The Dos and Dont’s:

In our research, we found that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Given what a high number of people that is, it is still very common to be on the receiving end of advice that although means well, isn’t always very helpful.

We also know that an alarmingly high number of us never report it and suffer in silence instead. If a friend or loved one does decide to open up to you and share what they are going through, sometimes it is hard to know how to appropriately respond.

With this mind we have compiled a list of things to avoid saying to them, as well as a helpful alternative:

1. Don’t say: ‘Ignore it’

This old chestnut can be very damaging. Being told to ignore something that is causing you stress and anxiety is not helpful. Ignoring the bullying unsurprisingly doesn’t actually work and saying something like this might stop them from sharing anything else in the future. This could have a serious effect on their mental health and lead to things such as depression, and more extreme outcomes.

Do say: ‘Let’s talk about it’

This is a way more helpful and compassionate response. Feeling like your voice is being heard is extremely important as it makes us feel less alone. It also lets us know that someone cares and is interested in what’s going on in our life, without looking to fix or dismiss the problem.


2. Don’t say: ‘It’s just a part of growing up’

Whilst experiencing bullying growing up is all too common, it does not mean you have to accept it as a rite of passage. Saying this also offers no advice on how to deal with the problem at hand.

Do say: ‘What’s been going on?’

This question gives the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly if they wish to get what’s bothering them off of their chest.


3. Don’t say: ‘Stop being so sensitive’

This piece of advice is particularly harmful. It implies it is their reaction to the bullying that is the problem, and that if they were less ‘sensitive’ the issue would magically disappear. This is not the case. You also might embarrass them by referring to their reaction to the situation as ‘sensitive’ as it implies they are overreacting. This might stop them speaking up and seeking help in the future.

Do say: ‘It ok to feel upset/angry’ etc

You need to reassure them that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal and natural. Try and make them understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings – all we really need to do is acknowledge them.


4. Don’t say: ‘Just stand up for yourself’

As a piece of advice, this doesn’t work for a few reasons. It can make the person feel powerless as they might not feel able to stand up for themselves or know how to go about standing up themselves. They might also be fearful of the consequences.

Do say: “I’m here for you, what do you want to do about it?”

This lets the person know you care and that you want to help them through this tough situation and most importantly, it is not their fault.


5. Don’t say: ‘Fight back’

Bullying isn’t always something you can meet with force as it can very easily spiral out of control. Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put them at risk of physical harm. If they feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe encourage them to try talking to the person who is doing the bullying.

Remind them to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing distress.

For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, they could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.

Do say: ‘How can we deal with this together?’

Understandably it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are being attacked and therefore they might feel like they are facing the problem alone, with no one they can depend on for support.

Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.

what to say to someone who is being bullied

6. Don’t say: ‘Just avoid them’

By saying this, you are minimising and undermining the problem. It is also not realistic to think that these situations can be easily avoided. It is better to acknowledge what is happening and try to think of ways to combat or resolve the bullying.

Do say: ‘You don’t deserve to be treated like this’

Remind them that they deserve to be treated with respect. Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that they don’t disempower themselves and let the bullying dictate who they are. They need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.

Remind them as often as you can that they are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


7. Don’t say: ‘Telling someone will just make it worse, so don’t bother’

Almost 1 in 2 young people who experience bullying never tell anybody for this very reason. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and a lack of faith in the current support systems stops people reaching out. Please don’t encourage someone to suffer in silence.

Do say: ‘Talk to someone you trust.’

It can feel exposing and uncomfortable talking about our experiences of being bullied, that’s why talking to someone we trust can make a difference.  

It is important they share with someone what they are going through – they shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying.

This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental well-being, ability to communicate with others, performance in school/work, self-esteem and confidence.

It is therefore incredibly important that they tell somebody they trust about what they are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during a traumatic time, that they have a support system and people who they can rely on when they are feeling low, or unable to cope.

Join the community to talk to digital mentors or other people who are going through bullying – you do not need to go through it alone anymore… 

What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:

  • A personal characteristic
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Faith

This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Why Report Hate Crime?

Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.

Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:

  • Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
  • People do not know how to report it
  • Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures

An increase in reporting will:

  • Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
  • Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
  • Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
  • Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
  • Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
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How to report Hate Crime

In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.

Other ways to contact the police:

  • Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
  • Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
  • In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
  • Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
  • Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
  • You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org

Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.

Are you being bullied?

“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what use is that when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself? “Tell a teacher” is sometimes good advice but what happens when your teachers don’t do anything? What if you’ve already told a teacher and it just got worse?

