Opinion


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Today I am reflecting on the significance of the poppy to me. Before I came to live in Europe, I had never spared a thought about the world war 1. Not because I did not care but mainly because its significance was never impressed upon me as a person. Sadly in Africa, history is poor. It is the responsibility of a nation to hand down significant historical stories about various issues to each coming generation. Sadly, we are impoverished as a people by a government who do not feel the need to tell us stories about our past. To impress on us the need to keep in remembrance, the sacrifices made for us by generations past that have enabled us partake in this future of peace alongside the rest of the world. Recently, it emerged that Prince Charles made a trip to Nigeria in commemoration of the Armistice Centenary. Why go to Africa, I thought. Surely we were not involved in the world war 1? No sooner had I blurted out my surprise than I was corrected by my friends. Nigerians took part they said. In fact, one of my friends disclosed that his father had enlisted but never got to travel because the war ended before he could. He said it solely, with somewhat of a grief. To the extent that he described his father’s exclusion from the war as unfortunate. It was as though, the singular fact that his father did not fight in the war reduced his emotional connection to the on going commemorations that were taking place all around the world. After hearing this, I found it a bit sad that as a nation, we had mostly been deprived of our connection with the current events as a result of the omission of our historical stories from most of our lives. And so I had to find a way to connect with the wider story of war, conflict, sacrifice and now peace. In death lay the connection with this story. These veterans who we remember today fought in a physical battle. For many, their participation was voluntary but for others, they simply had no choice. There was a battle and they had to play their own part in it. Some found the prospect to be exciting while others were petrified. We all are faced with different battles in life for which we too struggle, fight, sacrifice and hope to find peace from in the end. Some of these battles are physiological (within our bodies), others are social. Some are psychological while others are cultural. I could go on and on listing the possible forms and shapes that our battles may take but the fact remains that we are constantly at war with one thing or another from within or without. For the war Veterans, the poppy emerged to commemorate their sacrifice and be for us a sign that helped us keep them in remembrance. This was rightful. Once a Canadian physician named Lieutenant Colonel John Macrae wrote a poem called In Flanders fields where he spoke about the poppy. In it he referred to poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers during the war after personally burying his close friend in battle. poppies happen to grow from seeds. These seeds die to the ground before growing out beautifully. This in a way is significant in that it gives us hope about the future. That having toiled and struggled, suffered and died, like the seed, we will rise again in splendour and beauty. In his poem, Macrae wrote from the perspective of the dead, urging us the living to carry on holding the touch and fighting on till victory. Part of the poem also asks us never to forget the sacrifice of them who once were but now have fallen so that we might live. For when we forget, the poem suggests that they will not sleep so sweetly in their graves. Today, I remember many who have died fighting different wars. Some for my sake, some for the sake of others. Some even fought their own battles gallantly till the end for themselves. We remember you today and always. We hope that we too will keep on trying our best in this life to leave the world better than we met it. Not only in terms of conflict resolution but also in terms of the way we interact with the physical world- our environment. On a final note, I salute all the veterans war, current service men and even those currently enlisting. I acknowledge the sacrifices you have, are and still make for us to enjoy the freedom that has become normal. I also remember those families left behind to bear the sacrifice of losing their loved ones- those service men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives. Thank you for reading Please see other posts Photo credit Pixabay

Reflecting on the Armistice Centenary


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My fears… sometimes they lurk within the recesses of my mind. My fears… sometimes they sit silently and I feel they are gone My fears…. sometimes they whisper doubts into my ears. My fears… sometimes I ignore them in vain because they relocate behind my ear lobes and serenade my worries. My fears… sometimes events similar to the ones that caused them occur. My fears… sometimes they  jump out of the recesses of my mind. My fears… sometimes they pally up with new fears like new acquaintances do in a locked room. My fears… sometimes they wrestle me into a helpless battle to determine which fear to prioritise My fears… sometimes I succumb to them because I am exhausted. My fears… sometimes they make me cry because they make me do things that surprise me. My fears… sometimes, like now, I realise that they are an extension of me and my uncertainties. My fears… make me who I am. My fears… cannot be denied. My fears… are mine and not yours. My fears… sometimes they make me feel that everything is about me when it should be about you. My fears… sometimes they stop me from accepting that I am wrong. My fears… make you see me as I truly am…a human being. Thank you.

