#MySelfEsteemAndI The Face I Never Loved to See

Sometime in December 2014, I had a date with a guy, who would eventually become my boyfriend for a little while. We were going for a wedding and I had nothing to wear—literally no aso-ebi slaying outfit to put on. I was in full panic mode until I called my mum and my elder sister. Together they rustled up a fantastic outfit for me. Anyone who saw me that day would never have guessed that except for the shoes and the underwear I had on, nothing was mine.

I put on a bit of makeup but I didn’t look good enough (at least I didn’t think so). I cleaned and reapplied so many times that at the end of the day I just gave up and went to meet my date; I had already kept him waiting for a while. I remember that day clearly, he was all smiles when he saw me coming down the stairs but I was full of doubts. What if’s, what about’s. I didn’t look good enough.  Everyone spoke about how nice I looked that day but I just couldn’t accept that I looked good with makeup that was less than ‘on fleek’ and clothes that didn’t look like they were made for me.

I took a lot of pictures with his phone (I had to change my dp! I was going on a date) and I deleted most because I didn’t look nice—I would have deleted all but he was upset that I would delete the pictures that he felt were nice. So I stopped, but the insecurities didn’t stop.

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As impeccable as my date was, I didn’t have fun. Not because he wasn’t amazing or anything but because I could count so many things that were wrong with me; I was thinking of how big the wrapper was because it was my mum’s and I was wondering if the Buba really looked nice on me since it was my little sisters.

Dancing wasn’t even an option; I was too worried about how stiff I will look to everyone. The only time I danced in public was when I was with my friends. It was easy to hide among them as they are really good dancers, it is always a blast with them. For the while, we were in conversation and just being us, I forget my insecurities and flaws.

I was scrolling through my library yesterday and I came across one of the pictures from that wedding. I had to do a double-take; I mean I didn’t realise how beautiful I looked.  Looking back, all the insecurities and fault finding robbed me of having fun and turning up at that wedding.

Low self-esteem can take a lot from you if you allow it. It not only takes your confidence, it takes the fun out of life. It takes away years and happy memories from you. It cripples you till you lack the capacity to think and stand on your own

My name is Adebanke and I refuse to lose to my demons.

#MySelfEsteemandI Harley Dabbs Surviving Burns and Low Self Esteem

Man judges the appearance while God looks at the heart of men. This scripture couldn’t be truer in the case of Harley Dabbs. She has been a victim of bullying for the most part of her life and the reason is simple: she looks very different from the average person.

“At 14 I started getting depressed – I hated the way I looked and wanted to die. I contemplated suicide numerous times. I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror at myself. At the time I didn’t feel okay with myself, going to school or just out in public was very hard for me. I would even wear coats and pants during the summer. I just didn’t want to be seen. I couldn’t handle the stares and comments people would make.”

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In spite of all these happening around her, Harley was always trying to find a way to make her life happier. She got tired of feeling the way she did about herself and realised this negative person wasn’t her and what happened to her, happened for a reason.

“God allowed me to live and I believe He allowed this – I’m supposed to help others, burned or not, realise they’re beautiful regardless of what society portrays.”

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“June 5, 1997, I was 2 1/2 years old. It was just another normal summer day. I was taking a nap in the back room and my little sister was asleep in the living room. My parents were outside with some friends. One of them had just happened to see smoke coming from the house. She ran in to get us but could only get to Sierra due to the smoke and fire blocking her from getting to me. My dad had to pour water on himself and knock in the back door to get me. He ended up throwing me out the door because the floors started to cave. My mama gave me CPR until the medics arrived. I was sent to two different hospitals before I was airlifted to Shriners in Cincinnati, Ohio where I spent at least three months, including my third birthday. I was burned over 80% of my body and have gone through numerous surgeries and I still do at the age of 21. The cause of the fire was aluminium wiring from the washer machine and dryer. I battled with my physical appearance starting at the age of 14 and was picked on all throughout school. I still am through social media from time to time but now that I’ve accepted myself, I only let the negative feedback I get build me up.”