If you’re being bullied then you’re not the only one. In fact, almost half of us, have at some point been bullied. As a leading global youth charity, we’re here to help you overcome bullying once and for all.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back…

Top 10 tips for dealing with bullying

1. Understand the bullying

Bullying is a learnt behaviour. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home. Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.

Other reasons for bullying can include issues such as jealousy and insecurity – we know this because we work directly with people who bully so we can help them understand and overcome their negative behaviours. If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem.

If you are bullying somebody else, please speak up about it – get help on our Community here.

2. If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you

Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you.

Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective. If this is something you’d consider, read this first.

3. Never go through it in silence

When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can clog your mind and fog your vision. This leads to people becoming distracted, stressed and unproductive. Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many people will never report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems.

It is incredibly important that you go through the appropriate reporting channels by firstly telling a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can also contact us for advice and support. Even if you don’t want to report it, speak to somebody and don’t feel like you have to go through it alone because you don’t.

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4. Is it a crime?

Bullying is a behaviour but some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically or sexually attacks you, steals from you or uses prejudice language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or intimate images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.

5. Don’t see yourself as the problem

The reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.

6. Deal with stress

When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress navigates towards the front of your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it doesn’t even have to be an adult, it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. You deserve the help and support to get through this.

We have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and come up with a way forward.

7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself

Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are. Talk about it to somebody at Ditch the Label.

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8. Look after your health

We’re not going to go into the whole endorphin thing because you’ve probably heard it before – but seriously, eating a good, clean diet and exercising can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity, helping you break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, long walks, running and swimming.

We ALL have mental health, but why is it that everybody focuses more heavily on physical than mental? The fact of the matter is: we all have ups and downs and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience some sort of mental health complication such as depression or anxiety. It is completely okay to speak up about these issues and it is important that you seek emotional and mental health support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor. We have more advice on issues you may be facing available here.

9. Seek role models

When you’re going through your teen years, sometimes it can all seem like a bit of a black hole. It’s made even worse if you’re struggling with your identity or being bullied.

This is why it is important to seek out positive role models to show you that plenty of people have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. Read more stories and inspiring blogs here.

10. Lean on us

We are a leading global youth charity and we are here for you when you need us the most. If you need any help or guidance, join the community to chat anonymously with a digital mentor, or discuss what’s on your mind with others who’ve been there before!

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Are you dealing with cyberbullying?

If you are being cyberbullied, read our top 9 tips on overcoming cyberbullying for advice on what to do and how to deal with it.

Ditch the Label and Simple want to know

“What does choosing kindness look like?”

Enter the Choose Kindness Creative Competition and win the chance to meet Little Mix and £1000 for your school!

The Task

We’re asking people aged 11-18 to consider what choosing kindness looks like, and to send us their creative interpretation.

Your creative piece of work can be anything from videos, photographs or posters, to stories, sculptures or essays.

The competition is free to enter and is open to individuals aged 11-18 in UK secondary or further education, or equivalent.

How to Enter

Entries must be submitted in a digital format via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected], with the subject link “Choose Kindness Competition”.

Scroll down for further details on how to enter as an individual or teacher.

The Prizes

The top five competition entries will be chosen by Little Mix themselves, and each of these winners will win tickets to see Little Mix in concert, plus the opportunity to meet Little Mix.

On top of this, the overall winner will receive £1000 for their school.

The Deadline

Monday 13th April 2020


Individual Entries

To enter, you must create a piece of work based on the brief ‘what does kindness look like?’ using any creative medium you wish.

You should submit your entry in a digital format – so physical items such as paintings or sculptures should be photographed, and performances should be videoed.

The photo, video or URL link to their entry should be submitted via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected]

If the file size is larger than 10MB, a file sharing service such as WeTransfer should be used to share the entry via a URL link. If entering via email, a completed cover sheet from the Individual Competition Pack should also be attached.

If you are under the age of 16 you will require parental permission.


For Teachers

To enter, students must create a piece of work based on the brief ‘what does kindness look like?’ using any creative medium they wish.

Students should submit their entry in a digital format – so physical items such as paintings or sculptures should be photographed, and performances should be videoed.

The photo, video or URL link to their entry should be submitted via our Competition Entry Form or by emailing [email protected].

If the file size is larger than 10MB, a file sharing service such as WeTransfer should be used to share the entry via a URL link. If entering via email, a completed cover sheet from the Teacher Competition Pack should also be attached.