My Fears



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Feminism should not create the yardstick by which women should express themselves. It should not make rules or tell women how to be female. It should create a platform to enable women showcase and express their diverse natures and features as women Don’t get me wrong, fashion and style are not bad in themselves. Women by their nature love to be beautifully adorned, glamorous and attractive. It gives them the boost they need when the situation warrants it. It helps them rise to the “occasion”. However, most of these adornments and practices are not natural. Many are man-made. Something that is not natural can be good for short-term, occasional use but surely not long-term daily use. That said, another concern is the risk they may impose on a woman’s mental view about herself. By adorning this fashion and styles too regularly, sometimes, the view of the person regarding their self image starts to become distorted. A new 3D image becomes projected daily through enhancements, styles and various beauty regimes until but the woman in question as well as her onlookers start to forget the original less fantastic image of the woman. It then gets to a point where the woman rejects herself, her real image… in the mirror. This problem creeps in gradually until even the woman begins to want this image to be painted on as soon as she opens her eyes to the world. Feminism means women are now free to express themselves in any way they choose. For those in the media as well as the so-called icons of feminism who project only perfect images for others to copy I ask is this truly feminism? Should feminism not also include ways to help women accept who they are? A little touch up here and there might be okay but surely a complete metamorphosis (to the extent that an un-adorned “self” becomes unrecognisable) cannot be healthy. That’s not to mention the constant blow taken by the female skin from the endless array of products which leave the woman in a vicious cycle of perfection. This is on the other hand to the delight of the capitalist who sells enough products to feed various stages in the cycle depending on the aspect of perfection or enhancement the woman chooses to fixate on. Make up, hair, skin, weight-loss, diets etc. Nobody is perfect…. At this juncture, a rather dissimilar analogy comes to mind and so, i digress but with good reason. Bad music…. I remember the case of bad music as a child. A particular song would be released by the media. The popular opinion about that song would be that it was more of a joke than a song. The initial response would be of disdain and apathy towards everything that made up the musical piece. However in no time, as the radio station carried on playing the “joke song” regardless, the opinions about the song would begin to change. Not to appoint a love but mostly to a point of tolerance. After months of airplay people although acknowledging the imperfections of the “joke song”, would begin to hear other aspects, elements and less obvious sounds in the song until it became palatable. In no time, a point would be reached when people would find themselves chanting the song. As ridiculous as this was, It was all because they became used to hearing the song. Now back to my argument…. Perhaps beauty, fashion and feminism can be treated this way. Women must not only be able to express their feminism in the way they like, but must also be empowered to resist the pressure of conforming with any set rules for female expression. Perhaps if women continue to constantly project and impose their real selves on the world and stopped succumbing to the idea of picture-perfectedness, like the music on the radio in our earlier analogy, they will become accepted for who they are. Maybe if women did not curl away at the slightest criticism of the imperfection, they will be taken more seriously. It is fair to say that people will only take us as seriously as we take ourselves. We all have to learn that completely and constant acceptability is not real. Nobody is perfect…. Not really. People tend to project aspects of themselves that are appealing to others. Nobody puts their bad foot in front first at least not knowingly. Neither the people dry their dirty linen in public. People hardly go for interviews showcasing their weaknesses while leaving the strengths at home. Therefore we are all flawed by our imperfections and made unique because they exist. If we choose to only focus on what we lack in our beauty, body, wardrobe, then we lose sight of the bigger picture. In the same way you are not only your face or your hair or your shape or your belly as you may want to believe. You are a complete package. You are a person…a woman. Be the self that makes and keeps you happy. Do not join the team natural (who do not adorn or beautify themselves even for special occasions) if you don’t want to. Stay on the team you want because you want to and not because you have been forced to by the media, people or even your demands on yourself. Remember, the real people who love you will do so unconditionally. So stay true to yourself. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this article there are many others like it on this website. You can find them here. Photo credit: Pixabay

