By Hina HR Khan
University of Karachi
Edited by Yamina Javed
the Voice of Youth
Image by the author
“Hina! Help me out! Why can’t I speak up in front of our class when the teacher asks me to? Why? Why?
“Why do I always feel under pressure when I have my presentation, and …” Naureen was bellowing by the time we entered my dwelling, right after our school, as if she was frustrated of not being able to speak much in class.
“Chill, Naureen, we will counsel about all this after having lunch”, I replied with a grin.
Soon after we had lunch, I asked her,
“What’s the thing, which we can’t see but it’s there when we look at ourselves in the mirror? What’s the thing we can’t touch, but it affects how we feel? Knock knock, Naureen! It’s nothing but SELF-ESTEEM!”
I continued, “Do you know what that is?”
She replied with puzzled eyes, “Yeah, it’s how much we worth ourselves and how central we think we are. It’s how we see ourselves and how we feel about our triumphs.”
“Yes dude, you’re right, it’s more like quietly knowing that we’re worth a lot but keeping aside the feeling of being ‘especially worthy’, that is, we should not start feeling that we are perfect. However, we should know that we’re worthy of being appreciated and accepted.” I replied stirringly.
“But what if somebody has low self-esteem?” Naureen replied intriguingly.
“It is very significant for anyone to have good self-esteem. We need to have good self-esteem because it helps us hold our heads high and feel proud of ourselves. It lets us revere ourselves, even when we make howlers. Do you understand? Now just stop gnawing at my brain and let’s have a nap! Aren’t you worn-out after school today? I need a nap! A nap, Naureen! Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppp!” I screeched in a friendly manner because I gravely wanted to have a sweet dreamy nap as today’s presentation had truly made me weary.
Naureen seriously thought of herself as a shy person and she might not have felt that good when she saw us taking part in debating or other public speaking competitions. And she wanted my help to get her rid of this of feeling of nervousness! That is what my sixth sense was telling me.
“No way! I am going to gobble up your brain today. Now hurry! Hurry up! Tell me more!” she replied while protruding her eyebrows.
“Tell me frankly, why do you always criticize yourself? Why don’t you feel good about yourself? Why don’t you think you’re important?” I asked in a high pitched voice because I wanted to boost up her self-esteem, I truly wanted to know why she has always been underestimating herself.
“I think I am fat, I don’t think I converse well, I think my teacher doesn’t egg me on, I think I can’t score first-rate because I am not intelligent.” She replied openly.
“Ok, I am pleased that you have spoken your mind at the moment and this is what I wanted to know. Somehow you being so open about your problem has me realize that you really want positive help, sweetie. As far as your answer is concerned, then tell me, what about the writer that dwells inside you? What about your write-ups which were published by different magazines? What about the posters which you have made for scouting? What about the competition you have won in Girls Guide last week? Tell me!
“Naureen, there are things too in your life which are going first-class and you are extremely good at things which no one else is. Try to pick out those plus points and feel good by thinking of all these activating points in your mind. Are you getting my point? If you consider you are good, others will consider the same. Why do you suppose that people will make fun of you when you will speak in the class? Come on! Just imagine there is no one in the room, think everyone is deaf and speak your mind out. Clear?” I replied in a persuasive way.
“Yeah, you’re right Hina”, she replied, still dawdling.
“I am going to twist your tongue sweetie if you won’t speak deafening now. “, I said in a friendly way.
“Let me have your copy, fast! Ok, done! Now compose a list of things you are good at. It can be anything from drawing or singing to writing. Then incorporate a few things to the list that you’d like to be good at. Now the second thing you have to do is to give yourself four compliments each day. Don’t just say, ‘I’m so awesome.’ Be specific about something fine about yourself, like, ‘I did better on that test than I thought I would.’
“The next thing is to make a directory of three things from your day which truly made you blissful, before you go to bed. The chief point is to commit to memory that your body is your own, no matter what form, magnitude, or color it is (when I said magnitude, we both laughed like a drain, but, promise I didn’t mean her tummy ha-ha). Ring to you, a bell of the cool things you possess, like, ‘My eyes are gorgeous.’
“Leap at the fourth action; remember that there are things about yourself you can’t modify or change. You should accept and adore these things — such as skin color — because they are a part of your body.
“The fifth action has to be taken by your brain. I hope it will work, sweetie; when you hear negative comments coming down from your head, tell yourself to stop. When you do this, you take the negative supremacy away from the voice inside you that discourages you and decelerates the esteem level.” I ended my lecture with optimism and then we both fell asleep sharing a single pillow.
I am in high spirits to see my friend focusing on the good things she bears in her personality and the way she is loving and accepting herself — the main ingredients for a strong self-esteem!
After the efforts of few months she now speaks confidently – eating up my brain, though!