Any students under the age of 16 will require parental permission.

Sharing with your students

We’ve included an assembly in the Teacher Competition Pack to help you to introduce the Choose Kindness Creative Competition to your students. This assembly is fully scripted and supported by a student-facing PowerPoint.

It explores the benefits of choosing to be kind – both for us and for other
people – before introducing the competition and explaining the key
information.

We recommend nominating a ‘teacher lead’ for the competition so students
know who to go to for more information, and who to name as the teacher
to be contacted in the event that they win the competition.


Whole Class Submissions

To submit entries on behalf of your whole class, you should upload all of the entries into a folder on a file-sharing service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Each file should be named after the student who made it, and should be accompanied by a completed cover sheet found in the Teacher Competition Pack – also named after the student.

You may then submit a URL link to that folder using the Competition Entry Form or via email to [email protected].


Abridged Terms and Conditions

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent government guidance on social distancing measures, there has been some amendments to the terms and conditions.

The updated terms and conditions can be found below.

Open to GB residents aged between 11 to 18 in secondary or further education, or equivalent.

  • Opening date: 24/02/2020
  • Closing date: 13/04/2020

Prizes: The grand prize winner will receive £1000 for their school, 3 x tickets to a Little Mix concert and the chance to meet Little Mix.

Four runner up winners will receive 3 x tickets to a Little Mix concert and the chance to meet Little Mix. All winners must be accompanied by an adult. 1 entry per person.

See full terms here.


What Is Conflict Resolution 101?

Most of us will do absolutely anything to avoid having awkward conversations and to stay as far away from confrontation as humanly possible. Unfortunately, conflict is just a part of daily living, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It’s impossible for us all to agree on absolutely everything and it’s also impossible to breeze through life without falling out with your best mate, hitting rock bottom with your bub or having a complete and utter breakdown of communication with your family.

There’s also a growing amount of evidence to show that some of the skills we’re going to share in this piece can be great ways at tackling bullying. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on conflict resolution to help you tackle bullying head-on and to patch up that fall out that’s playing on your mind. The techniques will also help you become better at negotiating and help you avoid further conflict.

Get a notepad and take notes. Here are the 16 things you need to know about conflict resolution:


1. Know what it is first

Conflict resolution is all about finding a peaceful solution to a problem between 2 or more people. Conflict resolution can be used to resolve a massive range of issues – from war and corruption to divorce, bullying and breakdowns in communication.

2. Assess risk

Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to do the conflict resolution yourself. If the person causing you distress has a history of violence or aggressive behaviour and confrontation could put you at risk, then explore other options. If you feel like you could safely speak to the person directly, read on…

3. Address your fears

Know that the idea of conflict resolution at first can feel absolutely terrifying and intimidating, but please don’t let it deter you. Know that most of us find confrontation uncomfortable and do remember that there is a strong chance that this will help you solve the issue.

4. Structure your conversation

Before you have your conversation, make sure you are familiar with how you’d like to structure it. An example is below:

  • Request the conversation. Example: “Hey Tom, I wondered if we could chat for a minute about something I have on my mind?”
  • Establish an outcome: “It would be great if we could figure out a better way of talking with each other”
  • Say your piece: “You keep calling me stupid. I’m not stupid and it makes me feel embarrassed. I’ve been worried about it. Did I do something to upset you?”
  • Allow them to talk. Remain calm and receptive.
  • Negotiate and agree on a solution.
  • Thank them for talking to you about it.

5. Get neutral

Conflict resolution works best when it is done in a neutral setting, like a public park, coffee shop or empty classroom. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have strangers around to prevent it turning into a huge argument, but that’s up to you.

6. It ain’t a group activity

In order to be effective, the conversation needs to either be facilitated by a trained mediator or should be just between you and the person you have issues with. This is not a point scoring exercise or a way to prove who is right and who is wrong, so don’t allow a group dynamic to influence the process.

7. DON’T SHOUT

Nothing ever got resolved by shouting. Seriously, can you think of anything that shouting ever resolved? Not really. If the other person starts to shout, no matter how angry or tempted you are, don’t do it. Stop talking and wait until they’ve stopped. Tell them you don’t want to argue and talk to them as you normally would. If they keep on shouting, suggest a break or consider ending the session.

