I had self esteem issues when I was young.
In grade school, fellow students told me I was ugly. After you hear something for so long, you start to believe it. So, I thought I was ugly.
In grade school, they made fun of my clothes, my shoes, and the way I spoke. They called me poor. So, I thought I was poor.
In grade school, I was pretty good at reading, I was good at history and even science – but I really struggled in math. I thought I was dumb.
One night while doing my homework, I had a break down.
I cried to my mother and told her how I was feeling. I told her that the kids called me ugly and I felt ugly.
I told her that the kids made fun of my shoes and my clothes and the way I talked. They called me poor and I felt poor.
I told her that I was trying harder and harder with my math homework, but I always missed the problems. I always messed up. I told my mama that I felt dumb.
My mother was exceptional. So, of course she comforted me. My mom told me I was handsome.
She told me that although we didn’t have expensive clothes, we were not poor – because “poor” was a mindset.
My mother explained that “long division” is tough, and the only way for me to get better at it, was to keep struggling with it.
I eventually stopped crying, but I didn’t feel any better.
But, my mother wasn’t done with me.
That night while I slept, she placed a quote on my wall. She placed it where it was obvious and plain for me to see. The next morning, it was the first thing I saw when I awoke. I don’t know where she got it from, but slowly – over time, the quote changed my perspective.
The quote changed how I felt about myself.
Slowly, the quote transformed me from a little boy who felt sorry for himself into a young man who felt empowered and unafraid.
The quote is “I know I’m Somebody, Cause God Don’t Make No Junk!!”
The quote is true.
If you’re struggling with anything, put the quote on your wall or write it on your bathroom mirror. As you read the quote day after day, things will change. I can’t explain it, but these words have power.
Maurice Guest Jr., is and education administrator in Little Rock, Arkansas.