DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Bullied in Delaware," who was critical of an article she had read about how to prevent bullying, I had to write.
I am a 17-year-old girl who was teased and tormented from first grade on. Because of it, I became depressed and began eating my problems away, which led to the nickname "Big Red" and other undignified labels. When I reached the summer of my sophomore year, I was at an all-time low. A good friend offered me some advice that changed my life:
"If you hear something long enough, you begin to believe it. You've been told all about your outward 'flaws' for so many years, your perception of yourself has become blurred. Every day you look in the mirror and see what the bullies have told you. Stop seeing illusions. See yourself for who you truly are."
From that day on, each time I looked in the mirror, I told myself OUT LOUD that I was beautiful and a special human being. Once I began to feel respect for myself, others did too.
Abby, please print this to help other girls and boys avoid the hell of living with no self-esteem because of the destructive words of others. This letter comes from someone who has been caught in the worst of it, and who has come out happier. -- PROUD TO BE ME IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PROUD TO BE ME: Your friend gave you terrific advice. However, you deserve the credit for carrying it a step further with your daily affirmations. I'm told that many successful people -- athletes in particular -- use visualization techniques to improve their performance. Not only did you do that, but you added audio. I wish you continued success.