The Lonely Bully

Seventh grade was an awkward time for me – one marred with anger over three moves in one year, school transfers, family tensions and my mom’s re-marriage. I felt out of place among my peers at the private middle school I attended; financially stable kids whose parents were happily married and involved in their kid’s activities.  Rather than handle the situation in a positive way by talking about my issues, I resorted to – what I thought was – the tough girl approach: pick on the less popular kids in order to solidify my seemingly uncertain position among the cool kids.  Bullying soon became second nature. What started as veiled mockery soon became outlandish taunting; I was the mean girl, and others followed my lead. At the time, it never occurred to me how painful my actions were to the victims, and to this day I regret the things I said and did.

 

Eventually, (and thankfully) my parents caught wind of my behavior and gave me a couple of months to consider my actions alone in my room. When I emerged, contrite with a new perspective, I realized how unfulfilling my charade was.  Deep down, all I really wanted was to be liked and accepted and to have friends that cared for me in my difficult time. Instead, I alienated myself from true friendships. As a bully, I was “accepted,” but most in my circle kept me at arms length in fear I would turn on them next. I realized the people who were impressed with my charade weren’t friends of value. I dropped the act and found comrades that are my strongest ties to this day –even among those I taunted.  I am indebted to their forgiveness.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t build yourself up by tearing others down. Bullying leaves lasting wounds that can’t be undone — both to the bully and the wounded. Even once they heal, lasting scars tarnish the soul of an otherwise beautiful human being. Sometimes, the wounds never mend.  The best way to build yourself up is by building up those around you. It’s nearly impossible to be down when you’re surrounded by people who love and uplift you, and the best way to construct that network is to instill love and support into others. It takes a degree of vulnerability and compassion, but the return is insurmountable and well worth the investment.

 

Jennette Holzworth has served as a board member and coach for Girls on the Run for two years. A personal trainer and nutritionist, she is wife to Ray, mom to Monta and a proud Girl on the Run who seeks to inspire others to be their best. Jennette can be reached atJennette@JennetteHolzworth.com.