So it's antibullying week and I felt compelled to post about it as it's a topic very close to my heart. I was bullied a fair bit as a kid and this has always made me want to reach out and help others, to try and make it better for them. To this end I took on two voluntary jobs as a mentor for young people who were bullied and/or who sufferd from mental health issues. I donated both my time and money to the cause. I talked to a lot of young bullied kids and did my best to try to help them both to feel better and also to better there situation, it was some of the most rewarding, worthwhile and challenging work I have ever done in my life. The thing is though not only did I make other people's lives better but through doing this I helped myself.
I can remember the first ever time I was actually aware that someone was being bullied, I'm sure it had proberbly happend before then but I had been too young and too self absorbed to notice it. The first time I saw someone being bullied and knew enough to know they were being bullied and that it was wrong I would have been around 6. It was a girl and I think her name was Ruth. She was in my class at school and she had epilepsy (something I have) she had seizures during the day and she had sufferd some at school and other kids were basically calling her a spastic and a mongaloid and various other hurtful things and while I knew this was wrong and knew enough to realise that I shouldnt do this I basically stood by and ignored it. I ignored it because I was epileptic but at the time was fortunate enough to only have fits from a sleeping state at least as far as anyone knew and I didnt want to be treated in the same way as this girl. This deeply effected me not only did it cause me to hide my epilepsy from people as much as I could for years but I also felt a lot of guilt for letting someone else be mistreated when I could have stood up for them.
I was scared that just like the girl I had seen being bullied that I would be bullied for being diffrent and the honest truth is a few years later I was badly bullied for being diffrent for a completely seperate reason. The thing I have learned the most as an adult which I try to take forwards and teach to other people is that there is no shame in being diffrent, the very fact that so many of us are so diffrent in so many fantastic ways is one of the things that makes the world a bright and intresting place. So much of the time people are told to knuckle down, to fly straight and to live up to expectations essentially to be normal and to fit into a mould but the real truth is that those who really go far are those who fly without limits those who chase there dreams who soar and plummet and twist and barrel role and I think the key to this is in excepting your diffrences and in ignoring those who want to pin you down to hold you back to stop you from gliding amongst the clouds.
So how did helping others who had been bullied help me? It helped me to better love myself, to forgive myself for past wrongs (such as not stepping in to help the girl being bullied when I was 6) it made me feel like a better, stronger person, it gave me an improved sense of self worth and it helped me to see a better side of life, a side where if we all stopped and helped each other just a little bit we could make things better for everyone. My charity work also had the very pleasent effect of helping to round out my CV and helped me get new paid employment, which certainly helps me to have the time and resources to keep posting on here.
I am talking about this during Antibullying week as I want to try and inspire my fellow man/woman to try to do the same, no you dont have to run out and work for a charity or even donate to a charity just stop and think about those around you, throw out a compliment or a kind word, pass on some good will and tell others to keep passing it on. If you have children in your life though be you a mum or dad or grandma or auntie or uncle or god parent just take a moment to talk to the young people in your life and get the message out to them, treat others as you would wish to be treated and dont be scared of diffrences, try to be kind and in this way through small good deeds, kindness and acceptance help to make the world a better place for all of us.