against you.
No matter what your situation is, whether you are being bullied or living a seemingly ‘perfect’ life, there are going to be days when you have awkward encounters with your crush or when you stumble over words you memorized for class. There are going to be moments when you feel a blush rising to your cheeks and want to lock yourself away in the bathroom to avoid socializing. You are going to embarrass yourself. You are going to doubt yourself.
When that happens, you have to remember that the way you see yourself is not the way the rest of the world sees you. There are different sides to every story. You might think a conversation went poorly, but the other people in the room might think it went perfectly well. No one else is being as hard on you as you are being on yourself. You are your own worst enemy. Never forget that.
Even though you have been conditioned to believe you are not valuable, even though you sell yourself short whenever you glance at your reflection, the truth is you are a fighter. You are a winner. You are stronger than you believe.
That is why you should not settle for a mediocre life. If someone pushes you around, if they make you feel stupid and worthless, then you have the right to stand up for yourself. You are allowed to speak your mind. You are allowed to decide you should be treated with more respect. You are allowed to set higher standards for yourself.
You deserve to feel beautiful and intelligent and valuable, because you are all of those things. You have just been struggling to see it because you have been distracted by the nasty words flung at you by people who are irrelevant.
You might have to inch out of your comfort zone in order to put someone in their place, but you have the courage hidden inside of you. You are strong enough to say: This is not right. I do not deserve to be treated this way.
You should feel comfortable on your campus, in your workplace, and within your friendships. If anyone makes you feel like you do not belong, then they need an attitude adjustment. They are the problem, not you.
The only reason they are singling you out is because they are insecure and bullying makes them feel stronger. However, real strength is seen in someone like you, so gather that courage and stand up for yourself. Show the world you realize your worth.
Catch Five Points, the new series from Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street and Indigenous Media, Mondays at 6pm PST/9pm EST, only on Facebook Watch. You probably already know these students – or at least you think you do.