Self-Care Sunday: Falling into a Pit of Discouragement
I was convinced that one of the only reasons I had the chance do a test for a job in the office of the university president in my hometown, was likely because my mother’s friend worked in HR. I was sweating bullets, absolutely terrified and intimidated. I ended up failing the test because the whole time after I was granted the test, I flooded my head with doubts. However, there were plenty of other interviews I had landed on my own. It would have only been my second job out of undergrad, so I felt inadequately experienced.
After a month of hitting the pavement and not receiving any offers (and even being petrified that receiving an offer would somehow highlight self-inflicted inadequacies), I hit rock bottom. I felt hopeless and worthless. My pastor at the time saw my sad disposition. She said “You don’t lack the skills, you lack the confidence.” It was then that I realized that it wouldn’t be classism, sexism, racism, inadequate experience, a lack of connections or anything external that would be the hardest to fight against in the workforce. I realized that the greatest battle we will fight is the one against ourselves.
When things aren’t going our way, aren’t panning out as quickly as we had hoped, don’t seem to be working in our favor, etc, it is easy to assume that after we reevaluate our skill set and resources, it only leaves us: WE are the ones who are inadequate. And when we look back at other failed attempts, we see that the major common denominator as OURSELVES.
What the heck does this have to do with self-care? As a professional, entrepreneur, a dream-pursuer, creative, and whatever other label I have, it is truly a roller coaster when it comes to confidence. Ironically enough my daily devotional is called “A Confidant Woman.” This rollercoaster of self-confidence is often rooted in self-doubt, and the lack of self-worth we have for ourselves. When we devalue ourselves it affects our whole psyche, our entire being. It throws everything off. While you may be feeling self-doubt in just your job search, professional life, business etc, it can start to permeate in other areas of your life: into your relationships, into your creativity, etc. Self-doubt can really put a damper on your entire disposition. And unfortunately the more you feed into it, the bigger it grows until it drags you down to a low point. Your sense of self-worth, or lack thereof, can affect your decisions, your thoughts, your day-to-day activities. Low self-worth can cause you to quit your dreams and aspirations long before they’ve had the chance to bloom and grow. You can inadvertently curtail the journey before it ever really begins.
This week was one of those weeks where I was greatly challenged in my confidence. Luckily within the first two days I caught it early. I prayed, meditated, and forced myself to focus on my successes and the encouraging words people had been giving over the last couple of years. I also forced myself to change my approach to my problems. I came up with new and creative ways to solve them. Third, I threw myself into creativity. It had been awhile since I made any products, or really devised anything new recipes. The first day I implemented it all, I faced my own resistance. But by the third day I felt lighter, happier, and a lot more confident. I rediscovered my value, my expertise, my hope despite the temporary problems that swirled around me. I stopped calling everything into question.
Usually when I am in slump I don’t fight that hard to get out of it. But in order to thrive sometimes you have to fight against your desire to wallow in your own self-deprecation. You have to desire success more than your own self pity. You also have to resurrect your hope and creativity. You have to believe that you are better than what you are feeling.
At the beginning of the year I did a challenge with Allyn Lewis where she encouraged us to come up with a game plan to help nourish us and grow us through achieving our goals. I also see it as a source to combat times of discouragement. While I didn't follow my plan exactly, I followed the gist of it: being creative and reflecting on my successes. While I had the plan, it still was difficult to come out of my funk but not impossible. We must have plan in place in order to navigate through our times of self-doubt and self-deprecation. Without it we may find ourselves free-falling into a dark hole. What is your game plan?
The Body Buffet creates handmade artisan soap, shampoo, conditioners, spa bars, beard care, body wash and more for Baltimore, the DMV, and beyond. We have been creating conditioning skin-loving, hair-loving, since 2009. Visit our shop at www.thebodybuffet.com. Marquita Johl is the soaper-in-chief and a self-care advocate. She has been crafting soap for eleven years.