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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 Deborah Shaibu on Money Management.

People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.” -Joan Rivers

A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own.” -Clare Boothe Luce

Financial independence is of utmost importance, even to the black woman and today, Beauty Queen Debbie Shaibu shares with us on finances. It is no rocket science; she shares simple tips that’s are easy to adopt.

Enjoy the read.

Dupe: Welcome to Dupe’s Blog ma’am

Deborah Shaibu: Thank you, it’s wonderful to be here.

Dupe: Can we meet you?

Deborah Shaibu: Ok, I’m Debbie Shaibu, a final year English major, beauty queen, breast cancer ambassador, writer, beauty enthustast and budding entrepreneur, well, I’m quite a Jack of all trades.

Dupe: Tell us a little about yourself.

Deborah Shaibu: I’m a focused, passionate and ambitious person who commits herself totally to whatever she envisions which has had its pros and cons. I’m a God lover, currently on a quest to know God personally and I’m also very passionate about women and women’s rights which lead me to pageantry. I love to eat(I bet you’ve never heard a beauty queen say that lol), read, write, do DIY projects, travel and spend quality time with myself and those I love.

Dupe: Tell us about the pageant you won.

Deborah Shaibu: Ok, well, Miss Comely Queen Nigeria is an annual pageant which equips its queens with resources they need in order to take giant strides against cancer, especially breast cancer. I’m currently working on my pet project which is going to be a concert to raise awareness for cancer among youth through entertainment.

Dupe: Do you love being a black girl?

Deborah Shaibu: Whoo-hooo!!! I’m literally screaming right now because I can’t find words to quantify how much I’m grateful to be a black woman. I love everything from our thick hair to our shiny ebony skin, curvaceous hips and strong character. I think God made black women to show off his creative skills.

Dupe: Let’s talk about money. How important is financial strength to the black girl?

Deborah Shaibu: Extremely important, like Robert Kiyosaki said “Money isn’t the most important thing but it sure affects everything that is important”. Financial strength makes us better people, better Girlfriends, better wives, better mothers, etcetera. And I’m really glad that our generation of women have realized this and are no longer sitting lethargically, waiting on a man to provide their daily bread.

Dupe: So you’re saying the black girl needs financial independence not just a man to take care of her bills?

Deborah Shaibu: Exactly.

Dupe: How bad is financial stress?

Deborah Shaibu: I think almost every adult knows just how terrible it is to be under financial duress. It reduces people into nagging, worried shadows of themselves. The love of money might be the root of all evil, but the lack of it is definitely the mother of all distractions.

Dupe: What simple habits can be practiced to avoid financial duress?

Deborah Shaibu: READING!!! Read read read!! Read, Watch and listen to things that improve your financial knowledge. The goal is to know more today than you did yesterday.

Also, knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power so if you don’t apply the knowledge you acquire, it’s simply as good as no knowledge at all.

Work on your inner self, examine your core beliefs because like Oprah Winfrey said, “Our doing is fueled by our being“. Check your daily habits and learn to be an excellent money manager which simply means master the art of budgeting your money, saving to invest and pay for your future. Also, take time to learn about investing and make investments because passive income is real wealth. Most importantly, follow your dreams, seek out what sets your soul on fire because you can only be truly successful when you love what you do and finally, none of this will be possible without discipline and gradual self mastery. Oh! And never, ever ever ever give up and quit.

Dupe: You mentioned budgeting. How do you track where your money goes?

Deborah Shaibu: Ok, some people suggest making out time at the end of every day to write down everything you spent your money on that day and that’s fine if you can keep up with that daily and also remember everything you purchased that day down to even a lollipop.

That doesn’t work for me so I practice monthly and weekly budgeting which to me is more flexible and time friendly. Every month, I divide my money in respective percentages to different bank accounts which gives me a clearer view of how much is for what and weekly, I write down my wants and needs plus miscellaneous because I can be quite impulsive sometimes and allocate certain amounts of money to each so I know how much my spending limit on e.g. fast food is for that week and it sort of functions as a mental compass for me.

Dupe: How do you identify your needs and differentiate them from your wants?

Deborah Shaibu: Needs are things you can’t live without like food and rent, while wants are things that you can forgo without any consequences.

Dupe: How much shopping is too much shopping?

Deborah Shaibu: Shopping that exceeds the amount of money budgeted for shopping is too much shopping.

Shopping for things we don’t need or sometimes even want is impulsive & shopping to impress or intimidate people we don’t even like is plain stupidity.

“Stop buying things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t even like.” -Suze Orman

Dupe: What should be our attitude to borrowing and lending?

Deborah Shaibu: Well there’s good debt and bad debt. Good debt is money you borrow to finance an investment that will produce more money e.g. buying a rental property or acquiring land while bad debt is money we borrow to squander e.g. a car or house loan. My advice would be to steer clear of bad debt. If you must borrow, keep it small and if it’s a large sum, make sure someone else is paying the debt back (e.g. tenants pay back the owner’s loan on a rental property). Lending is okay if you know how to do it right, you trust the person you’re lending money to and you don’t stretch your purse too thin.

Dupe: Thank you so much for your time. We hope to have you here again soon.

Deborah Shaibu: Thanks for having me, I’m truly honoured.