Adulting is hard, let no one lie to you or fool you,
there are times when all I want to do is lay in bed and eat ice cream, but I cannot.
I mean even I tried to be a bum I need to pay my bills. Perhaps through no
fault of our own, a lot of us millennials seem to exist in a state of perpetual
adolescence, we are leaving the nest and getting married later in life
compared to our baby boomer parents; we are a duty averse generation;
we dislike long-term commitments and we crave flexibility in all forms.
The fact is responsibility gives meaning to adult
life; it is unavoidable. Depending on how you look at it, it can
denote stoicism in the face of unhappiness or it can be the pathway to
ownership and complete autonomy over your life. It can get you things like a
fulfilling career, a successful relationship or even help you find your purpose. The
problem is, these days, we have given the word responsibility a bad rep, and we avoid
it like the plague, because it also comes at a cost. It forces you to grow up, losing
freedom, innocence and unbridled hedonism. It
makes us conscious; we realize that there are consequences of inaction, we can
no longer bury our head in the sand, and we get to stare reality in the face,
no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
But even if we had the chance, to spend
some time in an alternate universe with no responsibilities would
that make us happy?.
Would we become bored, nihilistic perhaps, you know
how it is when you go on vacation for over 5 days and you have just about
had enough sightseeing and margaritas you can handle.
need obligations and duties, we are beasts of burden, as much as we complain,
we enjoy the grind; we relish the hustle, as the saying goes no food for a lazy
man, the cost of achieving anything, is doing what we realize we ought to do, every time.
But being responsible just for the sake of material success is rather simplistic and will not be enough motivation for everyone.
Truth is, doing the right thing, may not make you Oprah
Winfrey, it is not a one-way ticket to prosperity or fame. But, I am yet to meet
someone who shoulders the weight of their being with enthusiasm and
resoluteness that isn’t thriving and leading a
fulfilled life. Life is about showing up every day, determined to
make the most of it, even when you don’t feel like it, because what is on the other side of the coin is unpleasant.
So as I sit here writing about adulthood and responsibility,
I have a laundry lists of tasks to do that I keep procrastinating. Single,
married or divorced with children, life can be a challenge and it’s easy to
get overwhelmed. We are limited by 24 hours and even if we had more hours who is to say that we would use them all efficiently? We cannot worry about tomorrow, without fulfilling our responsibilities
for today, because if we take care of what we have to today, then tomorrow becomes a little
easier and then the next day.
In 2017, nearly 79 million adults (31.9% of the adult
population in the United States) lived in a shared household–that is, a household with at least
one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or unmarried
partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student.
I’m not surprised, living on your own can be very expensive, especially as a young person who is pursuing a career in a major city. I have lived away from home since I was 19 . At university; I shared a unisex housing building with 11 other guys and girls; shortly after that I lived in a self-contained studio apartment, and right now I share a cozy 2 bed with my friend, so you can say, I have experienced my fair share of roommate drama.
Truth is many people have a roommate from hell story, some see it as a rite of passage as a young adult. Learning how to share your personal space with another human being is a transferable skill that comes in handy in all facets of your life. Living with a friend, colleague, someone you met on craig list, the first few years out of university whilst you stabilize your finances is a great way to save enough money, before you eventually get your own place with a future spouse or partner. You can split bills, living expenses, share the burden of managing household chores and make a lifelong friend whilst you are at it, sounds like a win-win situation right?
Well, slow down your horses, there are a few rules that can help smoothen the inevitable kinks and ensure a pleasant cohabitation.if you successfully stick to them you should have no problems living with anyone until you’ve saved up enough money to buy your dream townhouse.
Great Friends Don’t Equal Great Roommates
I’m sure this comes across as counter-intuitive, if you can spend 4 hours chatting on the phone with your bestie, enjoy laughter filled brunch sessions and endless shopping trips together, then you should automatically make great roommates, right? well not really. Just because you get along with somebody, doesn’t mean that you guys can or should live together, I will go as far as saying you may end up potentially ruining a great friendship if you do. If you will live with your best friend, I assume you know him or her well enough to know their personality, temperament, habits are. If your friend is a slob and you are a neat freak, I don’t care how much you like each other, you cannot live together,harmoniously.
Most people have this fantasized idea of what living with a best friend will be like, frankly if you are over 25 I don’t advise it. Think about this, most of the time, you schedule time spent with your bestie; mentally you both are in a space where you want to catch up and have fun, laugh and let your hair down, or lend a listening ear. However, you don’t see them 24/7; you do not get to see them exhausted after a long day at work,when all they want is their glass of wine and bed. If you expect that it will always be late night girl chats, your personal live-in entertainer, comedian, chef and therapist you will sorely disappointed and resentful, be realistic.
Not all friends know how to handle conflict in a productive and healthy manner, it’s okay if you have disagreements with your friend, you don’t speak for weeks and when you do, you guys move on as if nothing ever happened, if that works for your friendship, hey I can’t knock it, but when you live together, it’s a recipe for creating an unhealthy home environment (I will discuss further shortly). Disagreements are inevitable when you live with someone, if you and your friend are passive aggressive or overly confrontational, then it’s best to just leave it at sleepovers sis.
