I believe that people must respect themselves before anyone else can respect them. If people do not respect themselves, then the world turns against them, and everyone will become their enemy. I experienced this first hand from my freshman year through my sophomore year of highschool. It all started with my friend group, at the time consisting of 5-6 people. There were toxic personalities present and someone needed to become the punching bag of the group, That person was me.
My “friends” would common crack jokes directed at me that I thought were friendly in nature, but were actually insults. I bought into the idea that people should turn the other cheek when being hazed or bullied. I’d just take the insult disguised as a joke and would look past it. I figured if I didn’t respond then they would stop, that they would think that I was no fun because I didn’t talk back and argue with them, this is what I was being taught by my school afterall. Well little did I know that they would only insult me more and more, belittling me at every point they could. Because of this I fell into an exceedingly low state of mind, resulting in me becoming awkward, self conscious, and my stutter being the worst it’s ever been.
This happened for all of my freshman year and during my sophomore year, I tried to stand up for myself but was quickly put down by the whole entire group for my efforts. I fell back down to where I was my freshman year and was forced to return to my role in the group. It was around this time that I was the most disrespected and hated member of the group, it was only because of one person that I remained and it seemed I was a burden to them. This was how I finished my sophomore year.
During the summer before Junior year I read several self-help books and it occured to me, I didn’t respect myself, and in turn they didn’t respect me. I realized that I needed to change things, and change things I did, I began to distant myself from the group and made new friends that I hung out with more than them. One day I met a girl that I liked and we began dating after a couple of weeks and began hanging out everyday. After about a month I made the hard decision to leave my friend group, I was done with the negativity and wanted to better myself. It worked amazingly, my confidence grew and I was in total control of myself. My stutter receded back to what I’m normal to and I now a wonderful girlfriend that I’m happy to say I’ll be with for 1 year next month.
Nowadays I found myself back with the old friend group and they have complete respect for me. I completely stand by the phrase, “people must respect themselves before anyone else can respect them”. It is something I’ve learned first hand and is something I’ll tell to other people that truly want to have a high self-esteem. This is my story on how I broke free from the pit that is being down in the dumps.