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Overcoming Low Self-esteem || Black Girl Magic Interview with Deborah Ejeh

“I’m an Exquisite Black Queen! I like, love, and celebrate myself. I don’t fit society’s beauty standards, but I’m beautiful to me. I know my worth and I respect who I am as a woman. I’ve got beauty on the inside and that makes me empowered and powerful. I’m fearless and comfortable in my own skin. I’ve got flaws, but I’m still confident! This Queen right here is flawed yet phenomenal, valuable and unique!” Stephanie Lahart

Low self-esteem is characterized by a lack of confidence and feeling badly about oneself. People with low self-esteem often feel unlovable, awkward, or incompetent. – Psychalive

Today, the beautiful natural hair enthusiast, Deborah Ejeh, talks to us about self-esteem, her experiences and practical tips to overcome low self-esteem.

Welcome to Dupe’s Blog ma’am. It’s so great to have you here.

Thank you. I’m elated and honored to be here.

Let’s meet you.

My name is Deborah Ejeh. I’m an ardent follower of Jesus Christ; I believe that every skill, talent and experience are gifts that should ultimately lead to Kingdom advancement and Christ being glorified.

I’m a full blown Nigerian, precisely from Benue state. I’m a graduate of Law from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I’m currently serving my nation under the NYSC scheme at the Ministry of Justice, Ebonyi State. I’m a die hard natural hair enthusiast as well as a lover of nature and style.

Do you love being a black girl and why?

*Laughs* Of course, I love being a black .girl.

Amongst many remarkable qualities that the black girl possesses. I love the spirituality and strength that the average black girl exudes. I love The uniqueness of the black girl ranging from her melanin skin to her bold features and her natural hair that defies the law of gravity, the black girl is truly God’s work of art, He saw a need in the earth and created her.

Would you describe yourself as someone with a healthy self esteem?

Yes, I would describe myself as someone with a healthy self esteem, though I’m open to improvement if I notice any area of insecurity.

Did it just happen or you had to work on it?

Growing up, I thought I had a healthy self esteem but later in life when life happened and my true convictions surfaced. I realised I had tied my sense of self worth and esteem to looks, achievements, compliments and the feed back my mirror gave me and that’s not a healthy self esteem. A healthy esteem is founded on what God says about you and who you are in Christ. Yeah so I had to work on it.

What are the major causes of low or reduced self esteem?

In my opinion some of the major causes of low or reduced self esteem are;

  • Consistent derogatory and demeaning words and actions which can come in form of verbal, emotional and physical abuse targeted at a person. Things like insults, hurtful nicknames, destructive criticisms, domestic violence and even rape can negatively affect a person’s self esteem.
  • Consistent failure in areas of life like academics, career, relationships either platonic or romantic can negatively affect a person’s esteem.
  • Supposed defects and imperfections in a person physical appearance can cause a sense of low self esteem if allowed.
  • Guilt from wrong life choices such as abortions, addictions e.t.c if not dealt with can affect a person’s esteem.
  • Neglect, abandonment and lack of display of love and affection of parents especially towards their children can cause a deep rooted negative esteem issue.

Has your self esteem ever been attacked either through words or actions? If yes, how? And how did you respond?

Hahaha Oh Yes it has…

Where do I start from?
Like I earlier said, growing up, I had… well at least I thought I had a healthy self esteem. Until I got into the university and everything started falling apart.

I started having academic challenges, I met this “guy” he was verbally and emotionally abusive, he constantly made me feel inadequate, not good enough and made it a duty to point out every flaw in me.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when my flawless facial skin and neck started breaking out with all manner of pimples, cystic acne, rashes and irritation.

So basically, the combination of the academic struggles, the verbal and emotional abuse, alongside the snide comments and irritated expression people gave me because of my skin pretty much brutally wounded my self esteem.

Anything done or said to you consistently, you start to believe it even if it’s a lie.
At first, I responded negatively by not being able to look myself in the mirror for an extended period of time.

I started avoiding people by locking myself up in my dorm room “praying” but truly I was hiding. I started skipping lectures a lot and If I had to go out I would tie a scarf over my head and across my neck or apply heavy make up to cover the “blemishes” and I would walk with my head down most of the time feeling ugly and to avoid the stares I got.

I also tried all manner of skin care routines and expensive soaps which didn’t work lol. Eventually I got tired of nursing my damaged esteem and asked the Lord for help.

How can one accept constructive criticism without damaging their self esteem?

Constructive criticism if properly delivered should not be damaging to a person’s self esteem. But it’s a fact that not everyone can positively accept even the most genuine constructive criticisms.
I believe such people should have a mind shift by learning to understand that constructive criticism is not made with the intention to attack or cause harm but for the sole purpose of growing and improving the overall quality or life of the person or person’s product or services and it is done in the interest of the person being criticized.
Once people can truelly see constructive criticism in this light accepting it shouldn’t be damaging to their self esteem .

How can a person with a low sense of self worth work on it?

