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Self Esteem and Bullying

Self-esteem is an individual's subjective evaluation of their personal value, their own worth. How much we value ourselves reflects in the way we think, feel and act.

Bullying and self-esteem have always had a strong, long-standing relationship.

Bullying is an unwelcome, and aggressive behavior by a person who has higher perceived power than the victim. This power can be in the form of financial or economic status, physical appearance, and characteristics, strength, popularity, intelligence, etc.

Bullies often possess high self-esteem. Their derogatory behavior towards others keeps their self-esteem high because it takes their own and other’s attention away from their failures and shortcomings - the parts of themselves they are ashamed of and are afraid to expose.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who bully due to low levels of self-esteem. They use belittling and depreciatory forms of abuse to feel better about themselves.

Climbing up on the social ladder, accumulating power involves pushing others down.

More often than not, those with low self-esteem are prone to be victims of bullying. The feeling of being inept, unimportant, unworthy, unlovable consumes their very being. Their insecurities and the low valuation of themselves can trigger self-blaming — that they are being bullied because there is something fundamentally wrong with them, they deserve the torment and torture, and thus silently accept the situation. Bullying and self-esteem become a big problem when meek, timid, submissive, and insecure bullying victims don't know how to defend themselves or how to tell the bullies to back off. Those who are prideful but struggle with low self-esteem cannot bring themselves to ask for help or reveal about being bullied, as their pride doesn't allow them to do so.

People who have higher self-esteem and feel confident about themselves are usually able to avoid, or address, bullying if it does take place. They may feel confident and comfortable standing up to the bully.

Those who have suffered through years of misery and agony are likely to exhibit severe self-esteem issues. Repeated acts of bullying often lowers their self-esteem further, plunging it into a dreary abyss. Most people experience the fear of being rejected by peers, thus acceptance by others plays a huge role in building a positive concept of self. If the bully feels jealous of the victim's talents, so they might choose to belittle the target to make themselves feel better, that they are in a position higher than the target. When the victims are belittled over their height, skin color, weight, or any other physical attribute, it becomes even more damaging to their self-esteem. As they start believing the bully, they lose confidence in their actions and themselves, criticize themselves brutally, and self-depreciate. They tend to believe that they are less of a person simply because someone else constantly makes fun of them.

Expressing out loud some positive traits that you see in yourself, praising yourself for accomplishing small tasks and feats, can help combat negative self-talk and low self-esteem.

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