Something you may not know about me is that I was bullied for years throughout my elementary/middle school years. I believe this is why I spent the majority of my young adult life seeking acceptance and approval from anyone and everyone.
I'm not sure why exactly it started, but I remember the girls in my class coming to school with handmade buttons they had made. The buttons had "IHL" written on them which stood for "I hate Lindsay." I remember the teachers figuring out what was going on and making the students remove them so the next day they came with pins that said "RSO" which was "IHL" if you went backward in the alphabet.
I remember much of 5th and 6th grade just trying really hard to fit in and be accepted. I'm not sure what I did to turn everyone; I'm sure there was something (not that it was my fault or I deserved this treatment). I cried a lot. I remember having long conversations with my Mimi about it all, but something I remember most is an overwhelming sense of being loved at home. The love that I experienced at home made up for the dislike and hatred I was experiencing at school. It didn't make it easier and it didn't make me happy while at school, but I was so motivated to make my parents proud, to please my teachers, to do what I knew was right because it had been instilled in me that I stopped focusing on the pins and the mean comments.
I really stopped caring or even really acknowledging the treatment (it went on through junior/high school) when I started playing sports. I lived for soccer, basketball, and softball. I put 100% of my focus into being the best athlete possible and everything else was a fog.
I am not some champion who wasn't affected by it - I have struggled so much with self-confidence and self-worth and still wanting to please people into adulthood because of the bullying I experienced throughout school. I still struggle to really voice opinions in a lot of situations and mastered the art of being a diplomat. I was never the "popular girl," but somehow I always came out on top, I always had a smile on my face, and I found my success in the things I set out to do. And I did, in fact, make my parents and myself proud.
Here are a few tips on how to use that negativity in your life (we all have it) as fuel.
Immerse yourself in personal development.
If you aren't being fed positivity, it will not come naturally. You must read and listen to works that uplift you, empower you, and inspire you. Some of my recent favorites are You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso.
Cut out the cancer.
Anyone get that RHONJ reference?!
Seriously though, you know there are friends in your life who are your friend and they might even like you, but they aren't for you. When I say that I'm talking about the friends that may be fun to be around, but when it comes down to you needing something or them supporting you it just doesn't happen. It's not easy, but worth it.
Really sit back and think about what is important to you and who matters most in your life. Chances are the people who are bringing you down aren't contributing much to you and aren't at the top of your priority list either. So WHY are they holding so much power over you?
Keep a Gratitude Journal.
This may seem silly, but simply writing down all the things you have to be grateful for is a huge way to focus on the good and let go of the ugly. I mean, I'm even grateful for my dry shampoo most days. It's the little things, y'all!
Do the thing that makes you tick.
Figure out your WHY a.k.a. your reason for doing whatever it is that you do. Chances are it has NOTHING to do with the negativity in your life and if you keep it in focus the negativity pushes you to work harder to achieve it.
There have been a few things to happen recently that had the potential to really hurt me and get me in a slump, but instead, I chose to use them as fuel and work even harder so I can *hypothetically* give all those haters the middle finger as I celebrate my successes.