It’s a shame that I think all of us (female and male) come in to contact with mean girls at some point in our lives. With the age of the internet and social media, unfortunately the ability to be truly mean and cruel has magnified ten fold. I know I wouldn’t want to be a young girl growing up in this day and age. That’s not to say there aren’t mean boys too (a fair share of the teasing I’ve gotten over the years has been from boys), but as a girl myself, I know sometimes there’s an extra sting when it’s one of your fellow females behind the meanness so I wanted to focus on that particular aspect of teasing and bullying.
I’ve talked about the subject of gossip several times here and unfortunately, it’s something we all do. It’s a hard thing not to do and I think for a lot of us, the go-to is to deflect our own issues and deficiencies and focus on those of others. I will never pretend that I don’t participate in idle gossip sometimes as shameful as that is for me to admit and though I try much harder now not to participate in it.
But what if the person you were gossiping or crap-talking about found out what you said? What if that mean text you meant to send to your friend ended up going to the person you were talking about?
I had that exact same thing happen to me recently (and unfortunately, I’ve done it myself once). Someone that I really admired and respected and who I thought liked me, accidentally texted me a mean text that was clearly intended to be sent to someone else. She tried to play it off as something that was not at all about me but it was very clear that she was talking about a text I’d sent in our conversation. I won’t put the exact text on here but it hurt me a lot. I’m pretty positive I know who she intended to send the text to and I always knew that these two people had the capacity to be mean girls as I heard them many times giggling and laughing and talking behind other people’s backs so unfortunately it didn’t come as a surprise. I suspected they did the same about me from time to time too. But that doesn’t mean it hurt any less to get the confirmation it was happening. I was able to brush it off because I was in Europe and it was my birthday but once I got back, it still nagged at me. I didn’t want to be nice to these people who apparently thought I was a total idiot for not realizing they were poking fun at me behind my back. It’s really hard when you feel like you’re a nice and a pretty darn ok person and then someone (especially someone you respect) comes along and tears you down.
I want to reiterate I’m not perfect on this either and none of us are perfect. We falter and we say mean things. But this experience really gave me a chance to turn the mirror around and back on myself. Before I say something from now on, I’m going to think, “what if this person could hear that?” “would I want them to hear it?”
But more importantly, I want to say to anyone who has ever been the victim of mean girls or talk behind your back, I know it’s hard. It’s impossible for it not to hurt and it’s impossible not to question whether there is something wrong with you. It’s hard when you’ve let yourself be vulnerable with people and they say something mean to or about you. But you have to know that when people do this kind of thing, it’s completely their issue, not yours. It seems impossible to think it’s not personal, but it’s really not. People only tear others down because they don’t like themselves or they don’t want to face issues they might be having, or any other number of issues, but none of them have anything to do with you. I’m 30 years old and I’m still learning that. As hard as it might be sometimes, do you. Be the wonderful, quirky, unique individual you are and were born to be. If people have a problem with that or want to talk smack, then screw them. There are plenty of people in the world who will love you and build you up for the person you are.
The world is full of mean girls unfortunately but we each have the power to not let ourselves be one of them. You’re not clay to be shaped by other people, you’re clay to be shaped by you and only you.