When people look at me they think I have my shit together, but I don’t.
I grew up in Durban, in a very poor family. My friends always had nicer things than I did, and I was always embarrassed to have them at my house.
I think that is partly how my feelings of self-worth ended up being tied up into what others think of me.
This has allowed me to become trapped in some pretty destructive relationships with both partners and friends.
At 23, with no idea of the direction that I wanted to move in career-wise, I took out loans and paid for myself to go to University, going to classes in the evening.
I completed my BA, majoring in Psychology and English in four years, and then went on to do my Honour’s degree in English in one year.
I had done so well in the final year of my BA, that I was awarded an academic achievement bursary.
At the same time, I had worked my way up in the motor industry and had a well-paying job which allowed me to travel overseas, but I still didn’t feel successful.
It was around this time that my first serious relationship fell apart. I had been with the same person for five years and we had lived together.
One Friday he didn’t come home from work and by Saturday afternoon I was checking morgues, convinced he was dead. He eventually came home on the Sunday evening to tell me that he had been looking at apartments with a woman he had been seeing
for a while.
I had had no idea and was totally devastated by this (he came back after two weeks, wanting to move back in, but I refused).
Once my trust is broken it is gone for good. This didn’t do anything to help my feelings of low self-worth and I don’t believe that I have ever really recovered from the betrayal, as I have not been able to sustain a healthy trusting relationship since then.
I studied Project Management and after qualifying, I started working as a Project Administrator (at the age of 34) and so was at the bottom of the ‘career food chain’ again.
By this time all of my friends were happily married, and in senior positions,so I didn’t like telling them what I did, as I was embarrassed at being in such a junior position so late in life, and still single.
I should have been proud of my achievement in changing careers so late in life and making a success of it, but I was more worried about their perceptions of me.
Crazy I know. Two job changes later and I’m now a Senior Project Manager, but I still don’t feel good enough.
It has taken me 40 years to identify that this is an issue I need to deal with if I want others to treat me well.
How can I expect others to value me if I can’t value myself? I am consciously trying to change my mindset and gradually starting to notice changes, but it has been a long and hard process.
Shining that spotlight inwards and evaluating my life, goals, and principles is really difficult.
But I’m trying.
Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,
During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Woman’s Month!
I wish you enough,