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6 Year Old Boy Stands Against Bullying With a Custom T-Shirt

Sherry Rucherman

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Bullying is a big problem in today’s schools. In fact, 20-30% of students admit to being bullied, and 70% of teachers and students say they have witnessed bullying. However, this isn’t the issue you would expect to be on a 6-year-old boy’s mind when he considers the first day of school. For Blake Rajahn of Georgia, this is exactly what was on his mind. He saw an opportunity to do something about it, and he took it.

Mom Asks a Simple Question

Blake’s mom, Nikki, had recently started her own business making personalized apparel and home goods. She told him he could choose a shirt with anything he wanted on it as a first day of school present. She expected him to ask for what most boys his age would, a cartoon character or a sports theme. What he said surprised her and made her extremely proud.

Nikki says she told Blake, “I will make him any shirt he would like. It could have anything- a basketball theme, football, etc. which are all his favorites”. 

A Heartwarming Yet Surprising Answer

Blake went far beyond Nikki’s expectations with his response. He replied, “Will you please make me a shirt that says ‘I will be your friend’ for all the kids who need a friend to know that I am here for them?”

Blake’s T-shirt was bright orange with “I will be your friend” in green block letters. While most kids just attempt to keep their head down and fit in, Blake chose to stand out as much as possible to spread his message of friendship and kindness. 

Social Media Popularity

Blake’s mom did what any proud parent would do, and posted a picture and the story behind it on Facebook. Her intention was simply to share the moment with those close to her. However, the post went viral. Soon she had others wanting the shirt as well.

Not Just Business as Usual

She states that she had many people ordering the same shirt or shirts with a similar positive message, with many including #blakesfriends in honor of Blake. Nikki sells the custom T-shirts for $15 each. She is also giving back to the local community.

A portion of each t-shirt sold goes to Real LIfe Center, a local church charity. The Real Life Center offers lots of help to needy families in the community, including food pantries, financial counseling, and senior programs.

She took things a step further as well, and allows people to donate money for shirts for those who want one but can’t afford them. It seems Blake seems to have learned about caring for others from the best place possible, his mom.

This heartwarming story is a great reminder that the youngest of us can sometimes teach the greatest lessons. It also shows that a small thing like a custom t-shirt can start a movement and create positive change in the world. 

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Life

Failure Provides Opportunities To Succeed

Lea Lomas

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The fear of failure is failure itself and stops you from moving farther in your life, such as pursuing a relationship a job or anything that requires you to step forward.  No one prevents you from achieving your dreams of a better livelihood. The reason why the goal goes unfulfilled is that you undercut your efforts out of fear of failure. You have convinced yourself that making an effort is worthless and is thus not worth doing. But in fact, making an effort is essential to achieve your goal.  

Stop Bullying Yourself

The struggle may be as simple as filling out an application or applications seeking the job. Fear of failure has the same effect of bullying yourself by having concerns that you will nor be successful.  Failure may lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy of failing, which is a form of circular reasoning in that you know you will fail and then chose a course that leads to failure.  

You Are Your Worst Enemy.

Your fears may be directly be related to the thinking that you do not deserve to be successful. How do you overcome the fear of failure? The definition of failure is different, and it varies from person to person who has a) different red lines to cross that defines failure, b) different values, and c) different belief systems. So what may be a failure to you could be on the road to success for another. So what is failure? You could be so afraid of failing that you become immobilized to the point of depression. You may have had bad experiences as a child and received no positive feedback from your parents. At one time, you were traumatized in your life by failure and stopped trying to succeed. As a result, you become trapped in life’s struggle.

 Negative Mindsets

With these types of experiences, you may have set a death trap, or mindsets, requiring one to reset your life to a better path. The following mindsets set the trap.
•  You sabotage yourself through procrastination, excessive anxiety, or a failure to follow through to achieve your goals.
•  No self-confidence, coupled with low self-esteem, pondering on negative self-feedback that your life will not get better or that you lack the skills or the ability to succeed or it’s too late to be successful.
•  Perfectionism – You developed artificial high standards and cannot reach a level of perfection or willingness to try.

Breaking the Cycle of Fear

1. Fear of failure has the same effect of bullying yourself by having concerns that you will nor be successful, which leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy of failing, a form of circular reasoning in that you know you will fail and then chose a course that leads to failure.   
2.  Be your own best friend.  Love yourself, be your confidant, and not your worst enemy. Seeking external happiness, like a good relationship, may fatefully tie you to the failures of others that will not lead you to genuine fulfillment. It is up to you to change your own life.
3.  Whatever negative trait you may have should be viewed in the whole of a person that you are, so don’t be so hard on yourself or permit any other person’s negative view of yourself to define who you are.

Rational and Positive Thinking  

Failure is common and many times, precedes success. The most successful people have experienced palpable failure, such as Michael Jordan failed at basketball in high school. William Buffet was not academically qualified to be accepted at Harvard. Richard Branson does not have a high school diploma. The words “think positive” is not a mind game but a highly successful method of thinking that refuses to accept failure or treats failure as having another opportunity to succeed.

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Life

How to Boost Self-Trust for the Ultimate in Self-Care

Mackenzie Freeman

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Trust is a concept that you know well. From the time you were born, you learned to trust in the inevitability that a person would do what is expected and promised. Trust is an essential part of your relationships first with your family (parents, siblings, and even extended family). It evolves to become the basis for learning and growth experiences, romances, and (hopefully) something more self-centered: self-trust.  

What is Self-Trust? 

