Tough Lessons

Rebecca - Columbus, Nebraska
Entered on May 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

From elementary school until halfway through high school I was always more of a follower than a leader. High school is an awkward, and hard time for a teenager and many of life’s lessons and experiences are learned during those four years. During high school was where I learned to be tough, not the kind of tough where you bully someone, but the kind of tough where you don’t let people bully you or take advantage of you. I believe a tough attitude is necessary in life.

Kids can be cruel in high school, the maturity that develops from life experiences has not developed yet. Some people cringe at the thoughts of their high school experiences. If you develop a tough attitude you can be strong enough to stand up for yourself against school bullies. They will usually leave you alone if they know you’re not weak and you won’t take that. This attitude can be helpful for the rest of your life.

Even as an adult I experience these situations. One day, years ago when I started a new job, there was a couple girls that had already worked there for a couple of years. One of the girls tried a couple times to “jokingly” say rude things to me. Life experiences taught me to be professional at work, but also how to be tough. I gave her a firm, tough response to her rudeness and, from then on, she knew that I would not take that attitude from her again. Now, eight years later, she and I are best friends and we laugh about the day we met.

Another friend of mine has a similar problem at work and I have tried to teach her how to be tough, but she is scared to stand up for herself. She calls me at least three times a week crying because of her social problems and bullying at work. It is not too late for her to develop a tough attitude. If she does I strongly feel she will be happier with her job and in her personal life, because it will reduce the stress she is feeling now.

Life is hard no matter what you do or how you act, but having a tough attitude has definitely made my life a little easier. I use toughness everyday, whether I am negotiating a business transaction or teaching my children how to stand up for themselves. You shouldn’t always be tough though , only in situations where it is necessary, because if you are constantly tough, you just end up being mean. Always balance your toughness out with love and compassion.