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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Women & Bullying in the Workplace

Women and Bullying At Workplace India
I've never had any self-esteem issues because I grew up in the most nurturing, and loving environment. I grew up among tons of cousins, all telling me I was beautiful, smart, and talented. I grew up to believe that. I did believe that for a long time - 25 years to be precise. Seriously, life is so much easier when you have faith in yourself. Growing up, there was never a moment of self-doubt because I didn't know what it felt like. I know I'm beginning to sound like an overconfident know-it-all. But trust me, it isn't that. It's just self-assuredness. Self-assuredness that came from a lot of positive affirmation through my growing up years. Two years ago, this little bubble I was living in burst, leaving me seriously battered. Things went terribly downhill when I joined a workplace where the team I was working with comprised mostly women. Women riddled with massive insecurities, and who were constantly one-upping each other. 

I was instantly disliked because I was the 'new girl'. I was going through a really rough patch at that time, so I made no effort to befriend them, I guess that worked against me. From how I sounded (apparently I have a very squeaky, nasal voice) to how petite I am (I'm 5 feet nothing and skinny) to how terrible my writing was to my non-existent love life, I was dissected in great detail. I was called fun-sized, tiny, le petite, midget, and hundred other names which are too painful to talk about. I was told I looked 'homely' which basically meant 'unattractive', and how a guy would want to take me home to his parents as opposed to sleep with me. And, god forbid if he ever wanted to marry me, because that would just mean I'm too fucking ugly. To make things worse, all this was happening behind my back while they continued to act like they were my friends, or rather well-meaning coworkers. Initially, none of it affected me, but the more I heard them comment about 'how my thighs looked fat in the brown trousers' or ' how my boobs were smaller than the CEO's man boobs', it started to affect me in ways I couldn't imagine.

I felt ashamed of my body, I felt like a fluke without any real talent, and I even seriously doubted if a guy would want to be with me. I was being  bullied, and I never realised it. I didn't have the strength or the courage to stand up for myself, or confront them, because by then they had completely broken my resolve, and reduced me to just-a-tiny-ugly-person. What followed was months of struggle to find my ground again and rebuild my lost confidence. At that time I was convinced that the only way out of it was to quit the job, and cut ties with every single one of them. Which is what I did. In hindsight it looks like a cowardly move, but after a year of being demeaned, and belittled I had to start somewhere. Ideally, I should have started by fighting for myself, but for some strange reason I had resigned to the fact that it was futile to confront or make an accusation. Gratefully, I rose above the situation without getting disillusioned or disengaged thanks to the very family that had taught me how to love myself in the first place. It's been two years now, and this experience has only propelled me to find my inner greatness. It has made me emotionally stronger, more compassionate, and less tolerant of viciousness. 

5 piece of advice I'd like to give to women:

1) Don't let anyone define you or slight you; you're beautiful in every single way. Believe it.

2) Look at yourself and other women with grace.

3) Greet each other with positive statements like 'how happy you look today' or 'how radiant you look' instead of 'OMG! You've put on weight' or 'Wow, you're so skinny'. 

4) Walk a mile, heck, even run a half marathon in someone's shoes before you point fingers.

5) Practice aggressive self-love. 

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