Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sharing shores up self-image

Bullying is such an issue for children these days, from elementary school all the way through college—and beyond, for that matter. As we know, it has taken on nearly epidemic proportions and been the cause of more than one suicide. This is beyond tragic!

I wasn't bullied during my school years. But I surely experienced my share of the proverbial girl cliques. A tiny group of grade school girls somehow became the self-appointed queens of our class, and each day they seemed to rotate who was "in" and who was "out" of the group. So it was that some days I was acceptable, and on other days I was not on the approved list! I found it hurtful and experienced its effects to my self-esteem and self-image for many years.

My sister and I have talked often about this through the years. But I confess it isn't something I have mentioned much to other women. Now I'm beginning to understand that this was more common than I ever dreamed. I have read articles and books by successful women who mention this same phenomenon. And recently I read something that struck a chord: The power of such experiences is greatly reduced when we talk about them with others. Yes, oh yes. Silence and secrecy give more power to hurt us.

And here's the thing: That grade-school behavior didn't just stay in grade school. I've also seen it play out in workplaces, strangely enough. Again, however, the power gets sucked out of the experience when we can share openly with others about such behaviors. It is then that we realize the behavior says more about the instigators. It helps to know this—and it helps to know that we're not alone.

Whatever (or whoever) it is that's making you feel small, less than or unworthy, one of the most important things to remember is that you'll feel better by just talking it over with someone you trust. You'll gain perspective, strength and creative help with responses.


  1. What an excellent message! Some of the women who made me feel "lesser" when I was a girl were cheerleaders; nonetheless, I love the idea of our being "cheerleaders" on the sidelines for each other. Thanks!

  2. What a great image: being cheerleaders for each other. Oh, yes, that's a good way to turn it around. Thank you for that great idea!