When I gaze into the mirror, I see an intelligent beautiful black woman. I notice a smile that lights up dark souls. When I search harder, I discover beauty deeper than the eyes can identify. As I gaze longer, I find a confident person ready to conquer the world.
A few years ago, I struggled looking into that mirror. That mirror taunted my soul. As I stared at my image, there reflected self-doubt, lack of motivation, shame, depression and oppression. I hated that person I’d become. Not because I was a bad person, but I believed I wasn’t good enough. The feeling of not being worthy had become dominate in my life.
Naturally, life had thrown me several sour lemons. We’ve all heard of the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Funny quote. It fails to include the process of making lemonade and its side effects. It doesn’t include the hurt, the struggle nor the pain. I couldn’t find the recipe for finding your lost identity or perhaps a guide to overcome the guilt. Surely there’s something in the mixture for sleepless nights and worry. Many women struggle with those demons. Whether its physical, financial, emotional or mental. Lack of self-confidence doesn’t discriminate.
How did I overcome the darkness in my life and increase my self-confidence? It’s simple. • I incorporated prayer and mediation within my daily lifestyle. Even in our darkest hour, God is with us. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10).”
• A dear friend of mine introduced me to the vision board. I increased my faith by visualizing what I wanted out of life. “There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).”
• I stepped outside my comfort zone. Many times, we underestimate ourselves because of fear. Don’t allow fear to place limitations in your life. You can go as far as you’re willing to allow yourself to go. “Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous (Joshua 1:9).”
• Set yourself up for success. Wake up everyone morning preparing yourself for success. Put your best clothes on, fix your hair and make-up. Set small goals and see them through. Network with people who make you uncomfortable and out of your league. Study their behavior and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Invest in yourself. Spend a least an hour a day alone focusing on you and your dreams. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).”
• Help someone else in need. This can be a little tricky. I suggest praying on whom you should assist. You want to surround yourself with positive people as well as help someone who will not bring you down. Invest your time, talents and treasures wisely. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter, become a big sister, tutor the child next door or become a mentor. Your help is desired anywhere. Helping others relaxes the mind and allows you to worry less about your problems. “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord (Isaiah 66:9).”
• Most importantly, love yourself. Every day encourage yourself. Tell yourself that you are beautiful, how worthy you are to yourself and others. Walk in confidence. Smile regardless of the circumstance. Live, laugh and love. “She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future (Proverbs 31:25).”