Bills Bills Bills
This is one in particular, is for my Africans in the house (don’t shoot the messenger), please do not think it is okay for you to move in with a stranger or even a friend, and think you will “wing it”, “see how it goes” or ” believe that there will be a mutual understanding” regarding paying bills. Before you move in both of you MUST mutually agree and decide on this important aspect of housekeeping.
In whose name will the bills be in? How frequently will they be paid (bi-weekly, quarterly) and how i.e. by cash or electronic transfers? An established structure of how things work must be in place. There are great apps such as Splitwise and Zently (available for free on the web, Android and Iphone devices) that help you split and pay expenses easily between multiple groups of people. A lot of people get uncomfortable talking about money and bills, especially if they live with “friends” but I think it is better to have these difficult conversations at the get go, to avoid unnecessary complications. It would also be ideal if both of you can be transparent about your respective financial situations going into a living arrangement, i.e are you both employed full time, students etc
The same thing applies to household chores, there is nothing wrong with creating a roaster, assigning tasks and responsibilities suitable for everyone’s schedule, I know I am making it come across like you are running a military operation but I believe that disharmony will thrive if some form of structure doesn’t exist, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Bend It Like Beckham
In other words, you have to throw in some good measure of flexibility and compromise. People differ on what they consider a clean house or a quiet environment. My idea of having friends over is just one friend, for someone else that may be seven, learn to compromise within reason. Truth is, as far as both of you are going 50/50 on the rent, you can’t dictate, how the common areas will be furnished, or how often the house is cleaned.
Take into consideration
his/her lifestyle and be realistic, ask yourself does it really matter if they do things my way, and if the answer if yes, then you might have to rent your own space.
Grown adults, are not malleable, if you find an issue unbearable raise it, any reasonable person will make adjustments but do not expect it to get done the way you want it always and be ready to pick up the slack if it is important to you.
Would you feel comfortable living in a space
where you had to always log out of your email account, because you are afraid that your
nosy roommate would browse through your in-box when you stand up to get coffee? Do you have to hide everything that comes in the post, because it tires you, dodging unwarranted comments from your roommates. Does everything that happens to
you become gossip for him/her and their friends?.
Your privacy matters, you must expect it and create an environment that fosters it. If you don’t have a close personal relationship with your roommate be cautious about discussing private matters and divulging personal information to them. Equally, you must allow them the space to take the lead, and do not bring up their own personal affairs, unless they have implied in conversation or otherwise that they are comfortable sharing that information with you.
Many people have a tendency to feel entitled and take this personally but honestly as long as they pay their share of the bills and fulfill their housekeeping responsibilities they really don’t know owe you anything, the only time you may butt in without their permission, is if you perceive that are involved in criminal or illegal activities that may endanger your well being. Otherwise mind your business.
Be Friendly Be Nice
Everybody loves to come home to a great environment, and I don’t mean tidy and clean. If you constantly bicker with your roommate about everything chances are that you will not look forward to spending anytime at home. What was supposed to be your sanctuary becomes a negative space for you.
Create a space where you learn how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a way eliminates unnecessary long-term tension, have difficult conversations respectfully, if you are mad at something, it helps to calmly reflect on the issue first, that usually calms you down, instead of lashing out immediately at your roommate. If anytime you come home, your roommate is scurrying to their room or you can barely acknowledge each other in the morning, then there is a problem. You don’t have to be best of friends, but you need to be cordial and friendly, you can establish a relationship by organizing a games night, going out for a movie, to dinner, get to know and understand each other.
Remember that he or she is most likely going to be your first point of contact if an emergency occurs, it pays to be on good terms with them.
These are just a few rules, that I think would be great to live by, I have made lifelong friends with absolute strangers, by applying these rules in my personal life, living with people doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it can turn out to be one of the best experiences of your life, if you try.
So how do we develop our self-confidence, I stand here today to say I am not the connoisseur of all things self-esteem or the arbiter of tips, but I would love to offer my two cents?
You see I don’t think you can build confidence if you don’t determine whom you are, without that,you cannot ascertain what you like about you,and a huge part of having high self esteem is actually liking yourself.
Asides from purpose, gaining self awareness is the singular
most important thing every young adult must aspire to achieve, for one it helps
shape your world, because when you become acquainted with whom you are, you can establish what path in life is best for you, what spouse, what career, shoot where
you would like to live.
Second, a big part of building self-confidence is being competent (I call it the art of being excellent at something).
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel fantastic about themselves because they recognize they have that one skill that makes them stand out. Confidence, affects your body language, the way you talk, your approach to your surroundings etc, notice how when you go to a party, but you don’t feel wonderful in your dress, you end up spending the whole night sitting a corner with your sad little cocktail (lol).
When you feel wonderful, you exude self possession, because you are happy with yourself. The truth is, you can only get excellent at a thing when you master it.Meaning you can only get great at being you, and therefore feeling wonderful about yourself by identifying and working on your strengths and weaknesses.
This requires honesty, self-exploration and experimentation.
Be honest about your likes and dislikes, your temperament, your personality, your work ethic, your emotional and physical capabilities. This doesn’t happen in a day, maybe not even in years, you may have to even unlearn years of brainwashing by your environment, and you may not even like who you are after this exercise, but that is okay nobody is perfect and if we were it wouldn’t make us human.
