The beautiful landscape makes me hold my breath. The lush green is an expression of serenity, the warmth of the people penetrates the deepest part of my heart. Everyone puts their hand out for a shake – I just came from a country where shaking hands is discouraged due to the current global epidemic, but I can`t help but receive the warm hand that is stretched out towards me. I feel at home, I feel accepted, and I know without any shadow of doubt, that this is going to be a wonderful experience.
I have in the past heard a lot of things about Zimbabwe, right from when it used to be called Rhodesia. Most of those things were not very positive. However, I came in with a positive mindset and attitude – I was going to experience the best of this great population. And indeed I did!
As I go about my job, I meet this young girl, beautiful, with huge penetrating eyes, and seeking to make sense of life. She narrates her story:
I was taken into alternative care when I was very young. I was not very bright at school, I used to struggle with my memory, and I would be taunted by the teachers and teased by my classmates. My self-esteem plummeted, and I felt misunderstood. I was looking for the person I am, but I could not find myself amidst all the turmoil and confusion I experienced both within and without.
Then time came for me to leave alternative care, and I had to stand on my own feet. I got involved in reckless life, with people who did not have values to live by. While in a stupor, I was abused, and I became pregnant. I was shocked to realize I was pregnant, but I resolved to keep my baby. I am a professional cricket player, and I had to stop playing due to my pregnancy. I knew that the circumstances in which I gave birth were not the best, but my baby was precious to me and I would keep her no matter what. She is now 6 months old, and she has changed my life. I cannot imagine life without my baby. She is my everything! I am a strong believer in God and I know that He will provide for me and my baby. I won`t give up, for I have something to live for. I want to return to playing cricket, and I want my baby, once she grows up, to be a cricket player as well. It gives me meaning, I am myself when I play cricket.
Each one of us is born with an innate capacity to self-love and trust. If this is nurtured and cultivated by our caregivers when we are young, we thrive in finding ourselves and our identity.
Sometimes the adults in our lives may not know how to help us develop self-love which leads to a series of challenges as we grow up. Children believe the adults that care for them, and if those adults are well grounded, they transmit this to children. If they have unresolved issues themselves, they pass this on to the children, and children`s self-trust is concealed and buried. Eventually, people become conditioned to seek the approval and guidance of others instead of trusting their own inner resources. This leads to self-doubt, crippling indecision, constant desire for approval, fear of failure, etc.
Our original innate capacity to self-trust sits at the bottom of the well of self, awaiting to be activated.
When we tap our inner selves, we discover this hidden gift and start loving ourselves for what we really are. This leads to self-trust, and once we get into this track, we are home free. Everything external only helps to reinforce this inner core value, and nothing external will exterminate it unless we decide to give it up.
Healthy self-trust is like having an internal GPS (Sheryl Paul). It guides you into the right path, and you know it. You know where you need to go, and if you deviate, it constantly calls you to make a U-turn where possible, but it doesn’t lose sight of where it should go, no matter how much you deviate from it.
In order to re-discover our self-trust, we need to believe that we are worthy of existence – the above girl demonstrates this – we do not need others to validate us in order for us to be worthy – and this leads to our overall wellbeing. We can learn to trust ourselves even when we have abdicated it for our entire life, because it is our birthright, and always sits at the bottom, unbroken, undeterred, awaiting to be awakened.
We need to be our best friend, always being in touch with ourselves right from the moment we wake up in the morning. We need to learn to meditate, to allow the spirit to flow in us, and reinforce us from within. We need to understand ourselves by asking the question: what makes me tick? And to accept ourselves, warts and all, unconditionally. Forgiving ourselves is extremely therapeutic, and this will lead to the ability to forgive others.
We need to let go of all those historical chains that condition us: resentments, regrets, fears, etc. We are worthy of being free. Once we know the truth, the truth indeed sets us free, said Jesus!