Over a decade ago, I must say that I came from a very sheltered household.
I say this because my parents showered me with a form of love that kept me from realising that the world was much bigger than just myself. This meant that I grew up spoiled and self-centred. I grew up thinking that the world revolved around just me, myself and I.
As I progressed up to Primary School, I was thrown into an environment where I had to learn the hard way that I was not the centre of attention. It was hard to change my whole perspective of sharing and losing when I was always given the best as the youngest child of three.
Progressing up to Secondary School (ages 13 to 16), I went through a lot of ups and downs. I found who my true friends were and made a lot of mistakes while learning. Even then, my childish dream was to fit into a category of someone that I was not. This meant staying in an environment that I was forced to be in, to be made to feel like I was inadequate and to feel like the thorn amongst the roses.
This was the start of my journey to self-development.
Lessons on people worked out in my favour with the guidance of my charismatic father who placed people over profits and he knew how to make others smile just by making them feel good about themselves.
My father was my first mentor.
I was 17 when I started self-reflecting on life. And I mean self-reflecting on a large scale that changed my whole perspective. If you’d known me 10 years ago to now, I would say that I see the biggest change in myself in intangible ways.
I slightly suffered from anxiety when I was 17, to the point where I used to think that people were looking at me. I enjoyed having every little bit of attention and I loved being the centre of attention, but at some point I would start to feel as though I was embarrassing myself and it sparked a whole great deal of anxiety inside of me that I used to cry to myself because I felt embarrassed.
I joined the emcee club to overcome those hardships but it took a turn for the worse when favouritism played up and I was once again, made to feel inadequate. I started to seclude myself from groups when I realised that I preferred to work alone. The people around me noticed the difference and while some felt sorry for me, I didn’t feel sorry for myself.
It gave me time to reflect on myself. It gave me time and an opportunity to really understand why life was the way it was. I used to think about why it was happening to me and how I could change things. I would take a two hour walk walking from one end of the city to the other end just reflecting on my day. I started people-watching — my favourite past-time now.
People-watching gave me the perfect opportunity to really learn how interactions worked. I watched how everyone impacted everyone and I learned that while I was no centre of attention, I could make significant impact on people’s lives.
I wrote my first post on human interactions back in 2016.
I wrote this while people-watching and when I asked my father to read it, he said it was an impressive read and he was proud of me for writing something like this.
This motivated me to write more and more about human interactions, psychology and people. The more I wrote, the more I started to understand. I became more emotionally intelligent because I self-taught myself why things happened and why things were the way they were.
As time went on, my views on life started to change.
When something wasn’t going my way, I stopped crying over it and asking myself why my life sucked. Instead, I looked at it and asked myself, “What can I do to change this situation?”
This helped me react better in situations. My motto in most situations now is “If there is a solution, there is no need to panic.” This frustrated my mother a lot because her understanding differed from mine, and while there was nothing wrong with how she looked at life, it clashed with my own outlook because I knew that there were always solutions to every problem in life.
While my outlook improved, my self-esteem did not because I had still not found myself. I was still trying to be someone I was not.
This changed as I moved to Australia and my father, my first mentor, passed away. It got worse over time when I met my first boyfriend. He emotionally abused me for months and despite advice from close friends and family, I let him come back to me over and over again which caused my self-esteem to plummet down even further.
The moment I found strength to completely remove him from my life, my self-esteem skyrocketed. I started to perform at work. Within two years, I had my “glow up” in a physical and intangible sense. I got into a traditional business with my mother and it became clear that I was good at it and had a huge talent for it.
It also helped that I was a rational decision maker as a result of my emotional intelligence from my self-reflection over the years. My motto “If there is a solution, there is no need to panic” became a big influence on my decision-making and my relationships with people in business. It showed them that I was grounded and professional.
Now, I have new mentors who are ready to mentor me in life, business and relationships.
I have new obstacles to overcome and I’ve quickly identified them as I try to work it through with them. I don’t stop learning and my respect for my new mentors grow each day because of how far they’ve gotten in business and in life and they teach me to dream bigger. They teach me to manage and discipline myself and they teach me more life lessons than I could imagine myself to have.
In 10 years, I’ve seen a significant intangible change in myself.
In 10 years, I’ve gone from victim-mentality to open-minded.
In 10 years, I’ve understood that life is a lesson in itself and you never stop learning.
A look back, 10 years ago.