Bullying is an issue close to my heart; as someone who was bullied relentlessly throughout grade school, I know how it feels. Even though 2017 is right around the corner, too many kids still have to face bullies every day. However bullying doesn’t end on the playground, it continues well into adulthood. We all know the feeling of being judged on what we wear, how we act, and it’s the fear of being judged that stops so many from going to a gym. Which is why I’m thrilled to help Planet Fitness AKA the Judgement Free Zone® help spread the word about their new mission; to help spread awareness about judgment and how to make this the Judgement Free Generation® to help stop bullying.
This post is sponsored by Planet Fitness
Growing up I was bullied; I was the teacher’s pet, a straight-A student, and didn’t look or act how my classmates believed I should. My hometown is a small southern town that doesn’t have a large minority population; so those who are a part of the minority are seen as a unicorn. I was the only kid in my grade school who was of Mexican descent; something I was taught to be proud of, but something the other children wanted to take away.
Long ago were the days of coming home crying after being told most of the day: I “wasn’t tan enough,” I “didn’t have brown eyes,” I “couldn’t be an A+ student because of my heritage,” and that I “must be an anchor baby.” I don’t blame the kids for behavior they learned from their parents; as a small child I remember the way their parents would look at my family as if we were walking around the school in sarape’s, giant sombrero’s, and speaking Spanish.
Although the years of hearing their comments that only got worse by the year, and wore down my pride for my heritage. I learned a valuable lesson – granted it took many years to learn. No matter what; some people are going to have a preconceived notion of how you should act, or how you should be. It has nothing to do with you, but something that they’re dealing with.
Dealing with that at such a young age taught me never to assume something about someone because of something they do, act, or are a part of. For a majority of my childhood – and occasionally to this day; I was judged on something as simple as the origin of my last name. Something I had no control over, and I never want to be a part of making someone else feel that way.
Although many of us pass judgment on others every day without even realizing it; it’s something that we all need to work on eliminating. Especially when it comes to health and fitness; the amount of people I’ve unfollowed on social media because of comments about overweight people at the gym is astonishing.
It’s because of that very reason that I’m a huge fan of Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness has such a welcoming environment; with their friendly staff, and everything they’ve done to make it a Judgement Free Zone®. They even have a Lunk Alarm® which is to help keep the welcoming environment by preventing those people who slam weights, grunt unnecessarily, and cause gymtimidation.
Which is why Planet Fitness has started their new initiative; to make this The Judgement Free Generation® by educating and giving back to local communities. They’re also committing $1.3 million in grants and donations to The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and STOMP Out Bullying to help fund this initiative.
With about one in every four children and one in five teenagers being bullied whether online or in person; there’s no denying that it’s becoming a serious problem. I’ve been the victim of it, and have lost two former classmates to bullying. Despite the numbers, bullying is still a taboo subject in society. Something that many of us dislike talking about, but it’s something we need to discuss at work and at school. Because chances are either, you or someone close to you has experienced bullying first hand, and by talking to children about this issue, we can help reduce bullying by 96%.
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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.