Several years ago, I went through a particularly traumatic time in my life. The trauma was the culmination of several years of pain and my self-confidence and self-esteem took a plunge.
I lost confidence in myself and it as difficult for me to concentrate on life and work. Where I had once been gregarious and outgoing, I slowly turned into a frightened and insecure shell. Circumstances then made it necessary for me to move from the church I had worshipped for a long time and move to a new church. The pastor of the church, who had known of my past situation, went out of his way to make me feel welcome and soon I started the slow process of reintegrating into the community.In time, I met and made many new and wonderful friends in the new church, I had feared being judged when I told them I was divorced and was pleasantly surprised that nothing like that came at all! Every one of them could relate to my experience, and they viewed my divorce like a past chapter in my book of life and it was time to move on. They invited me to their homes and gatherings and I was just like one of the family!One congregation member told me: “Your past does not define you. You can, and should, take this transition as an opportunity to rewrite the scripts of your life.”As I mingled and moved around more and got to know more congregation members and their families, I was touched by their compassion and welcome. My pastor continued to make me feel at home, and although he has since moved on from the church, we are still in touch to this day.I also recognised that I had lived with some behavior patterns that were not beneficial to my life – like the desire to be liked, being afraid to disagree with a majority decision, being afraid to speak up and many others.In time, I learnt to let those emotions and destructive behavior patterns go, and soon my confidence and self-esteem began to rise.I learnt to love myself more and more and that emboldened me to reach out for new experiences and meet more people. I attended language classes and soon made fast friends, and we still keep in touch regularly. And like the church community, they took my divorce in stride and our friendships have bloomed and blossomed.The growing self-confidence and self-esteem led me to venture out to try new experiences and seek for self-improvement and personal development.So I have attended acting classes, vocal classes and done several other things I would never have though of doing before (but all within reasonable limits of course!)And it all began because a community at church saw beyond my circumstances and reached out to me as I was, and am. And I am so grateful for them and for the pastor who made all that possible in the first place.