I had to do something with this life-changing insight. I was enthusiastic about making YouTube videos at that time, so I created a channel and asked all my YouTube friends to make short, honest, entertaining videos about their experiences with confidence, and to share any stories of overcoming bullying, too. This was the beginning of WeStopHate.org.
It took off almost immediately. Video views and streams of supportive, thankful comments rushed in. It was a platform — a community — where teenagers could come together to combat negativity with positivity. I had another lightbulb moment. It came from hearing this: "Peace is not simply the absence of war. Health is more than the absence of disease."
Which made me think: self-esteem is more than the absence of negative self-talk. Peace, health, self-esteem — these things don’t just happen. They’ve got to be cultivated. Self-esteem is something you exercise. Self-esteem is a muscle.
And what happens to a muscle that doesn’t get enough exercise? It becomes weak, flabby. Nobody wants a weak, flabby opinion of themselves. No. Everybody wants their opinion of themselves to be in tip-top shape.
But how do we get it that way? How do we exercise the self-esteem muscle? There must be actual ways to get it into great shape. So, what are they?
I looked at WeStopHate and I saw that everyone who made a video had a common strategy — one that was loaded with power but that can be very easily overlooked.
“There [are] a lot of things that you can focus on, but a lot of the times what’s super, super-overlooked is how powerful an influence you can be in someone’s life.” — Strawburry17, age 19