Tag Archives: self-acceptance

I Overcame Bullying

1391619_720377891343742_2918921522263846905_nFor some time now, I’ve wanted to address bullying. As I host workshops, I always meet students/children, who are being bullied and teased, and it makes me feel that I must do something to add to awareness. In my girls’ mentoring workshops, I teach young ladies how their words affect each other and teach them how to communicate in healthy and effective ways. Today, in honor of World Day of Bullying Prevention, I am sharing the story of an amazing young lady, who was bullied and has overcome it. In her story, you will hear how teasing—what some call “just kids being kids”—can have lasting and potentially dangerous effects.

stephanie Hi my name is Stephanie, I am 18 years old and currently working at Meijer. Yes, I have unfortunately been bullied before. It happened all through junior high and slowly ended in high school. This always happened at school, either in class or at lunch in the café. I still to this day do not know why I was the bully target. I was the sweetest girl ever. I was very shy. Just for some reason the kids decided to target me.

Overcoming this was very difficult for me. My family was always there for me, though. I would also seek help from counseling services. I would tell my teachers and principal all the time, and their reply to that was “oh they are just being kids.”

 “people will not always be nice. They do not always care about you or the situation you are going through.” 
I have overcome it all for the most part now. I still worry about people bullying me to this day to be honest. I did learn that people will not always be nice. They do not always care about you or the situation you are going through. My mom always told me when people are mean to you then that means it makes them feel good about themselves. I find it so wrong!
I feel this has made me better as a person because not only did I live with being bullied, I can also talk to others who get bullied and give them advice. If only they knew how bad my feelings hurt. if only they knew every day after school I would go home and just cry… Cutting and crying seemed to ease the pain and words away. They had no clue how bad words hurt. The mean words I was called about cost me my life.
 “bullying is so painful, but you can be strong enough to not let it get you down.”
I want other kids who are being bullied/parents of kids being bullied to know you have to stay strong. Think about the bright future ahead of you. Please do not ever try to commit suicide. Think about all of those who love you. Yes, bullying is so painful, but you can be strong enough to not let it get you down.
Update: Stephanie was being bullied when she was 12 and 13 years old. When I asked about how she is doing now, this was her response.
“I just graduated high school and I go to college, and would like to be a nurse. I am doing great! Every now and then I get low self esteem because the words “fat”, “ugly”, and “stupid” will always be in my mind…. But I do my best to keep my chin held high and keep my beautiful smile on my face.”
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Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story. So many people don’t realize how hurtful teasing can be, nor the lasting effects. I hope through your story and others, parents and children will learn that bullying is not a laughing matter.

Even My Scars Are Perfect

It is a blessing to be loved… an even greater blessing to be loved as is. I have the most amazing friend who taught me the most valuable lesson of self-acceptance. See, I have this scar on my foot… it almost appears to be like a bunion (gross, I know) and it bothers me. I look at it… stare at it.. hating it, EVERY DAY, several times a day. Whenever I wear sandals, I hope by some act of God or the alignment of the Sun and the planets, he will not notice this disgusting, discolored, blemish on my skin. I know, it’s such a silly thing, but it really bothers me. After all, I have always prided myself in having the most beautiful feet. I even remember a time when a guy I was dating in college, looked down at my feet one day and referenced a scene from the movie Boomerang, (where Eddie Murphy inspects his date’s feet to see if they are beautiful, or not). After taking a gander at my feet, he pretended to wipe imaginary sweat from his brow, with a “Whew!” like he was happy to have dodged the pretty-girl-ugly-feet bullet. lol

"Hammertime Feet" scene from Eddie Murphy's movie Boomerang

Anyway, my point is, I have always adored how perfect my feet are—no corns, all in proper height order, and definitely no blemishes. Well, that is no longer the case. And this new truth has brought me much frustration. I have done homemade sugar scrubs, rubbed my feet with lemons, Bio Oil and everything under the sun to return my feet to the beauty they once knew. However, today, I finally got to understand why with all my efforts, the blemish has remained. There is a lesson in my scar that I need to grasp.

A few years ago, I was living in “poverty” in a sense. I had no money, no income, and no real home of my own. We were staying in a transition house in Georgia, where a very kind lady offered temporary housing in her home to couples and singles who needed to get on their feet. While living there, I only had two pairs of shoes and one pair of flip-flops. The shoes I had were very uncomfortable, but I still wore them everyday because I didn’t have a choice. And the continuous rubbing of those shoes against the joint of my big toe formed a large dark scar. Yesterday, as I was talking with my friend, I shared with him that although I am generally pretty confident about my appearance, the blemish on my foot is something I am very insecure about. His response was both shocking and hilarious. He texted, “You are such an IDIOT!!!!! Your imperfections are perfect.” His words completely caught me off guard. His acceptance of the thing I attempted to hide from him constantly, his total acceptance of me “flaws and all,” helped me to see how silly something like that really is. I mean how many guys (worth my time) are going to look down and say, “Dang. You were the perfect catch ’til I saw that dark mark on your foot.” lol It’s silly, but we do this to ourselves. We pick a random unique trait and make it bad.

