Being negative about oneself at some point in time is a thing that is common to everyone. We cannot run away from experiencing, at least occasionally, that negative voice that speaks to us, telling us that we are not good enough or that something unpleasant is waiting to happen to us. Hearing that voice, which originates from previous negative thoughts and experiences, is not really the problem; internalizing what the voice says is where a big problem lies. When we give room to the negative words the voice utters to us, it not only brings fear and unhappiness, but it can also degrade our self-esteem to an extent whereby we see nothing good about ourselves.

Personally, I have had to contend with that negative voice a countless number of times. Like Arianna Huffington put it, the voice is “the obnoxious roommate living in our head.” This obnoxious roommate of mine has tried many times to put me down and prevent me from achieving my set goals. Being a physically challenged person who lives in a developing country, I daily face a lot of challenges, which starts with the challenge of moving around, to that of getting needed things done. It is at such times when I am facing the challenges that my roommate love to creep in with its unsolicited comments.

I remember when I was much younger, I usually wondered and ask: “Why me?” “Why should I be the one facing these challenges? Why should I be the one who is unable to walk?” – Those were some of the questions I kept asking myself. In fact, there was a particular time in my first year at the University, when I came home for a week and throughout the week, I did not receive a call from my friends at school. So when I started facing my usual daily challenges, the roommate in my head came calling. It reminded me of the fact that I am walking with the aid of crutches and added that nobody cares about me. It said: “can you see that you don’t mean anything to anyone? If you had been that important, at least one person would have given you a call to ask how you are doing.” This statement of my roommate really got to me and I felt very bad, thinking that no one truly cared.

However, when I got back to school, the very first friend I saw asked me that what was wrong with my phone; that he and some other friends had tried calling me while I was at home, but that my number was not going through. I told him that there was nothing wrong with my phone, and we realized that the calls did not go through due to poor network signal and connection, as it was, as at then, the early years of mobile communication in my country, and almost all the network service providers were still having issues with connectivity.

That incident made me understand that many times, things are not usually the way they seem to be and that I should never reach a conclusion hastily. I realized that my obnoxious roommate is wrong and that there are people who truly care about me. I made up my mind to be more positive in my approach to life, and over the years, I have tried to entertain more of my positive thoughts and less of the negative ones.

As for my daily challenges, I now go through them with less attention to the “Why me” questions. Whenever my roommate asks me the questions, I say to myself that yes, it should be me because I have what it takes to face the challenges. I reply to my roommate that life is not about the challenges faced but how we respond to them. And I have many times challenged my roommate to tell me a true success story that is without challenges.

Does that mean that I have totally silenced my obnoxious roommate? Not at all. There are times it still creeps in with its unsolicited comments, but no matter the negativity it tries to pass across, I resolutely remain positive. I know that I am the best of my kind, and not even the roommate living in my head can make me think otherwise.