A lot of people (both kids and adults) suffer at the judgmental hands of others. They put themselves out there and try hard to be the best they can be, only to be shunned, mocked, made fun of, and in extreme cases, bullied.

It hurts.

It can freeze you right in your tracks.

You begin to second-guess yourself. Your confidence fades. You feel bad about who you are, and what your sharing with the world.

You feel like retreating into a hole.

“Maybe I’m a terrible person (or artist, painter, student, girl, singer) after all,” you say to yourself.

And then, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happens.

You quit. You quit trying. You quit being who you are. You think of how to fit in, or how to stay away from the world.

And in some cases, you plain just give up all together.

However, here’s the thing: There are going to be people in this world that don’t like you, for no other reason than “you’re not them.”

They won’t like you because of how you look. Or how you dress.

How you smile or don’t smile.

They’ll hate you for your voice. Or what you painted. Wrote. Sang. Created.

They’ll sneer at you and criticize you for your talent. Or lack of talent. For your education or lack of education.

For how much money you have. Or don’t have. Where you live. What you like. Or don’t like.

The list is endless.

See, people that need to judge and criticize others have one thing in common: in order to feel better about themselves, they need to knock others that aren’t like them down.

By being different than them, you become a threat to their existence. You become a target.

See, if you’re different, then what they are can’t be “right” in their minds. There’s no live and let live. There’s no embracing differences. There’s no room for two rights in their minds, because THEY must be RIGHT in order to FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.

So their answer is to attack you, or make fun of you. If you don’t like potatoes, and they do, then you become a freak or weirdo. “Who doesn’t like potatoes?” they scream to the world.

They do this to prove their view is RIGHT, and you are WRONG. It’s the only way they can feel validated about who they are. It’s the only way they get to feel special and superior. Because somewhere, deep down,  some internal programming keeps whispering to them, “If you’re not right, if you’re not better, if you’re not smarter, brighter, more beautiful, more intelligent–whatever their trigger is–then you amount to nothing.” They can’t bare the thought of being nothing, so they strive to put others down and prove to that unheard voice inside them once and for all: I’m better. I’m right. I’m important.

Which is sad, really. The thing to realize about these types of people is that they are emotional vampires, running through the world, taking what’s special about others and calling it ugly–knocking people down–down so that THEY FEEL OKAY to be themselves.

If you tell them this, they’ll tell you you’re full of it, or crazy, or deluded.

Let’s be clear, though: they don’t realize they are doing it.

Their hurt is so deep, their coping mechanisms have been in place for so long, they are clueless to the possibility that their actions are cruel. They will stand by their actions and call themselves critical, discerning, better, right, cool, or whatever. It doesn’t matter.

And they’ll keep on functioning like this. They’ll gather those around them that validate and agree with them–these people are prizes to them because they support their special view of themselves. So they’ll rally their minions, and they’ll all agree with one another, creating a mean little clique that feeds off each other’s negativity and cruelty. They have to. It’s how they survive. And it’s how they will undoubtedly function throughout their lives, unless they do some serious soul searching.

But here’s the thing they won’t ever allow themselves to see: everyone is special.

Everyone is unique.

Every single being ever made is a perfect and unique mix that will never be duplicated, and that, in and of itself, makes everyone  as unique as a snowflake. And have you ever seen an ugly snowflake? Of course not! All snowflakes are beautiful. (Even the judgmental ones are beautiful behind all that pain and lashing out.)

So, here’s the trick.

When someone’s putting you down, when they mock you, scoff at your ideas, tear you apart–understand it’s because they are simply trying to make themselves better. That old saying, “don’t take it personally” applies.

It’s NOT personal.

It’s NOT about you!

A judgmental person says more about themselves than they do about you. Whenever you see a negative, judgmental, person, they’re waving a flag over their head that says, “My pain is so deep that I  need to hurt you and make fun of you in order to feel better about myself!”

Sometimes, regardless of knowing thier subconcious motivations, it’s still hard to take. You’re doing your best. You’re being who you are. You’re simply expressing the specialness of who you were born to be.

But, instead of focusing on them (which is what they want – if you acknowledge them, you make them feel even more superior! and bare your neck to their human emotional vampirism.)