8. Take bullet points

At first, it’s likely that you will feel nervous and stressed. These feelings will pass, but can temporarily cloud your mind. This is why it’s a good idea to write down a few bullet points of things you’d like to tell the other person before you meet with them. If you feel more comfortable, you could even write a few paragraphs of things you’d like to say and read it out to them. Be honest and tell them that the conversation makes you nervous because it’s important to you. Unless they have deeply rooted issues, it is likely that sharing something vulnerable with them will encourage them to drop their guard and be more receptive to you.

9. Don’t be personal

You’ve lost the moment you say something to purposely insult the other person. Conflict resolution isn’t a fancy way to argue, the whole point of the process is to resolve conflict.

10. Be objective

A good structure of conversation is to first talk about the observation, then the impact and then what needs to change/ask why. Example: ’You called me fat in front of the class, it made me feel embarrassed and upset and I’d like it if you didn’t do that again’.

11. Focus on an outcome

Mutually agree on an outcome at the start of the session and do refer to it should the conversation start to detract… for example, if you’ve fallen out with your best mate and they’ve been talking about you behind your back, a good outcome would be something that isn’t blaming, something like ‘We’d like to figure out what went wrong and rebuild our friendship.’

12. Repeat language back

It is likely that the other person will feel defensive at first. A great and subtle way of encouraging them to lower their barriers is to start using some of the same language. They likely won’t consciously realise it, but subconsciously they will interpret it as you both have similar ways of communicating.

13. Talk and listen

Listen as much as you are talking. A good conflict resolution session is balanced and a safe space for people to talk openly and honestly about how they feel. If you are using conflict resolution to resolve a bullying-related issue, keep in mind that often, people bully others because they have deeper issues that they aren’t coping with properly.

14. Negotiate

Be prepared to negotiate, but never allow anybody to make you feel as if your emotions aren’t valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real and you are entitled to feel upset or angry for example. If you’re being bullied, never take ownership of your own abuse. Do be receptive to what the person has to say though and try to be respectful, even if deep down you feel as though you hate the person and how they have treated you.

15. Know when to end

If the other person is unresponsive, know when to end the conversation and to try a different resolution tactic.

16. Remember

Regardless of the outcome, learning conflict resolution skills is an invaluable process. This situation is temporary and not everybody is mature enough to have an open and honest conversation. Good luck!

Related content

We’ve all had friendships that have ended up a little pear-shaped and it’s unfortunate that most of the time, we all have to get burnt before we can spot a bad friend from a good one. We’ve pooled together our own experiences and come up with 15 of the most common signs that somebody isn’t your friend for the right reasons. If any of these apply to your friendships, we would encourage you to think twice about them and try to determine whether they are really a friend…

The 15 friendship signs

1. They only call when they want something

All friendships should be equal – which means that you should receive as much as you put in, it’s all based on reciprocation and mutuality. If you’re putting in more than you’re getting out, you should think twice about what they are asking from you.

2. The conversation is never equal

Do you find that you just spend your whole time focused on them when you’re hanging out? Yeah, that’s not cool – we all have problems and things we’d like to talk to somebody about.

3. They put you down or make fun of you in front of others

A definite no-no. Usually, people do this because they feel bad about themselves and want to use somebody else as a distraction. Draw a line through any friendships like this immediately.

4. You feel bad about yourself when you’ve spent time with them

Sometimes it’s difficult to analyse behaviour, but your emotions never lie. Friends should make you feel good, empowered and uplifted. If you leave them feeling like crap then you should probably re-evaluate the benefit you’re getting from the friendship. Some people, unfortunately, just like to bring others down.

5. They are aggressively competitive

It’s good to be a little competitive now and again, but like most things – you can have too much of a good thing. A friendship based on competitive behaviour is NEVER healthy or a true friendship.

6. They aren’t happy for you when good things happen

This is one of the most common tell-tale signs and it’s also based on competitive behaviour. A true friend will want to see you succeed and be happy.

7. They bring drama into your life

It’s usually the people who spend their time moaning about drama who are the ones causing it. You don’t need that negativity around you.

8. They bitch about you behind your back

An absolute no-no. Friendships need to be based on mutual respect and trust. Don’t put up with that crap.

9. Your relationship feels like it’s built on conditionality

This is likewise for all relationships in your life. You should feel like they are unconditional and not based on you being or acting in a certain way.

10. Your friends bail on you

Sometimes it happens and that’s fine, but if it’s consistent then it obviously shows that your friend is unreliable and much less invested in the friendship than you are. Maybe it’s your turn to bail on them, permanently.

11. They use your secrets against you and share them

This is malicious and absolutely nothing a true friend would ever do.

