Leonard Pitts: Bullies Don’t Define You


My family and me when I was about 8 or 9 years old.

Loved this column by Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. enough to share it with you here.


As someone who moved around a lot in my childhood, I endured plenty of bullying, so much so, that I too, (like Jackson Bezzant profiled in the column) thought of finding a way to end the pain, the embarrassment, the anxiety caused by kids with little or no internal compassion-compass. I let the bullies define me. I didn’t know it then, but success was and is not measured by some external barometer (societal messaging for example) or person or group of people. It was within me all along.

My adult definition of success is if my most deeply held values and every day behaviors match. All the time. Even when it’s challenging or time-consuming or inconvenient. Or there’s pressure to do otherwise.

No excuses.

Do my actions reflect the legacy I want to leave? Do the people I care about see and feel it? That’s what matters. I’m not perfect at it. I screw up all the time. But I know when I do, and I try to self-correct. That’s all I can ask of myself.

That’s it. I wish I knew that when bullies led me to question my self-worth, year after year, school after school.

My heart goes out to little Jackson, and I hope he finds and achieves his own definition of success.

GREAT SONG ON THIS SUBJECT BY INDIA ARIE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6P4jI8t-0I



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