Just ignore them and be you.

Bring your best to the world.

I know, this is easier said than done, but surround yourself with positive and supportive people who accept, and love you for who you are. Find support groups of like-minded people with similar goals who are positive, caring and supportive. They are out there, even if you haven’t found them yet. After all, you exist, right? And chances are, there are more positive and supportive people around, but you have to look past the negative ones in order to see them.

The scoffers, the mockers, the judgmental ones? They’ll find someone else to make fun of–because it simply doesn’t matter if it’s you or someone else they tear down–if you move away, they’ll find another target and continue their behavior until they discover it doesn’t serve them any more–but you?

You have better things to do with your life than pay attention to mean, negative, or judgmental people.

You were born as a unique snowflake. You’re like no other person on this planet. And it’s up to you to put your best self forward: sing, create, write, program, love, share, save, care, paint–simply said: express the absolute uniqueness of your own perfection.

And whenever someone judges you, or makes fun of you–remember–judgment is THEIR PAIN. Understand that their judgments are about themselves. Not you. Feel compassion for them and their negative focus on life (for this is truly a sad state of existence that leads to more unhappiness), then move forward with your own perfection and be the person you’re meant to be.

NOTE: if bullying becomes physical or life threatening, PLEASE find help and support. This article is meant for those who are not in threat of physical harm. If you are being physically threatened in any way – seek help from authorities, family members, qualified counselors, or friends you trust. Violence is NOT OKAY.

Click on the following link to find hotlines for bullying and domestic violence (among others): CLICK HERE

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  1. As well as an excellent writer, now an excellent philosopher. Great words.

    Hugs for you and your family 🙂

    1. Hi Richard! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! Hope you’re doing well. Maybe I’ll catch you in Goodreads.

  2. This is beautiful. I am endlessly inspired by you.

    1. Awe, Cee, thanks! I’m so glad you stopped by!

  3. this was an incredible read

    1. Thank you. I’m so happy you enjoyed it.

  4. Wonderful, i wish the article never concluded, i would like to read more on this…if you could also help show techniques on how to deal with those people. Its easy to avoid negative and bullying people you dont know or you barely know …but often its tough when its your old fren, or someone you meet a lot and have known for years…how do we deal with that yet not break the bridge?

    1. Thank you for reading. I’m glad you found value in the article and I hope it helped you. As for your question, first I’d like to say I’m not a professional and everything I say is from my own personal experience. Perhaps what worked for me will give you inspiration for what will work for you. Every person and situation is different and if you are experiencing a difficult situation, you may want to seek out professional advice, such as a counselor or social worker.
      That said, my first suggestion would be to ask yourself why you want a bully in your life. Please remember that you always deserve to be treated with love and respect. If someone you consider a friend doesn’t support you and want the best for you, that person isn’t going to add value to your life, help you with your self-value and esteem, and I would question why you’d want to stay with them if it’s a situation where you can walk away. However, I am well aware that there are more complex situations where someone, for whatever reason, feels they cannot walk away and find more supportive friends and loved ones. Please also remember you always have the choice. You are never powerless and you are in complete control of your life.
      If though, for whatever reasons, you feel you need to keep this person in your life, I’d ask yourself what type of person are you dealing with in the first place. By this, I mean, is this person capable of honest and respectful discussion? If so, having a frank conversation about how their behavior makes you feel may solve the problem if this person is truly capable of caring for you the way you deserve to be cared for—with love and respect.
      However, there are people in the world that are incapable of looking at their own behavior and any conversation about their behavior may well provoke even more anger, bullying or even rage. This type of person will very likely never change. I’m talking about people who lack empathy and are, for the most part, incapable of looking beyond their own perceived needs to truly care about another person’s feelings, such as someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
      If you have to be around this type of person (i.e. they are a family member and you are not capable of dissolving the relationship due to extenuating circumstances), then the best suggestions I can give you are: a) learn emotional detachment. For example, when listening to what the person says (especially if they are negative remarks about you), simply ignore the remark and restate something positive, or change the subject or even leave the room. What they want is a reaction from you so that they can feel superior or more powerful. If you stop giving them a reaction, most grow bored eventually even if they escalate the behavior when you don’t react at first. Just watch them when they speak. Detach from their actual words. Say to yourself as they are speaking – that comment was not about me, it was about them. I often just repeat in my head – I love myself when faced with a negative behavior as well, or ask myself, what would a person that loves themselves do in this situation? Usually that gives me both the answer and the strength for my response. b) Do not share personal feelings/desires/wants/needs as this only give the bully ammunition for later on and you want to share yourself with those who can share back with you equally and support you. Only share your hopes, dreams, feelings with someone you feel loved and safe with and can support you in the way you need. Remember that some people just aren’t capable of that type of love and respect and it’s up to you to be discerning about who you share with. c) Focus on loving yourself and nurturing your own self esteem as the more you build your own inner love and confidence, the less that any outside force can make you feel badly, and d) surround yourself with people that do love and support you, and are capable of treating you respectfully. If you need to be around this person, bring a friend who can treat you with the respect and love you deserve. There is power in numbers. Stay true to yourself. Stay positive. Keep positive, supportive people around you, especially if forced to spend time with someone who cannot (given their own dysfunctions) truly honor another being. I hope this helps. I have struggled with malignant narcissists for the better part of my life and I know sometimes walking a way is not an option. These are tactics that have helped me deal with specific people, but the best way is to minimize contact as much as possible. There are many loving and wonderful people in the world that will support and uplift you. Choose to spend your time with them and you’ll automatically be happier and healthier.