Be unafraid to be yourself, people always throw around that phrase,but it is usually more easier said than done.First there is significant social capital gained by conforming, if individuals find you too weird or not relatable, then it can lead to problems navigating social spaces. Second, we all dwell within a cultural and social framework where “rules” and “norms” exist going against the grain occasionally might be detrimental if it leads us to breaking the law, being ostracized, etc.
Being a “non-conformist” sounds cool in theory but in practice it might serve you better to blend in sometimes. Being yourself is not a license to be distasteful individual, meaning if you are naturally rude and lacking in manners, you will need to refine your behavior, you must stay true to yourself, but in a way that is kind and compassionate in your dealings with the surrounding people. Lastly, as a bible believing Christian, I am subject to God’s laws and order, I am not at liberty to do as I please because ‘’that is just how I am’’, I must consider all actions in line with God’s word.
So let’s really unpack this, why is self-awareness such an
important pillar in building self-confidence, we’ve said that, it’s good to
identify strengths and weaknesses, this gives us direction on how to orient our
beings so we can make decisions that in the long run prove beneficial for
Take Nana (see previous post) although she graduates summa cum laude, she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers because they are all IVY leaguers, well she really can’t change this can she, it’s not particularly a weakness that can she can work on, but she however is very articulate and gives killer presentations, so yeah she may not speak up at meetings but if she takes the initiative to always do the speaking during presentations, the positive responses she gets will eventually lead her to feel confident enough to speak up during meetings.
If you can recall I mentioned she was
having doubts concerning her relationship, truth is she feels her boyfriend
settled for her, she doesn’t really know what he sees in her, it’s okay because
she knows she can be needy and erratic (who will put up with it she says), but
she is also a very compassionate girl, and is a fantastic company when she tries.
So what if she gets therapy for her issues, and decides to be more sociable so that her personality can come through, months down the line, she feels more balanced and is happy with herself; she feels confident enough to get out of her relationship and meet new people.
Self-awareness helps you to live purposefully, once you can
identify who you are, you do things that align with your being and
what you want out of life. If the goal is to improve your expertise at
something, you inculcate the steps to get there; you discipline yourself; you take full responsibility for what you can control,
everything about you becomes intentional, as you work towards becoming a better
you, you add and subtract ideas, beliefs, people ways of doing things
as your competence grows you find it easier to assert yourself,
this also comes with being more self-aware, then you like yourself,
because now you know what you are great and not so great at and you are okay
I think it is important to note that, when people think
about self-confidence, they think it’s okay to build it so you can achieve material success only. Many people are perfectly okay being
confident at work, but they can’t ask for what they want in their marriage, or
vice versa. Truth is, when you are confident it should permeate in all
areas in your life.
Now does that mean your life will be picture perfect, I really don’t think so, but I think you will live a fulfilled and satisfied life because you know you all the decisions you made to get to the place where you are today comes from a secure and confident place, even you face a speed bump along the way, you know that you did your part, you are aware you can’t control everything, but recognize, you have what it takes to face any challenges that come your way.
Okay, so personal story time, I will be honest with you, I’m not someone who came out of the womb brimming with confidence, ready to tackle anything that stood in my way. I’m actually now working on my self-esteem, well I have been for the past one to two years, some days I waiver, I have days, weeks, months were I feel great, occasionally that annoying little voice will tell me I’m not really that great and I compare myself to such-and-such, I am very much a work in progress.
When I talk
about self-awareness, this is part of my journey, I do a lot introspections; I try
to figure out who I am, and why I act in certain ways, I had to get honest
about what I really want out of life and not what society says I should want,
my faith helps, I also read a lot of books on psychology and self-help, never
underestimate the power of absorbing positive messages and learning how to
understand how the mind works and how you can change it for your benefit.
I hope, anyone who reads the blog post gains something helpful out of it and develops the confidence to live the life they truly desire.
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I want to tell you a story about two women. Let’s call them Stella and Nana. Stella is a young entrepreneur, she sells personalized mugs and shadows as a part-time makeup artist; she loves both jobs; she prefers the freedom of working at her own pace, then there is Nana, Nana just got a job as a risk analyst at a very reputable firm, she is thinking of taking her CFA exams next June; she likes to cook, she’s been told that she is fantastic at it by her boyfriend, she would love to make it a side hustle, if she could find the time.
On the surface both women are fine, of the two
Nana is the more accomplished, she graduated summa cum laude, lives in a nice apartment,
her boyfriend is about to propose (she doesn’t know that yet), and takes Instagram
worthy vacations at least twice a year. Stella just makes enough to cover rent and bills, thrift shops most of her clothes and spends most of her Friday nights bingeing on Chinese fried shrimp, cheap beer and watching make-up tutorials on YouTube, but she’s a happy girl, she comes from a loving family and has wonderful friends.
Different women, same struggle, a lack of self-confidence.
For Nana, it shows up at her workplace; she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers; she finds it difficult to assert herself and voice her ideas during meetings; she is also having issues in her relationship; she is not sure if her boyfriend is suitable for her, but she will settle because she doesn’t think she is good enough for anyone else. Stella needs constant external affirmation, she doubts her skills as a makeup artist; she doesn’t believe she has what it takes to to establish a successful business; she looks at other individuals around her; she sees them thriving, and she feels as if they all have something she doesn’t, some secret formula she is not privy too.
