“Freedom is the oxygen of soul and the secret of freedom is Courage…”

I was a chunky shy little girl who was attached to my mom’s leg. She was my savior and served as a source of an unconditional love.

As Soon as I left my mom’s shelter and went off to school, I stumble upon several new faces that introduced me to judgment and criticism.

However, to be judged by your physical attributes as an adult, especially in the society that constantly endeavors for physical perfection is really tough. But, considering those judgments as a little girl can be quite the challenge.

To avoid any mean words approaching me, I built a shell around myself and always wishes that I could become invisible to avoid hurting. I tried to carry on as if others words couldn’t lay impact on me.

As I grew older, what I hastily learned that we all come across innumerous people throughout the journey who will attempt to tear us down and break our spirit. But, what I couldn’t realize was that it’s actually up to us to decide how we allow others to make us feel and most importantly whether we allow them or not to shape us into a person we are not.

That little girl in the shell grew older, moving on through middle school, high school, college and then the career world of post-graduation.

Each day, each year and each opportunity I encounter with same feeling of insecurity that formed in that little girl several years ago.

What makes the feeling worst is that those judgment won’t end up as we leave childhood. They are just beginning. However, we encounter critics along our journey throughout the life.

After I graduated from college, I attend job interviews and pretend as if I was self-assured. Once, I got the job, I had to give presentations, attend several meetings, speak up at meetings and continue to fulfill my role with confidence.

Though, I struggled to achieve and continue moving forward, but, never felt truly fulfilled. I still remained insecure and began questioning myself why I felt the same, why do I carry the shell on my back?

Ultimately, I realized that I felt insecure because I was carrying around the words and judgment I’d heard at different aspects in my life as if they were written in code of my DNA.

I allowed people who had no significance in my life to take from who I am and hinder the person I come to be. Why do we give such power to anyone to define us who we are?

Yes, though it’s easy to catch up in what others say about you, but, don’t lose the sight of being who you are and your qualities.

As day passes by, I took on new challenges in my career, encounter obstacles, as well as celebrated accomplishments in my life. But, I always took the time to remind myself of whatever and who I have come to be today is just on my own terms, not who other people have deemed me to be.

It took me a pretty long time, but, I was finally able to recognize that the little girl with the shell is not who I am today. She will always be a part of me, but, I can’t permit her to dominate my days.

The one thing that I have learnt so far in my journey is that, people can take from you what you allow. If you allow others to interfere and define who you are, you are actually giving them the power to dictate where you path will lead.

disclaimer icon All images and content mentioned herewith have been shared by the authors/contributors. We do not hold any liability for infringement or breach of copyright of third parties across the spectrum. Pictures shared by authors/contributors are deemed to be authorized by them likewise. For any disputes, we shall not be held responsible.