Are you looking to break up with a toxic friend? Here are our steps to breaking up with a toxic friend.

12. They are a bad influence and make you do things that get you into trouble

Nip this in the bud before you end up getting yourself into trouble. Friends don’t make friends do bad things… or text when drunk, but we’ll turn a blind eye to that one… for now.

13. They talk about their other friends behind their back

If they do this, the chances are, they do it to you too. It’s fine to have a moan occasionally, but anything malicious would probably indicate that they aren’t as genuine as they’d like you to believe.

14. They bail when you need them the most

So there are friends, who are, well… friends and there are friends who are still your friends at 3am on a Wednesday morning in the midst of your breakdown. The latter are your friends for life and it’s important to know that you can rely on a few select individuals to be by your side through thick and thin.

15. They exclude you from things with mutual friends

If it’s on purpose and happening often, despite you bringing it up then we suggest you create some distance. It is important to remember that sometimes it can happen accidentally so try and talk to them about it before jumping to conclusions.


It’s not me, it’s you: breaking up

Firstly, speak to somebody about it, make sure your response is rational. If it is, then deal with it, accept that it isn’t your fault and mentally move on.

Once you’ve done this, you have 1 of 2 options:

Let the friendship naturally fade out

Stop making arrangements, stop replying and distance yourself from them. Eventually, you’ll become increasingly distant until you’re officially no longer friends on Facebook.

Or…

Confront them

There are 2 schools of thought surrounding this: confrontation can be good if you’d like to hopefully try to resolve things, but on the opposite end, confrontation can be incredibly empowering if you’ve felt particularly suppressed or upset by somebody. Arguments can be healthy, provided that they don’t put anybody at risk and won’t make situations worse. We’d recommend a mediator to help keep an argument balanced.


Still Unsure? Talk to us…


More articles on friendship:

It’s a brand new year and we think 2020 should be the year that everyone gets to be their most confident, comfortable, authentic selves. Our CEO Liam Hackett is helping everyone to do just that with the release of his new book ‘Fearless’. We caught up with him to find out all about the book. 

Ditch the Label: Hey Liam, congratulations on your new book! Tell us a bit about it.

 Thanks! So the book is all about finding the confidence to be your true authentic self. It covers all kinds of things, from the fear of being judged and not fitting in, to conquering your fears of being a failure. There’s some incredible colourful illustrations in it, as well as loads of expert quotes and tips and tricks to dealing with life as a young person today.

Basically, it’s there to help all young people break the labels that might be holding them back or keeping them in a box, smash through gender stereotypes, and overcome the fears that stop everyone from being unashamedly themselves. 

Ditch the Label: That sounds awesome! What made you want to write a book about this? 

When I was younger, I was badly bullied. That’s why Ditch the Label was born, to tackle bullying in all its forms to help anyone else going through it. What I went through really affected how I saw myself and my confidence was on the floor. One day, my Grandma asked me why I always walk with my head down. I told her it was because I wasn’t confident. She said something I will never forget which was “confidence is in all of us, but sometimes you have to fake it until you make it”. 

Through Ditch the Label, I have seen so many stories of young people battling with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, and I remember exactly how that felt. I just want to help them become the confident versions of themselves that they can be.

Ditch the Label: What was it like writing a book?

It’s been an amazing experience. It really has been a long term dream of mine, so to have something actually out there is incredible and I still can’t quite believe it. It’s the product of years of hard work, so I’m really excited to have something on the shelves that can really help young people to feel good about themselves and be able to cope with the issues and emotions that so many of us navigate growing up. 

Ditch the Label: How important do you think it is for young people to read something like this?

I think it’s really important. Young people today are up against so much. At Ditch the Label, we’ve seen time and again how much issues such as being judged, coping with emotions and a fear of fitting in can have an impact on their mental health and general wellbeing. This book is designed to break everything down that could be holding them back and then leads them through how to tackle it step-by-step.

The aim is that by the end of the book, they will be equipped with all the tools they need to face the world exactly as they are – and be rightly proud of themselves. And it’s always there for the tough times, they can dip in and out of the book when they need a boost or further support. 

Ditch the Label: What’s your favourite bit? 

Haha – tough question! I’m not sure I can say any one bit of it is my favourite because the whole point is that different parts will help different people in different ways.

It’s basically there to help whenever anyone needs it, whether that be in everything it covers as a whole, or just one or two hints and tips on gaining confidence, being kinder, or expressing themselves. 

DTL: We can’t wait to read it! Is there anything else you want to tell us about it? 

