Emily-Anne Rigal is only seventeen, but she’s making a difference with We Stop Hate— the anti bullying program she conceived. The program aims to not only stop hating on others but also to stop hating on yourself and stop letting others hate on you. Because a rise in self-esteem = a decline in bullying =brilliant!
Our interview with We Stop Hate mastermind, Emily-Anne:
What inspired you to start WSH?
Standing out and being different instead of trying to be “normal” and fit in has always been important to me. Having noticed that there were many young people without that same sense of self-worth, I developed a passion for helping them see how great it feels to be true to themselves.
How do you stay positive and maintain your self-esteem?
I try not to take things too personally because my insecurities were rooted in my fear of what others would think about me. Also, I make sure to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive.
What’s your motto?
I try to be happier than a bird with a french fry!
What do you do when you’re having a bad day?
I grab my iPod and take a walk to the beach in my neighborhood. It’s the comfort of my favorite tunes plus some quiet time to clear my head and think – works every time.
You’re a quote fanatic. What are a couple of your favorite quotes?
I have so many! These are just a few of my favorites:
– “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs
– “You must knock on doors until your knuckles bleed. Doors will slam in your face. You must pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and knock again. It’s the only way to achieve your goals in life.” –Michael Uslan
– “Life is a big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can.” –Danny Kaye
Who inspires you?
I feel extremely lucky to have such incredible mentors that inspire me, each playing a significant role in shaping the person I am today. This being said, I would consider Jess Weiner the most influential because her confidence in me changed how I saw myself and continues to be a major source of inspiration. I value Jess’s perspective second to none, and I admire her passion, energy, and zest for life. Not only is Jess my mentor, she is my role model.
What is your advice to teens who are being bullied?
I would tell teens who are being bullied to focus on spending their life with the people who make them happy, not those who they feel they need to change for or impress. In doing so, they will realize that people who put them down or make them feel bad are not important. We only live once and the most important thing is for us to be happy.
For more information, check out:
We Stop Hate– http://www.westophate.org/
Emily-Anne Rigal– http://www.emilyannerigal.com/
Jess Weiner– http://www.jessweiner.com/