Yesterday, I read a fabulous post by one of my favourite bloggers. That EJ over at the Whimsical Eclecticist discussed the concept of adopting the honey badger ‘don’t give a sh*t’ approach to life and after reading it I was so inspired I had to resist the urge to run outside and yell “I AM THE HONEY BADGER” as loud as I could. (Please check out the post if you can, I absolutely promise it will be worth your time!!)
It made me think about the importance that we put on the opinions of those around us and how we allow these to affect our confidence, self-esteem and even influence the decisions that we make about our lives.
EJ made an extremely good point:
‘Decision isn’t being based on want, or even need. It’s being based solely on fear. On ‘what ifs’. On possible negative repercussions.’
As a teacher it always amazes me how many of the teenagers that I work with who are obsessed with what others think. Everything that they do and/or say is for the purpose of being viewed positively by everyone else – their look, hair, shoes, bags and phrases have to be a certain type or style in order to gain acceptance from their peers. What I have discovered over the years is that the students will put an awful lot of pressure on themselves to fit in and this results in a huge lack of confidence amongst them. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard students as young as eleven years old proclaim that they are fat, stupid or ugly and some are so paranoid about their appearance that they won’t wear headphones that are attached to keyboards (I’m a music teacher) in case their hair gets messed up. Certain students almost refuse to participate in performance based activities (that I know they actually enjoy) for fear of being laughed at. A badly-worded comment from a peer will result in tears, arguments and Facebook backlash for months and I’ve heard older girls recall something that was said to them several years ago as a reason why they dislike somebody.
It bothers me that they are missing out on experiences of life because of fear.
I was bullied mercilessly at school. I was clever, I worked hard and was a high achiever. A boy in my class decided that he absolutely hated me, almost from the first day, and over five years he took it upon himself to make my life miserable. He learned how to flick spit with the end of his tongue and so would spit on me every time I walked past. He told lies about me, made up ridiculous rumours, tried to get older girls to beat me up and he and his followers would tell me daily that I was ugly and wouldn’t get anywhere in life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but he absolutely destroyed my confidence – I would go home and cry, I’d fake illness in order to be allowed to stay away from school and I lived for the weekends so I wouldn’t have to feel afraid of walking up the school drive.
I left school in 1998 and aside from seeing him working in the local McDonalds a few years ago I haven’t spoken to him (or really thought about him) since. His comments have made absolutely no difference to the way I live my life, I am proud of everything that I have achieved and in my adult years I care less and less about the opinions of others. It isn’t that I ‘don’t give a sh*t,’ it’s more a case of I prefer to value the opinion I have of myself. I’m not perfect and I make mistakes all the time, but ultimately I know I’m a good person (or at least I try to be). More importantly, I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of each day, I like what I see and know that I’ve done the best I can. If somebody doesn’t like me, I see it as being their loss.
This is why I am the honey badger. This is the attitude that I am trying to encourage my students to adopt. I don’t want to see them to living half-fulfilled lives – I want them to be able to have the confidence to accept themselves for who they are and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. And in the future, when they are faced with fear or doubt about something I want them to ask themselves… ‘What would the honey badger do?’
Great post. Even though I am a bit confused about what it means to be a honey badger, I am glad that you are one. Great post, how much time do we waste in life because we are worried about what others think? I know I spent way too much, afraid to be myself because of a fear of what others think. Silly really. I was never bullied like you were, and it is a good thing because I am not sure I could have handled it as well. I could write on and on about how the habit of “fitting in” hurts you later in life because you don’t even know who you are, but that is for my blog today I think. Thank you for sharing your story today! Hope you have a great weekend. and clearly,I think you are right, you are a good person. 🙂
Aww thank you! I totally agree with what you said – we waste so much time worrying about what others think! Thanks so much for your comment!
You are welcome. Thank you for the inspiration.
Well, that was positively awesome! We had the same point in essence, but you have presented it far beyond what I was capable of. I love it! I of course agree with every sentiment here. It bothers me too that people are missing out because of fear. Fear has no place in our decision-making processes. I am glad that ass-hat from school didn’t leave a lasting impression on you, because you’re brilliant and deserve to recognize this. Anyway, thanks for preaching the word! Haha. This post is sensational!
Thanks EJ – your post was so inspiring I had to do something with it!!
Your post has helped add to the thoughts formulating in my mind. Though what I have been thinking more is all the various opinions of what we should or should not be doing, on social and online medias.
Ooh that’s an interesting topic! Your comment also has made me think about the unwritten rules that we follow in society… I’ll get on that today. Thanks!!
You’re welcome =)
I love this! Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It was vulnerable and beautiful!
Let us go forth and ask “What would the honey badger do?
Haha! Absolutely! Thanks Kaela, as always!
Teens need to know about the Honey Badger Principle as do many adults. Thanks for your extended thoughts on That EJ’s original post.
Reading that you were severely bullied for five years (!) is very painful — I was bullied mercilessly for three by about four boys in my high school. I used to go home and cry and get into bed with all my clothes on. It was devastating. But, for reasons I still don’t quite get, I managed to turn it all around in my final year at that same school — cool boyfriend, prom queen (!), started a high school paper…lots of triumphs. But the effect of having been bullied never really leaves you.
Reblogged this on suzie81's Blog and commented:
Throwback Thursday… One of my favourite posts. Hope you enjoy!
Great post and I agree with every word. It is an important lesson to learn and for most people school is the last time that they will be in an environment where the mass idea if what is right rules. Once they have left most adults realise that there own opinions are really the only ones that matter!
This was a phenomenal post! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it and I know exactly where you’re coming from. I truly and honestly enjoy reading ever one of your posts, they are inspiring. I will be posting a post on the same topic thanks to your wonderful influence as I believe it is something that needs to be shared and spread (:
Thank you so much! Really pleased you liked it!
You’re more than welcome to share it on Facebook, Twitter or reblog!
Don’t you just love it? The sh*thead who made your life so miserable is working at a dead end job and you are successful and loved and known by thousands around the world. Well, you know what they say, the spit that goes around, comes around.
Absolutely! Karma is a wonderful thing my friend!
I think the honey badger attitude is definitely a good attitude to adopt. Don’t make decisions based on fear, just be yourself and work hard. It’s a good way to live life. 🙂
Absolutely! I’m just sorry I didn’t adopt the attitude earlier!
I just saw a documentary on honey badgers last night and now your post! Serendipity 🙂
I’m so glad you didn’t let that little sh!t have any power over you when you left school. Raaaorrr!
I wish I had had a teacher like you. This is so great!
On a side note, one of my teachers DID have a really big effect on my life in high school, and it was simply because he talked to me and treated me as an adult. A naive adult, sure. And justifiably so. But I can’t tell you how empowering it was to be a victim of bullying and sexual assault, and to have a cool adult authority figure on my side. I felt like I had some power in my own little world.
Thanks so much for sharing!
That’s a really great message. Did you ever tell your teacher?
We kept in touch for a couple years after graduation and even had a family dinner one time! 🙂 We’ve lost touch but I’ll never forget him.