They both represent each of us at some point. In her course on self-esteem, hypnotherapist Marisa Peer states we are all born loaded with confidence, the problem is that something happens to us along the way, that disrupts our self-belief. Some of us are born confident and die confident (lol) some of us struggle all our lives and finally decide enough is enough ,then we just fake it until we make it (God help us).
Truth is, the moment we attach greater weight to
external opinions of our being, instead of what we think of ourselves,
our sense of self-worth erodes. How people respond to us, how we come
across to other people, when these matter far more than they should,
then we run into serious complications. Why do we do this? Maybe because we do not trust ourselves, I mean what if we wrongly assess our capabilities or competence, there is probably some price to pay socially, but if we always have to seek external validation as an indicator we are doing the right thing or are on the right path, we risk losing our ability to judge what is best for us in the long run.
Having high self-esteem doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, it’s about being internally convicted that we have the wherewithal to make reasonable value judgments, given what we know to be true. We trust in the efficacy of our decision-making process.
What premium do we place on having a healthy sense of self, can we not just fake it and wing our way through life, after all some may say it would be arrogant for us to assume that we know what is best for us, besides no human being is truly confident all the time, you are always wondering if you are good enough, constantly comparing, dissecting and analyzing how valuable you are,always second guessing your position in the dominance hierarchy?
So why don’t we examine the importance of having a healthy sense of self, take Nana for instance, who I mentioned earlier was a great cook, people tell her all the time she should start a catering business, they swear they would patronize her if she charges for her delicious jollof rice, she really wants to do it but the problem is she doesn’t think she is any good. She thinks her friends are just being nice, therefore; she doesn’t believe that this venture would be profitable, so she doesn’t invest in it.
Fast forward to a few years down the road, Tolu, her friend also starts a catering business, and everyone is talking about it, the food is delicious and affordable, a mutual friend remarks, how they can recall, Nana used to make a superb food, they wonder why she never started her own catering business. She responds that she never found the time, but deep down inside she resents Tolu, because she has the confidence to do what, she couldn’t.
Self-confidence is the tool needed to turn our dreams into realities. There is always a possibility that when we venture out, we risk failure; we ARE painfully aware of this, but despite this, we require the courage to act or else our inertia can lead us down a path of regret and disdain as we saw with Nana Without an unshakable belief in self, we cannot dive in and tackle all the challenges that new ventures, obstacles or life will throw at us.
So how do we build our self confidence?
I will discuss this in my next post.
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It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Lagos, too hot. I knew without a doubt I wanted to end it; I had grown bored, and the distance wasn’t helping; I felt no ounce of remorse as I picked up my phone and dialled his number, in less than ten minutes, I told him; we were done; he didn’t beg; he said if that was what I wanted he was okay with it, and I felt a huge sigh of relief, the relationship had run its course.
It was time for me to move on to new things, I had lost the “loving” feeling.
Now, I know that paragraph makes me come across as a savage but I’m not one;truth is I realized that I wanted to be single and be by myself. My attention was drifting, my tolerance was wearing thin, and everything seemed to get old, fast.
You know in various ways there were a series of events that led me to this realization, for one, there was a lack of real connection, I don’t think we were compatible, and I lost interest.
Was I in love? No, I have never been.
I believe what I experience is being present, when it’s good and going great, I allow myself experience the emotions that go with relational attachments, the infatuation, and the euphoria.
But when it ends I’m left questioning the validity of my emotions, because I seem to move on quickly
But does it mean that when relationships end, they have to be rife with endless hours of sobbing, sadness and brooding for them to hold weight and meanings in our lives, I don’t think so. Must we always be in love with everyone we date, be it two minutes or two years.
Feelings, emotions and love are three very different things. We can have feelings, desires and longings for people, who will share portions of our lives but we will not love all or dare I say any of them.
In our modern society, we see romantic relationships as avenues for gaining experiences about what loving means; I beg to differ. They don’t all teach you about love, some don’t even teach you anything at all, dare I say, they can leave you feeling bitter, frustrated and confused. Sometimes they teach us about ourselves, other times we are just young and we want a boyfriend who knows? Sometimes we have these experiences as a rite of passage into adulthood.
My point is we musn’t always look for love in every relationship, it is impossible to find it.
We socialize women, from an early age to think we must seek for meaning in monogamous relationships, no matter how short lived the affair is or how ill-suited you are as partners.
Real love takes time, connection, and the willingness to put in the work to achieve that, and sadly most of us don’t know how to, shoot I’m only truly understanding what it takes and I am 30.
I will wrap up this series this week with my last lesson over the weekend.
It was lust at first sight; he was tall dark, and intense in his pursuit, I made the initial move, but he was the aggressor, I attract very direct men. From the first date, there was a strong connection, we enjoyed each other’s company and there was an undeniable vibe between us. I grew attached quickly, looking back now I don’t think it was love, I was just overwhelmed by the attention, and I guess this was my first mistake.
Everything went so well in the first few weeks, we exchanged text messages incessantly, we went on clandestine dates; we spent hours talking about every and anything, and I felt I had found the one. He mentioned that he had told his mum about me; I was excited, but soon enough cracks in our blossoming relationship showed up.
