On 16th August, The Peace Foundation, an organization here in New Zealand, invited me to speak to students from 10 different schools from all over Auckland about Bullying, Racism and Discrimination. Along with myself, there was Erin Victoria Jackson (President of Canterbury Students’ Association), Peter McGlashan (Professional Cricket Player), GaintKilla (New Zealand based Rap Artist) and the iChoose Team. It was a privilege for me to be able to meet and interact with students from all walks of life, and to provide them with some guidance about how they can overcome such adversity in their lives, and also play a part in restructuring society in a way where others are not exposed to or suffer from the effects of social exclusion. Here is the guidance I shared with the students on the day:
Firstly and most importantly, BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND! Love yourself unconditionally. You could be snap chatting your pictures to the world but if you don’t like what you see in the mirror in the morning, there is not point of taking pictures in the first place. Even if it means you have to stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself repeatedly that you are beautiful – DO IT!
Second, SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY. CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOURSELF. Be in an environment that motivates you to bring out the best in you everyday! Obviously, if you focus your energy on doing negative things you will recognise only the negative things.
THERE IS GREAT POWER IN FORGIVENESS! I know some of you have been through a lot as well, and I can tell you guys that forgiveness is the key. Forgive them, maybe not cause they deserve it, but because you deserve it. You deserve to in control of your life.
FOCUS ON BUILDING YOURSELF. LISTEN TO CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISIM. Your success in not driven by proving others wrong, rather you are trying to prove that voice in your head that made you feel worthless, a failure and told you that you were good enough – prove that voice wrong. Prove that old you wrong! And along the way if a few people feel ridiculous so be it!
If you are being bullied or even if you are depressed about something, TALK TO SOMEONE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE! AND DON’T UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE UP WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T APPROVE OF IT.
And lastly, SMILE! Your smile is the greatest gift of all, use it to use it to change the world. Don’t let the world change your smile.