Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Today, a little boy on the other side of the world reminded me of the lasting effects of bullying. Unlike this particular sweet boy, I didn't have a noticeable disability. Today, from all outward appearances, I would seem to have it all going on as a successful REALTOR®..
As a child I thought I had a golden childhood - everything was "perfect". I was a cute kid with golden ringlets and lots of friends. Around the age of 9, I had to start wearing glasses and shortly after, we moved to an outlying community. I no longer was the "golden child". I was now "four-eyes" because of my glasses, "toothpick" because I was skinny, "penguin" because my name was Gwen and I had no friends at first. The teasing was relentless by some and I hated it and felt I was ugly and unwanted. I did think of suicide because to a child everything is bigger than life and it seems that things will never get better and the pain will never stop. I kept a lot of my feelings inside and some people will be surprised to read some of this but that's how I felt at times.
Over the years things improved. I made friends and I learned not to show the hurt when someone teased me, but all these decades later my thoughts are still coloured by the effects of bullying. Self-doubt creeps in and makes me doubt my strengths at times. I still bristle at teasing and the hurt little girl comes back. There are many children going through much worse than I did, but it shows how evil bullying is - there is no degree of bullying that is permissible.
There are many forms of bullying that at first glance don't appear to be harmful. Social media has allowed us to connect easily with each other but it has also allowed many types of bullying to spread. Words are powerful - they can raise someone up or they can crush their soul. We all need to chose our words wisely and teach our children that it is not ok to bully - ever!