At first it was the “vagueness” of what it was we were actually doing that made me unsettled. Where we friend with benefits, boo’d up or companions,I had no clue, I was too busy enjoying the ride to stop and ask myself those questions.
One day, on the way to a wedding,i did. He said “We are lovers”, “What we have is deeper than being defined as a boyfriend and girlfriend”. Today I would roll my eyes and laugh at this answer but,I was just too happy to be with this man I had idolized, that I didn’t care,”as long as we spent time together” I thought, that’s all that matters.
Next came the petty irritations, if I said the wrong thing he was mad, if he asked me to do a favor and I made a mistake he was furious, he complained that I vain, that I didn’t know how to talk to him, that I spent too much money on weaves,(I wonder what he would say now if he saw my collection of wigs lol). I didn’t measure up, if we went out and I was quiet, he would be uncomfortable with my introversion, if I was jovial with his friends, he would deem me too flirtatious and we would have arguments about it, nothing I did was ever suitable for this man, and eventually I had enough and pushed back.
I became verbally abusive, if he started it I finished it a 1000 times over, I was mouthy and took it to some disrespectful places. I would not let any man talk to me like I didn’t have value.
There was a lot of back and forth,we would fight then reconcile, then fight, it was tiring. It slowly devolved from a budding romance to an unhealthy cocktail of one part friendship, two parts lovers and three parts confidants who couldn’t stand each other,sometimes.
We both knew it would not work, he wanted a woman he could control and conform; he had his ideal, and I was not it,but I wouldn’t let up,I was in love with an idea of a man that wasn’t reality, I had gotten attached to a fantasy, the looks, his career, the money, I was in love with all that not with the actual person.
If I am honest,he became a symbol fulfilling my need to be with someone who looked like a catch; I guess in a lot of ways; he was a catch, but he was a man and just like anyone else had his own flaws too,it was obvious,we weren’t compatible.
This situationship taught me that, love and emotional attachment are two different things.
There was love there I won’t lie, but I was more so emotionally attached than anything else.
Emotional attachment is self-centered, it is all about you and how the person fills a void;it stems from a place of lack,the object of your obsession,because a source to fill your need.
I got addicted to the initial attention because it was so persistent; I was probably struggling with some esteem issues, so the relationship was a way of saying to myself that if I can bag a guy like this, then maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am, he was my crutch.
I didn’t really see and accept him for who he was; I saw him for who I wanted him to be, what I wanted him to represent and that is not love.
Sure, he was an asshole in a lot of ways, but looking back now, I feel this was a man who was just looking for a woman who catered to his ego; I don’t think that’s a bad thing each to their own, but I didn’t really see that and to be honest my oversight caused me to act,in ways that pushed us apart,as I was just so focused on the symbol of the man, that I didn’t see him.
Approaching romantic relationships from with this mindset is a very dangerous thing, what exactly do you want from this person? Love, fulfillment, a good time, good sex, financial security, you need to always be honest with yourself first even if you don’t like the answer.
I also learnt quickly that passion, great conversation and chemistry does not always equal compatibility and is not always a recipe for a successful relationship.
Trust me, I really don’t even enjoy writing this but it is what I have discovered to be the truth, I mean if you overlook these, then where really is the fun?
Sure, it is a great way to start, but from experience it is really not enough, it could mean you guys would probably be great friends (if sexual attraction isn’t an issue, that’s another blog for another day lol). What we had, was not lacking in that but it wasn’t enough.
We didn’t take the time to know and understand each other well enough; I also don’t think there was mutual respect and admiration for each other and that comes from taking things slow and really getting know the person, so you can learn to appreciate them and their qualities.
So it fizzled out naturally, we spoke off and on just as friends for two years, he always tried to get back into just “hanging out” as men usually do, but frankly as soon as I realized this wasn’t going anywhere I moved on, we are no longer in touch, no bad blood or anything, but in life some experiences are just there to teach you then you move on, at least that’s how I see it.
Love that “lasts” is really not too hard to find but sometimes you have to slow things down,take as much time as possible there is no rush, be willing to see the person for who they are and understand nobody will come and fix your problems and make you feel good about yourself, that is your job alone.
It will be valentine’s day in a few days, and I may spend it alone, I will sit at home and have my glass of Moscato (yes please), but might skip out on the chocolate, I’m on a diet.
I know many single women, experience anxiety on this day, chances are you will have a serious case of FOMO.
So prepare yourself, fake illness, avoid social media or take on some extra load of work on that day so you are too busy to imagine, the fun other people are having, go ahead, I won’t judge.
Last year, as I sat on the couch minding my business, my flat mate walked in, and asked me what I was doing for valentine’s day, I looked up perplexed at the question (homegirl knew I was single with no prospects in sight LOL); smiling, I said nothing.
We then,engaged in our usual 30 minutes’ conversation about men, lack of men, relationships, the usual, I don’t like to engage too much in these kinds of conversations, because I sometimes find they stem from a place of a perceived lack of contentment, with being single, and that is fine,but sometimes it gets tiring.
Anyway, with valentine’s day coming up, it got me reminiscing about my love life or lack thereof,the other day someone mentioned that I appeared to be a romantic at heart, I chuckled, they had no clue.
I have been single on every valentine’s, since as far back as I can remember, well for most of my adult life. I wonder if that’s sad or intriguing haha.
