Me before Others — Cal Timmy🖊

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It was a cold calm Saturday night, alone I was, but the world was all mine and mine alone. Physically on my bed I was, mentally my troubled mind had wandered into space, staring back at my journey thus far, and seeing how much I had grown, and how much work I had left to be done. But what brought me to this space in space? I knew I was work in progress quite alright, however, I didn’t want to sink nor wallow so much in what I have left to do, rather I was here, back in time to examine the quality of my decisions and changes made in times past.

While journeying through my thoughts, it painfully popped (like the stubborn pimple I had been nursing for weeks) in my mind that there are a bunch of people going through this particular journey as myself. Hence, my sharing.

I wouldn’t want to appear as one of those motivational speakers (you know what I mean perspire to aspire) because I mostly like you is still a work in progress. Instead, I hope this would help you through whatever similar challenges you’re going through.


As a girl child growing in an African home, I wasn’t born with confidence. As I kept growing, this absence of confidence affected me way more than it should have, but really what is the aftermath of war, isn’t it death and ruins? So as low self-esteem being the child of any human devoid of confidence. Making things worse, I was always the youngest in the familial setting, thus my head was always bowed and expecting the next order. My life was lived to please, obey and respect others.

Most nights I would cry and wish I had playmates, but no one around was in my age group, which made my survival each day an herculean task. I mean It would have been easier if I had siblings of my age group even if they were three to four years older than me. But I didn’t, so, I didn’t know what it felt like to relate with people of my age. When I eventually began to have friends, I always felt intimidated and inferior.


I was used to doing what people wanted, I never wanted people to hate me and I never wanted to lose friends (I didn’t grow up with any, therefore, it was important to me to have them now that I finally could). I thought pleasing people made me perfect, in fact pleasing people made me feel alive! Also, I didn’t know how to refute what I wasn’t satisfied with because I just could not. And the few times I was eloquent enough to speak for what I wanted, this dark cloud always came immediately as I’d always put the blame on myself- ‘’maybe I overreacted’’, ‘’maybe I misunderstood this person.’’

A dog could be bold enough to bark at strangers but I couldn’t dear be bold enough to voice out my displeasure at the people I call friends. I couldn’t do things freely because I cared a lot about what people would think.

People’s approval mattered so much to me. ‘’What if my friends would hate me for doing this?’’ ‘’What would people say about this?’’ I also thought not spitting one’s mind when pissed meant a strong forgiving spirit but no, my reality was fear! I was always scared of the possible outcome should I dare speak out. A friend once shamed me publicly, but I couldn’t even talk back, because I didn’t want to stop being friends with her. She was a pretty and bold young lady, I was ugly and lacked confidence (so I thought).

Another funny thing was, I expected a lot from people. As per, I make you happy therefore, you should reciprocate that (I guess I was desperately in need of happiness and love or at least, people doing things for me for a change). Also, I thought appearance mattered what you are capable of. If you look all radiant and beautiful, your character should be as beautiful as you are.

My sense of entitlement? This was twice as tall, as I thought people owed me a lot from whatever thing I did them. This also extended to material things. I expected people to shower me with gifts because I would do the same. I always thought my friends would support me the way I would support them but the energy was never recompensed. I was disappointed a lot of times and this further crushed my self-esteem.

It took me a lot of time in years to break free especially my eye-opening experiences

I had to sit myself down to mull over everything that had ever happened to me. I realized that despite being the people pleaser, if I wanted people to treat me right, I had to do things without being apologetic. That I have to always hold my head up high regardless, and yes, it is fine if not everyone would be pleased with me, that I had to live life with me being first.

You could move mountains for someone, spend your last penny on someone and still, they wouldn’t even turn a stone for you. Not even pastors are totally loved by everyone despite preaching the gospel. So, I started pleasing myself instead of others. I started to communicate my dislikes and I would even get angry at the people around me for treating me unfairly without giving two hoots about what they say afterwards. If you want me in your life, you wouldn’t hate me for wanting to be treated rightly. I decided never to make myself uncomfortable to make others comfortable.

Guess what? the feeling is surreal. It’s like I broke out of the lion’s den. I felt uncaged, I felt free, I was Alice in a whole new world, a world of freedom, a world of self-love and self-worth. The awareness of My constitutional freedom had never given me as much ecstasy as this new realization gave me. The burden of bothering about people’s opinion had fallen off my shoulders. I started to understand myself and people better. I understood that no matter what you do, you cannot always please everyone and everyone cannot always please you. I started putting myself first- this isn’t being selfish, I was simply looking out for myself. Humans are insatiable they would never be satisfied at all time. You would not die from not tolerating condescending actions and words. You would not be nailed to the cross for not giving people the chance to patronize you.

Furthermore, no one owes you shit. You can’t always have your way with people. Different people with different problems, responsibilities and shits to tend to. Whatever you want to do, get it done. If it doesn’t go well, work on improving yourself. Do not be deceived by people’s looks. The last time, I heard Satan was the most beautiful and accessorized angel. You have to understand that you only have yourself. You can’t be there for people always and they would not be there always.

THEREFORE, live your life so that others wouldn’t live it for you. Do whatever you want to do regardless of the criticisms. It’s okay to be criticized, it aids your growth. Love yourself more. You owe no one nothing and no one owes you shit.

🖊 Cal Timmy

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