I was recently having a conversation with my dear friend about women in their singleness. Many individuals at some point in their life whilst being single made it the ultimate goal of desiring a man or a woman to like them. This started from an early age for me and I remembered being in my teenage years, doing the utmost to make myself presentable for a guy to like me. It went even as far as going to church and hoping my little crush from Sunday School would notice the pretty “frock” I was wearing. As I was in deep reflection about this topic, my friend expressed that she believed that the desire to have a significant other was due to the innate nature that women (and men) were not created to be alone. But I always like to look at things from a different perspective.
Where and when did this behaviour start? I remembered being in infant school and as young as we were, children would be talking about having girlfriends, who was their crush and who was going to get married to whom. However, what I remember more prominently is that if no one was interested in me in infant school then did this mean I was not desirable? But this was a myth. The children who were talking about boyfriends and girlfriends at that age were from different backgrounds and they had a certain nature about them. Isn’t it funny how these unconscious behaviour's can affect one’s self-esteem. Anyhow, at about age 11, I started challenging the status quo and instead of dressing “girly”, I became what was known as a “Tom” boy. This meant I did not have to try hard to seek the attention of boys and I could be comfortable in my own skin. I wore my baggy t-shirts and oversized jeans, basic hairstyles and zero makeup. That phase lasted about 3 years of my life until my dad and my mum kept buying all these feminine clothes that went against my wardrobe. So I resorted to my older brother’s t-shirts until the inevitable happened.
In Year 8 of high school, my “Tom” boy persona had a makeover. I remember going on a school trip to Panama and a girl in my class said she wanted to give me a makeover. She dressed me in high heels, tight fitted jeans and a crop top. The attention from boys shifted immediately and the “Tom” boy in me was forever buried. I became more self-aware about my appearance and also aware of the attention from boys I newly received. If I could have done anything differently back then, I would have rather done that makeover for all the right reasons. But what are the right reasons???
I believe that taking pride in myself is an important part of a balanced lifestyle but what I don’t believe is that it should not be done just to impress others. Why shouldn’t we get up, dress well and walk with pride because we want to do this for ourselves. I don’t remember being taught how to love myself when I was younger but it is something I had to learn after becoming enlightened. It was at this point that I no longer sought validation from others about my beauty or my character. I began to know myself and that was a self-discovery that changed my whole being. This made me confident in myself so should anyone not accept me for me, I would not feel any lesser of a person. This is why I believe some of our children struggle with self-identity today. They struggle in knowing how to love themselves and as a result they post on social media to get the “likes”, “comments” and the validation from people who have no real interest in them. As soon as this validation from other’s would decline, their own self-worth would also decline which can lead to a lot of negative feelings. Alternatively, I believe young girls and boys should be taught the importance of not needing to be validated by others. We need to learn to normalise loving ourselves and learn to celebrate our accomplishments before anyone else does. Let this be a reminder for anyone who struggles with self-esteem and self-worth that no one should ever allow you to feel less than you are, learn to be confident in the person God created you to be and shine in your individuality.