Emotional Intelligence, my saving height!

By Selin Wanjiku

“‘Sasa kafupi!’ ‘Unaona mbele kweli?’” Hi, the short one, can you really see ahead?

Those are some of the comments that bothered me many times because of my short stature. They often invaded deep into my emotions and ruined my days.

…, Back in my primary school days, my peers nicknamed me Kadogo because I was shorter and smaller than everyone else in the class. This made me feel quite inferior, and soon I started to seclude myself and stopped participating in the school’s sports activities; activities that I often looked forward to. I had convinced myself that such activities belonged to other people and not me. My class participation also took a nosedive, and no amount of reassurance from my friends and teachers could rekindle my confidence. After all, they could not increase my height, so I thought!

My grades were not spared either, they enthusiastically dropped. Also, I had to give up my position as the head of the drama club-the club that brought me joy-because I rarely showed up. I eventually sat for my Certificate of Primary Education. I did not perform as expected because I had attained a slightly above average grade, contrary to my ability. I felt I had disappointed my family and teachers. All in all, I managed to join a County School.

During the first week of my high school education, I was appointed the class representative. Repeatedly, I never understood what my teachers saw in me. I must confess!  The struggle to lead was real, and I convinced them to demote me because I did not see it worthwhile. I eventually found my footing in the guidance and counseling sessions that were scheduled every other Friday at school. Exposure to life skills lessons opened my world and affirmed my worth. Slowly but surely, I learned to accept myself, my height, and all that came with it.

I forgot the struggle and realized that I am wonderful just as I am. I reminded myself of the countless gifts and abilities that lay within me and understood my true worth by shifting my attention from my height to my accomplishments and potential. I learnt to respond to criticism about my height humorously, which undoubtedly was a path towards my healing. With time, I regained strength, became more secure and eventually became the leader of the guidance and counseling team. I was also the peer teacher of English and Kiswahili lessons in my class. I rejoined the drama club and participated in various school activities and competitions. I even dared to plunge into school politics and vied for the deputy head girl position. I was proud!

All, thanks, to Emotional intelligence, my saving height. My self-esteem is now flourishing, and my confidence has bloomed, all to my contentment. I have learnt to recognize and control my emotions while also being able to connect with the emotions of others around me. I pride in the fact I found a place to build this further, at Zizi Afrique Foundation, an organization that promotes life skills and, cherishes an environment for expression and appreciation of the same. Otherwise, I could have been one of many young people who appear to have little insight on how their emotions control their behavior and are unaware of how others might feel, as show cased in this report.

I now shake off comments on my briefness with a smile, I have embraced sports, and participate every Tuesdays and Thursdays, with my amazing Zizi team. Yeah! You too can grow beyond your height or other criticisms. Simply, be bold and take up, what you cannot control and move on. I did it!

1 Comment

  • Walment
    April 4, 2024

    This is really touching, what a great masterpiece Seline. Your piece is an inspiration to many

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