Should we all really be Feminists? (Stay true to the woman within) Part 2


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I cannot really understand what it is that some women mean when they claim to promote feminism. They base such feminist ideas on things that do anything but enable the budding female embrace her femininity. You see, unlike most females, I am personally not shaped like a bottle in figure 8. I am not the most beautiful among the bunch neither am I the fanciest. What I am is anything but perfect but then “I am me!” Just me… Should feminism encourage me to disassociate from my true self? Should it force me to disengage with the reality of the “me”I see when I stand in all my glory before a chival mirror? Should feminism make me want to begin to adopt and imbibe styles to enable me conform with the ideology of “what a woman should look like?”  To begin to look more “feminine” as some thinkers propose? Why can each female not be seen individually and celebrated without comparison? Why should much of the feminist ideologies be centred around the utopian idea of whom and what a woman should look like? Age is one thing that is seldom kind to the female species. Yet even with the foreknowledge of this never-ending disagreement between age and womankind, females still always engage in a constant battle to defy and conquer age but to no avail. The female anatomy with the passage of time finds itself mercilessly dealt with at the hands of good old age. From the sound of the whistle blowing at puberty, the body of the female begins to transform. Breasts sprout tenderly like succulent cherries while the hips and bellies curve and flatten out respectively- although not for all. Next comes the blow dealt at childbearing females who in time begin to lose the battle slowly and mostly surely. The one-time Cherry Blossom breasts begin to look down south. The flat bellies sag after doing their childbearing duties. The roundness spreads from the hips to other areas of the body. This is a sign of womanhood- femininity, once upheld and celebrated by our grand and great grandmothers. Now some feminist ideologies want to make us see these inevitable occurrences as problems. Capitalists sell the “need” for transformation and perpetual agelessness to these group of women as the final stamp/seal of approval. They make it look like every woman has to stay “pubertised” for ever. Icons of so-called feminism parade naked to show their love for the bodies and unknowingly teach our budding girls to devalue the most intricate core of femininity- nudity. Many feminists are pressured into dressing and appearing in particular ways, eating foods and making all forms of fashion statements as though deviating would be a crime. Tell me how many women like their faces in the morning? How many love their bellies and bottoms as they are? Many real-life women now spend all their psychological strength on products and lifestyle choices that are designed by the capitalists to keep them coming back for more. Ultimately enriching these merchants and seldom delivering on their body transformation promises. When will we learn as women to love ourselves as we are and stop worrying about how others view us? If a person would ignore everything about you… The full package that is you and micro analyse your face, your shape, your smile, your dress sense and so on as the basis for forming an impression about you then perhaps that person is the one with the problem not you. As much as there are things out there that enhance our looks and some might argue “self esteem” we wonder how sustainable that esteem will be in the end if it depends solely on external praise and conformity. Perhaps we need to work on ourselves more and believe in ourselves more so that other people can take us more seriously. Real females need to accept themselves for who they are. Nobody is perfect and the quest for perfection is usually futile. You can attain it, but only temporarily, the real you still resides with you and at the end of the day, it is a reality you have to still confront. One of the more difficult sexes to exist as is female because of the demands imposed on them by everyone even including women. Worse still, the highest pressure on a female comes from within the female herself. They tend to expect too much from themselves by wanting their bodies to do too much and this puts pressure on them. For example it takes nine months of pregnancy to pile up weight on most women, yet they expect to lose it in five minutes. While many magic methods to attain this are advertised, in reality, different women may or may not achieve this especially in that short time. Women are exposed to different circumstances, eating and sleeping patterns, metabolisms, geographies etc. All these play their roles in determining the success of failure of the weight loss project. Yet a typical woman will still pressure herself and asked too much of her body. To be continued… Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this article there are many others like it on this website. You can find them here. Photo credit: Pixabay                      

