Insecurities & Faith - Chat with Meagan

My parents always taught me ‘tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are’. I used to find my parents very lunatic for saying that repeatedly, but as I get older, I am grateful that they taught me that from such a young age. I am very careful and selective by who I surround myself by, for many reasons. For starter, whether you like it or not, your peers influence your psych, ambitions, drive, and what binds you to one another are your values.

My friend Meagan is someone who I lived with for years during my undergraduate studies, and we have grown to have a very solid friendship. She pursued her studies and career path in international development work, by continuously working towards meeting the needs of vulnerable communities. The first year of our friendship was good, but had its odd moments. I thought of Meagan as a legalist christian with a one-sided privileged lens. She thought of me as an unfiltered cynical person whose idea of realism was confused with negativity. Once we got over the reciprocated judgements, we got to a point in our friendship where, we understood that as long as we accepted each other for our differences and put our faith at the focus, it would actually strengthen our friendship.

Meagan is truly someone who I admire and love, for many reasons. I learn best from people through conversations about their thoughts on various topics. I learn best from people by observing them in times of anxiety, vulnerability, victory and day to day coping. While I am a very passionate person who feels everything in highs and lows, Meagan is more mellow. I easily get anxious when things do not go according to plan, Meagan copes and moves on like Plan B was meant to exist before Plan A. While I came out of my mother’s womb with the confidence of Beyoncé performing ‘Formation’ at the Super Bowl, Meagan has battled with overcoming internal insecurities. That is why, I wanted to pick Meag’s brain on key aspects of her personality that I find so admirable, and I truly believe is inspiring to many:

Q1: Being insecure can often correlate with age; as you get older you become more confident. However, for some being insecure prevails to adulthood. What has been the root of your insecurities over the years? And how do you continue to pragmatically deal with it?

A: One of the roots of my insecurities has been the question: “Am I enough?” Am I loved and accepted for me or is it only what I do for others that makes me loved? I find a lot of fulfillment in caring for and listening to others; however, I often worry that if I express a need or share about my life, I wouldn’t receive the same genuine care. And when I feel this, it can make me conclude that my life and interests are not as important. Over the years, I have grown in confidence. My faith in God plays a big role, as I have come to believe my real identity is a loved and important daughter of God. This truth is so refreshing because it does not change, so even when I question how people feel about me, I can remind myself of my identity and find security in that. It also helped to learn about my Myers-Briggs personality type and discover that I’m not alone, but it’s in fact a common challenge for ENFJs.
Q2: You chose to study the field of development work, to serve vulnerable groups at the community-level: what lead you to this field?

A: It all started at age 14 when I went to Haiti with my family to volunteer in an orphanage for a week. Growing up in a wealthy suburb of Toronto, my eyes were exposed to real poverty for the first time and I couldn’t believe how differently people lived in other parts of the world. What impacted me the most, however, was how much joy and love I saw in the children and orphanage staff. I actually did not want to leave because I felt that they had something I was missing in my life. This led me on the path of international development, because at that moment I decided my life and career needed to have purpose, meaning, and impact beyond simply making money. I wanted to be involved with projects overseas where I could directly help those who are marginalized.
Q3: Since I have known you, I have never seen you spend more than an hour stressing about a life outcome that did not turn out as planned. You always seem to quick to adapt or cope to any turn of events, what is it about your character that made you that way?

A: I live by the principle that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him. I also depend on prayer on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. I do stress about things and become easily worried when faced with challenges or uncertainty. However, to cope, I have to continually share my worries and fears with God – I often write prayers in a journal. It feels like I’m carrying a bunch of heavy rocks and I need to put them down, one by one. As a result, God gives me peace, even if the situation hasn’t changed. That’s how I can be joyful and calm regardless of what happens.
Q4: Maya Angelou’s famous quote is ‘I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ - When you leave this earth, what you like to be remembered for?

A: I want to be remembered as a woman who genuinely cared for others and led a fulfilling life of purpose, impact, and meaning.
Q5: As women we often put ourselves down, so I think it is important to celebrate ourselves to feel empowered. What are three qualities about yourself that you love?

A: I love how extroverted I am, that I thrive in social environments and can strike up conversations with people of all ages. I love my ability to adapt and be flexible to whatever life throws at me. I love my curiosity that leads me to try new things, travel to new places, and learn something new every day.

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