Society tells us that it’s conceited to like ourselves. For someone that grew up with a very low self-esteem, it has taken a lot of work to actually say to myself “hey, I like you”. At times it still makes me feel uncomfortable and the many of my vulnerabilities are still there, but I am slowly growing out of them by fully embracing the blessed life path I’ve been given. It takes a lot of work, so I thought I would challenge myself to document 3 traits that I am most proud of and I challenge you to do some reflections of your own as you read this. Funny how coming up with just three, was hard!
Life’s circumstances forced me to become very strong and independent at a young age. I grew up in a home where I saw things that children should not ever see. Through this, I noticed how my parents had a few personal distractions/issues of their own to deal with. They were loving towards me and did the best to provide, but there were some gaps that I had to cover on my own and there was lots of responsibility to fend for myself from early on; I wrote about some of them in my post Dear Daddy, I forgive you. Looking back, I can appreciate the tough skin it gave me. Over the years, many of life’s circumstances came as big tests, which I was able to pass through sanely, as a result of that prior preparation. I am not easily shaken, which isn’t always a good thing, but I know how to survive.
Nothing haunts me like hurting another person. Although I look tough on the exterior, I am one of the softies. I slip up sometimes, by being irrational and becoming a total biatch, but the guilt always catches up on me. This year, one of my prayers and goals have been to practice kindness more, not only in my external interactions, but also in my internal thoughts (of course I still curse at Jozi taxi drivers under my breath). I see how quickly my son picks up on some of my behaviour, so it’s become even more important for me to build great examples for him.
I grew up in the township of Soweto (read about it here), which was thrilling. At the same time, I had the privilege of being educated at a private school. This meant that I got to interact with people from extremely different backgrounds on a daily basis for many, many years. In my world today, this means that I am able to sit and strike up a conversation with any kind of individual, irrespective their upbringing, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. which is a much-needed trait in our sometimes-intolerant-world. I’m easy going and I enjoy diverse the interactions. This has made me the kind of friend that you can take along to any gathering, without the worry of me being awkward with your nearest and dearest.
That was some much-needed reflection. Life is hard-core and fun and amazing… all at the same time. The pain and vulnerabilities come and go. Appreciate the past and the new seasons in your life and never forget to see the lessons in each one.
Modern Zulu Mom