I will answer this question by telling you how I worked on my low sense of self worth and esteem. To be honest, it was a slow but amazing journey to healing with the Lord.
Firstly, I strengthened my relationship with God. I spent time in the Word, worship and prayer. What better way to discover your true self than by spending quality time with your creator. This will help you begin to see yourself through God’s eyes and understand your true identity in him not the lies you previously believed.

Secondly, I had to forgive myself and also forgive those that hurt me, constantly ruminating over a wrong life choice or how people hurt you won’t make your journey to healing and a healthy self worth and esteem any easier or faster, it’ll keep pulling you back.

Thirdly, I cut contact with every toxic relationship. When trying to build a healthy self worth and esteem, staying in contact with people that constantly put you down and destroyed your esteem in the first place is counter productive.

Instead, associate with healthy positive relationships that build and uplift you. If the toxic relationship is a family member try to reduce contact as much as possible.

Lastly, I searched out scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit that addressed the current change that I desired to see in my self and I declared it over my self and my life daily and meditated on those scriptures too.

The purpose of this was to push out all the wrong beliefs in my subconscious mind and internalize my new found conviction through repetition and to truly make the unshakeable and unchangeable Word of God, the foundation of my self worth and esteem not looks, compliments or achievements which can change like the climate.

Can you give 3 practical steps to building a healthy self esteem?

  • Develop or strengthen your relationship with the Lord in prayer, Word study and worship; your true identity and worth is found in Him.
  • Cut off toxic relationships and entertain healthy relationships that build you.
  • Write out positive declarations meditate on it and speak it out audibly to yourself daily . For example “I am beautifully and wonderfully made“, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” etc.

Customize your declarations to your specific need. Your mind may fight it at first but never say negative things about yourself, remember consistency breeds conviction.

Thank you so much for your time ma’am. We hope to have you here again.

Thank you for having me, I look forward to that. God bless.

Thank you for reading. For all your tips on natural hair growth, you can follow Debbie on Instagram @tirzah_naturals

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Black Girl Magic || Interview with Seunbabara Oluwadare on Modest Dressing

Your physical appearance is most times, an expression of your mind. What you wear, and how you wear it, represents your inside. For out of the abundance of the heart…
Dressing modestly involves being decent and appropriate and should be done by both the man and the woman.

Today, Oluwaseunbabara Oluwadare a fashion entrepreneur, specialized in women’s clothing talks to us about modest dressing for the woman.

Welcome to Dupe’s blog ma’am

Thanks a lot. It’s a privilege

Tell us about you.

I’m Seunbabara Oluwadare; a bundle of light and joy to many generations; living for an audience of One.

What do you do?

Hahaha.. This will be a long list;
I’m a fashion entrepreneur. I run the label “O’BABARA” which specializes on bridesmaids dress and wedding gown.

With a sister brand called JUST SKIRTS NG that specializes only on Skirts

I’m also the Ministry Director at The Wholesome Girl Network; a network for teenage girls to be thoroughly equipped within and without.
I’m a graduate of Project management from the Federal university of technology Akure.

What do love most about being a black girl?

The power of resilience in the black girl that she’s able to thrive even in the midst of difficult situations and circumstances.

What, in your opinion, is modest dressing?

Well; Firstly I will like to address dressing as a way of showcasing who you are on the inside.
So, who you are on the inside will be visible in your appearance. Its about being modest on the inside then it shows in your dressing and vice versa. So I will say modest dressing is exemplifying our true nature as believers which is Christ.

What are the disadvantages of immodest dressing?

To analyse immodest dressing; it means dressing inappropriately or “exposive” dressing.
To think of it, dressing immodestly is not about any other person first but about the wearer.
So it’s actually about yourself.
Immodest dressing will ALWAYS ATTRACT immodest people to you. It’s important that we are cleared on the type of people we want around our lives. Because really the type of people around our lives determines how far we will go.

Why do you think ladies no longer want to wear “modest” clothes or see them as “boring”? And what can be done about it?

The world is actually pushing nudity as the norm but the world should not be our standard neither should trends dictate our dress sense.

And modest dresses doesn’t mean boring dressing. One can dress modestly and still be classy.
People want to trend and be the happening babe. But modest dressing comes from a place of understanding who you are and whose you are. This will definitely give a change of perspective; Identity is one area the enemy tries to mar and because people don’t know who and whose they are, they opt for just anything.

I’ll quickly do a reminder for the Ladies: You are the King’s Daughter; An eternal excellency; You are the joy of many generations; this means that you bring joy to many generations beyond your generation.

So it’s important we don’t give in to the dictates of the world trends because trends will certainly come and go.

As someone into women clothing, do you think it’s possible for women of different body types to dress modestly all the time and still look good?

Oh Yes.
Its absolutely possible and one doesn’t even need to look too far to see that there are people that dress modestly and still look good.

Can you give few fashion tips or examples of modest clothing for ladies?

Embrace your shape(embrace who you are and how you were made. Avoid comparison)
Always check out the rear view (this is super important because those behind you, look behind you so ensure the panty lines are invisible)
Avoid exposive dresses.

Thank you so much for your time ma. We hope to have you here again.

