Think before you speak, you never know the impact it will have.

From a young age, we are told to be nice to everyone. To treat everyone equally, and to be friends with everyone. But it doesn’t always turn out that way, does it? Everyone at some point in their lives has made fun of someone. Even if you don’t admit it out loud, you know deep down that you said something at least once that hurt someone’s feelings.

We do not realize how easily our words can impact someone’s life.

“They say high school is supposed to be ‘the best days of our lives.’ But is it really? I believe people should make the best of any situation, but it’s hard when they feel like giving up every day. That was me through most of the high school. I didn’t feel good enough and was reminded of it every day. Even though I worked and pushed myself for greatness, my self-esteem and confidence was at an all-time low, and I didn’t know why. I was quiet and reserved because I didn’t like opening myself up. Once senior year hit I got tired and stopped caring about what people thought of me. I wasn’t the smartest, and I was nowhere near the most talented. Something changed in the late months of the senior year though, I hit a breaking point. I hid my emotions way too much, and I woke up every morning with anxiety. Scared of what the day was going to bring. I feel like speaking to someone about how this made me feel would have made me a lot less anxious when it came to going to school. Anxiety is tough for anyone, but at a young age, knowing how to manage the symptoms is not easy. This is why specialists at a place like the Focus Forward Counseling Center, for example, are there to help people suffering from mental health. Having people there who are willing to listen is so important. Anyway, my emotions got the best of me. I was making more mistakes then ever, and I didn’t know how to fix myself. Every day after school it was hard to hold back the tears, but I didn’t know why I was so sad. My best friend was worried about me. I was worried about myself. I remember someone telling me “you’re never happy anymore.” I knew I wasn’t, and I didn’t know what to do. I lacked a lot of school activities. Seeing all my friends get honors, and excelling while I was left wondering why I couldn’t pass at least one math test. I had good times in high school, but my worse days were defiantly superior to my best days. I’m now in my second semester of college stronger than ever, and much happier.” – Molly, 18.

“The bullying started shortly into 2nd grade for me. I was bullied by these girls that were probably 3 years ahead of me. It began as little things, a push every now and again but as time went on it got much worse. I was sensitive, so they knew they would get a rise out of me easily. They began to notice my flaws and use them against me. They called me every name in the book in regards to me being overweight and I the hallways they would trip me, hit me, and take my books. I let it all go until the day they threatened my life. I was playing at recess when the girl’s girls cornered me and began their antics of pushing me between the two. I didn’t think I was in any serious danger until one nudged the other and the second girl pulled out a box cutter. They said I was “worthless” and that they had no problem taking my life because “who would miss someone like you”. This was the day the first suicidal thought crossed my mind. I began to believe that I was worthless and the world would be better off without me. Not once did these girls ever think about the outcome of what their actions would have. They probably never thought that I would try to commit suicide or develop such a deep hatefulness for myself that lingers to this day.” – Stephanie, 21.

“I did not encounter bullying until I was a teenager and later I’ve learned that adults can be much more damaging and mean then kids could. I was never a skinny girl and I’m still not but the weight has always been something that I’ve been bullied about. I’ve had people compare me to a whale and things like that. People have no problem judging me on my looks alone. I’ve had a lot of hard feelings dealing with this. Sometimes I made myself feel better with food and sometimes it was getting the attention of a member of the opposite sex. It took me a long time and a healthy relationship to realize I have to love myself before I can love anyone else, as cliche as that sounds. I am now with someone who would love a 100 lbs or 500 lbs me, and in turn, I know that I can focus on making myself a better mind and body.” -Lori, 31.

We need to stop bringing each other down. We are all one society and need to start acting like it.

Think before you speak, because you never know the impact it will have.

“Write until it becomes as natural as breathing.”