When I was little (or little-ish, meaning when I was still in school), I was the world’s most assertive person – I made sure everyone knew it. My peers called me “stuck up” and “strict” but that did not matter because I was living my truth. Then something changed, around the time when I came to varsity. I lost that. I became a people-pleaser (which is the understatement of the year) and ended up tolerating and giving into situations that my high school self would be ashamed of. I don’t know why this happened. Was it the transition from high school to semi-independence (I say this because I lived in res with rules and everything)? Was it me longing for acceptance? Whatever it was, it led to me losing a part of myself that I loved. But some Major things that happened when I started standing up for myself again! – Itumeleng Mashego
I decided I’m going to get that girl back. I started standing up for myself by speaking up when something was wrong or did not sit well with me, I let go of toxic people.
I felt in control
I often ended up in situations that I regretted or doing things that I regret to this day. I remember the first time I used ‘No’, I felt powerful. I felt like I had let someone down and that they are going to hate me from this day forth. But I also felt in control. I felt liberated. I want to feel like this all the time.
I set boundaries
I had limits and people finally knew it. I had established boundaries and it felt amazing. No longer was I in situations that I regret because I was scared. I have to admit, I gained a whole lot of respect for it.
I lost some people
That was something I had to come to deal with. It made me realise a tough truth, I was probably being used. I learned that some people only want a ‘yes woman’ in their lives and that was not going to be me. Losing someone is not easy but as they say, “if you lose someone but find yourself in the process, you’ve won”. I’m a winner!