I learned so much myself in writing this book; I had to face my own fears: Was it good enough? Would anyone want to publish it? Scholastic (my publisher) have been amazing through it all!

Finally, I really wish something like this was around when I was growing up. 

The book is available now from all good book shops including Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith. You can support your local independent through Hive.co.uk #Fearless.

If you need support, join the Ditch the Label Community here. 

Are you ugly? Thousands of people ask this every day. It comes as no surprise then, to find out that one of the most popular questions entered into our search bars on our phones was ‘Am I Ugly?’

In fact, if you type “am I” into Google, the first suggestion that is offered to you is “am I ugly?”

google search results for am i ugly

Attitudes towards appearance are one of the main reasons why people are being bullied. In fact, in Ditch the Label’s 2019 Annual Bullying Survey, 59% of young people said that their appearance was the reason they were bullied.

This is not a new question. Unobtainable beauty ideals have us questioning our self-worth, based on our appearance, on a daily basis probably since the beginning of humanity.

For example in Ancient Greece, beauty standards were that men had to be buff and glossy, while women were seen as most attractive when they had red hair and a fuller-figured body. While during Victorian times, a pale face with rosy cheeks was seen as the most ‘beautiful’. These ideals and standards have changed many times over the past 1000s of years.

In 2013, a YouTube trend emerged called “Am I Ugly or Pretty?” whereby, teen girls uploaded videos of themselves asking viewers exactly that. Following this, the internet answered the question in all its force and pulled no punches.

Even in 2020, these questions are often asked on places such as Instagram, Reddit and TikTok.

@davidpostman

♬ original sound – sidthesciencedik

This question is one that matters and is something that nearly all of us will ask ourselves at some point during our lives.

So, let’s answer it!

Are you ugly or pretty?

Am I ugly because people keep saying it to me?

No, the danger is when you are called ugly enough times you start to believe it might be true.

Am I ugly because I’m single?

No, you are not single because you are ugly, and being in a relationship doesn’t make you beautiful.

Am I ugly because I keep thinking about it?

No, so please stop telling yourself you are, our thoughts very quickly become our reality.

Am I ugly because I was dumped?

No, you were NOT dumped because you are ugly, the relationship ended and that’s ok – give yourself some time and space to heal.

Am I ugly because I’m looking different?

No, your body is just changing and you are still growing into it.

Am I ugly because I have bad skin?

No, having bad skin does not make you unattractive and is totally normal.

Am I ugly because I don’t look as pretty as a model?

No, it’s ok to not look like a model. Turns out they are the only ones that do and they make up a teeny tiny amount of the population.

Am I ugly because I’m big?

No, your dress size does not determine your beauty, case in point: Tess Holiday.

Am I ugly because my friends keep saying so?

No, they are telling you that because they are scared that they aren’t good enough and have their own fears of being ugly, this doesn’t have to be your fear as well.

Am I ugly because I feel it?

No, your self-esteem has just gotten a little too low and needs rebuilding, have a look at our support guide for tips on how to begin rebuilding your self-confidence here.

Am I ugly compared to everyone else?

No, when we compare ourselves we always come off feeling worse, to compare is to despair so stop comparing.

Am I ugly because I am fat?

No, your weight is how much your body physically weighs full stop. Every single object, mineral, plant or animal on this planet has a weight. It is what we as humans equate with this number that forces us to connect beauty with weight. There is no such thing as a ‘beautiful weight’ or an ‘ugly weight.’ There is a healthy weight and that is different for everyone.

Am I ugly because I was rejected?

No, everyone experiences rejection in all its painful forms and it does not make you unattractive. Looking for ways to deal with rejection?

Am I ugly?

No, even if you have never ever felt anything but ugly your whole life right up until now that is still not proof that you are. Here’s the secret and I know because I am talking from experience, just like happiness it is all an inside job. So if you want to start changing how you feel we have some tips to help you start here.

If you aren’t feeling great about your appearance right now and need someone to talk to, Ditch the Label is here for you. Join our community and talk to us here.

join ditch the label community

Do you feel low on confidence and self-esteem today? There are 10 simple ways to help you increase your self-esteem and build confidence in yourself.

  1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself
  2. Take care of yourself
  3. Be sure to relax
  4. Set goals for yourself
  5. Help somebody else out
  6. Take a different perspective
  7. Try new things
  8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
  9. Accept yourself
  10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

What is the meaning of self-esteem?

