The little girl above, is me.
She grew up in a totally dysfunctional family with an alcohol and abusive father and a neglectful, narcissistic mother.
Luckily, she had a natural intelligence and soon realised that if she worked hard at school the teachers would be pleased with her and tell her what a good girl she was. Suddenly, she realised how she could get the attention, care and support that was missing from her home life.
And so began her journey to academic success which has led her to where she is now.
Had she not chosen this route, potentially she would have rebelled and gone off the rails. And then who knows what would have happened.
There were so many things she learned in her childhood that have impacted me:
1. People pleaser: Always agree with everyone else and don’t have your own opinion. This keeps you safe since there’s no argument and conflict if you had a different opinion, particularly with your father. After all, as the male in the family, he’s bound to be right! I spent so many years not having an opinion I didn’t even know what my opinion was.
2. Perfectionist: Don’t try things unless you’re going to be brilliant at them. The children were brought up by their parents to put one another down and make fun of each other if they couldn’t do things. So therefore, you either didn’t try it at all, or you made damn sure you’re going to do it well.
3. Pusher: Always be pushing yourself to achieve more so that you can eventually escape from that home life. And know you’ll never find yourself trapped in a marriage like your mother through lack of her own finances.
4. Know your place: I was the only person ever in my extended family to go to university, despite my father telling me my place was in the kitchen washing and cooking. Thank goodness one of my very few acts of rebellion!
5. Not good enough: This was told and intimated so many times that I carried it around as though it was absolutely true rather than just an opinion. And in fact, an opinion from a man who achieved very little in his own life. Hence the need to knock me down, as I got “above myself”.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m not looking for sympathy or accolades. I’m now able to look at it for what it is: a sad time but an experience that I used as my impetus to succeed, to know I could create a better life for myself.
I share this because research shows that 70% of girls feel more confident about their futures after hearing from female role models. I hope more women will join in and share their stories too, knowing your past doesn’t have to limit your future.
If you have stories from your past or limiting beliefs that are holding you back please reach out at [email protected] and we can arrange a time to talk. I’m a certified coach as well as a finance expert and can hopefully help you to let go whatever is holding you back. Why not make 2022 the year you achieve whatever you’d really love?
I first shared this in support the global #thislittlegirlisme campaign started by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez for #internationaldayofthegirl