Long lasting romantic love is something that has eluded me, I’ve had short-lived affairs, a few “talking to’’ but never any real deep bond or lasting connection.
On one hand, I’ve never had to live with cheating or being scarred by any man, I’ve shed a few tears, had thoughts of what could have been, and berated myself for being naïve but i count it as experience in making me a better storyteller.
I realized it’s because I am emotionally independent, too much so, I don’t say this from a place of the strong independent woman narrative (that’s not what I am about).
I’ve never been someone who has always looked outside myself for happiness or fulfillment or at least I didn’t feel like I needed to, but I realize now that love is a gift because it gives you the opportunity to share your life with someone.
I thought about how I would approach my blog posts this month then I remembered the Ariana Grande song Thank You, Next, and the infamous line, one taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain (the memes on social media were hilarious).
I will share my experiences about love, dating and the three lessons I have learnt about love . I’ve been on a one post a month tip lately just focusing on the quality and not the quantity of my content, but this month is special, and since it’s more personal, I will share a lot, so I will try keep the posts coming.
Who is excited about the New Year? I am still trying to get myself into work mode, my Christmas was quiet but I had a good time ish.
I’m ready to get back to business and give you guys’ great content. I honestly don’t have major New Year’s resolutions this year, but I have two things I would love to accomplish.
I thought about how I wanted to start this year out, and what message I wanted to pass across as my first post of the year.
We have before us 12 months and 365 days of unknown possibilities; we know some of those will be great, some will be average and some will be downright horrible, we may lose people we love or fall in love, we may get fired or land a job of a lifetime, we may go through depression or experience the happiest years of our lives.
Anytime I think of the New Year, I always remember what my mother says about how everybody prays joyfully into the New Year, but nobody really knows what the year will bring for them.
This is the year I am trying to live my life each day in a way that makes me productive, I don’t want to spend a bunch of weeks busy doing absolutely nothing.
I want what everybody wants, to be financially secure to take care of myself and have some savings in my bank account.
I need protection against unforeseen circumstances, like health problems for instance, and Lord knows I need direction because I need to be sure that every day I am making the right choices that lead me towards my goals.
I have made too many mistakes in the past, and sometimes life doesn’t give you second chances.
So this year I determined that I will no longer do things my way, I need help; I need to know what to do and how to do it.
I need guidance, beyond what motivational speakers and self-help books can offer (trust me I read a lot last year), the reality is I need Jesus.
David declared in Palm 23, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, this is the level of faith I need to have in the power of God to guide and lead me so that there is no lack in my life in 2019.
I am not just talking about having enough to pay my bills, I’m talking about finally getting traction in my career, and propelling my website forward.
I am talking about helping to give me wisdom so I may discover and walk in my purpose as a human being, I’m talking about being fulfilled emotionally, rich, abundant, full life.
So what exactly does a shepherd do?In our 21st century world I’m guessing a lot of us are so far removed from farming and agriculture that the representation of Christ here, might be difficult to relate to, I had to go look it up. I had this image in my head of someone who walks around with a big stick, directing sheep.
I was so wrong; I discovered my friends that Jesus wants to take care of you.
Sheep completely depend on the shepherd for everything.
It is the shepherd’s responsibility to ensure the sheep are guarded against minor diseases; they are under his/her constant care; the shepherd watches out for dangerous predators, and they have to be alert against constant danger.
It is the shepherds’ responsibility every day to lead the sheep to forage in green pastures, the big stick I referred to (the rod) is used to lead the sheep in the direction the shepherd wants them to follow, the shepherd even assists the ewes during their lambing process, they require constant and undivided attention this is a role that requires dedication.
In John 10:14 Jesus goes on further to proclaim that he knows his sheep by their name, and when he calls out to them they hear his voice meaning, he has an intimate relationship with everyone; he knows us personally if we are his sheep to tailor make specific pathways for us to have abundant lives.
We are all individuals; we vary in our talents and temperaments, we cannot be sure that what worked for Ada will work for Michael, that is why it is important for us to seek guidance from the one who has promised that he is the good shepherd, he will lead us down the path of opportunities, places and activities suitable for us and will enrich our lives.
2019 is not the year we need to grope in the dark frustrated, we have assurance we will be led on a path that brings us fulfilment, this doesn’t mean however that life will be champagne and cupcakes, but we will fulfill our God given purpose.
This year I vowed not to write any resolutions, I tried hard but I wrote none specific goals, at least not yet.
I have determined in my heart to seek God’s guidance above all things, I don’t want to trust alone in what I can project or what I can dream up; I want to depend on God completely to guide me down the right paths this year.
However, this doesn’t come just by wishing it.
We need to develop intimacy with God, there has to be a personal relationship and familiarity built on a constant connection, how can we trust that God will he guide us down the right paths if we do not spend time with him and getting to know his character.
I wouldn’t dare dream of starting a business venture with someone I met randomly at a party, I would take my time, studying their character, to know without a doubt they are trustworthy and reliable, that is how it is with God.
Likewise, I have to be obedient, this has to do with trusting that God knows what is best for me, even if I don’t understand what is going on.
I can only accomplish true obedience if i have unwavering faith in God, which is built through prayer, spending time in his word and overcoming difficult challenges.
So guys I wish everyone an adventurous and fulfilling 2019 and beyond, let’s really trust and depend on God this year and watch him do great things.
I have heard everybody from Bishop TD Jakes to Oprah say, that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, letting go of past harms and moving forward is beneficial for you, you let go of bitterness and allow yourself the opportunity to move ahead, unforgiveness can be like dead weight you lug around, it weighs you down, if you forgive you empty yourself from an unnecessary burden.
But grace can be tough, when the pain cuts deep, it can be almost impossible. I don’t know if I would regard myself a forgiving person, my approach when I notice someone has wronged me,if I consider their actions to be irredeemable and they are not remorseful is to avoid them. I may not go around seeking to plot my revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but instead I will deal with being scorned the best way I understand how by erasing you from my life, it would be as if you never existed. It saves me the trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, but I also don’t have to carry around the pain of what you did to hurt me. As a word of caution I don’t think this solution is healthy, so that is why I wrote this blog, to tackle forgiveness.
What is the best approach to go about this whole forgiveness business. As a Christian I am expected to be forgiving always (Matthew 18:21) I will be sincere, this not sit easily with me, why? Because It seems as if you are offering an individual, unbridled autonomy to continue being an asshole.But on the other end, what does clinging on to past pains and retaliating do for us, sure it feels good when you act out, but when the blood thirst for revenge quenches does it make us better?We still know deep down inside, we are hurting, vengeance doesn’t loose us from the anguish of having our feelings hurt. It is like placing a band aid on a deep cut from a knife.
Sometimes I wonder, is forgiveness always about being wronged or more about our own ego, there is no excuse for betrayal in marriage, stealing from a business partner, or sharing stories told you in confidence by a friend, but let’s be careful not to let the ego and pride, provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.
Being offended is becoming common in our society and narcissism is at the root of having an a ruthless spirit. People won’t consistently be perfect, they will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time (Matthew 18: 23-35).Lord knows I have done things that have made a few people angry.
Guard against being unforgiving , and save yourself from emotional stress by providing room for grace.
I am still learning to temper my expectations on human behavior, I and other human beings are intrinsically selfish at the core,it is our nature and because of this we will often hurt other people willingly and unwillingly, we will fall short.
Ideally, we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, that might not always be possible, it is entirely up to you to decide to whom and how much you will give space for forgiveness; as a general rule of thumb,you must be open enough to do this for everyone you meet.
It doesn’t make you a doormat, and it doesn’t mean that individuals will have liberty to walk over your emotions, if it puts you in a position of being in total command of your reactions and emotions.
Despite any of their antics you stay the same when people realize you are unperturbed it makes them feel shameful and embarrassed at their own behavior (Rom 12:19-21). Leave vengeance to the hands of God, he sees everything.
Some people might read this blog and say well what about individuals who have dealt with sexual abuse, domestic violence and other heinous crimes inflicted on them, what business do we have to tell them to give room for grace, and you are right I have none.
In those cases not as easy as just placing your ego aside and hugging things out, their wounds cause scars that may take years to heal, for them I will be forthright and say lay all that resentment, bitterness and even shame at the feet of Jesus, asides from you only he sees where it pains and how best to fix it, we live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.
Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.
The Man God Has For You: 7 Traits To Help You Determine Your Life Partner by Stephan Labossiere
I love writing and talking about human relationships. Love, family and friendships are at the core of what makes us human, and we all want to know how to navigate those relationships in such a way that brings us fulfillment,and sometimes when we can’t find the answers we are looking for in the secular space, we turn to spirituality to lead the way.
In all honesty, i love Christian literature, I love to read books on faith, I will always devour a good devotional,and so if it comes highly recommended chances are I will read it. About a year ago, I was browsing through my Instagram feed, when I saw an ad pop up for the book by author Stehpan Labossiere titled ”The Man God Has For You: 7 Traits To Help You Determine Your Life Partner’’, naturally I was intrigued.
So I read a couple of reviews on amazon and decided to give the book a try, I have to say, part of my curiosity lay in the fact that the book was written by a man. Now, I have read a few Christian relationship/dating books, I even recall that I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle McKinney Hammond’s ”Sassy, Single and Satisfied: Secrets to loving the life you’re living”,when I bought it a few years ago, but I find that when men talk about finding love it tends to be very straight to the point and direct,which is what I like so I was definitely going to give this book a chance.
First of all, this book reads easy, it’s roughly about 164 pages, so if you are a fast reader like I am, you can finish it in 2-3 days give or take. You will definitely want to have your highlighter and a notebook on you, because you will be taking a lot of notes. This is the kind of book that you will revisit frequently, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten any salient messages. It’s simple to follow, straight forward and very practical.
Now to the fun stuff, I think my biggest takeaway from this book is personal responsibility. Everything starts and ends with you making the right decision based on guidance from God, trusting your intuition as a woman,and being honest with yourself. Stephan makes it clear that you are actually in the driver’s seat, when it comes to deciding, who gets to be privileged to have you as a blessing in their lives.