It’s usually called self-trust or self-esteem. The concept traces back to the works of William James, the father of modern psychology, in 1890. His concept of self-trust or self-esteem involved a combination of achievements and expectations, so you could either achieve great things or just lower your expectations. That earliest concept of self-esteem, self-worth, or self-trust changed through the 1960’s as influential figures like Nathaniel Branden ushered in the self-esteem movement, and John Vasconcellos politicized the concept. Fixing self-esteem was lauded as a “social vaccine,” the magic bullet that would remediate or prevent drug abuse, crime, teen pregnancy, etc. The persuasive efforts of Vasconcellos inspired a task force in California turned into the National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) in 1995.  

Further studies by Psychology Professor Roy Baumeister in the 1990’s demonstrated that the premise for self-esteem was problematic. It could not cure all societal ills, nor could it be easily boosted by artificial means. In 2006, Professor Jean Twenge further found that the current laser-focus on self-esteem not only fueled depression, but also facilitated narcissism. While the concept of “self-esteem” has gradually taken on a negative or skeptical tinge, self-love and self-trust as a more positive spin-off. If you go back to the innocence of youth, before self-doubt crept in, you get the core of who you are and what you want. It’s a diamond in the raw, unmarred by pretension or the fear of failure. It’s something precious, because in that state it’s really about knowing and loving yourself, which naturally equates to self-trust.  

Why is Self-Trust Important & How Do You Reach It?  

The concept of self-trust is important because it relies upon a firm faith and understanding of your own integrity, or sense of self. As you trust yourself, you find a confidence and clarify that you are making the right choices. Self-trust is not about arrogance or narcissism. With true self-trust, it is something beyond external validation or seeking approval, because you have an internal roadmap that lays out your path and direction. Self-trust is unconditional, beyond fear or risk. Even when it feels out of reach, at the bottom of the well, or just beyond reach—self-trust never goes away. It remains, unbroken. 

The question, then, is how do you reach self-trust, particularly since it’s so important for self-care? You might just find that it’s easier than you think. Here are a few top tips for redirecting your focus and mindset inward on your journey toward self-trust.  

Get to Know Yourself!  

Julia Cameron calls it an “artist’s date.” The idea is that you need to find out what makes you tick, feed your creativity, and explore your bliss. It could be a book store, a library, or a toy store. Your exploration could involve a dinosaur expo, a botanical garden, a robot or tech show, a gemstone exhibit, an art museum, or a nuclear science museum. There are countless variations on destinations that could start to restore your self-trust.  

Look Inward, First Thing 

You probably reach for your phone as a first thought when you wake up. It feels natural, but what would happen to your sense of self and self-trust if you repossessed the first moments of your day. Look out the window to notice that the sun is rising. Open a book of poems or quotes, and take time to let the words sink in. Meditate, practice your breath exercises, take 10 or 15 minutes to do Yoga or Pilates stretches in your comfortable spot. Stand in one spot, allowing the silence of your place to surround you. Embrace the blank slate that is the day ahead, as you restore your self-trust.  

Focus on the Now 

When you focus on past regrets or future worries, you’re focusing on fear, loss, and suffering. Instead of living in a state of fear of failure, self-trust allows us to live in the present moment. It can be scary, with a feeling that it’s an unprotected or vulnerable state. What you’ll find is that living in the now opens up a realm of other possibilities. It’s not for the faint of heart. It can take courage, inner fortitude, and more strength than you ever thought you had.  

It can feel hard. It may seem possible… It also might just change your life.

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Life

You Have More Inner Strength Than You Know

Leslie Tander

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You have more strength than you realize. You’ve always had that strength burning inside of you. Do you remember when you fell down as a child? You skinned your knees. It hurt so bad. It was the worst pain that you had ever felt. You looked down and saw the blood. You wondered if you would ever recover. Then, magically, the bleeding stopped. New skin grew to take its place. The bruises that you received from that fall also faded. They eventually disappeared as if nothing had happened. Then, the healing process finished. You became stronger. You learned from this adventure and it made you a better person.

You have more strength than you realize. You have been struck down before. The world has told you no. Maybe you got denied for the job you so badly wanted. Maybe you got rejected from the school you always had dreams of attending. Even though the world told you no, you didn’t listen. You didn’t pay attention to anyone or anything that was going to tear you down. You didn’t let your wings get clipped. You didn’t let that anchor drag you to the bottom of the sea. You didn’t let anyone tell you what you could or couldn’t do. Even after the world said no, you found a way to spread your wings and fly again because that is who you are. That is where your strength comes from.

You have more strength than you realize. You decided to hold onto that vision of your dreams. You didn’t want them to tell you no. You ignored those who wanted to stop you. You ignored those who didn’t see or share your vision of what your future should look like. After all, who are they to dictate your future? Who are they to tell you how to live your life? Who are they to believe your dreams should be limited? You have so much strength inside of you. Your heart is so strong. Your bones are resilient. Your fingers are capable of painting a picture on the canvas of your future that knows no bounds. You do not settle for black and white when you know your life deserves to have the color of a thousand rainbows.

You have more strength than you realize. You can do the impossible. You have experienced grief in the past. You know what this feels like. You know that grief can shatter you in ways nobody else can. You feel guilty even though you know this isn’t your fault. You have always found a way to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and put them back together. Even when you felt like you were broken beyond repair. Even when you wanted nothing more than to curl up, close your eyes, and shut the world out, you got up and kept going. You did this because of the tremendous strength inside you. You decided not to let your wounds become scars. You decided to let your body heal just like your knees did when you were a child.

You did this because you have more strength than you realize. Now, you have risen to meet the challenges placed before you. You did this both for yourself and for the world who has told you no. You did this for the people who look to you as a source of inspiration. You do this because you want others to know that they have more strength than they realize as well. You have the strength to change the world.

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