Each and every one of us have self-esteem. Self-esteem is made up of the thoughts we have about ourselves and plays a role in almost everything we do.

Having healthy self-esteem is really important as it helps you make positive choices in your everyday life, gives you the courage to be your own person, have good relationships and helps you deal with difficult situations.

Did you know that 87% of those who have been bullied felt it had a negative effect on their self-esteem…

Low self-esteem can have harmful effects on your mental health, your decisions about your appearance and ultimately, your future.

It’s not easy to like every part of the way you look, but getting stuck on negatives can really bring down your self-esteem.

Other effects of low self-esteem include:

  • You avoid difficult situations
  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • You are reluctant to trust yourself

It’s important to believe, deep down that you can change. Change doesn’t necessarily happen easily or quickly, but it can happen.

lion king, gif, change is good, not easy

Here are our top tips and the best ways to build and improve your self-esteem.

1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself

Replace them with more positive thoughts which celebrate things you’re good at. You can do this by writing down a list of at least three things you do well.

Remember this list when you start feeling low, this will help bring yourself back to reality.

2. Take care of yourself

Eating well and exercising boosts endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, which make you feel good on the inside and stimulates a more positive mood.

When you exercise, you’ll ease stress and feel better about yourself. Having a cheesy dance in your bedroom, or going for a jog around the block are great ways to boost your self-esteem.

3. Relax

The constant feeling of stress can play a huge role in low self-esteem. It makes you feel negative thoughts more often, it reduces your confidence and you’ll probably feel too tired to exercise, be social or do a lot of the things you love.

Reducing your stress by taking time out to do something you find relaxing is a great starting point to making yourself feel better.

This can be anything from taking a bath, meditation, gaming, indoor dancing, singing… you name it; if it works for you, it works!

4. Set goals

Take the time every day to think about what you’d like to achieve. Then set yourself realistic goals for each day and keep track of your progress by writing down all your accomplishments.

This can be as simple as finishing off a piece of work or tidying up (and we all know how challenging this can be!)

You’ll feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when you’ve ticked off everything on your list for the day.

The trick is to not get bogged down by the list; some days you won’t manage to get it all done and that’s OK too! We all have off days, maybe make a shorter list for the next day and see how you get on?

5. Help someone out

This can be a friend, family member or even a classmate who is struggling with their work or having a tough time at school. You could give them some advice or just be there to listen to a problem.

It’s amazing how much our confidence is boosted when we do selfless things – do one thing a week to help someone else without expecting anything in return.

6. Take a different perspective

Look at tricky situations from alternative angles. Try to replace thoughts like ‘why should I bother?’ with ‘I won’t know unless I try’.

By looking at a situation through a more realistic lens you’ll realise that you actually can do what you want – you just need to apply a bit more positivity!

By doing this every time you have a negative thought, you’ll eventually default to this kind of positivity on the regular, and who doesn’t love a go-getter? Sometimes we just need to think and try different things to overcome having low self-esteem.

7. Try new things

Our brains are really good at learning new stuff and the more new stuff you learn, the better you get at learning it and the more likely you find things you can be passionate about.

Everyone needs a creative outlet; music, art, dance, games, sewing, cooking, web design – all you need to do is get on YouTube and find some tutorials. All the information you need is out there – it’s just waiting for you to watch it.

DM us on Instagram the best YouTube tutorial videos and let us know you were inspired by this article!


8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good

Sometimes our friends don’t make us feel good, and that’s okay. You just need to spend your time with other people who appreciate and care about you more. This doesn’t even need to be your friends, but they could be family members, online friends or neighbours.

And those friends who aren’t helping your mood? Learn whether they are a toxic friend and think about trying to distance yourself from those people who make you feel bad about yourself.

It can be a little tricky at first, but even if they’re the most popular kid in school or the coolest person you know, it’s really not worth hanging out with them if they make you feel rubbish!

If you need help, we’ve written an article with 8 steps to help you break up with a toxic friend.

Strengthen friendships and relationships and you’ll most certainly feel better about things in the long run!

9. Accept yourself

Nobody is perfect. We all have issues and we all have flaws. Learn to accept your ‘flaws’ or imperfections and love them, because they are what make you unique. So, work it honey!

Self-acceptance is the key to feeling confident. When people pay you compliments, simply say ‘thanks’ rather than brushing them aside or countering them with a negative.

10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

Mementoes are a great way to see all the cool things you’ve been doing. How about making a ‘wall of fame’ in your bedroom with snaps of you and your friends?