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So let’s fast forward to today. Spending time together, he discovered something that very few people know about me. I have two auburn strands of hair. My natural hair color is black and has never been colored, yet I have always had two strands of red hair. He saw them today, I guess because the light hit them in a new way. He was so fascinated, tugging gently at them to see how long they are. I, of course, begged him to “be careful” and not accidentally yank them out. I told him that they are “two cool, unique things I like about myself.” He smiled at me, and sounding like Sherlock Holmes, sarcastically replied, “Ah… an imperfection.” I rolled my eyes…

When I thought about his comment later, I said to myself, “What does he expect me to do, look at this thing on my foot like it’s my cool, unique, thing?” Then I thought, “Hey. That’s not such a bad idea. What if instead of secretly hating my right foot for not being perfect, I choose to look at this blemish from now on as an awesome imperfection?” I could  practice what I preach and … drum roll please… accept myself “as is.” This “blemish” can forever (or at least ’til I find the right fade cream) serve to remind me of where I’ve been. When I look down and see the callous, I will remember that I am a survivor, that no matter how challenging things may be at the present moment, they are nothing compared to being homeless. Having only thirty dollars in my account now, pales in comparison to cutting receiving blankets into triangles so my baby could have diapers. Having only a quarter of a tank now, is not the same as running out of gas while driving uphill in GA, and having the gas station attendant take $2 out of their own pocket to buy enough to get us home, since I had already spent our literal last penny the day before. Our “scars” in life help us to remember times we’ve overcome. Maybe you have some scars that up ’til now have caused you much pain when you look at them. I challenge you to give your scars a new, empowering meaning.  When I look down at that blemish, I will now remember that every state of life is temporary and the rough times don’t last always. Even my imperfections have a purpose… and so do yours!

 

Marlene Dillon is the author of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! a children’s book that promotes healthy self-esteem, by teaching that “we are ALL beautiful as is.” Order your autographed copy here, today!

Your Inner Critic is Your Frenemy

A good friend of mine called me out, today. Told me that I am WAY too hard on myself. That I am definitely my “biggest critic.” And I was half listening, and half letting it go out the other ear, until these words were spoken, “You would never even let someone like that be cool with you.”

And I thought about it. That’s true. I don’t let negative people in my inner circle. You can be as cool as hell is hot, but if you are a Debbie Downer, Negative Nancy (no offense Nancy ), or one who constantly criticizes others, we will never be close. That’s just a MAJOR turnoff for me.

innercritic

So it seems really… messed up…. that the character flaw I won’t allow in my inner circle, is residing… within ME! I have come to a horrible discovery. I just realized that the person I listen to the most is my FRENEMY. That’s simply unacceptable. It’s full on Crazy Town! I have to do something about this. So, I decided she has to die. lbvs

So I’m breaking up my inner critic. She’s not my friend. She doesn’t deserve all the time and attention she gets. She has no right to even speak to me. She’s mean. She doesn’t even like me. She never has anything nice to say. No matter what I do right, she always points out the one thing I did wrong!

So it’s over between us. I know she’s not gonna go nicely so….. I’m gonna attempt to starve her to death. She loves attention, so I’m not gonna give her any. When I catch myself listening to her, I’m just gonna stop her mid-sentence, and tell her how awesome I am, and maybe even remind her of what I’ve done RIGHT! Eventually her voice won’t be the loudest one I in my head. Eventually, thoughts of my awesomeness will overshadow her criticism. Eventually, she’ll be nothing more than a faint whisper in the background of my thoughts. The voice I question, rather than automatically accept as truth.

** Our inner critics will likely never stop talking, and that’s actually a good thing, if we train ourselves to listen for the tips on how we can better prepare and fine tune our life strategies. #Proud2B #NaturalMe http://improudtobenaturalme.com/

Why I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!?

NOW ON AMAZON! Order today!

It’s time to teach our children,
we are ALL beautiful as is.

On Christmas morning, I was inspired to write my second children’s book, I’m Proud to Be Natural Me. It is a story about a little girl who learns to embrace her beauty after being teased by other children because of the texture of her hair. Through a tender conversation with her mother, she realizes that her hair is a part of her identity, and is celebrating that truth by the end of the story.

This book is very important to me as I am raising a beautiful little girl with natural hair. With a master’s in counseling, I know how urgent it is to give her a strong sense of self, especially at this early age. A child’s self-esteem begins to erode very early in life so it is essential to give our children a firm foundation from the start. I’m Proud to Be Natural Me is more than just a children’s story, it is a tool of empowerment for our children. It is an opportunity to teach our kids a lesson that our generation seems to have missed, that we are ALL beautiful as is.

Will you please help me share this message? Please choose one of the links below to “Share” this post with as many people as you can. Purchase this amazing children’s book for your little ones, and loved ones. And proudly wear I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! products, which are available in my online store.  

Thank you so much for your support. Together we can heal our world by empowering ourselves and our children. Please don’t forget to click the “Share” buttons below.

Yours Truly,

Marlene Dillon

*Click here to order I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!