Categorized | Opinion

How Bullying Can Be a Positive Experience

By Mike T. Smith1-20140829_080005-1 20140829_072420

When I was in middle school I was bullied. It seemed like everyday I was called names, pushed into lockers, and tripped as I was walking down the hall. One day I thought I got away with not being bullied until I got beat up by three guys as I was walking to my bus after school.
It didn’t do a whole lot for my self esteem.  I was just trying to get through life.
Most of my time alone was spent feeling sorry for myself and wondering why so many people hated me. Why was this happening to me?
I now take those experiences and my studies over the years in human behavior to empower and motivate teens who may be going through the same thing, but I’ll admit that I wasted several years before that being angry at life because things didn’t turn out like I had hoped.
Last week I had the privilege of speaking to the students at Millington Middle School. To me there is nothing better than having a young person walking up to me afterwards and saying, “Now I have hope.”
There’s an old tale about the twin boys who grew up with an alcoholic father. When their father was drunk they watched in horror as he would beat and curse their mom and then beat and curse at them. They lived in constant fear of him. Fast forward some years and those same twin boys now have wives and kids of their own. One of them drinks heavily  and beats his wife and kids. The other one has never touched alcohol and is an amazing father and husband. Both lived under the same circumstances and had the same experiences. They took two different routes. The first twin said, “What do you expect? My father did the same thing. This is the only way I know how to act.” While the other said, “My father beat his wife and kids when he was drunk. I know from that, that I didn’t want to live like that.”
One used his negative experiences to make sure that others would never have to live that way and the other one just repeated the cycle for the next generation.
We all go through hard times. It may not be fair. It may not be deserved, but every horrible life experience can be used to create something better for not only you, but for others. Everything happens for a reason. Your hard times aren’t made to break you, but to make you even stronger. It’s a matter of mindset and figuring out what you can learn from it and use to improve yourself. Which path will you choose when you come to the fork in the road?
Mike T. Smith is a youth motivational speaker and author of “O.W.N. I.T. The Teen’s Cheat Codes to Life.” He resides in Bartlett, with his wife and four boys. For more info on Mike you can ask his mom or sign up for his newsletter at http://miketsmith.net. Go to the site.

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