Growing up, I had verrrrryyyyy low self-esteem. I never thought I was beautiful. I never thought I was intelligent. I longed for someone to affirm me.. to tell me I was beautiful, capable, intelligent, enough..
As I grew older and matured, I realized that I did not want to continue living my life with low self-esteem. I wanted for once in my life to feel bold, strong, confident, intelligent, beautiful, fearless, and unapologetically me. So, I decided to do something about it.
I am still on this journey of unearthing the bold, confident, strong, beautiful, fearless and unapologetic woman that I am. However, I have learned some things along the way that I would like to share with you.
On today’s episode of “Take A Shot with Emem Joy Emah”, I share with you 5 ways I learned to build my self-esteem.
Did you catch Ciara’s level up video?! If you haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you have. I absolutely LOVE that video/song. (welllll… actually, I just love Ciara so I am definitely biased).
But what I love more than the song and video is the message of “leveling up”.
To me, leveling up is the willing act of releasing everything that weighs you down in order to evolve into a greater version of yourself.
That greater version of yourself is unapologetic.
That greater version of yourself realizes he or she owes NO ONE ANYTHING.
That greater version of yourself knows his or her worth.
That greater version of yourself is committed to leaving a mark on this world by pursuing purpose.
That greater version of yourself is the person you’ve always dreamed of becoming.
BUTTT let’s keep it alllll the way REAL…
Getting to this place is not easy. It requires making some hard decisions. Sometimes, it requires loss.
Dissolving a friendship can be a very painful experience. However, you will find that as you are evolving, not everyone can go where you are going. And truthfully, that’s a tough pill to swallow especially when you expect a life-long friendship.
But often, this is what leveling up demands. It requires taking honest inventory and realizing when two roads are beginning to diverge.
On today’s episode, I share with you three signs that your friendship might be over.
Some years back, I remember listening to a radio DJ and heard him mocking those that were in a quarter life crisis. On one hand, I understood that it was just entertainment and he was doing his job. On the other hand, I thought, “how many people think this way?!” How many people actually think of a quarter life crisis as a mockery and not an actual CRISIS?!
Transitioning to adulthood is not an easy feat but when you are in the thick of it, with NO sense of direction — it’s confusing, stressful, and can feel like your whole world is upside down. It feels like you’ve been thrown into adulthood to figure crap out on your own. To make things worse, loved ones have their plethora of reaalllllyyyyyyy annoying and stressful opinions and questions they like to hurl such as….
What are going to do when you graduate?
When are you going to get married?
When are you going to get a real job?
______________________________ you fill in the blank. I’m sure you’ve got TONS more.
What bothers me about this is how normalized its become. It’s almost like going through a quarter life crisis is a right of passage in your twenties. Welllllll, I don’t believe It’s normal. Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s a state of CRISIS. Having NO idea what to do with your life, no blueprint to follow, and expectations from loved ones to somehow figure it all out on your own is CRAZY.
What’s EXTRA annoying?! All the algebra, geometry, and calculus we learned can’t provide solutions to ANY of these problems. Hmmm… I wonder why?!?!
As you can probably tell, I am VERY passionate about this. I am passionate because I went through this and I HATED every second of it. I am grateful to God and the amazing group of mentors He placed in my life to help me walk out of my crisis.
As always, it is my absolute delight to share what I know in hopes that someone struggling with this can find some hope.
Throughout my life, I have been obsessed with the idea of purpose. I have always had a desire to do something meaningful and impactful with my life, but while growing up, I wasn’t quite sure what that was. I often felt lost, confused, and lacked direction.
I remember kneeling by my bedside asking God to help me find what I was supposed to do with my life. I had a great hunger to know.
During my college years, I went through a very traumatic experience. That experience became a turning point in my journey to FINALLY gaining clarity about my purpose.
Friend, I hope that as you hear my story, you would be ignited on your purpose journey. I hope that my experience ignites a desire to believe again, to dream again, and against all the odds KNOW that you too are destined for something wonderful.
My sister and I were having another one of our insightful conversations when she brought up a powerful lesson my father taught her.
She wanted to ask him for something but was hesitant to ask because she didn’t want to hear him say no.
My father perplexed at her hesitancy, took the time to teach her a powerful lesson that stuck with her and has gotten her through some of the most challenging seasons of her life. He said:
“If you want something, just ask. Don’t be afraid of hearing no. Has a no ever killed you?! If you hear a no, at least now you know.”
When my sister shared this with me, it felt like it was the missing piece to my puzzle. It caused me to realize my fear of hearing no (really, my fear of rejection) was holding me back from getting the things I wanted. I immediately felt a release to simply ask.
This week, I challenge you to ask. Speak up and ask God, family members, friends, co-workers, supervisors, and even strangers for what you want. Remember, the worst you can hear is no but at least you asked.
