A few weeks ago I wrote a little piece on my Facebook page about bullying, especially at school and online bullying. That post was in regards how it is in Norway at the moment. But when I read the news around Europe, bullying is a massive problem. Why I care and why I want to make a difference? I was bullied a lot when I was younger. I don’t want anyone to go through that. Being at school was the worst part. No matter what I did there was always someone there to make you feel shit or scared. At that age I didn’t know how I could make it stop. I didn’t have many friends and the ones I had also got bullied. We stuck together as good as we could trying to protect each other. All I could think about at the end was how I can be the best I could be, at something. How can I become popular and accepted for who I am? When can people stop talking bad about me and making me feel useless… All my life I have had some kind of talent when it comes to sport, especially football. But talent only takes you that far. I wanted to be the best I could be. So while I was bullied at school and didn’t have many friends, I told myself to do whatever it takes to change my future and become someone I could be proud of. I was reaching to the top, I made myself short term targets, but more importantly the targets for my future.
When you are bullied there seems like there is no way out. But trust me, there is! I found something I was good at and something I really enjoyed doing and did everything I could to make the best of it. I started training like never before. I used the bullies to mentally be stronger, I used all the shit they did to push myself to the limit every day. Everything they said and did went through my head while I was really fighting to become a professional footballer. Nothing could stop me from reaching my targets. Yes, I decided to have a go, I decided that no way are those shit heads gonna ruin my life and push me down. One day while I was 13-14 years old could look like this: I ran 1 hour from 6am to 7 am before school. No matter what kind of weather, Snow, ice, rain, wind, sunny. I was out and ran. I went to school and trained 1.5 hour after school on my own. Then I had football session with my team from 5pm-7 pm. I came home around 8pm and had another run from 10pm-11pm. As you can see, I found something that kept myself busy and occupied. By the age of 15-16 things started to change. I got more friends, my confidence started to grow and I wasn’t bullied as much. Was it because I was talked about for my talent? Was it because I started becoming someone? I don’t know, but I knew that my life had turned around. I never looked back.
Are we living in a world that kids are gonna be scared of going to school? That’s just insane! Every kid going to school should feel safe, happy and eager to learn. Instead some kids are getting bullied and we have all read what different kind of bullying is doing to people? In the worst cases we read some tragic stories that kids take their own life because they can’t take it anymore. Really? Have we come to that point? And who is responsible for this? In my opinion is us, the parents! We are the adults that have the responsibility to teach our kids how to behave and how to respect other kids. We have all different backgrounds, we are all different, but that doesn’t mean people deserves to get bullied! Not kids, not anyone.
In Norway we have a big problem when it comes to people commenting stories online and I’m sure it’s the same in other countries. Being in the spotlight makes you a target. I have had my share of shit thrown at me and still do, but I have lived with it long enough to not care, not that it makes it ok. Jealous people say so many mean things about a person that it makes me sick. And what pisses me off is that the majority are adults!! Grown men and women posting so many mean things online! Is that how to be a role model for our kids? Is that the right way to teach our kids how to behave? Kids understands more than we think, they pick up more than we can imagine. And of course they learn from their parents. Stop hiding behind a computer and pretend to be someone you are not. What gives that person the right to talk shit about other people online that you don’t even know?
Last summer I was at a school in Norway talking about bullying and how i used that to something positive. I will continue to stand against bullying. If it’s at school or in general, bullying is a very dangerous thing. Like I mentioned before, we have all read tragic stories about people taking their own life because the bullying was to much. I seriously believe that the teachers and parents can do more to stop this. We have to help our kids and show them the right way and what’s right and wrong. When going to school every child should feel safe and happy. It’s suppose to be a great time in your life where you learn things that sets you up for the rest of your life.
To all the kids that get bullied: Have the faith in yourself, believe in who you are. Find something that you love and go for it. Believe that you can be the best you can be. No one can stop you but yourself. Make the bullies eat their own words. When I became professional, or when i signed for Liverpool and won the Champions League, can you imagine the feeling walking down the street in Norway and knowing those who bullied me are looking at me all jealous? I had the biggest smile on my face and felt amazing inside! Why? Because I believed in myself and made myself proud. I didn’t do it to show it to their faces, although it felt nice, no, I did it for myself and my future. I used the shit they did to me and turned it into my success. Yes, there will be difficult times, times where you are really sad and struggling, but you can always talk to the teachers and your parents. Don’t be ashamed or scared of telling anyone, it helps! My best advice? Never for one second stop believing in yourself and that you can’t reach your goals in life. Never! I decided to tattoo myself for different reasons. Main reason is that I wanted to remind myself of what I have been through. Few of my tattoos are: » Believe In Yourself», «Everything happens for a reason», «Without struggle there is no progress»and «Giving Up Was Never An Option».
I know I could write a lot more about this. I’m sure some people think I forget something and leave stuff out. I wrote this post to tell people that it’s a big problem and also to be open about me being bullied. That to prove to those who get bullied that it is a way out for everyone. Showing people that even the ones who reached their goals in life also got bullied. My way may not be the right one for everyone, but at least I do something about it and want to help.
Everyone should feel safe at school. I do hope my story can help others the same way it helped me.
If you are bullied leave a comment and I will try and give you advice.