      1. Hello I really loved you insights,it gave me power over liking myself and not being so hard on myself!I am religious and in my culture people care of what others think of them and sometimes is really hard to reply because it might be interpreted as disrespectful behaviour and the best situation is this emotional detachment you are talking about!It’s really also. Emotional vampirism is very strong in such cultures due to the limited possibility of say something in your favor since modesty is implied as a virtue and defending yourself as an arrogance! In many situations the only options you have is saying thank you,it’s an honor to listen to your criticism and I would definatelly work harder not to annoy you. So a lot people go in inner termoil with self lashing inside and that definetly marks them for their future! It’s not healthy not having an outlet and badmouthing in my culture behind somebody is back is happening but I consider it something that it isn’t classy! I don’t like anything that promotes such actions so I have no options except working on realising which is true or false about me and that includes self analysis.I do that and it takes time but I feel that benefits of taking that time to think is that really true that is said to be wrong of me ,I would try fixing it ,if it’s not true I say as previously said Thank you ,I would work on not annoying you with such and such even if it’s turmoil inside of me.That made me feel mature at very early age even though made me also feel like it’s been many more years than my actual age,I felt isolated,far from others my age!They seemed a bit immature and I could understand when my friends were pulling out excuse or lie ,but at least I could find understanding in myself for their motives to do so!I could feel with their circumstances and I could totally give them excuse even though I knew that they lied to get out of not meeting me or talking to me because I was transformed from the previous experience of criticism by older than me people who I deeply cared what they thought of me.I am happy now I find excuse in myself for others and don’t feel hard feelings because they rediculed me criticising something out of my control and so. I still feel the buzz when I hear someone saying something rude and I do think am I so undeserving of their approval or such internal questions but I do make peace with the fact that that might be their view of how world should be and distorting it in such late age might make them lose security and so I prefer being quite and saying everyone is different and everyone has right to his opinion and if they try suppressing mine ,I accept it!Who am I after all!one more soul in this world that might feel entitled to certain rights but it’s not I who shall criticize others! I actually do saw the same people who criticized me being criticized themselves and taking it badly and not accepting something that is crucial for them to take as advice so they have control they decide on their life!After all it’s good to accept not everything is in our control ,not even our family!

        1. Thank you for sharing your story with me and other readers. I am happy you’ve found your inner validation. It’s so easy to give the power of approval over to others and it’s wonderful that you’re finding your own approval is far more profound and powerful. Good luck to you and feel free to stop by and comment any time. Thanks again.

