The pandemic has taken its toll on most of us, if not all of us, and as I have gone back into schools to resume training with young people it has become apparent that they don’t just need learning, but they also need insight.

The pandemic introduced a lot of disruption into the lives of many – young people and adults alike. Income was impacted, education was impacted, physical health was impacted, mental health was impacted, and so was our social wellbeing. This is not an exhausted list.

Self-confidence and self-esteem for many have taken a huge knock, and it got me thinking about the impact and disruption in my personal and professional life as well. It also got me thinking about how I had grown and what I had achieved during the pandemic, especially in lockdown which was an extremely challenging time for me.

As I battled with my challenges I found myself losing initially, and I became a total victim of my circumstances. Finances were tight and I had to ask family and friends for handouts so that I could pay my bills. It was humiliating for me and very humbling. After a while I started fighting back by adjusting my attitude and looking for learning points during this crisis. The first thing I learnt was that there is no shame in falling on hard times, and that this experience would enable me to show empathy towards others in their suffering. The second thing I learnt was that hardship brings opportunities, and that we all can turn a losing battle into a winning one if we make the decision to fight and ask for help. Finally I learnt that what others think about my successes or failures does not matter. Each person has their own life to live and their own battles to fight, so if anyone chooses to pass judgement on my circumstances instead of focusing on themselves, it was no longer going to be an issue for me. It was going to be a ‘them’ problem, and not a ‘me’ problem.

I have freed myself from the shackles of needing the applause of others. I am enough! I can applaud myself for being me and for being strong. This attitude has liberated me, and I am now free to live a life that I love instead of a life of looking good and being a people pleaser. Of course people matter to me – a lot, but I am no longer allowing people into my lane.

So, I have been spreading this new mission statement around, especially to young people who tend to buckle under the weight of peer pressure and who search for validation in the wrong places.

So I ask them 2 questions:

  • Do they know anyone who is perfect and without a flaw? The answer is always ‘NO’.
  • What then qualifies another human being to pass judgement on them?

I have asked myself this question a lot recently because I am the kind of person who wants everyone to be happy with me, but I now know that whatever I do or however I am being, not everyone will like or be pleased with me. I have therefore abandoned that project and started to live my life according to my own expectations and God’s. That’s it! I am working on being the best version of myself, but I know without a doubt that I AM ENOUGH!

You should ask yourself the 2 questions I mentioned and decide. Are you going to live your own life or are you going to live it according to the dictates of others? You have the POWER to decide.