Should we all really be Feminists? (Stay true to the woman within) Part 1



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GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE? One of the weird things in life is the realisation that you are on your own. You see, it’s not that there are no systems in place to support people in distress and in great need. One must never lose sight of the fact that whatever situation you find yourself the problem remains YOURS. When you are not in difficulty, you find so many people pledging their undying support for you through thick and thin. At times for some who are lucky, they do get the support they need. But for others, they only get some help, no help or useless help (in essence ,not the kind of help they need!). In less developed societies people grow up with the realisation that help may not be around the corner. It is imprinted and stamped into their thinking faculty. There are no assumptions. Most people grow up with so much political and economical instability that survival of the fittest becomes the order of the day. However, in advanced societies especially here in the UK, most people grow up with the knowledge that help is always around the corner. People will help, the system will help and government even factors “help” into their plans. These helpful plans are not only made but also implemented. With all this culture of assistance, some many believe that being helped is their right and that their problems should be shared with everyone else. To them it becomes a crime if this help is not forthcoming or existent. Arguments exist about this subject matter and rightly so for various reasons. I want us to focus on the fact that whether we get help or not the difficulties we face in life remain OURS. Armed with this realisation sometimes, we can cope better with these hard times. We learn to cope in an I-have-to-come-out-stronger kind of way. Sometimes accepting the situation helps us to be better equipped especially psychologically to deal with them. It makes us more prepared to ask the right questions about our situation. Thereby leading us to solutions and strategies to help us live with or manage during the hard times. So while we may be going through a rough patch now we still have to find a way to carry on. No one can suggest or advise on how to find the best way through any challenge. However, we cannot go wrong by taking things one minute at a time, one hour at a time and one day at a time until we get to a point where we can look back and see how far we have come from the challenge. People around us can only help us temporarily or a bit long-term by setting things in motion to provide support. Unfortunately that’s all they can do. The buck still stops with us. We are still the ones who have to live with our circumstances. We have to find ways to pull ourselves up every day, forge ahead, take one small decision at a time. We also have to make sensible choices within the limits imposed on us by our circumstances. At times it is not feasible to get all the help we need. The system is not always able to provide all the support that will wipe away our difficulties. This occurs when the problems we face are either too enormous or a bit unclear. It is not still a reason to lose hope. If we cannot find the help we need, we must learn to use the help we find. Complaining less while adopting a calm disposition from the onset may avail us the opportunity to use what is available early enough to give some relief to our situation. It may be possible to access the rest of the help elsewhere. Perhaps through support groups, charities, the Internet and so on. It is a waste of energy to keep getting upset with people when all the help that can be offered has not only been offered but has also been accessed by us. It just means nothing more can be done for us. We need to start looking for other options early. If you live in the UK, you can always get assistance through various agencies set up to help people passing through difficulties. The Citizens advice bureau is a good place to start. They can signpost you to other agencies or groups that can offer support. You can access this service for free. You can also visit the government website as it is loaded with lots of information that you may find relevant. For those outside the UK, look out for agencies that provide advice and support in your country. Trusted family and friends are also a good place to start when you feel stuck. No matter your circumstance, do not lose hope. Help is never in short supply. The extent of help you get may be difficult to cover all you need. At least a little help is better than no help at all. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit : Pixabay    

GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE?


