How confidence can save your life

How confidence can save your life

IN SUMMARY

  • This isn’t a place I suddenly came to. It had been a sojourn that started by consciously taking the decision to make so I could get to this wonderfully free and privileged space.
  • Life is to be lived fully and enjoyed by all women but it is a right that each woman must individually fight to defend fiercely by walking away before it is too late. Mustering the confidence to walk out early saves life just as a stitch in time does save nine.

I was one of those children who didn’t speak much. To describe me as a person of few words would be blatant dishonesty. I simply didn’t have the confidence to speak up. I know this sounds almost unbelievable of a person who gets paid to speak but it is true.

Back then, I featured fairly prominently in primary and high school. Seemingly simple things like answering questions in class or picking up a prize for good performance in the presence of so many people on prize-giving day were torturous times for me.I was a prefect at some point but quickly resigned from the coveted role citing inadequate time to study as my reason. That simply wasn’t done — most people would have given a limb to become prefects.There was a powerful badge that came with it. I’m sure I outwardly looked confident and probably even on the arrogant side to some. That could not have been further from the truth. Privately, I craved the recognition and attention that came with achievement. The attention offered some strong albeit temporary waves of self-assurance that I rode for as long as I could. This went on for longer than I care to admit.

Set solid base

Later I gained a better understanding of myself. I began to comprehend what confidence really is and what it is made up of.

While skill, accomplishment, and leading at this, that or the other certainly boost it, those alone do not make up the half of it but they sure mask the lack of it. They do not set a solid enough base for confidence to grow and thrive on.

You could say that I finally stopped caring about what others thought about me. In fact, it ceased to matter whether or not they had any thoughts about me.

I started to become more of the person that I wanted to be than the person I was taught and socialised to become. I freed myself from others’ expectation and aligned the person I am with my thinking about who I wanted to become. I decided that my life is mine to live as I desire it.

It came through the difficult but certainly not impossible process of embracing the contradicting ways in which my thinking defied my knowledge of what is normal and acceptable.

This isn’t a place I suddenly came to. It had been a sojourn that started by consciously taking the decision to make so I could get to this wonderfully free and privileged space.

The space in which I fully own the activities I am involved in, the people I fraternise with and the situations that I allow myself to be caught up in. I took back ownership of every aspect of me; mind, body and spirit.

If I and those like me could share this with more men and women, we would have much fewer if not no cases of beastly treatment of women like the shocking case in Masii that caused a national outrage last week. Unfortunately, by that time, a productive life had been dealt a life-changing irreversible blow.

Unfortunately we were taught that we should and sometimes must do things we do not want to do, live with people who threaten our very existence and get caught up in situations that fall far below the respectful, dignified and loving treatment of our persons.

This is the miserable survival that most of us are relegated to. It is the sorry way in which we make the news headlines — sadly, as victims, not as the purposeful and productive people that we are. I write this from personal experience on exactly how damaging domestic violence is to a woman.

Confidence becomes a foreign word in your vocabulary, you live beholden to your aggressor’s mood-swings. That is not a life in any language. It is a death sentence that we simply are not empowered to defend ourselves from because those who could defend us urge us to stay on in the name of keeping the sanctity of marriage.

Life is to be lived fully and enjoyed by all women but it is a right that each woman must individually fight to defend fiercely by walking away before it is too late. Mustering the confidence to walk out early saves life just as a stitch in time does save nine.

Fellow womenfolk, be confident in your ability to live beyond the animals who gain their confidence by killing you. The good news is confidence is a learned trait. If I could walk away and live to write this, so can you.

Seraphine is an expert on Attitude & Human Potential. sera@iuponline.com. | @SRuligirwa

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