Haunted by the mean girls

It’s been 11 years! 

Our elder has some suggestions for a letter writer who is still trying to rebuild their self-esteem after being bullied at summer camp as a teen.


Dear EWC

When I was a teenager, I met these two other teenage girls at a summer camp who were very mean to me. Like they criticized me because I was shy and quiet and they told me I needed help because they told me I’d never get a girlfriend or get married if I don’t change. Not only that but they even made fun of me and bullied me. I even remember on the last day of the summer camp, those two girls didn’t even say “goodbye” to me, they just gave me dirty looks. It’s been 11 years since then, but I still worry and think about what those two girls said to me and it really bothers me. I know it’s really stupid for me to keep thinking about them, but the reason why I still think about them is that I think to myself what if they were right about me because the truth is I’ve never been that successful with girls. But I have talked to people like my friends, family and even therapists about those two girls and they’ve told me that I shouldn’t worry about what they said and they also told me that teenage girls can be quite bratty so it’s no wonder they were so mean to me. And I’ve even sent a few letters to a few people at Elder Wisdom like Good-Listener and Askmae before and they gave me some good and sympathetic answers. But the reason why I’m writing to you again is that I want to ask you how do I gain more self-esteem? I ask this because I think another reason why I still worry about those two girls is that I have low self-esteem and I feel if I get more self-esteem, I might forget all about what those teenage girls said to me and who knows? I might even get a girlfriend because I know girls love guys who are confident. I also don’t want to go on with the rest of my life thinking and worrying about those teenage girls.


BES replies

I’m glad you felt that Elder Wisdom Circle has helped you in the past and I hope I can help you now.

I hope you realize that self-esteem is not something you can gain overnight. It is gained by ‘baby steps’ and a series of small successes that make you feel good about yourself. These can be achieved in many ways. You have to think about yourself and what makes you happy. Maybe reading a book makes you happy or taking a walk makes you happy. Maybe you are a good student and get good grades. What is your best subject in school? What do you enjoy doing when you are not in school?

Does your school have clubs such as foreign language clubs, drama clubs, student body clubs, etc.? Could you do any volunteer work outside of school in an area that you enjoy? Could you coach a sports team? Could you help take care of younger children? Could you join a debate club? Could you take dance classes such as square dancing or swing dancing or hip hop? Is there any peer mentoring you could do?

You have to put yourself out there into activities you might enjoy or maybe would be your forte. It may be scary and uncomfortable at first but slowly, people will get to know you and see you are good at what you do and you will get some kudos. 

Another thing to help build self-confidence is doing something in the martial arts. You may never actually use those skills but just knowing them helps build confidence. 

Take a look around you. Observe what other guys wear and talk about. Try to keep up-to-date with what’s going on that your peers discuss and try discussing it as well. When you walk, look straight ahead and not down at the floor. Say “Hi” to others with a smile on your face. You might find that they say “Hi” back. Good conversation starters generally are: “Did you do well on that test?” or “Did you watch the Oscars?”  “Did you see the winning Oscar movie?”  “I can’t wait for Spring break!”  etc.

Please write back and let me know if any of this was helpful.

Article #: 419443

Category: Self-Improvement

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