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What do you do when people make fun of you?


What do you do when people make fun of you, and there’s the temptation to say something?—Picked On, 15, MD

Shayna Answers:

Dear Picked On,

Rejection is one of the worst feelings we can experience. When the message that you don’t fit in is accompanied by verbal jeers and humiliation it can be especially difficult to hold your tongue. And, depending on the situation, it may not be beneficial for you just to stand quietly while you’re mocked.

Many people will agree that it’s difficult to “keep your Christianity on” when you’re provoked to anger. If this is the case, it’s better to walk away, close the e-mail, or block a number from your phone during a volatile situation. Distancing yourself is important if it’s a preventative measure to make sure you don’t “cuss” out somebody.

If this is what’s going on, you’ll need to find another outlet for your emotions, otherwise they’ll manifest themselves in other facets of your life. If you don’t, you might just start yelling at people who don’t deserve it or you might fall into extreme self-loathing or depression.

Many people find it helpful to journal, draw, or cut out pictures that represent their emotions. If you try this, once you’ve expressed your emotions, it’s important to reflect on them briefly to acknowledge that they’re out before you destroy what you’ve drawn or written. If you don’t, you’ll be tempted to revisit those negative emotions and dwell on them—the very opposite of what expressing them is intended to do.

When it comes to anger, many people benefit from a physical release. Try running, playing football or basketball, or any other type of cardiovascular exercise. You can even try to convince your parents to buy you a punching bag or weights so that you can work on your strength training.

If sports aren’t an option, try listening to music, praying and meditating, punching a pillow or mattress, taking a long shower, going for a walk, or taking a nap. Think about what helps you calm down, and do it! If you have to, do multiple things at once—walking while listening to music and dribbling a basketball!

Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that our tongues have the power of life and death, and we’re responsible for the impact that our words have on others. Psalm 109:17 tells us that we will eventually feel the impact of our words in our own lives.

There’s always a reason that a person is someone else’s target, and usually it’s because there’s something right—not wrong—with that person. We all have qualities that are enviable or noteworthy and can ultimately be a source of jealousy for aggressors.                

Remember that our battles are never what they seem (Ephesians 6:12), and it may be that someone will eventually find Christ as a result of your response to their actions.

Now, if your problem is the opposite—that you can’t ever say anything or stand up for yourself—remember that sometimes it’s imperative to say something. Next week we’ll talk about what you should say. We’ll also talk about how to handle different personality types that you’ll encounter in your lifetime.

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