Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago, who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913 . Check out The Reeders Block Podcast and subscribe there to hear more.
Maybe someone recently told you that you’re too “fat” or too “dark”. Maybe someone at work doesn’t like the way you dress or wear your hair. When you come around, your coworkers, frenemies or family members whisper about you. You bravely smile or ignore them, but deep down inside, you’re on fire with embarrassment. During these moments, you feel lost or hopeless, but there are ways to overcome the feelings of rejection that naturally come with being judged.
One of the most important things you have to do is focus on the positive. Too many times, we allow ourselves to focus on the negative. We post a picture on social media and get fourteen “likes” and a bunch of supportive comments. However, the one discouraging comment from a troll is what aggravates us. This shouldn’t be the case.
Realistically speaking, not everything we see or hear about ourselves is going to be positive. We find ourselves scrolling social media and see the high school friend with the new career. Or we see our coworkers riding in a luxury car or going on a dream vacation and wonder, why isn’t my life that good? Why am I not as successful?
Imagine a nice-looking house being situated in a landfill. The person living in that house takes a picture and crops out the piles of trash in the background and posts that image to Facebook. All anyone is going to see is an appealing house. No one will know the house is surrounded by trash or smell the rotting garbage. This is what social media is: people posing in the landfill they call life and cropping out the trash. Their life isn’t perfect; it’s cropped.
That being acknowledged, what good is going on in your life? You may not have a mansion, but you have somewhere to live. You may not have a Tesla, but you have transportation to work. You may not have your dream job, but you’re employed.
Moreover, self-validation matters more than the validation of others. If you struggle with weight, there are a multitude of people who will appreciate your figure. Plenty of people may find your crooked smile attractive. Still, you have to be confident in yourself. If you are not comfortable with yourself, no one will be. Low self-esteem is almost tangible, and it attracts bullies and people with terrible intentions.
However, it is OK to want more. It is fine to want to lose weight or find a better job, if that is what you want to do for yourself. Losing weight isn’t all about aesthetics. You may have a health condition linked to your weight. Know that you can reach whatever goal it is you want to reach.
If you are being bullied at work because of your weight, age, skin color or for other reasons, address the people who are doing this to you. It may be uncomfortable at first, but if you don’t stand up, it will become even more uncomfortable for you. If it continues, talk to the appropriate person at work. Doing so almost guarantees the harassment will stop. People have a tendency to appreciate their job over harassing coworkers.
Also, family is always beautiful to have, but sometimes you have to distance yourself from those within your family who cause you stress. We are taught family is everything. This is true, but not all family is deserving of your presence. Stay away from those who try to tear you down or judge you.
To conclude, you are more powerful than you think. Everyone has a certain level of self-doubt. Some just mask is better than others. Distance yourself from those who tear you down. Address coworkers who do, and if they continue, get the appropriate manager or supervisor involved. You will feel better when you do. You’re fine the way you are, and there is always self-improvement for everyone. But don’t change anything about yourself, unless you’re doing so for yourself.
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