Article Written and Contributed by: Malika Staar
Malika S. Carey aka Malika Staar loves God, her family, and her church. She is passionate about life; even amidst the hurdles it brings, she believes through faith, all things are possible. Malika believes there is nothing wrong with daydreaming, as long as you go after what you are dreaming about. She is a mom, a hard and dedicated worker, a growing entrepreneur, motivator, writing coach, actress, TV talk show host/producer, and a published author.
For so many years, I lived my life in a “prove-yourself” mode. I wanted the acceptance of friends, colleagues and family members. Many times, I went with the crowd and did what they did, right or wrong. I wanted the acceptance of my man, so I became subservient to his neglect, and his emotional and physical abuse; and I wanted praise for all the wrong reasons.
To make matters worse, I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, worthy enough or rich enough to have and do what I saw the world around me… do and have. Being the tallest girl in the bunch, meant I was always the last in line. Being the baby in the family, meant I always received the outdated hand-me-downs from my older female cousins. Having the coarsest and thickest hair, meant no pretty ponytails and bangs. Having bad eyes, meant I had to wear coke-bottle thick glasses for most of my life. In fact, life as a child and young adult seemed dismal… not that I ever wanted to kill myself or anything dramatic like that, I just felt like I did not matter. The truth is all I wanted was to be excepted, appreciated, and loved.
Thinking back, it was easy to get to a space competing for my mom’s attention from my twin, being bullied, teased and ostracized by my peers, finding myself in dysfunctional relationships after dysfunctional relationships, feeling abandoned, getting abused; and eventually, ending up divorced with two small children. As the victim, I found myself becoming more angry, bitter, and frustrated every time I faced further disappointments. I lost jobs, cars, and my home, and I even came close to losing my mind… I could not see the forest for the trees. I thought, How was this vicious spin cycle I was in ever going to stop?
The funny thing is when teachers and good friends would try to rescue me from the bullying and teasing by telling me how smart I was, how beautiful I was behind the glasses or that I had a beautiful heart or my height meant I could be a model; I never believed them. I remember my sisters telling me I was worthy of so much more than this one-sided relationship I had gotten into. My thought, what did “being worthy” even mean?
In truth, low and nonexistent self-esteem has a way of robbing us of our best lives. It blinds us from seeing the gifts we have inside causing us to overthink our lives. For instance, we either become OCD with always wanting to get “it” right… in fear of the ridicule of failure or we become the polar opposite; we self-destruct because we feel… what’s the point of trying? Another point, we allow the opinions of others to mold us into not becoming who we were created to be. Thereby, we get trapped into the rat race of trying to keep up with the Joneses’ to impress the people who could care less about the true nature and purpose of our being. The moment I got the revelation that I was made to be different is the moment I became free.
There were two things that shifted my pathway to peace within myself. It is where I gained confidence that I could be happy just being me. In this peace, I realized I did not give me my looks… that was God’s business. I did not cause me to grow to my height… that was God’s business, too. Being smart was all about perception because even people with learning disabilities have changed the world around them to greatness. Again, that was God’s business. As for my hair, whether I wore it: kinky, permed, braided, weaved, colored or shaved it off, it could not define the nature of my character or the beauty of my soul. I realized, it was just an accessory to my outside appearance and my only responsibility was to keep it clean; and when in public, to keep it neat, but if I chose to not wear it neat, it was my business… the rest was God’s business.
I spent a lot of years being frustrating by trying to control the uncontrollable. I focused on the things that where irrelevant to life’s true purpose. I had to learn to accept that I could never control what someone else thought of me, nor could I control their treatment of me. All I could do was change how I viewed myself, how I treated myself, and what I allowed to be an influence over my thoughts.
The truth is we were all created to love and be loved. It was not until I decided to make myself number one, to surrender unconditionally to the agape love that comes from our creator God, and to open my heart to really accept who I was created to be, did I truly find peace in loving me. The blinders were now off.
I was led out of the bondage of people’s opinions of what I looked like, where I lived, what I wore, and how I presented myself; and it was an indescribable feeling of freedom to just be me. I’ve learned to love all my perfections and imperfections the same… uninhibited by whether people will love them or not.
What I know for sure is when confidence emerges from the ashes of a dismal existence, you do begin to live better. You’ll began to believe you can do more with your life than chase and compete with the dreams of others, and you’ll find that you would rather seek God for the plans and purpose He created for you.
If you are reading this and feel like the world around you doesn’t appreciate your existence, just know, the God that created you… loves you. Understand, confidence in yourself emerges when you accept our eternal father. He has a purpose and a plan for you right here on earth, and there is a gift laying dormant inside of you. He wants to use your gifts to change the course of this world. Remember, your shape, height, skin color, and all the material things you adorn yourself with will never define your heart, character or your purpose. Just know, you are marked for greatness, and when you focus on seeking confidence inside of you, you will find your value.
You may be saying, “How could this be, you don’t know me or my history?” I do not, but the God that created you, does. Here are some thoughtful processes I went through to help remove the blinders, so that I could finally see what God was trying to tell me all along; and maybe they can help you, too.
- Ask God to allow you to see yourself as God sees you.
- Surround yourself with people moving in a positive direction… even if they have a different background or ethnicity.
- Read or listen to audible books that are inspirational and educational. Just because you are out of school does not mean you stop learning or growing. You can also go back to school if that’s what you are led to do.
- Take a social media fast… the amount of time is up to you. But for at least 24 to 48 hours, don’t care about the latest post; that way you are not comparing yourself to anyone else for that time away. Remember, you true friends and close family know how to get in touch with you without the use of social media.
- Be grateful. List 5 things a day that you are grateful for. When you start appreciating what you already have, abundance will come before you have time to ask for it.
I heard these tips, over and over again, before I got the message. My mother would tell me these things as well, but I never took it to heart. Then one day, God staged an intervention. He spoke to me thru my pastor, Ylawnda Peebles. Pastor Ylawnda reiterated everything my mom had been trying to tell me for years, “I have a choice in my life if I want to really see things better.” This is the same information that I leave with you. You can choose to make the changes necessary to make a difference or you could let this message fall on deaf ears. Remember, both choices reap a reward… one reward is for your benefit, and the other, well… only time will tell.
The minute I started to change the things I could change, my life changed for the better. Now that I know better, I chase my purpose and not people’s opinions of me. My confidence is in God… that way I know all things are working for my good in the end.
Malika’s book “Now That I Know Better” can be purchased on:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/32crQhg
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Facebook: @MalikaStaar Instagram: Malikastaar2
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