      2. That is so very insightful and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to help serve others and lead them to become the best-versions-of-themselves. You have the gift of self-possession and relational responsibility. I respect your thoughts and guidance. I would trust you with my most valuable possessions and would expect life to grow in vitality should we be friends. As you have the skills to wisely manage and elevate your understanding, it would be a joy to watch your skills deepen with knowledge and experience. May the gifts of heart and mind be a continual comfort to you. When I know such behavior is possible, it is always sought, for the cream-of-the-crop that is truly is. Love is so powerful and makes for the best stories of all time.

        1. Thank you for taking the time to post this inspiring comment. Knowing I make a difference is keeps me going. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words.

      3. you need to write a book or two. Outstanding advice and very well written. Spot on and very helpful.

        1. Thank you for reading and I appreciate your comment and suggestion. I hope to expand these types of topics in the future. Your support is inspiring. 😉

      4. Thank you so much for this article and especially this reply. My family members love to bully my mother. Including my father. Today i witnessed my grandmother calling my mother “stupid” and making fun of her during a family gathering. What happened was – the TV was loud and my mum could not hear what my grandma was saying (i was sitting next to her and neither could i hear) so my mum just replied by nodding her head and smiling and my grandma started saying aloud to those around her – “Look at her smiling away so stupid..don’t even know what I’m talking”. Usually i just let it go but today i stood up and told my grandma off “We can’t hear you!…” etc. I almost made a small scene loud enough for 1 person to even turn around. I probably should have made a bigger scene so that everyone would see what a bully grandma is. Did i do enough?

    2. Cross over the bridge and go your own way. If you express your feeling and do not see results, it is not worth the damage to your self worth. Be strong. There are so many websites that can teach you no contact and minimal contact. Study up on narcissists and sociopaths it will help you to understand them better. This is how I handle the situation, but everyone is different and is not easy, but the results are empowering. You don’t have to be a doormat and suffer abuse especially from someone you have known for a good while they should be in tune with your feelings. Friends don’t abuse each other and Love does not hurt. I know my self-esteem is more important that the feelings of an abusive friend and the sadness I will experience after separating from them. Learn to establish boundaries Dr. Henry Cloud has a great book titled Boundaries. If you have expressed your feeling and it has no effect on them then they don’t care about you. If you must speak to them afterwards use a flat and monotone voice until they get the message “I’m not feeling you and I want nothing to do with haters.” If the situation calls for it ignore them as if they were invisible, say nothing and be stone-like, head held high, eyes straight forward. It is very important to remember that they want a response from you, give them absolutely nothing. Sometimes we attract this type of person because we need to repair a few things about ourselves, study and learn, do the hard work a good book that will help by Dr. George Simon is titled Character Disturbance. I have had to leave many friends over the past 2 years. Yes, it was very painful, but I am stronger now and realize that I allowed them to mistreat me. The damage they did with their covert attacks was horrible and I was very confused and depressed for a few years. They made me believe that I was crazy. Dangerous friends with black souls hiding behind masks. Very important: Listen to the still small voice which is your intuition; make friends with it because it will never let you down. Reference these two websites: After Narcissistic abuse and Psychopath Free.
      Life is too short to let others make you feel bad. Feel Good!
      God’s Peace.

  5. I really love this article thankyou for writing it my whole life has had a lot of negativity just because I’m nice I’m a christan I’m stupid I’m too this or too that i always believed so lowly of myself had low self esteem started to believe i deserved the cruelty and and rumors and gossip people said about me they made me feel like less then a human so i stsyed away kept all contact away from them found good new people in my community who except me for who i am like me and don’t put me down for being me

    1. I’m so sorry for what you’ve endured and glad you’ve found people who respect and love you for who you are. Always remember: there is absolutely no one like you in the world. You are a true gift to humanity and anyone that thinks otherwise is simply not worth you time. You deserve to be seen for how special you truly are. Thank you for commenting and sharing your story.

  6. Really glad I came across this article ! Faced the judgements a few moments back and I was thinking maybe I am less… maybe it’s me who doesn’t know how to deal with extreme criticism …. But this article made me understand we all are unique in our own special way and we should embrace it …! Thank you !

    1. I’m sorry you had that experience, but I’m very glad you found the article helpful and you’re reminded of how special you really are. Keep on shining. There’s no one like you. 😉

  7. Thank you so much! My coping mechanism was to try and fit in. After a lifetime of exhausting effort, I am ready to finally be myself. I’m printing this for those times when I feel myself slipping into a vampire’s lair! Thank you so much!

