#MyEsteemCampaign day 22.
Growing up in a family where academic intelligence was valued above anything else, I felt like the black sheep of the family. Although I was intelligent and exceptional in my own kind of way, I always felt inadequate and incapable of doing anything meaningful in my life. My mother was very strict with my siblings and I, and my father was a quiet man. There was no affirmative support, or encouraging words from both of my parents.
No one had told me that I was not enough, except for myself. Thoughts about myself were mostly negative and I would constantly tell myself that I cannot do something. I recall that I did have very low moments that I contemplated suicide. Under that backdrop of internal turmoil, I still desired to be successful and make something of myself, also considering the family environment I was in, I had to succeed.
I attended girl’s boarding schools for my secondary and high school education. The secondary school I attended was one of the best girls school in Zimbabwe and there certainly was pressure to perform exceptionally as this was the standard of the school. I was not dull, because looking at my school reports, I’m still amazed at how I would perform above average. I still wonder how I did it. I did not know it then but this proves to me I had all that it takes to be brilliant. Come exam time for Ordinary Level, I did not do well. I remember collecting my results slip and speaking to my eldest brother over the phone, he was clueless as to which subjects I would study for my Advanced Level. Knowing which subjects I was good at informed my next step.
The next girl’s boarding school was very different from my previous school and God knows the culture of that former school contributed to my success at this new school. I was hard working and created an environment that would guarantee my success. I volunteered to be a librarian and that gave me access to all the necessary studying material to pass my exams.
Developing your self-confidence and self-esteem is not a one day event. For me it, has been a daily journey of positive self-talk, scriptural affirmations that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ, among others. I hope my story gives you the push to get out of the “can’t do” mood to “yes you can”. I believe the following nuggets might help you get out this toxic state:
1. The starting point is to know what you want to achieve in life. It helps when you know where you want to go and what you want to achieve.
2. Know yourself, be self-aware, what your strengths and weaknesses are.
3. Have people that support your goals, dreams and vision. Sit down with your parents, friends and other people who can be part of your support ecosystem. Communicate with them your hope and aspirations and give them the right to follow up on you.
4. Have a belief and value system that moulds you and gives you identity. For me it has been my Christian identity.
5. Lose all the negativity, be it friends, your own thoughts, if it doesn’t build you why keep it?
I leave you with this piece of scripture, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4 verse 8
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on Principles of “A course in Miracles”