Throughout our lives, we all encounter individuals who thrive on gossip and putting other people down.
I've encountered many of these "mean girls" all the way from 6th grade until I graduated from college. Some were people I've never met... and some were my closest friends.
At first I felt hurt and betrayed.
I took what people said to heart and actually believed them for a while. Then I realized events like these don't happen to you, they happen for you and there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I learned from experience that success cannot be achieved without facing adversity. The adversity I faced as a result of people putting me down is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. So to each and every one of you, I would like to say thank you.
Thank you for all of the criticism and names you called me. Thank you for talking about me behind my back and thank you for the rumors you spread. Thank you for pointing out every flaw you could find.
Thank you for telling me I'm not good enough and never will be. Thank you for the nasty comments I had to hear come out of your mouth that brought me to tears. Thank you for making me feel excluded and isolated.
Thank you for blaming me for things I never did. Thank you for doing everything you could to make me look bad.
You may not have realized it at the time of your actions, but you are the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me.
You made me independent. You made me fearless. You prepared me for the real world where most people don't care about you and you have to believe in yourself.
You gave me the courage to live my life and chase my dreams without fear of rejection. You taught me how to be strong when things weren't going my way. You helped me handle criticism and negative comments without letting them bring me down or stop me from achieving my goals.
You helped me to build up my confidence and believe in myself when no one else would.
I became a better person because you showed me the kind of person I never want to be. I gained real, genuine, amazing friends because you showed me the type of friends I never want to have.
I achieved dreams I've had my entire life because you gave me the motivation and strength to go after what I want fearlessly even when no one believed I was capable.
You taught me that happiness comes from within, and that truly happy people empower others instead of dragging them down. You taught me that kindness and a positive attitude are the keys to success in all areas of life.
You taught me to be nice to people on the way up because they are the same people you will meet on the way down. You taught me that your actions had nothing to do with me, but instead were a reflection of how you felt about yourself.
Most importantly, the adversity I faced because of you made me the person I am today. And I can't thank you enough for that.
So if you're dealing with people like this in your life, remember this line from "The Fighting Temptations":
When life makes you have to put up with mean and hateful people, think of them as sandpaper. They may scratch you, rub you the wrong way, but eventually you end up smooth and polished... and the sandpaper -- it's just gonna be worn out and ugly.