Sticks and Stones may Break My Bones, But Words Can Break My World 

Lies and truth. Demeaning and uplifting. Unencouraging and encouraging. All of these words have something in common. They are each and every one a perception. You could perceive what I’m saying to be a lie, just as you could perceive it as truth. That perception is entirely up to you. It is up to you, and your beliefs. 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”-Eleanore Roosevelt. Powerful words that remind us how much control we have, just in our minds. We hold the power of perception. We hold the power to control how we react, or how we feel. The power of the mind is so immense that if you tell yourself that you’re sick enough times, your mind will send that message to the rest of your body and make you sick.

Our brains are the powerhouse for everything that goes on in the body. It controls blood flow, heart rate, even our appetites. All of our organs rely on the brain to give them instructions on how to function.

Let me give you some percentages and numbers: 60%, 59%, 90%, 18%, 2, 2nd. To most these numbers are meaningless. But, to the over 60% of students whose experiences with cyberbullying have affected their ability to feel safe and productive at school, and the 59% of teens who have been harassed or bullied just online, these numbers make all the difference. But, they shouldn’t be the only ones who see the problem with this, we should be like the over 90% of people who believe in how much of a serious problem this is. We need to acknowledge the problem presented when we see that 18% of youth report self-harming at least once. We need to recognize that bullying truly puts a dent in someone’s mental health. We need to realize that this bullying problem has made students who have been bullied 2 times more likely to commit suicide.

Suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals between the ages 10-34. 10 year olds killing themselves, because they were told they were less than. Because, someone told them something unencouraging, or demeaning. Because someone told them a lie. A lie, an intentionally false statement. A deliberate deception. Lies have the power to affect how people see themselves, how they see their lives, as well as their own viewpoints.

Lies can deceive the brain into thinking one thing over the other. Lies can destroy your life, literally. Lies if told often enough trick your brain into believing it’s true.

So, how do you prevent yourself from being prey to these deceitful thoughts? Well, first I have to clarify, it is impossible for you to go through your life without being the victim of at least one negative comment. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have an opinion on your life; and that makes it all the more important to remember how you are the only one who can run your life, because it is your life.

One of the most common ways to combat deceptive lies is with an honest truth. More specifically with self-affirmations. Self-Affirmation is the act of affirming one’s own worthiness and value as an individual. Self-affirmation is meant to boost your confidence in yourself. Self-affirmations can just be as simple as telling yourself words such as: I am Brave, I am Beautiful, I am Strong, I am Unique, etc. Just telling yourself these words every morning will improve your mood, your self-esteem, and also keep you motivated.

Another way to encourage yourself, is to stop comparing yourself to others. Too often do we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others. We compare our bodies, experiences, money, and so much more to others. We get so wrapped up in someone else’s life, we forget to live our own. One of the first steps to self-confidence is self-awareness. We can’t be aware of ourselves, if we are comparing ourselves.

These are just some of the many ways you can combat someone’s negative thoughts, opinions, and overall perception of you. But, I encourage you to look up more ways to boost your self-confidence. And to always remember, you hold all the power in your mind. The power of perception, the power to control your own thoughts, and the power to run your life.

Noelle Nimo – Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School – DMSF Class of 2027

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash