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Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
FROM FEARFUL TO FIERCE: the journey to self-realisation of a woman who was bullied, abused, and told that she was worthless, useless and stupid.

I was 10 years old when I became obsessed with the idea of getting a good education, but the seed of the obsession itself was sown when I was just eight. I lived with my maternal uncle at that time, his wife (Aunty) and their three children. Uncle and his wife had requested to foster me until I was about 18 years old.

Shortly after my arrival, a woman visiting the family remarked to Aunty that I seemed to be a ‘remarkably bright’ child. She’d then turned to me and asked what I wanted to be when I grew…

‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’ — Maya Angelou


Yes, my heart?

I’ve been having a dream, a recurring dream.

Tell me about it, beloved.

It is a strange one, my dream. In it, I am never more than a child even though I am no longer a child.


I am also always in an unknown but somehow familiar house, pursued by dark forces, powerful forces — who reach for me with long, bony fingers, and nails like the talons of a vulture. Nne?

Go ahead, child. I am listening.

They scare me, Nne, these dark beings. Sometimes in my dream, I take wings and fly. But…

It took me a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent’ — Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State.

One of the benefits of knowing YOU is that it allows you to discern what YOU want. Most of us live other people’s destiny rather than our own. And we do so for one, or several reasons: it’s what was put upon us by circumstances beyond our control; it’s all we are capable of dreaming for ourselves or, it’s what is expected of us by our family, or the society at large.

Shortly after I arrived in Lagos, I was asked by one of my Aunt’s visitors what I wanted to be when I grew up. …

‘Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement’ — Baltasar Gracian.

As can be seen from the seminar example, the importance of self-knowing (or self-learning) as a critical factor in self-transformation cannot be over-emphasized. ‘But what does it mean to learn or know one’s self?’ Several people in the course of writing this book asked me.

What does self-knowing mean?

In its simplest form, self-knowing (or self-realization) is knowing you well enough to understand you good enough to achieve your set goals and desires. …

Life as you want it — it all begins with knowing YOU.

Many years ago, I took part in a women’s empowerment workshop in Nigeria. Women from all walks of life attended: from the powerful and high-income earners (obvious to see from the way they were dressed) to those from humbler backgrounds — also evident from their appearance.

The Speaker commenced the workshop by asking everyone to introduce themselves and state what they did for a living. Some were public figures and known on sight; the influential women quickly did so with evident pride. One after another, the women stood up and introduced themselves in a loud and clear voice: until it…

Painting by Nina-Nene Grossfurthner

Of courage, my father used to say, ‘it is better to live one day with the restrictions imposed by courage than to exist for a thousand years with the liberties gained through cowardice.’

A journey of self-knowing is rarely something one undertakes lightly. Since it frequently involves coming face-to-face with our true self (unpacking and dissecting that self in all of its good, its bad and ugly — especially its ugly). It is usually birthed out of deep pain and suffering, and so, it is often a soul-searching and soul-searing venture. Very few of us are willing to undergo that…

‘Holding onto something good for you now may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” ― CJoyBellC

I began life watching my father make things. Papa loved making things. He made soaps; he made creams; he configured dye to turn our old clothes new, syrups to cure the ills of malaria parasites and other tropical ailments, and tinctured delicate-smelling perfumes out of plants, nuts and flowers. People in our community used to say you could tell Chief Udoka Akpan Udoh Akpan Amaetor had walked through a path or passed by a street from the fragrance in the air.

In addition to tinctures and perfumes, my father wove hats and mats from raffia and carved spoons and complicated…

Knowing who you give you discernment! It allows you to look inward for the answers when external circumstances are set against you.

The Longman dictionary defines being in sync as things that ‘are working well together at the same time and speed.’ Therefore, a person who knows herself is ‘Working well together with herself to fulfil her dreams. And a person who so engaged is doing that with the fundamental components of everything that makes her who she is — her body, soul and mind. She engages with the physiological and psychological emotions that make up that body, soul, and mind. But a person with limited self-knowledge is ‘not working well together with herself. As such, the physiological and psychological aspects of…

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are,’ — Carl Jung

Knowing who YOU are is essential at the start of every phase of your life , whether parenting, job-hunting, career, spiritual, emotional, or even leisure!

I love to watch the dynamics between children and their mothers. Children have this incredible focus, this one-track-mindedness when they want something. Beyond its frequently comedic aspects, the way that single-mindedness is brought to play in the relationship between mother and child often offers a wealth of knowledge in understanding the psychology of wanting versus getting. I remember this one time I was visiting a friend who had three children. Even though she kept some…

The mirror experience marked the beginning of my confrontation with myself. It marked the day that I began saying, ‘enough is enough’ for real. For a long time, I hadn’t lived my life in ways that honour me. For a long time, I had put the needs of others first, while mine were always on the very bottom of the needs-to-be-met ladder; so much so that those needs had become barely noticeable.

Love that demands you make yourself less-than before it can make itself available is narcissism in disguise!

But that day I said enough is enough to my past…

Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner

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