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How I Learned to Love Myself

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published 5 months ago 3 min read
How I Learned to Love Myself
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

My name is Alex, and I’m a little different then other people.

I was diagnosed at a young age with Asperger’s syndrome (now Autism Spectrum Disorder or ‘ASD’ because somebody decided it was a good idea to lump everyone with autism together) which means I act a little funny and say weird things sometimes

Because of this, when I was a kid and went to school, the other kids always felt superior to me and felt entitled to use their ‘normal privilege’ to pick on me.

From a young age, I had always felt different, and the bullies at school would make sure to remind me my worst fears were true, I was, in fact, different. The other kids at school would tease and pick on me relentlessly, making me feel isolated and unworthy. I asked someone to hang out with me once, and (after gifting this person $2 for lunch because they told me they were broke) said “who’d want to be friends with you, freak?”

They’d call me a mutant freak from hell, a loser, a small brained simian, told me I should go live in a zoo with the other animals, called a pig, and most hurtful was a ‘retard.’ And that’s what I felt like. I couldn't understand why they were making me a target, and thoughts of self-doubt, depression and self hatred plagued my mind.

I questioned my own worth. I questioned if I even had the right to exist, I asked how could I live in a world where I was the lowest form of human life. I felt like a pile of garbage buried underneath another pile of garbage.

I always thought, maybe I was stupid or said something wrong that caused the bullying. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I should just crawl into a hole and die. I wanted to run away, disappear and never be found again.

I eventually started to suspect that I couldn’t be stupid, at least not as stupid as I was being told I was.

I excelled in class, consistently earning A’s and B’s and finishing books before anyone else. I was then able to fully explain the plot to the teacher and would always get an A on the book report.

While sitting alone in the school library, I was reading a book about Nikola Tesla:

It talked about how he was shy, and got picked on and called stupid by his peers in school too. Then he invented dozens of amazing things! He was a genius, despite what others said!

At this point, I thought to myself "I am never alone, as long as I have my ideas. When I’m successful, they’ll see I’m not stupid and regret picking on me."

I started writing stories and getting praised for them, and had a new sense of confidence and no longer gave a crap what the bullies said. I knew they were wrong and I wouldn’t be getting As in school and getting praised for my stories if they were correct and I was the moron and loser they said I was.

I decided to focus on my strengths and embrace my unique qualities. I began to spend more time pursuing my passions, losing myself in the pages of books, and exploring my seemingly boundless imagination. The more I delved into my interests, the more I realized my true worth.

As I started to acknowledge my own abilities and talents, something magical began to happen. At least, magical for me.

I attracted like-minded individuals who appreciated and celebrated my authentic self. My newfound friends saw beyond the surface and recognized the remarkable person I was. This left me feeling amazing.

Together, my new group of friends engaged and challenged me. We’d laugh, share stories, and support one another. I learned to love myself for who I was.

I no longer felt alone or insignificant. The friends I had found became my own personal support group, and my morale is always improving.

As time goes on, my confidence continues to grow. I realize the bullies are just misguided and have no self worth of their own, so they have to try and take it from others. I now think of them as positivity vampires, they have no natural positivity, self love or self respect of their own, so they have to stick their fangs in the necks of others and try to drain those things from them in the form of insults and put-downs. The hurtful words and actions of those individuals no longer hold power over my self-perception. I can now say I love myself! ❤️

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About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CQZVM6WJ

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Comments (21)

  • Joe O’Connor3 months ago

    Kids can be nasty at times, and adults too:/ This was a touching read Alex, and I like how self-aware you’ve become. It’s lovely to see that you feel positive and strong about yourself, and have realised that we don’t need to worry about what other people think of us. Well done 👏

  • Bogdan S.5 months ago

    Maybe on a smaller level, but I can fully relate. I was and still am, stuttering, and especially in school, kids moked me a lot. It's sad, but at the same time, it's quite amazing how our "imperfections" shield us from superficial people and keep us always striving to be better. As long as we keep pushing and evolving, that's the best we can do. And not to forget, we have nothing to prove, only to ourselves! My thoughts are with you!

  • Kaneene Pineda5 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this part of your story. I am glad you found love for your authentic self. There is truly no better feeling in the world! I'm so happy you did because your stories have brought joy to me and likely many others. I giggled when you named your bullies "positivity vampires." This is a well-fitted term that is relatable and memorable—well done!

  • Michelle Liew5 months ago

    Can relate, Alex, well done. And indeed, all of us must love ourselves!

  • Hannah Moore5 months ago

    Bravo! Yes!

  • Rachel Deeming5 months ago

    Alex, I loved this! Yes! Positivity vampires are everywhere and will do just that - out you down to make themselves feel better. Glad you are back on here too, writing and sharing. Good on you!

  • Faizan Gul5 months ago

    Hi Alex ! I think we've met before(on my garden post, remember ?) So sorry to see you had to go through all this. But we are always more powerful than we were yesterday. So happy that you like yourself the way you are now. Much power to you.

  • Novel Allen5 months ago

    So lucky to find like minded friends, the bullies of life are almost never leaders, they end up working for the ones they bully. Different is always a good thong, who wants to be blah.

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    Those kids needed a jolly good slap!

  • NJ5 months ago

    Quite a journey and glad you found like minded people to surround you to bring out your best self ❤️

  • Eiman Asif5 months ago

    A set of deep words... I really feel heart-wrenching thinking about your sufferings... but so happy to know that you feel happy, joyful, and encouraged now and have a good couple of friends to smile with... really beautiful page to read... Don't give up.... Keep smiling always.. Many wishes and support and care for you.. :)

  • Mije Mwanza 5 months ago

    So heart touching

  • I'm so sorryyyyy for all that you had to go through 🥺 I'm just so happy you found the right group of friends and learned to love yourself. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Bonnie Bowerman5 months ago

    Very well writtien, very poignant, and very positive. I really enjoyed it! And I am glad your journey has taken you to a happy place.

  • Scott Christenson5 months ago

    I relate to a lot of this. Things certainly got a lot easier in university! I remember one of the "popular" kids came over and apologized about high school afterwards. Guess its just sort of a pressure cooker having 100s of kids figuring life out trapped together.

  • Kendall Defoe 5 months ago

    It takes guts to tell such a story, and I applaud you for sharing this!

  • This is a beautiful journey that you've shared Alex, and despite the difficulties, I am happy to hear that you have found the worth that was always there!

  • Alexander McEvoy5 months ago

    I'm sorry you had to go through that, Alex. I totally empathize and I'm thrilled that you eventually found people who celebrated your authentic qualities! Your stories are amazing and you're an inspiration to all of us who are trying to learn to love ourselves.

  • JBaz5 months ago

    Excellent and this is no small step to accept that you can be happy on your own terms. My Nephew sounds a lot like you and he is one of the most interesting people I have ever known.

  • People can be so cruel at times. Most of the time, it seems. I am so glad you found your passion and sense of belonging -- and yourself! YOU ARE WORTHY!

  • Test5 months ago

    I’m so glad you love yourself and so sorry this happened. Thank you so much for baring your soul in this way. It helps those of us who are different or feel different embrace our gifts. You seem like a wonderful person and you deserve to love yourself. ❤️

Alex H Mittelman Written by Alex H Mittelman

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