We are living in an age where we have a camera in our pocket at all times…take more pictures!

Capture those memorable moments and when you look back at them, you’ll realise how many awesome things you’ve done this year!

Still not sure if you have low self-esteem?

It is completely normal to feel negative about yourself from time to time but if this feeling is long-lasting, then you may have low self-esteem.

Picking up on the signs is important so you can build your confidence back up to where it should be.

Take this easy to finish quiz to find out if you need a bit of a boost:

The link doesn’t work? Try the quiz here: https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/410901/hows-your-self-esteem


Need a lil’ boost to your confidence?

Join our community for anonymous answers from our digital mentors or other people going through similar issues as you. Let’s overcoming low self-esteem together!

Or hit us up in the Brag Box on Community and tell us one thing you’re proud of!


Self-Esteem & Confidence FAQs

What are three tips for improving your self-esteem?

Make sure to look after yourself, and find people who make you feel good and happy. Challenge any bad thoughts that come into your head. Understand the things triggering these bad thoughts and make changes to deal with them.

How do I build my confidence?

One of the ways to do this is to stop comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media apps like Instagram. Challenge your internal negative thoughts and try new things. Confidence will build from doing things just as much as learning about them.

What are the signs of low self-esteem?

You avoid difficult situations, you are more sensitive to criticism that normal, you feel more anxiety than normal, you are withdrawing from social situations and you feel reluctant to trust yourself.

We want to believe that we live in a society where the colour of someone’s skin does not mean they are treated differently. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and within our Annual Bullying Survey 2019 we learnt that one in ten people believed that they were bullied because of attitudes towards their race. 

We know that people of colour are disproportionately disadvantaged in society with oppression in the workplace and institutions such as schools and with authorities. This may be out of our hands, but what we can control is the language that we use and create a more inclusive space around us for everyone. 

Obviously, some racism is intentional and in your face. But there is another thing that people of colour are just plain fed up with: microaggressions. Microaggressions are subtle, regular, subconscious discriminations made towards marginalised groups that may not seem like a big deal on their own but together they are a recipe for causing offence. They can be pretty rubbish to hear all the time because it basically means that, despite it being 2019, a lot of stereotypes are still alive and kicking. 

Here are some of the top culprits for microaggressions you may not even realise you are saying:

1) “Your hair is so cool, can I touch it?”

Just because someone’s hair is different from your own, you should never pet them. Appreciate from afar like a work of art. 

2) “So when did you move here?”

Assuming someone wasn’t born in the country just because of the colour of their skin is not a good look. In the UK we are a cultural melting pot and you can still be British and be lots of different races.


3) “Where are you actually from?”

Same as above duh!?

4) “Wow! Your English is just so good”

This person could be a native speaker, they could speak 4 languages, you never know. 


5) “It’s weird, I’ve never really seen you as black.”

THIS. Is something a lot of black people are fed up of hearing. There is no right or wrong way to be black and you saying that you don’t see someone’s race makes them feel erased. 

6) “What kind of food do your people eat?”

…..We all love pizza bro.


7) “Hey, can you tell us what the Indian perspective is on this issue?”

It is not the responsibility of people of colour to speak for their entire race and educate you. We are all separate people with unique thoughts and feelings. 

8) “Wow, you really sound…different….than on the phone”

What were you expecting? The common rhetoric that people of colour all sound a certain way or use ebonics is so reductive. The way you talk is usually influenced by your family or your social group/ where you grew up.

9) “So is your Dad black and your Mum white?” 

So many people jump to thinking that mixed-race people all follow this formula in their genetic make-up. There are so many different variations of mixed race out there and assuming there is only one makes us all feel a bit crappy.

10) “That’s a weird name, its hard to pronounce is it okay if I call you Jim?”

A name is only weird to you because it’s not what you are used to. Learn someones name, learn how to say it, it will mean a lot to them and never just rename them to something you can pronounce! 


And finally…

11) Any variation of “Damn girl you are so sassy/fierce/strong/ *finger snap* you tell em sista!”

No…just no. 


Recognise any of these? 

Don’t worry if you were guilty of making one of these mistakes. A lot of us are. Remember lots of different micro-aggressions built up over time can become mega-aggressions. So have a look at our tips to help de-programme your unconscious bias and try to communicate with empathy. Finally just remember the number 1 rule – don’t be a dick! 

Not sure if you have unconscious bias, take our quiz to find out! 

Have you been affected by bullying? You can speak to one of pour trained Digital Mentors here for one-to-one support and advice.