Every traveller has a life beyond the beautiful travel experiences.
Writing is therapy and sharing experiences can benefit others going through the same situation. This is the first of a series of blogs I call “Power Hungry”. It’s about lessons I’ve learnt from some recent challenges. I hope my experiences and lesson can help you become a better you.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us”. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.
Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. As we let our own light shine we give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates us.”
This quote is so well known and so frequently repeated that it has become a bit of a cliche. However, it resonates with me because of my constant mental struggles.
I’ve struggled with anxiety and self confidence for many years. I won’t go through my entire life story but it’s been a history of me thinking I’m not good enough despite my many achievements. How this manifested itself in my working life is that I would always tone myself down so I don’t intimidate or offend others.
I believe every life struggle teaches us valuable lessons. It is our duty to reflect on the lessons life teaches us and use them to help us grow.
One particular situation really put a lot of things into perspective for me. Without going into too much detail, I had a situation where I was called “Power Hungry” by some former colleagues, hence the title of the blog. I joked about it with some of my other colleagues at the time but the turmoil in my mind was no joke.
Now the reasons why this happened and the people involved are not as important as the lessons those two words taught me. Someone reading this will think what’s the big deal?
To give you perspective, i come from a history of anxiety and feeling inadequate. At the same time, I strive for excellence and results delivery in all that I do. In the context of a career this means, having solid work ethic and of course delivering results. I’m driven by purpose and results not by a need to gain Power. One of my core values is humility and I do not value status or power. I’m also a young black, competent female working in corporate. The struggles that come with this are a conversation for another day. I face a lot of people undermining me, and this is across all races and genders. The people that called me Power Hungry are a black females so even amongst “my kind” I was not good enough, in their view. These thoughts can do all sorts of things to your self confidence.
When you are a young, driven and committed female professional you get called all sorts of names. According to society, you are supposed to fit a particular profile and when you don’t, you get judged and ridiculed. The substance of what you do gets overshadowed by what people believe you should be, what you should be doing doing and how you should do it.
I’ve come to learn that cruel words and actions are a function of other people’s own insecurities and beliefs and often times has nothing to do with who you are. I had to learn this from my situation.
Despite me knowing who I am and knowing the truth. The words Power Hungry put me into a deep depression. I questioned myself and my value system, how can people get me completely wrong? There must be something wrong with me, I thought. I also blamed myself for allowing these people to get to me so it was just a self perpetuating cycle.
I was in a very dark place and It was affecting my family and I eventually decided to get help. I went to see a psychologist who started to help me see that my thoughts were not rational and were not based on facts but also to stop being my own worst enemy.
It is with this push in the right direction that I started to work on myself. One of the first things I needed to do is to forgive myself for being human. I hurt, I make mistakes, and it’s ok.
Next step was to make sure I remove myself from the toxic people and their words. Setting boundaries. For me, in my depressed state, this seemed impossible so I decided to find another job. Whether this worked is a story for another day. Not everyone has the luxury of doing this so you will need to set boundaries and put yourself first. Remove yourself from toxic colleagues and friends. Teach people how to treat you. What they can and can’t bring to you is driven mostly by you. This was a painful but freeing realization.
Then I had to work on loving and accepting myself for who I am. I’m still on this path of self love and self acceptance, it takes time. God made me this way. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Some days I believe it and some days I have to push to think of anything positive about myself.
This biggest lesson of all was really about putting myself first. This, I realised was not being selfish. When I was depressed, I could not be fully present with my family. This affected them negatively. So if I take care of myself there is so much more of me to share.
My journey still continues and I think I still have a long way to go. I don’t have all the answers but I thank God everyday for my life and the wisdom that comes with facing challenges. There is a lot more to share about the lessons learnt but let’s stop here for now.
I will continue to share my journey with you. Please share any insights, stories and advice. Let’s help each other heal and grow.
Till next time…