Dealing With the ‘Mean’ in Your Life

“Someday I’ll be living in a big old city, and all you’re ever going to be is mean”

– ‘Mean’ Taylor Swift

I would sing those words to an empty house, brush microphone in one hand and my other outstretched. My eyes were closed tightly. With a giant crowd in front of me, and the bright lights of a city skyscraper behind me, my mind preached a dream of where I one day hoped to be.

Watching Taylor Swift religiously will do that too you, but it’s not just the song that would get me started, it was the words. The song was about someone putting you down for no good reason, and becoming the bigger person.

We all have our demons and I certainly had mine, it’s taken me years to realise there is more to life than wondering what people think. That’s what I think young girls need to be taught in this generation, what matters. I wish I had known in my high school years that being part of the ‘cool’ group wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, that one day I would be standing beside someone I once felt so intimidated by and not batter an eyelid.

My father once told me:

“5% of the people you meet in this world will love you no matter what, those 5% are your close family and friends. But 5% of people wont like you no matter what you do. It’s up to you what you do with the other 90%”.

A few years ago I sat at a table full of girls in the school library, one of them was a close friend and the others were girls in my grade. I watched on as an excited teenager, thrilled to be involved in the group conversation (I was not one to be part of things often). One of the girls began discussing a topic regarding friendship, she proceeded to go around the table of 5 girls (myself included) and said “…I mean you’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend…”, completely skipping over me as she continued. I wasn’t 12 or 13 at this stage, I was 17, and she was closer to 18. Those words were burnt into my mind as I quietly got up and walked to the nearest bathroom where I would cry.

I didn’t know this girl from a bar of soap, and rather than attempting to make me feel more comfortable she purposely put me down.

Would it help her sleep at night knowing she had hurt someone? I just cannot fathom the idea of bullying and how something so hurtful could be so pleasing to another human being.

What my Father had told me was right, I would never be able to change the opinion of this girl if she disliked me, however at the end of the day she will only make up 5% of people in my life. There would be plenty more amazing people to come and I should focus on them, rather than dwell on her.

If I were asked today what kind of a person she was, I would never answer rudely or in hatred. In fact I’ve never said a bad thing about her.

ImageThe thing about Taylor’s song is she speaks about how the bully had more than likely had been bullied or hurt themselves, and as a result passed on this vicious cycle. She made a point of saying the cycle would end with her. This is something I take pride in, I don’t see this girl anymore, but I hope she is living well and gets to where she wants to be. At the end of the day she is a human being, no matter how she has treated me I will treat her with the respect I would like to be treated with.

Although I adore Taylor, I do believe one of the final lines in the song somewhat becomes a form of bullying. Calling the person who hurt you names is only sinking to their level. My advice to all those who has someone mean in their lives is that all you need to think of is where you want to be. An individual’s dreams are far more powerful than another’s thoughts.

We can’t change someone’s opinion on us, but we can change the way we react to their thoughts. As Dr. Seuss says “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

With all the love and positive energy from my heart,

–       E

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