Getting bullied can build character and confidence

By Rachel Chiang | Reporter

For many of us, we have probably experienced bullying in some form sometime in our life. Unfortunately, getting bullied, especially with social media, is pretty much unavoidable, but sometimes there may be some positive effects that can come out of those negative experiences.

Growing up, my mom always made me homemade lunches that usually featured some kind of Asian food. Kids in school would often cringe or freak out whenever they saw I brought some kind of weird noodles or smelly dumplings, and when it first happened, I would usually feel so bad that I just wouldn’t eat lunch that day. Eventually, I would beg my mom to let me bring Lunchables like the other kids, but she never would. Over time, I came to realize how fortunate I was to be able to have warm, freshly made food every day. It ultimately came down to time and perspective. And with that, I learned to shrug it off, and it made me realize that not everyone else had the luxury of a mom who stayed home and cooked for them every day.

“Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir,” is a book by Eddie Huang, who experienced nearly the same thing I did and more. Huang wrote about how he was bullied and struggled with his identity growing up. He countered and adapted to his circumstances by finding comfort in listening to hip-hop, and he also embraced his culture and cooking through his parents. Huang eventually found a passion for cooking, and despite being bullied for bringing strange lunches to school, he opened several restaurants and embraced Asian cooking. His book documenting his past experiences became a bestseller and was adapted into a television show that aired for six seasons.

Ryan Higa, a former YouTube personality, shared his experiences with being bullied in his “Draw My Life” video. Higa talked about how older kids constantly taunted and physically bullied him for skipping a grade and for his looks. However, he eventually figured out that people were just bullying him for laughs, so rather than fight it, he played along. By doing so, his bullies eventually stopped picking on him because he was funny, which would give them the laughs they were looking for. When Higa realized he had a talent for comedy, he began making videos and uploading them to YouTube, and he became the most subscribed-to YouTuber from 2009 to 2011.

By giving these examples, I am not condoning or encouraging bullying; rather, I am saying there is hope. Most situations with bullies are not easy to escape, but a little time and change of perspective can build character and confidence. Getting bullied can force us to look within ourselves to understand why we are being bullied, and you can either embrace that part of you or change it for the better. Take the situations you have been handed and turn them into something great — you may just come out a mentally and physically stronger person.