Mental Health

Monica Lewinsky opens up about her powerful new PSA on 'Self bullying'

Bullying comes in many forms and Lewinsky is shining a light on people's biggest bullies - themselves.

negative self talk; self bullying; Monica Lewinsky; Stand Up to Yourself campaign; mental health

Monica Lewinsky opens up about her powerful new PSA

Bullying is an issue that we all know well. We talk about the importance of instilling kindness in children and teaching them to speak up when they see someone being bullied. It's proven time and time again that bullying can be damaging - in some cases, deadly. This prompts all sorts of PSAs and anti-bullying campaigns but there's one type of bullying these efforts often miss.

Monica Lewinsky is no stranger to bullying but through all of her battles and multi-hyphenate titles she's achieved, there's still one bully she fights daily - herself. Well, Lewinsky didn't let her internal battle slow her down. While talking to her about her new project, a PSA on self bullying, she revealed where the idea came from.

"About ten years ago had to write down the negative things we said to ourselves and had to read them to other people," she explains before pondering why we're this cruel to ourselves if we wouldn't speak this way to others.

Self bullying isn't new and Lewinsky is sure to reiterate that she did not coin the term. This negative self talk is just something that seems to happen as we age, especially with the rise of social media where it's easy to compare your lived reality with the curated snapshots others share. Lewinsky contributes social media to more teens speaking to themselves negatively as well as more struggles with mental health.

"95% of teens use social media and more than a third of them report using social media constantly," she says quoting a recent Surgeon General's Advisory.

The producer also explains that there's a high correlation with poor self image, body issues and online harassment and the use of social media. Being armed with this knowledge, it made it important for Lewinsky to include a couple of young teen sisters in the PSA.

In the PSA, the exercise Lewinsky had to do a decade ago is used to make a statement on a larger scale. Having each person read the negative thoughts they have about themselves to someone else really brought home how harmful self bullying can be. But Lewinsky revealed an even deeper connection to bullying, self bullying and this mental health PSA.

"It’s an interesting intersection, my undergraduate degree, my major was in psychology so then to have the experiences I have. Literally the life altering year of 98 gave me more of an understanding, having the world reflect back to me these negative things I thought about myself," the social activist divulges.

Lewinsky expresses excitement for her dream of helping to pioneer "emotional trauma urgent care centers." These centers would be a place where people who may have just experienced an upsetting event can walk into one for immediate help.

"We give such immediate attention to physical injuries, why not emotional," Lewinsky asks.

Emotional injuries are sometimes much harder to recover from and understandably can sometimes result in self bullying. But when it comes to self bullying, Lewinsky believes people are less easily able to identify it, which is why she felt making this PSA was important.

"It’s not a concept that’s really out there but when we reframe an issue or reframe a behavior it helps," she tells Upworthy.

For those who are struggling with negative self talk, Lewinsky has a message for you.

"Be gentle with yourself, even around the process of starting to realize that negative self talk is bullying. I’ve been working on it for decades."


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