A New Epidemic: Is Love the Cure?

One sneer, one “harmless” joke, or one snide comment; this is where it all begins. These singular acts of bullying multiply, like a virus with no cure, and give birth to hundreds of other self-loathing thoughts within the minds of the infected.

The virus needs no aid but only desires an opportunity to get inside the vulnerable and the self-conscious. In other words, this virus looks to infect almost every teenager in the world and has somehow been able to cause an epidemic amongst our youth. This virus, otherwise known as bullying, has evaded the grasp of adults who are trying to seek an end to it. However, as a teenager and current sufferer of this disease, I behold advice for the misguided adults. I don’t wish to tell a sad story of my experiences with bullying, as I believe that sharing my list of grievances will be of no help in the future.

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I wish to instead disclose some information, a secret, which many teenagers are often too embarrassed to reveal. What exactly is our secret? The secret is that the biggest problem with bullying lies within us; each singular person is his/her worst bully. Those who say high school is the best time of our lives are obviously pathological liars. High school is quite possibly the worst time for someone’s self-esteem. Every bulge, breakout, sentence, trip, etc. is watched and commented on.

To be honest, kids are vicious and it only takes one act of bullying to launch a teenager into a string of self-loathing thoughts. Many don’t realize that one chuckle from the popular girls can cause a teenager to be self-conscious to the point of insanity. We begin to realize our own faults and repeatedly punish ourselves by analyzing everything from our hair to the way we walk at school. We often believe that if we find our faults first, then we won’t be as embarrassed if someone laughs or bullies us. In this way, as I said, we become our own worst bullies even if no one is laughing at us.

All we remember is that one instance and that one taunt, ensuing paranoia within our minds that we are constantly being laughed at and judged. If we are actually being laughed at, I have no idea. However, this paranoia of sorts is important to understand. Together, we may not be able to stop the popular girls from chuckling. Each teenager is his/her own person and they can choose to bully no matter how many seminars you give them on bullying.

However, the insecurity, paranoia, and self-loathing that result from the chuckles are within our control. In order to beat bullying, we must encourage teenagers to not believe the words of the bullies. We must encourage teenagers to not hate themselves and launch a campaign of self-love along with a campaign against bullying. With love and a no tolerance policy for bullying, we can vanquish this virus