Holly Holm's Inspiring Message for Kids That Are Being Bullied

November 25th 2015

Laura Donovan

World champion UFC fighter Holly Holm explained how she dealt with bullies as an athletic girl during a recent HuffPost Live appearance.

Holm, who made international headlines for winning a fight against the previously undefeated Ronda Rousey this month, was asked about her advice for "young girls who are athletic and don't conform to the Hollywood ideal." Holm explained that it's important not to define yourself by the opinions of others and that anyone can control how they react to mean remarks.

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"One thing that my parents taught me, and it's something that has carried with me now, is just be confident in who you are, because there's only one of you and you can't trade yourself in for anything," Holm said. "It's just you. No matter what other things are outside of you, you're in control of your own happiness."

Holm doesn't want anyone to get in the way of her happiness. She added that regardless of what happens, rude people have to live with themselves for their actions, not the bullying victims. Her advice to victims is to just remember that it's not about them—that bullies are the ones with the real problem.

"They might say mean things, do mean things, but they're the ones that have to deal with what they did and they're the ones that have to think about that at night when they get home. If they do it, it happened, and whether you react to it or not is up to you."

When asked whether she was bullied as a kid, Holm said "maybe a little" and that it's likely she didn't pick up on it because she didn't care what other people thought of her. Growing up, she had lots of freckles, which often make children easy targets for bullying, but Holm's mother likened them to "angel kisses," so they never seemed all that bad. Holm also said making fun of freckles is unoriginal, so she told herself that anyone who made fun of her freckles wasn't very clever.

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Having grown up with a large frame, however, she experienced body image issues, much like competitor Rousey. Both Rousey and Wimbledon winner Serena Williams have been subjected to a litany of criticisms over their bodies in the public eye. Rousey has been candid about suffering from eating disorders and starving herself to maintain her weight class in competitions, and Williams has been reduced to defending and explaining her body type in the media. Over the summer, a New York Times piece was heavily criticized for its fixation on Williams' body.

Serena Williams competing in France

"[Williams] has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated women’s tennis for years," Ben Rothernberg wrote for The Times. "Her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to."

Speaking to The Times, Williams said she's loves the way she looks but avoids weight-lifting so as not to become more muscular.

“I don’t touch a weight, because I’m already super fit and super cut, and if I even look at weights, I get bigger,” she told the publication. “For years I’ve only done Thera-Bands and things like that, because that’s kind of how I felt. But then I realized that you really have to learn to accept who you are and love who you are. I’m really happy with my body type, and I’m really proud of it. Obviously it works out for me. I talk about it all the time, how it was uncomfortable for someone like me to be in my body.”


Our society has a ridiculously sexist view of sweating.Learn more about it here: http://bit.ly/1GDGo7X

Posted by ATTN: on Friday, October 9, 2015

Childhood bullying has extensive long-term effects.

A study conducted by medical journal the Lancet found that kids who are bullied often experience mental health issues later in life. Although Holm had the resources and self-confidence to survive the bullying experiences she may have had back in the day, this isn't always the case for bullying victims.

"It really does knock your self-esteem and how you approach people," study author Dr. Dieter Wolke previously told ATTN:. "If you get bullied for a long time, you don't trust other people. We also found in a different study that you're less likely to [be able to] work in teams, to find a partner, to trust others, [and more likely to] leave a job sooner because you don't like the conflict."

If you're being bullied or know someone who has fallen victim to bullying, visit StopBullying.gov to get help.

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