He firmly believes that God has a specific man for every woman, but recognizing him is going to take some work on your part. Praying to God to ”send you a man” is not going to mean you fold your arms and sit back,you first need to prepare yourself by healing emotionally from your past, so that when he arrives, you will be open and vulnerable enough to receive him. You’re also going to have to get real and very honest with yourself, by stepping away from the situation and objectively looking at the man in front of you,not with rose tinted glasses, but examining who he is at his core and asking yourself if he truly measures up to the standard God has for you.
I am not going to lie, when people say God has a man for you, I truly believed that it was a specific man, that was a particular height,with a particular complexion, who had a specific job, etc you get the gist,ha!, and yes I still believe specific people are meant to be together for a purpose,but this book isn’t about that, I think this book offers something more tangible and realistic, I actually don’t think it would be a bad idea, to scrap your own list, and replace it with the list of things this book tells you to look out for, or have it as a guide if you will, on what you expect a man to bring to the table before you can possibly say that he is your potential spouse.
Now of course Stephan emphasizes that all things must be done in prayer,we can’t always just lead with our own understanding as Christians, he mentions that a man may not embody all traits perfectly,but we must be careful so as not to be easily dismissive, without seeking wise counsel in prayer.
There was a chapter in the book that absolutely cracked me up! when he talked about a prayer that all women say, myself included, and here was i thinking that i was doing the right thing!ha ha! without giving up too much away, i think it is safe to say, that when you read this part,if this book resonates with you, you are going to appreciate and agree with Stephan’s approach to the situation.
You want the man God has for you to desire you at his best.
It is becoming a common thing in society,where women are now expected to play the ride or die role,struggle love,and building up a man is seen as a sign of virtue, however it seems to me that,this approach consistently gives women the short end of the stick, a lot of times most women are left feeling bitter,resentful and used when they finally realise that they have only invested in someone who is looking for an upgrade.
He makes it clear, it is not God’s plan for any woman to build up a man. Both of you,should bring something equally to the table.
I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil the rest of the book for you, overall I liked the book, and I enjoyed reading it, if you’ve heard about it and are thinking about getting it then you probably should. I’m a big advocate of looking inwards to solve problems, with external symptoms.
I believe everything starts and ends in life with the individual, I think love is great when it is done right, but I personally don’t think you can love someone properly if you don’t love yourself and you don’t ”learn” about love the way it’s intended to be shown, without a working relationship with God, because God is love , so you can read all the books you want and attend as many seminars as possible but if you don’t start with what is inside first, and be completely committed to practicing what is essential for you to see some changes in your own life then we have a problem, and i think that is what Stephan wants for all women.
Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela.
I can’t remember exactly when I developed a fear of dogs. To me they have always been menacing creatures, their crooked ferocious looking teeth and fierce barks have always made me uneasy.
I remember making visits to friend’s and family’s houses as a child, and we would be told the dogs needed to be locked up before we passed through the gates, I remember the beware of dog signs. Growing we never kept dogs as pets, we had one, he was a guard dog, only his caregivers and my parents went near him, I think he was only let out at night to keep the premises safe. I’ve never seen them as pets because of this, no matter how cute or harmless they appear, at the back of my mind, I feel like in an instant they can turn on you and bite you.
Fear is something I have been reflecting on lately, not in a philosophical way but in a primal way, I also have a fear of driving, I am embarrassed to admit this as an adult. If I feel you drive too fast, I will not seat with you at the front seat of your car, and I will constantly tell you to slow down. This is a fear I have to conquer, for practical reasons, I am the only one of my four siblings who cannot drive, I always think the worse will happen, maybe I will end up in an accident, because I was too distracted, talking to the person beside me, while trying to concentrate on the oncoming traffic ahead of me. I also think about other drivers too, how competent are they, What if they have been drinking ? What if they are really bad at driving, I hate the idea of worrying about them and myself as well. I remember once I was in a taxi in Abuja, and my driver was texting on the highway, no hands on the steering wheel, I nearly shit myself by the end of the ride, these are the kinds of things that worry me.
I used to fear being different and I still do, I can be reclusive, although personable in one on one situations, I’m a loner, I don’t really enjoy small talk, but I can tolerate it, if you are my friend, this gives me anxiety because I’m afraid people will interpret this as being haughty or people will mistake this as me being reticent, which is actually not the case, I just don’t like talking unless I have something to say. Sometimes I fear that my interests are too weird for a 30 year old woman, I like make up, fashion to some degree but I love intellectual pursuits more, my dad once told me that he was worried something was wrong with me because I loved horror films so much.
We all have fears, some primal and some based on our perception of ourselves and the world.
Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, it can serve a purpose, to protect us from real dangers, and it can also hinder us from moving forward in life.I don’t fear being different anymore, I know that God loves me, but I still fear dogs and driving and I NEED to conquer those. I don’t think it is healthy to hastily rationalize your fears away, for me, acknowledging them helps me to be honest with myself and reminds me that I am still human, but I think it is far more important to address them, even if it means taking baby steps.
I think fear usually has some deeper underlying cause, and everybody might not be ready to go there yet, I guess that is okay honestly, but don’t let fear rob you of the possibility of living a great life, I’ve always wanted to write, but I fear criticism, but I feel most alive when I express words on paper, I am determined to push through my fears, even if people don’t like it, even if I never sell books ( this is me showing bravado, please I want to sell books ha ha).
So I will try and make efforts to live my life as fearlessly as I possibly can and I hope you do too.