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She was tired…absolutely exhausted. She had a calm exterior but was screaming on the inside. She felt like running… Running very fast, very hard until her feet made a print on tarmac. She felt like flying so high until she became weightless. Light enough not to be weighed down by anything.   She was heavy and burdened. She was caged and imprisoned. But it was an imprisonment without a choice to be free. It was not for a crime or else this imprisonment would have become a form of punishment. It was an entrapment for which she was never given the chance to stand accused.   She was not given the chance to defend herself. It just happened. It felt like a lot was cast and she was the one who had the shackle slung on her neck. A burden that was immovable. Every time she tried to lay it aside she was awkwardly drawn into positions that felt worse than she could bear.   She could not breathe. She felt constricted. She could not spread out her wings because thorns circled her resting place. She could not rest because there were endless decisions to make. A moment of slumber was costlier than a tired awakening.   She was enslaved… By every breathe she drew, she paid dearly for her existence. To make her own choices and ride on the horse of destiny was to thwart her whole existence and bring it to a halt. Better not to exist fully than to exist and to lose that existence in an abrupt slash of sorts.   What was the point to her life? Vanity they said all was in the end. But vanity was still important to give value to her existence. She could not throw out or condemn all vanity. Some vanities seemed necessary while others were luxurious. They all gave meaning to her life in different ways.   Waiting was the game of the wise… Mother Earth took her time to churn out fruits at times and seasons she chose. She could not be hurried. Yet time waited for no one even her. It was the reason she was tired and weighed down.   She was jealous. Her jealousy is not of anyone in particular but in the unfairness of it all. Like a hamster in a cage, she seemed not to make a headway. She kept running, never faltering, never stumbling yet never arriving at any destination.   What she cannot stand was this fate… The endlessness pain, the enduring, the waiting, the patience. It felt so inappropriate for her because she was a hurrier. She knew she had to take what she was given. She had no choice or influence in the matter.   She was tired and wanted out. The more she moaned, the more she felt guilty. The weight of the guilt burdened her freedom. She was doomed whichever way she chose to go.   Does she sound familiar? Well that is because we meet her sometimes in different ways. Stop daring to dream.  We have to accept what we have got. When the time comes, the status quo will change. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, things will get better someday.   Thank you for reading. Photo credit Pixabay