“I want to be a burn survivor model; I want to be an advocate for all who face some kind of insecurity, disorder, etc. I want to be a spokesperson, a motivational speaker. I want to spread burn survivor awareness, my story. I want to start a campaign, a charity. I want to reach millions and millions of people who need to know that it DOES get better, that they WILL survive. I want my voice to be heard. One day, I hope to be all of these things and start all of these things. One day, you’ll see my name in lights, you’ll see a difference I made in this world, even if it’s small. One Day.”

#MySelfEsteemandI Work and Self Esteem

Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of healthy self-esteem they have. There is something about been given more responsibility and being able to FULFIL those roles that add to your self-esteem. I volunteer in the church, and it has helped with my self-esteem.

One of the ways to overcome low self-esteem is to help others, this cannot be over-emphasized. Helping others can help take away attention from yourself and when you make people smile, it’s just something that the negative voices in your head cannot take away.

I remember my last job, I liked it. I had people around me who became family; they taught me a lot and helped me voice out my opinions. They always probed till I spoke. I hardly ever complained about my job; I was always very quiet. I had a lot to say but I could never really say it; I didn’t want to be too forward and I didn’t want to hurt anyone. Looking back now, I realise that I should have said something instead of holding everything in. Saying something would have given everyone an opportunity to explain further or even consider where I was coming from. I kept so many things hidden until one day I erupted. Good grief I erupted. It was like a volcano that hadn’t been active for a decade; I burst forth on every side.

People with low self-esteem do not know how to voice their opinions. In other words, we aren’t assertive. Assertiveness requires boldness that most people with low self-esteem do not have. They are often too fearful of upsetting others, and they are also too fearful to ask for what they want or share their feelings. Instead, they tend to become passive until their anger builds at which point they can become aggressive-defensive, sarcastic, brusque, or rude, even violent.

Anyway, I got a new job and I was pretty ecstatic about it and now I’m wondering if it is right for me. It is close to what I wanted to do— I get to write and I get to meet a whole lot of people. As much as I want to enjoy this process, I can’t seem to enjoy it. The second guessing and the ‘what- ifs’ are choking the life out of me.  Tears fall and fear grips me all the time. Will I be able to deliver today? Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? Have I just been lying to myself all this while?

It has been a very trying time for me. I can’t seem to get anything done. Although I understand that I am new to the role and I don’t have enough experience with it, but I cannot help but wonder if this is really me.

There have been a lot of shouts, complaints, corrections, all welcomed, but it’s starting to feel like a routine. Anytime I go to my boss’ office, I tend to brace myself for an oncoming assault. And so I wonder exactly how good I am.

Hyper-vigilance is something people like me deal with. We feel inadequate, as though we don’t fit in, and are consequently very fearful of repercussions. We watch others in an effort to figure out what to do and say, what to wear what seems to work.

The feeling of inadequacy has many times given me the choice of walking away. But, I refuse to walk away; you see, I refuse to be a coward, I refuse to let low self-esteem beat me, I refuse to be a failure and I refuse to continue feeling like I am not good enough.

Some days are better than others, but when I feel as if it’s too many demons for me to bear, I always talk to someone. Talking always makes me feel better about myself.

There are many ways our self-esteem gets battered at work. The demand for productivity has grown so significantly that no one feels they are doing enough; everyone looks at the undone workload and feels inadequate. Nobody said the journey was going to be easy, but here are a few tips on how to boost your self-esteem at work:

Eat Sensibly and Exercise

Practice Gratitude

Acknowledge Yourself

Practice Positive Self-Talk

If you are currently experiencing challenges on your job, I strongly urge you to employ even just one or two of these tips and I’m confident that if you commit to them they will support you in shifting your perspective, increasing your energy and adding some grace to the process!

Image Source stocksnap.io