My Quest to Be ‘Cool’: Dealing With Low Self Esteem
I was born in Sekondi to a nurse and a farmer. At about 5 years, we moved to Komenda, a small town in the Central Region of Ghana. Even though I was one of the best students in primary school, I always felt ‘little’ when we travelled to cities like Cape Coast, Accra and Takoradi.
I felt everyone there was more beautiful, more intelligent, spoke better English and was generally better than me. I had a similar experience in secondary school, always looking down on myself and feeling I was not good enough. Oh how I wished I were an ‘Accra girl’ because I thought they were so cool! Yet, when my family finally moved to Accra, I still didn’t feel cool. On top of this I didn’t even have a boyfriend! If only I could get a boyfriend, then I will be cool like the other girls… I thought.
In University, I met some really wonderful friends, some of whom were from ‘rich’ families and I thought being friends with them will make me feel cool. I didn’t. I had the opportunity to start travelling abroad and I was certain that when I returned, I most definitely will feel cool and belong in a ‘cool girls click’. Well, I did have cool friends before and after travelling, still, I didn’t feel like I was cool and ‘there’ yet. Oh by the way, in my third year I finally had a real boyfriend (now my husband). Not only that, he lived abroad and hence I occasionally went to visit him which should have made me feel cool, or? Well, guess what, I still didn’t!
Even as a career woman working in an international four-star hotel as a manager, I looked down on myself. Once my General Manager called me into his office and asked why I never came asking for a pay raise and promotion when other managers always came to him with such requests. My response was ‘I want to earn it, not ask for it’. That was the half-truth. The real reason was that I felt I was not good enough to deserve more. I convinced myself that ‘I was not there yet’. I used to look at my friends who were lawyers, doctors or pursuing something big and wished I could do that too. I also wanted to be ‘somebody’. To make matters worse, I was just getting pregnant and fat! After having my two kids, I thought getting an MBA will make me finally feel cool and ‘important’, yet I felt no different after completion. Even with a handsome husband and two adorable kids who doted on me, I thought I had very little value. Interestingly, at various stages in my life I would meet people who were so impressed by and thought highly of me, yet I never saw what they saw. Mostly when people even complimented me, I doubted them and thought they were just trying to be nice.
How I found my ‘cool’
Recently, I was in a certain meeting and had to tell my story. One of the persons present asked me ‘but why did you have low self-esteem when you went to some of the best schools: Archbishop Porter Girls’, University of Ghana and Paris Graduate School of Management and had all these international exposure’ I told them frankly: ‘I don’t know’. It was after this encounter that I started pondering on why I really had such a low self-esteem. That was when it hit me! I had it all wrong; I was looking for value in the wrong places. I thought being rich, a prominent lawyer or doctor, speaking good English, having a Masters, dressing beautifully, having a hot boyfriend, etc was what would give me value! I had been calling myself a Christian and going to church all my life, yet it took Marianne Williamson’s poem ‘Our Deepest Fear’ to open my eyes to the value I already had. It was this part;
‘You ask yourself, who are you to be brilliant, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD’ Bam!!! Funny thing was, I had been using this poem in training sessions for so long and yet I still didn’t even get it. I had to read it over and over again to finally have the veil removed from my eyes! Think about it; why will a child of the Most High God, Creator of the universe and more, look for value and for that matter validation from earthly creations? Now that I look back, I realise it was really unfortunate for me to think that way. Ever since I made this discovery some two years ago, my life has not been the same again. Yes, there are times I still feel I am not good enough, but now I remind myself of whose I am when that thought comes to me. When a negative voice in my head asks ‘who do you think you are to inspire others?’, I respond ‘I am a Child of God!’
Why do I feel the need to share this today? Well, I have had the opportunity to speak on many platforms to women, men, youth and children. I have also interviewed many fabulous women who literally awe me. Interestingly, I find that a lot of these people I encounter are having internal battles trying to find their value in this life, trying to be cool so that other people will accept them. I know exactly how that feels like and it just breaks my heart. This is why I feel so passionate when speaking with people about the subject.
Dearest reader, no one can validate you expect your creator. Being a Christian, I believe I was created by God and hence now I have found my ‘cool’ in Him so that when negative voices arise to distract and slow me down, I can remind them of whose I am. I want to strongly recommend this to you as well if you are in a similar boat as I was in. Bless you!
Author (https://goo.gl/pv4Y7z) and Founder of The Fabulous Woman Network