Trapped



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Acknowledgement and recognition to me are hazardous to creativity. They can be propellers, creating fuel for more creativity. They bring with them the feeling of acceptance, the stamping of somewhat of a pride of place within an endeavour. They provide a sense of establishment to the creator within their sphere of creative ability. Unfair criticisms on the other hand are simply “unfair!”. They have a red flag attached to them as soon as they appear and so the creator perceives them and can instantly with wisdom push them away stopping them from impeding creativity. With good practice, criticisms can be spotted, determined and removed from the creator’s consciousness by simply ignoring and not rising to them. This automatically makes acknowledgement and recognition the preferred accolades to experience. However I find that the fuel they provide to an artist is very risky and highly volatile. They come very quickly but have the tendency of vanishing as quickly as they come. They can raise an artist and propel him/her to more success but the problems they bring to the artist begin when they stop coming. The artist is then left emotionally downcast and tumbles down, in a crash landing manner. The unexpected and abrupt way they become withheld or non-existent in some cases can block the artist and equally impede further creativity. An artist may begin to lose the zeal to keep creating because they feel unable to muster praise and acknowledgement from people. Praises come without warning, creating enjoyment and a good old euphoria of certainty and reassurance to the artist about the authenticity of his/her work. Consequently, it is not surprising that because they begin so suddenly, they can reduce or stop without warning as well. The best types of acknowledgement and recognition are the ones that breed praises that are unsolicited, sincere and really a mere appreciation of the prowess achieved by an artist. Anything other than this will be mere flattery and lip service. Acknowledgement and recognition should be the product of success and not the centre, essence and focus of creativity When all an artist seeks is acknowledgement, it can create a block. Simple pieces become over-analysed by the artist and the need for praises overtake the need for creativity while working. This in turn interferes with the masterpiece set out to be created by the artist. “Will they like this one?” “Should I add this or that to be sensational?” …when these types of questions begin to come up, they encroach and overtake the consciousness of the artist until they weigh down and ultimately extinguish the real creation intended by the artist. There becomes the need to find a new kind of fuel for the artist… a fuel from within. This preferred type of fuel will be the type that can remain constant and not yoyo at will. Just a simple interest and strong conviction about what the artist intends to achieve should be enough to drive creativity. So you simply paint because you like to paint. You run because you love to run and feel you will have it in you to push yourself even further. You write come rain, come shine because you just love to write! Let the acknowledgement and recognition or praise of your work stay outside of you. Let them not consume your consciousness until you cannot live and breathe without them. This attitude relieves the pressure on an artist as s/he functions within their creative sphere.  The do or die nature that is bred by praise seeking becomes reduced. You are a star- once a star always a star. Not all stars will shine as brightly as the Sun or Northern Star but that does not reduce their place in the galaxy as stars. The sky is big enough for all the stars. So stop trying to bring down other artists so that you can look better and as such gain acknowledgement from others. Not everyone is blessed to create masterpieces every day and you reduce your chance of creating that masterpiece each time you tilt your eyes away from your work. Each time you spend chasing praises can be better spent refining your masterpiece. Some activists were not loved while they lived. They just felt very strongly about the causes they stood for and many were killed in the process. If they were depending on the acknowledgement and total acceptance of people, there would have been no basis for the inspiration they now posthumously endear in people today. So today, if you’re guilty of seeking this vain glory, you should consider refocusing your energy on your talent and work. When you are successful, glory will come... Success has always been the mother of acknowledgement. Success has many family members- nuclear and extended. But failure on the other hand is always an orphan. So as my people will say in Nigerian pidgin “Ushay face ya work o!” Thank you for reading If you enjoyed reading this article there are many others like it on this website. You can find them here. Photo credit: Pixabay

The danger of seeking acknowledgement and recognition in the creative sphere.


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Without play at GOSH, the hospital will be a mere brick wall filled with injections, medications procedures and ultimately “PAIN” for our children. They will otherwise be left frightened and confused about the meaning of all they have to cope with on a daily basis here at GOSH. Play helps mirror the intended reality that every person should rightfully experience especially in their childhood when the best memories that carry one through life are forged. Unfortunately, illness and disease try to snatch these away from our innocent children but the existence of play here at GOSH, means that the horribleness is reduced and at times eliminated from the lives of our children. Play achieves this by creating the ability for children to escape their present and sometimes entrapping realities. It then catapults them into an imaginative realm where they can feel safe. During play, children can calmly relax and be at peace. At GOSH this experience is guided painstakingly by the play specialists. The constant use of play to assist patients here at GOSH helps create a new type of reality for our children. It helps them forge new positive connections with the staff involved in their care. It reduces the confusion that leads to fear in a young mind regarding the incessant interruptions and interventions needed to keep them safe. Play also provides a conducive atmosphere for patients to interrelate and communicate appropriately. Oftentimes play is intended to be a distraction for our children. However in reality, it adds to the enrichment in the quality of life that our children become privileged to experience by being here. Endless tools, toys, materials etc are employed by the play specialists to excite, engage, entertain and educate them. At GOSH, there are no gimmicks the only effort required for the children to benefit from play is to simply but participate in the various activities planned and set before them consistently by these play geniuses. The fact that every play tailored and customised to suit each child makes it even more special and memorable to each participant. It creates a more personal and specific activity for each child to look forward to every time. Play has most importantly become an invaluable coping mechanism for children here at GOSH- especially for those in pain. Sometimes and unfortunately when pain re-emerges despite medication, play can become the next option for some children. The distractive nature of play can be a subtle medium for alleviating an otherwise endless cycle of suffering for some of these children. In this way, play becomes transformed into a tool of respite for these ailing ones. It can be the only reason that a child smiles, shrieks, brightens up and even gives the littlest reaction amidst a trying episode in their day’s journey here at GOSH. Play once more, provides a hopeful reassurance that the flame of life will be kept aglow in our children against all odds. For us parents and carers, we are not left out of the play experience provided at GOSH. We indirectly feed off the positive energy we witness in our children as they perform and enjoy each activity. That smile, that joy we see as the children play always makes each moment spent at GOSH more hopeful. After all their joy is our joy and all we live for. These play geniuses extend the care for our children to us (parents and carers) by carrying us along. They equally provide us with distractions and play materials. The play areas also create calming and relaxing escapes for parents and carers. All these remind us never to lose sight of the inner child within despite our individual circumstances. In the end, we too, like our children find that if we can keep playing we will not be held down but propelled by our challenges. So yes! Play does matter to us all and we are blessed to be surrounded by one of the best play teams in the world! THIS ARTICLE IS SPECIALLY DEDICATED TO THE PLAY TEAMS ON THE WARDS, THE HOSPITAL SCHOOL & ACTIVITY CENTRE AT GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL FOR THE GREAT WORK THEY DO DAILY. Thank you for reading Photo credit: Pixabay People who read this article enjoyed many others in the series.

