Let me first say that this is the definition of “long story short” (lol). It is impossible for me to share my entire journey in this one article. So, if that’s what you expect, then let’s manage that expectation from the beginning. However, I do intend to share the defining moments in my journey that allowed me to hold onto my self worth, overcome my self-esteem challenges and grow in self-confidence.
When I think of the defining moments, I immediately think of 3 things; my dad; my mom; and my God.
Let’s talk about my Dad. Daddy continues to be a huge part of who I am today simply because of our relationship and how he continues to demonstrate fatherly love to me but also because I have learnt from his mistakes as well. This does not discount the role my entire family played in my life, particularly my mom, aunts and brothers. However, it was the simple things that Daddy did while I was growing up that made a huge difference to my self-esteem. He instilled this feeling of being enough and not having to seek validation from others, particularly boys/men. I’ll share one of my biggest memories with you. It was Valentines Day and my boyfriend at the time bought me a big teddy bear. If you know me, you know I love bears. I felt special until Daddy got home and had an even bigger bear. LOL! Whose bear do you think got the most attention?! You guessed right. Sometimes I share this story with my friends in light moments, but that moment was a highlight for me about my dad. In fact, because of him, I went through my teenage years not seeking anything from guys because I knew my dad would take care of my needs. Ultimately, what I am saying is, my dad was present so that I didn’t need to fill his absence with the wrong things or wrong people. This made me not have to sacrifice my self-worth.
Unfortunately, Daddy couldn’t protect me from the bullying and the scrutiny I encountered while going to school. I remember being laughed at when my sinuses would act up causing me to sneeze often or cough. I remember seeing persons point and gossip when I smiled and my cheeks would take up my entire face. Or, simply laughing at the size of my ears. I remember this one guy waiting for me by the stairs at school to drive fear into me, for no apparent reason. These types of incidents can make a girl want to make herself smaller or invisible. However, my mother won’t allow it. She instilled a discipline in me that she doesn’t even know. For as long as I could remember my mother would always push me into the spotlight; even if it was a dancing competition at a childhood birthday party or a recital at our church. I held onto this and I practiced saying yes to things that would allow me to show who I am. I said yes to pageants (never won but cleaned up some prizes); I said yes to speech competitions (won those); I said yes to sports; I said yes to modeling; I said yes to singing; I said yes to business conferences; I just said yes; and by saying yes, I became brave and confident in myself. Here I was trying new things and accomplishing some. In trying new things, I then found what I was good at and I started to zone in on those areas. Sometimes, we get so caught up wanting to do what other persons are doing, even though we are not good at it or it doesn’t bring us joy. Who even wants to do something that they aren’t good at?! So, if I had to highlight my biggest takeaway from those experiences, it would be to learn who you are; your likes and your strengths. Then do more of those things but never get complacent because confidence can come from comfort but comfort can come from practice. So try something new and practice until it’s no longer new to you.
We can be here all day if I had to go on about the lessons I learnt from my parents but I have to share the biggest lesson of all which I learnt only 5 years ago (2017). I was reintroduced to my God. I started to study the word, I fell in love with who God is and what He did for me. I then started to believe what He said in His word about who I am. I started testing the spirit; I started taking leaps of faith and realized I wasn’t falling. I then made a deal with God. He said to me in Jeremiah 29:11, “for I know the plans I have for you….plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future”. So I said, I will walk boldly in these plans, once You keep your promise. Today, I am still walking boldly because it is no longer about me, but it’s about Him. Everything that I touch, say, do, accomplish, is all for God’s glory. I am of the belief that when we get caught up with fear, nerves, ‘what ifs’, that we are making it about us and therefore removing God from the equation. So instead, shift your perspective; realign your motives; shift the focus to God and His purpose for your life, and watch your confidence explode.
This is a simple story of parts of my life’s journey. Your journey and my journey are not the same, but I do hope that you can learn something from my experience. If nothing else, remember that you are unique and have so much to offer this world. So stop shrinking and start growing in confidence.
With love, KB.