Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?

I remember my Mum reciting this to me when I was young.  It was designed, no doubt, to encourage me to shrug off harsh words from other kids.  To an extent, I’m sure it worked for me, although the way I learned to respond was to lift the drawbridge on those people who were unkind and not engage with them again.  Sometimes it’s been a bit of an extreme response but it was shaped by an early experience with some jealous female friends.

Today, I’ve read about Hollie Robinson, a beautiful young woman who has started an anti-bullying campaign to raise money for the Beat Bullying charity after years of torment at the hands of her “friends” who called her ugly and, at one point, sent an email signed by 200 people with a first line which read: ‘Who thinks Hollie Robinson should kill herself?’

Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Blog Post "Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" photo of Hollie Robinson bullied for being "ugly"

Picture shows Hollie Robinson year 7 aged 11 (Picture: Ross Parry)

As an adult, looking at the photos of Hollie as a young girl, it is immediately evident that she was a pretty young girl, and to realise the ugly taunts were most likely to have been generated by jealousy – because, sadly, that’s the way teenage girls often behave.  Often a pack mentality is created, and it’s easier to be on the side of the bullies than to attract negative attention by standing apart from them.

Hollie’s experience is a variation of a story that I’ve heard many times with friends and clients, and they have held onto that message through their entire life with a huge detrimental impact on their self-esteem and confidence to try new things.

 

Gillian Lewis Spectrum: Confidence Cycle graphic

The Self-Image Cycle

Whilst it may be seen as vain and superficial, the Self-Image you hold about yourself from what you see in the mirror is going to permeate through your whole life – and clearly, as we can see from Hollie’s example, it’s possible to be feeding yourself messages that aren’t accurate or objective.  It is absolutely true that it is what’s on the inside that is important – but if you don’t believe that about yourself, do you really believe it’s true for anybody else?

What worries me is that today there is such an emphasis on the way that girls look, with the rise of celebrity culture and the ongoing bombardment of perfect images through the media, that the ugly taunt is likely to become far more potent to young, impressionable girls as time goes on and I was really pleased to see this video promoting the Truth in Advertising Act.  What shocked me were the statistics that:

53% of 13 year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies; by the time they are 17, 78% will be. In fact, the 3 most common mental health issues amongst girls — eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem — can be linked to the images they see of themselves in the media”.

I’ve signed the petition.  Will you?

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If you’re still suffering from the effects of those teenage taunts, sign up for a FREE 30-minute Confidence Discovery Session with me.  We can identify the biggest issue for you to take your first steps to change the way you think about yourself.

 

I'd love to hear your comments on this post

Gillian Lewis
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Gillian Lewis

Self Image Coach at Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy based in Darlington, County Durham, UK
What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles.Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect.Sometimes it's serious.Sometimes it's just fun.Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience.If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you 😀
Gillian Lewis
FOLLOW ME
About Gillian Lewis

What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles. Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's just fun. Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience. If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you :-D