Thank you. It will be my pleasure

You can find Oluwaseunbabara on Instagram and Facebook

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BGM || Interview with Angela Onyemowo, Founder, Oakbridge Foundation

Angela Ejeme Onyemowo is a teacher, humanitarian and educationist. She is the founder of Oakbridge Foundation, a non profit, community based organisation that provides quality education for vulnerable children in rural communities, in a conducive learning centre.
Angela is passionate about Children especially those from less privileged backgrounds and social status. Her passion, converted into action has blessed many children as she impacts the world, one child at a time.

Welcome to Dupe’s Blog ma’am. It’s a privilege to have you here.

Thank you for having me, Dupe.

Tell us about you.

I am a trained teacher, who is passionate about improving lives and fighting for children’s right to education. I am Nigerian from Benue State, raised in Jos, Plateau State.

What do you love about being a black girl?

It’s the first time I’m having to think of this, so let me say, the fact that I was born black I BELIEVE it’s for a grand reason. That’s what I love about being black.

Tell us about Oakbridge Foundation

We are a community based organisation that provides quality education for vulnerable children in rural communities, in a conducive and stimulating learning centre. We also provide links to scholarship opportunities for children at different levels of education.

What motivated you to start the NGO?

Primarily, a desire to give indigents opportunities that their socio-economic status does not provide using education as a vehicle. I have seen the struggles of the rural child and I know they can have better and be better if someone decides to create the opportunity for them.

What challenges have you encountered so far?

Community participation has not been encouraging, you’d expect that the local leaders in the area would support a cause like this by giving land in order to create room for more children, but that hasn’t happened YET *laughs*. Parents’ involvement in the education of their children is another challenge which has so far improved after several dialogues and meetings. We need more volunteers especially in the special subject areas, Arts teachers, Coding instructors, French teachers, Math teachers and so on.

What inspires, motivates and keeps you going?

Ha! The harvest! Every day, I see the same little people who walked in timid developing confidence, I see the ones who couldn’t speak a word of English improve right before my eyes, I see children take pride in their natural gifts (you should see how their eyes light up when they are in their zone and everyone is showing approval of their performance). Finally, the vision I had from the beginning: we’re not there yet, so why won’t I keep going! Hahaha Would you pack up if it were you, Dupe?

What successes have you recorded so far?

  • We have schooled children from Pre-school level to Primary 3 in past three years.
  • We started with one child, now we have 39 children receiving free education across three grade levels.
  • We started in a 10 pupil capacity room with no toilet and one small window (not to mention the fact that prior to this, I started with one child sitting on mortars and short stools), but now we’re in a three bedroom space. Not anywhere near our peak, but better than where we started.
  • Our children are getting the quality of education and exposure [through field trips and class lessons] to things they would ordinarily never have known existed.
  • Our results have motivated people to make donations of instructional materials, including some computers. 
  • We got our new learning centre from donations made by partners who see and believe in the impact we are making.
  • We have given scholarships to children of both primary and secondary school levels for the past three academic sessions. In fact, we had our first secondary school graduate this year thanks to a very consistent and committed sponsor.
  • We have given clothing, shoes and back to school materials to hundreds of children in the community.
  • Our presence in the area has provided jobs for young men and women, these include our paid teachers, painters, masons, electricians, traders and so on.
  • We have been providing one meal a day for children to aid mental alertness and healthy growth for the past eleven months.

There’s more and more to come.

What are your aspirations as regards the NGO and making impacts generally?

It’s a long list, but I’ll give you a few.

  • To replicate what we’ve already started in more communities.
  • To inspire and train children to the point of being inventors, great artists, musicians; to be people who see problems and seek ways to solve them.
  • To have volunteers from all over the world.
  • Build schools with state of the art learning resources, boarding houses, secondary section too.
  • To have our children as exchange students in other countries and have them study in prestigious schools in different countries of the world where they can learn new cultures and advanced ways to improve our world.

Long term would be, to reach more remote corners of the world.

What is your advice to women who are full of potential and willing to make impact but are not sure where to start?

First, pray and seek the wisdom of God. Everything inside you was designed by Him, there’s a book He has written of you, so ask Him to give you an insight into it. He will show you where to start and how.

The first thing you find yourself mustering the courage to start, is most likely the area He wants you to launch out in, so go ahead.
Also, only speak about your intentions first to people you are sure would encourage what God has put in your heart, let the others find out later.

The last thing you need is someone who would tell you how impossible what you want to do is, especially if you don’t look like it or have the complete resources for it. And that brings me to this point which you may have heard many times “START WHERE YOU ARE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE”.

Even if what you “have” is a borrowed baking pan and few ingredients, a proposal or part payment for the tailoring class-start!

Keep the big vision in view, but make little progress, it will all come together just as you saw in the beginning.
Finally, be your biggest fan, measure your progress and cheer yourself on making sure not to compare your process with any other person’s.

Be inspired, but never compare. In addition to that, know and stick with your tribe; your cheer leaders, the ones who criticize you constructively, who appreciate your journey, who encourage you and contribute to your progress.

Thank you so much for your time ma’am.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you too.

You can find Angela on Facebook twitter and Instagram

You can also find Oakbridge Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.