My pulse quickened to a rate unlike any other I had experienced as I helplessly watched the events unfold in front of me. The group of girls that I associated with carelessly spread poisonous stories about an innocent boy that they found to be a little odd. I knew that I should have said something to silence the rumors that I was hearing, but my conscience’s desperate pleas of begging my mouth to take action were no use. Brokenhearted, I sat back as my “friends” trashed the reputation of another friend of mine, though I would never admit to the public that he and I were friends. This was, needless to say, a low point in my life. I was one of the popular girls in middle school, and I made sure that I was at the top of the middle school chain of social politics. Being that my self-confidence shrank to a measly amount during this time and my perspective of the world decreased to about the size of my school, I mistakenly thought that popularity was the most important thing for me to strive for. At the time, I felt like I was on top of the world and that it was all worth it for the social status. Unfortunately, this mindset occasionally persisted even in the face of my typically rigid moral code, one such time being the above situation. My lack of self-confidence led me astray in middle school even to the point where I allowed someone I loved to be hurt by those who I mindlessly followed. The epidemic of bullying that has been spreading across the country for generations has developed on the back of the ugly lack of confidence in our youth. In order to curtail such activity, or at least promote its end, we must teach the value of originality in school and the true acceptance of oneself. Luckily for me, I’ve matured on my own with age and high school has been an incredibly different experience than middle school, for I have learned the importance of thinking for myself and doing what makes me happy. For the rest of the country though, tolerance and acceptance must be taught from an incipient state to create an environment that promotes self-respect just as much as it promotes respecting others.