Be honest with me here, have you at any point in your life heard these words: “love the hustle,” or “fall in love with the process”? Better yet, have you heard “the hustle is sexy”? Yes, you heard that right, the hustle is something to be sexually attracted to. Where do people come up with this stuff?!
OK remember, we are being totally honest here. When you heard these statements, what was your response? Did you snarl with a loud “shut up!” or did you quietly roll your eyes? If you did either of the two, or both, I am not judging you. In fact, I think we might secretly be best friends.
Hustle. I hated that word.
I heard it everywhere! Rapper Ace Hood repeatedly told me to “hustle hard”, Rick Ross proudly declared “every day he was hustling” and don’t get me started on when Beyonce defined diva as a “female version of a hustler.” It was glorified and romanticized and I fell for it. I interpreted praise of the word as something to intentionally pursue and find pleasure in.
I’m sure you are not surprised to find that as I began stepping out in faith to pursue my purpose, I discovered the word to be the opposite of glamour and glory. To my utter shock and dismay, I found hustling to be difficult, painful, grimy and messy.
I found the following to be true about the hustle:
The hustle is rolling up your sleeves, getting on your hands and knees and getting the dirt under your nails.
The hustle is painful waiting. It is endurance. It is planting your seed and waiting for days, months, and even years before you actually see any fruit.
The hustle is constantly engaging in a battle to give up, as temptation itself breathes heavily down your neck providing you with every possible logical excuse.
The hustle is filled with many moments of doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism.
The hustle is filled with moments of loneliness and isolation.
The hustle is filled with cycles of anxiety and depression.
The hustle is filled with opposition even from the ones you love the most
I could keep going but I trust you get the point…
After discovering what REAL hustling entailed, I began to hate the word and defiantly opposed every person that dared to even mention the word. Yup! I took it there. I was childish.
But as I continued in my hustle, I realized there was a reason it was and still is so glorified. I came to learn that the hustle had a purpose — that it was actually my servant and my teacher if I allowed it. I found that if I embraced the hustle and stopped complaining about it; if I stayed the course and refused to give up, I would find something remarkable — a better me.
So I did and continue to do just that. I made up my mind that there was no turning back. That come what may, I will see this through to the end because the difficulties I face in this hustle is not about me. Rather, it is about the lives I get the honor of impacting.
So, if you’d have me, I would like to share three ways the hustle is radically changing my life.
3 ways the hustle is radically changing my life:
1.) The hustle is teaching me.
The hustle is teaching me to stabilize my faith in something much greater than myself, God. It is teaching me to reject doubt and fear and believe that with God on my side, anything, absolutely anything, is possible.
The hustle is teaching me discipline. Truthfully, I was the queen of staying in bed, snuggled up in my big golden comforter, watching netflix or scrolling through my social media timelines. Comfort was my home. The hustle is teaching me that the dreams I long to be fulfilled is on the other side of my comfort.
The hustle is teaching me how to be unapologetic. I am learning that in my quest to see and live in my promised land, people will rise with their unsolicited opinions. This has been a major problem for me because I grew up learning to value the opinion of others even to my detriment. The hustle is shedding me of that. It is teaching me to walk boldly in my truth and letting those who are offended by my confidence stay mad. Their offense has more to do with them than me anyway.
2.) The hustle is helping me.
The hustle has revealed that there are certain things I must overcome in order to see my dreams fulfilled. These things are mental barriers that hinder my personal growth and development. Lack of overcoming these obstacles comes at a high cost. The cost? Seeing my dreams left unfulfilled — a cost too high for me to pay. Thus, the hustle places me in situations where I am forced to deal with these mental challenges head on. Here are just some of the challenges the hustle is helping me overcome:
The hustle is helping me overcome my fear of rejection.
The hustle is helping me overcome my fear of success.
The hustle is helping me overcome my low self-esteem.
The hustle is helping me overcome my fear of failure.
The hustle is helping me overcome my anxiety.
The hustle is helping me overcome being easily intimidated.
3.) The hustle is transforming me.
As I am on this journey, I am being transformed. The hustle is transforming me into the woman I always longed to be; A kind, loyal, caring, tender, compassionate, thoughtful, patient, strong, loving, powerful, disciplined, and unapologetic woman.
This is why I no longer hate the word but rather, I am thankful for it. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t quite love it yet, but I don’t hate it anymore either.
Now it’s your turn…
How the hustle can change your life.
This is available for you too. The hustle is designed to break you and then to make you.
It is designed to show you what you are capable of. It is designed to show you your strength. But you can only experience this if you don’t quit.
Yes, things are painfully difficult, I understand that. But if you learn the art of diligence — meaning, if you make up your mind not to turn back — no matter what — you too will see yourself begin to change. As YOU begin to change, so will the world around you.