For many years, I had low self-esteem, didn’t like what I looked like, and always compared myself to others, especially those who were complimented on their beauty. I would isolate myself in my room for hours, away from everyone else.
Although I smiled at everything and everyone, I was very insecure and defensive. There were so many ugly sides to me, but I was greatly confident around certain crowds. No one knew what my internal struggles were, they didn’t ask, and I wasn’t forthcoming. In my community, it was frowned upon to seem weak or think that you needed any mental and emotional help. All emotions were harbored. We didn’t say Good morning, I love you, have a nice day, we didn’t pray together unless there was a family gathering and we all held hands while the matriarch said the blessing. However, we did support each other, loaned money, co-signed for things, and visited when one was sick. We didn’t talk about information that needed to be shared or any of our heritage. We were taught how to work hard, attend church and survive. We were fed, had shelter, clothing, and people to look after us. Yeah, that babysitter who’d wait until the parents were gone. It appeared that I had the perfect family. For God’s sake, we were children!! The children were not allowed in the room during adult conversations. They were not allowed to express their feelings or that would be considered as talking back. No one would have believed me if I told them about the babysitter, the family member!!
The kids made fun of me at school because I had to cut grass, strip, and wax floors during my spring and summer breaks. I had no exciting stories to tell when we went back to school. After a while, I think a few teachers noticed that and stop asking the question. I wanted to fit in and be cool so bad that I became a yes person. It was easier to just go along with whatever anyone said. I became influenced by other people’s biases, thoughts, and feelings. I wasn’t a leader!! I saw what others were doing and assumed that was the life I wanted to live. I let kids run over me, bully me and do whatever they wanted to me. There were only a few times where I can recall I defended myself. I didn’t realize that I DISLIKED myself so much that I thought I deserved certain treatment. I had no idea that everything that I encountered during my childhood would affect my adult life in relationships and marriage.
I tried so many things in life that didn’t work for me like they appeared to work for others. At some point in my life, something happened where I was forced to question and face everything I believed in, yes EVERYTHING!! Not being street-savvy, anything that wasn’t like how I was raised or what I taught, I assumed it was WRONG!! I started to develop my own way and again, these things didn’t work for me because it was not in God’s plan for me. As an adult, I am now a firm believer that I need to be who I claim to be for myself, my children, and all those I meet. I won’t be ashamed of my story or where I come from because it’s not the ideal thing. I hope this story can help someone who is or was just like me. An Army leader once said, Words are who you want to be, and actions are who you are… I had to let that sink in for a bit because this was during one of my transitional moments in life. I use that in everyday life now not only for others but myself as well! It has helped me set boundaries and forces me to keep my word because I want to be who I say I am, for myself and others!
If someone had asked me about 10 years ago, who I am, I’m afraid that I would not have been able to tell them, I didn’t know. So, WHO I WAS, had to meet WHO I WANTED TO BE, and WHO I’M NOT and decide WHO I AM!!
WHO I WAS and WHO I’M NOT: I was not beauty or pleasant. I was a liar, cheater, and doormat. I was judgmental and deceptive. I was jealous and insecure. I was molested by a family member and friends of the family. I’ve been a victim of domestic violence in both relationships and marriage. I was depressed and bitter. I was lonely and afraid. I resented a lot of people. I was selfish, envious, and defiant. I was disrespectful. I was hurt. I was in pain and ashamed. I was low self-esteem, self-worth, and minimal value. I was a dead moral compass. I was aggressive and abrasive. I was fearful and ignorant. I was controlling and overbearing. I wasn’t a good daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, or mother! I wasn’t a good woman! I was not a good child of God.
WHO I AM: I’m a confident child of God that’s far from perfect! I am an educated Black woman. I am a good mother of 4 children who all have different fathers. I am a great daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I am a Warrior and Soldier. I am a smile that lights up any room. I am basketball. I am competitive. I am pensive. I am an introvert who doesn’t meet a stranger. I am intelligent, I am a nurturer, educator, helper, and friend! I am love, joy, peace, strength, happiness, and perseverance! I am encouragement and supportive. I am a solution seeker. I am clumsy, silly, and goofy. I go above and beyond to stand out. I am nerdy and intelligent. I am beautiful and wonderfully made. I am contrary. I am rational and I evolve. I am change. I am an overcomer. I am aware and sure of myself. I am good morals and values. I am not easily broken I am still transitioning into the woman God designed me to be.
WHO I WILL BE: I will be victorious because I choose to be! I will overcome and achieve every goal I set before me. I will be a woman who has healthy relationships. I will know how to set healthy boundaries. I will implement and enforce self-care. I will love those around me and never judge another’s the situation. I will be grateful for what I have and be patient for All of God’s blessings he has in store for me. I will be able to forgive easily and work through issues in healthy and positive ways. I will walk through barriers like they don’t exist. I will evaluate every obstacle and pray for discernment. I will change my mindset to see the good in every encounter.
When you self-reflect, be too focused on becoming the best you that you don’t have time to be knocked down! Becoming the best, means fulfilling your dreams and achieving your goals physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by giving it all you got!! It could be going back to school earning that degree, being a better parent, daughter, son or spouse, and even friend!! Or person in general!
Therapy and counseling help so self-reflect often so you can always make changes to the blueprint!
Tchiki Davis, M. P. (2015). Self-Reflection: Definition and How to Self-Reflect. Berkeley SWell-Being Institute, p. 2.