    1. I, too, share that coping mechanism. Took years to even realize I did it. Sometimes it’s easier to blend in than to be yourself… at least for a while… then you start realizing it’s just not worth the angst to hide who you really are and be ashamed. I’m glad the article helped. Now, hooray for you! I celebrate that! Be yourself and shine! The world deserves to know the true you!

  8. Hi friends . I’m syed from india . I’m preparing for iit jee ecam . Just because I performed badly in one mock test ; people are saying that I’m worthless and can’t crack the jee exam . Because of that whenever I’m going to study I get reminded of those words …

    1. Sorry you’re experiencing testing anxiety and remembering what other’s have said about you. Try to ignore what they say and focus on your accomplishments, not your failings. Even Edison failed time and time again before discovering the light bulb. One fail doesn’t define you. The most successful people fail. The trick is preserving regardless. Good luck to you.

  9. Thank you for writing. One of the best articles I have read on this subject!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. 😉

  10. Is silence is the answer?

    1. Silence is not the intention. Silence is just another way of hiding yourself so you can fit in with the norm. The answer is realizing that people who don’t believe in you and who you are, are not worth your attention. Surround yourself with people who love and support who you are so that you can speak your truth and be your authentic self and shine.

  11. Hi I did appreciate you sharing your experience… my example was not listed but I want to add it. I have been having this problem for years, I mean since I was (23 years old) and many people go alone with it. They say I smell bad but I take a bath everyday and sometimes I scrub so hard that my skin turns red. It has made my self-esteem very low and has cause me to isolate myself. This goes on in my personal life as well as my work place. I have went to my boss but she claims she has not heard anything but the women I work with laughs and say things out loud. Even one of them bought me some bath-bums. Recently, one of my co-workers was sitting by me and now she has moved away from me. How can I deal with this, I tried getting help, I tried confronting it by asking what do I smell like and no one will tell me instead they move away from me and want talk to me.

    1. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this. I feel for you. Just remember that regardless of anything you might be having that doesn’t take away how special you are. That you and only you have had your experiences and insights and your very own way of expressing yourself that no one else in the world has. If you are worried you do have an odor, I’d see a doctor or nurse and get one that really cares about your problem. Someone that will listen and not blow your problem off. I always like alternative medicine doctors for things that aren’t in the normal range of get sick, get pills to fix it. Reach out and find the help you need, but remember, that doesn’t take away from who you are. You. Are. Special. Embrace that. And whether you have an odor or not, the way your colleagues are behaving is emotional harassment. You could seek help from your supervisors. If these people are shunning you, it’s petty behavior. You are worthy and loveable regardless. You deserve to be around people that accept, nourish and care about you.

  12. thechemistryofhappiness

    I think that this is very, very sound advice. A friend of mine, who is somewhat nihilistic and negative, once told me that there is no such thing as being “unique”. Yet, just like the fingerprints that we carry AND our DNA, we are extremely unique. As such, making rude, snide and potentially hurtful comments to someone is just not necessary. We are all trying to go through our lifetimes and deal with our own challenges and obstacles for growth in the best way that we know how. The need to put people down is just senseless to me. Your post resonated with me today, as a respected colleague made a very unprofessional and snide comment about how I said something and I felt that it spoke VOLUMES about her insecurities and her character. I let it go, but then, started feeling pretty upset about it so I wanted to get some perspective and googled how I felt, just for some words of encouragement to let it go and to confirm that it really ISN’T me.

    Thank you!

  13. Only hurt people want to hurt people

  14. I really enjoyed reading this article! At times, I feel that I am not good enough & it makes me feel bad about myself?!!! I’m always comparing myself to others when I should appreciate my own opinion uniqueness!

    1. It’s hard to not compare. I think we all slip into that. It’s just good to remember how awesome you are and that you are 100% unique. 🙂 Thanks for posting.

  15. That widget bar stays in the middle of the page and makes the article difficult to read. Would have shared if not for this annoying “feature”

    1. I will get a different one installed. Thank you for the feedback.

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