Friday, March 2, 2012

Self-Esteem Series 1: In the Beginning...

Warning: Long Post Alert!

Hello Lovely Readers,

            Let’s just skip the part where I neglected this blog for almost a month and get back to being friends? Please? You forgive me now? Okay - thanks. Let’s hug on it now :D

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had some pretty intense internal struggles that God is still molding me through... the biggest has been self-esteem. I’ve wanted to write about it for a while because this is something that I know I’ve always grappled with. Maybe this is something you have dealt with or are dealing with and you’ll like to share your experiences with us here? Maybe you’ve never struggled with it and maybe you want to share your frame of strengthened mind with us? I’m not writing this as someone who has overcome, because I know as long as I’m on this side of heaven, I’ll have to keep fighting thorns in my side that continually reminds me that HIS Grace is sufficient for me (1 Cor 12:9)... and that I am more than a conqueror!!! (Imagine that? Not just a conqueror, but MORE than a conqueror. Does anyone have a noun that describes someone who is more than a conqueror? I know I don’t know one...)

            My dear friends - D, M, A and I will be sharing our wonderful stories through the next couple of weeks of moments in times when we were pretty low and how He came through to remind us of truths that are solid irrespective of how we feel. I hope you read and enjoy and come back each week through the month of March to share in our testimonies.

Remain Blessed,
Mwajim Al.

                                                In the Beginning by Mwajim Al.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the very first moment I began to think less of myself... I can remember being scared of the neighbors’ dog when I was three... I can remember the first time I climbed out of my bedroom window to play with the neighbors’ kids when I was four because I didn’t have siblings to play with... I remember my cousins making fun of me because of the way I spoke when we first returned to Nigeria... I have distinct memories that stand out from childhood... but I can’t remember the first pin of low self-esteem. Maybe that is a good thing, not to remember a single moment when such a seed was planted. However, that bothers me more... it makes me think that it was a gradual build-up from friends, family members, television shows... of how I view myself. Not to say that people always said or did things to bring me down on purpose... but personal perspective and my reaction to things were not always with the lightest of feelings...

            What I do remember is the first time my mum reacted to my view of self .This was probably in my early teen years. I can’t recall what it was I said... most probably me comparing myself to someone and thinking I was less because I didn’t have what I coveted. I remember her being so upset and saying out loud that she wondered where I got that perspective of self from. It was then that she became more rigorous with her trademark saying to us as kids. I used to think it was really annoying whenever I would complain about something and she would say: “You are different...” and then she would repeat it and wait for us to complete the sentence... “ You are what?” and I would grudgingly reply “... different.” I hated that. Being different meant I had to accept that I could not have Simbi’s nose, or Aisha’s hair or Patience’s skin tone. Being different meant that I would probably get a different college education from my home mates, move out of home at seventeen or not get to see my family as much as I would love to. It took me a while to accept my differences as unique... as beautiful... and as mine.

            Perception of self goes a long way in allowing what makes you and what breaks you... and sadly to say, some “friends” are not in employed in the building up process. Sadly, that took me a while to realize... and even longer to realize that the people you surround yourself also reflects on your thoughts, and who you are... well, except if you are either a very-strong-willed person or live in a bubble :D I was neither of those growing up. So on the one hand, you have heavy societal influence shaping and affecting my perception of self which outweighed all the good and the strong efforts my parents vested in me. The funny thing about that was how strong I looked on the outside, while on the inside I was squirming and running and hiding and hoping no one would notice me because then they would realize that the truth I thought about myself... that I’m not good enough...

            Then college came. My emancipation as I like to call it at times... My friend D always reminds me that I once told her I was a flower blooming slowly! I don’t know how it happened but somehow I began to work hard to accept myself... it was either I accept myself or die trying... My small stature, my dark skin, my flyaway hair, myself... all mine... nobody else’s... all mine. And for the longest time, I thought that was what I needed - fortifying myself to be strong for me. After all if I wasn’t strong for me, then who would be? Who would hold me if I decided to be in shambles and all broken up? 

            One the one hand, I had all this self-buffering up to do just so I would not let anyone’s words bring me down, or any situation put daggers into my heart... on the other hand, because I grew up hearing Bible stories and striving to believe in Jesus “so I wouldn’t go to hell”, I was trying to see if God said anything about me loving me... me accepting me. I always remembered Luke 10:27 (NIV):

“He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all of your soul, all your strength and with all your mind’. And ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”

Somehow, the ‘Love your neighbor’ part always clicked... I HAVE to love people; I HAVE to put them first... I HAVE to please them... even if it means I get pushed down, even if it means they take it for granted... I mean after all, I will get my reward in heaven... RIGHT? Somehow, the ‘... as yourself’... never resonated, never clicked.

            A lot happened before I came to the above realizations... and the truths that have always been but I’d never accepted till recently. I will expound more on those truths and how I came to them in the final installment of this series.

            Happy Reading!!!


  1. This post is timely because not so long ago I was dealing with this issue and had a talk with my mum about it, I found that during that time speaking the Word of God over who He made me to be helped and making positive affirmations.
    Planning to blog about it too, thanks for sharing :-)

  2. very good read

  3. Recently I believe God guided me to one scripture that supports loving yourself:

    Proverbs 11:17