Growing up, I have come to realise that the people around you – it could be the people you love or the classmates/colleagues you see almost everyday – play a very big part in shaping you.
I believe that everyone has their own struggles through different phases of their individual life. I believe that everyone has their own story. It could be a relationship that broke you, it could be bullying that destroyed you, or it could be your own demons that ruined you. Through these experiences, you will find yourself in a very dark place. The people around you could either shine a light into your tunnel of darkness, or, take you further into the abyss.
I grew up with strict rules and high expectations. I grew up with fear of disappointing and the fear of disobeying. However, even with this fear, I disobeyed one rule. I was a good student dating a bad boy in secret. Despite this, I kept my grades up. And in the years to come, my perspective of life changed. I began to worry about my future – getting in to a good college. This was when I realised that my dreams and his dreams are entirely different. So that was when it ended.
College was a new environment for me, and this included the people in it. College brought on an opportunity. It was an open door, where I could leave all the labelings plastered on me behind as I step through to the other side. I revamped myself. It felt natural to seep into a whole new person.
One with a purpose. One with a dream. One who believes in oneself.
University came and I started out terrified and alone. Who am I without my loved ones back home? But it did not take me long to find myself surrounded by new friends. I began coming out of my comfort zone, putting myself out there and meeting new people. I found myself yearning to take a lead. And I did. I took on several leadership roles. I felt like I was doing something meaningful. I was learning management, how to deal with different types of people, how to be an effective leader and much more. Pretty soon, my name was well established.
This was when it all started.
While I had sincere friends, I had haters too. I found myself at the hands of cyberbullying. The first open hate message tore me apart. I could not understand what I could have possibly done to deserve such an awful message. And it did not stop there. It kept on coming. Eventually it numbed me. It hurt so much that it couldn’t hurt anymore. I took great comfort in knowing that my friends have been supportive throughout the whole ordeal.
Cyberbullying affected me much more than I thought. From a strong, confident person, now, looking back, I pitied the person I became at that point in time. I have let myself crawled my way back into darkness. As ironic as it sounds, I battled through the darkness blindly, unaware of my own situation.
So I left. I packed and I went to a new place. People may view it as running away. Whether it was an attempt to flee or not, it has been the best decision I have ever made. With family, friends, and again, labels, stripped away, I had the chance to reflect and rebuild myself. Through these emerging times, I learnt forgiveness, I learnt acceptance, I learnt true love.
I forgave myself. I accepted my past. I truly love myself.
While my past has been hurtful, my past is the reason I am who I am today. My past is the reason for my smile today, because I am reminded of my strength, of my endurance and of how I have emerged from darkness. I see things from a wider perspective. I am more sure of myself. And I am proud to say that I have found confidence in myself.
I would like to share something.
If the people you love are negative and don’t take time to understand you, or they see you from their own different perspective, it can damage you. Even in a loving environment, you can still be misunderstood, you can still have negativity in a loving environment.
Sometimes the people closest to you, the people who loves you the most can make you feel so low about yourselves and the people who are further away are the ones that make you feel that you have the capability and the potential. And that is okay. It is okay to feel like you couldn’t connect with the people you love at some point. It is because at times you just need people to listen. No judging involved but just listen without getting shot at. They shoot at you not because they don’t love you. It is because they care way too much about you and they worry. They may not have expressed themselves the way they intended to, but it is still love that drove them to protect you the way that they do.
When we see someone going through a rough patch, we must be sensitive, caring, and supportive. Questioning and accusing their every action may just push them further away. Because they are already having a battle on their own. Adding another one to the table is just too unbearable.
There may be times where we have to let go a little and let the ones we love go out and explore. Be trusting enough that the one we love will know what s/he is doing. And even if s/he doesn’t, just be there to pick him/her up when s/he falls. We would not want to see our loved ones fall so we block off any possible danger just for prevention sake. But we do not know what could happen. We cannot see the future. Let’s just be supportive and trusting, when it is time to be.
For those who are going through hardships, I would like you to know that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel alone even when you’re surrounded by people. The first step to moving on is to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have done, for the choices you have made, and for letting yourself get hurt. You will come out stronger. You will fight through all the obstacles. And you will be a survivor.