Importance of play in a hospital- The Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) case



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In this our era you will agree that compared to the previous generation, there has been a rise in the number of working class women. It does not even matter whether they are educated or not. There just is an awakening in the female species in our country. As a result, many young ladies grow with a need to fulfill this desire. However, for many different reasons, this can be a reality that is either not actualised or thwarted due to marriage and having kids. Women constantly, like their mothers before them, find themselves feeling “forced” to put the family needs first. Is this really a bad thing? Is it the end of the world? Does not working nine to five or having a business mean a woman is unemployed and less of a Y2K compliant new-school woman? Let us look at a typical scenario. Dumebi is a young beautiful woman whose husband is equally young and resourceful. He earns well enough (no make that “earns exceedingly well” by all standards) and cares for the family, providing anything money can buy for their comfort and enjoyment. They live in their personal house, have two other rental duplexes in Lagos. In addition to this, they have their own house in the village. Cars, holidays and everything they need are at their disposal. She has two sons and a daughter. In fact life is good…  However, she found herself very unhappy recently. The object of her sadness being her inability to contribute equally to the family pot “financially”. Her husband although in the dark regarding her true feelings neither complained about being the sole provider nor did he even want her to lift a finger. She had graduated from a reputable university and earned herself a degree however, she felt under-utilised in her role as a full time house wife/ mum. She was so troubled by these feelings that she called her friend Stephanie one morning. Stephanie listened as she poured her heart out. She expressed strongly her feelings of helplessness to the situation as well as the fact she found herself extremely unhappy as a result of these thoughts. Stephanie probed to see if possibly some peer or family pressures may have led to Dumebi’s strong desire to gain employment and contribute to the family. It appeared not to be the case at all. It was just a personal need to feel “useful” as Dumebi described it. She had full control of the family accounts, ATM cards and her husband was accountable to her for even his own spending yet the fact that he earned all the money bothered her. As usual, talking exhaustively helped Dumebi release the inner feelings of helplessness and sadness that she felt. From the scenario above, you can see that Dumebi does not even see her role in the home as “useful” simply because it is not tangibly remunerated. This situation is a popular one mainly among women. There seems to be a growing need to assume an earning role. I will say that as part of a couple myself, communication is key. It seems a bit sad that Dumebi’s husband was very oblivious of the unhappiness lurking behind her smiles daily. The fact that she did not feel confident enough that he would understand her feelings also says something about the communication level in their relationship. However, by not telling him, she was not giving him a chance to be aware of her feelings. She simply assumed that he would not understand her need for usefulness. Every human being needs to feel “occupied”. The word occupation is derived from the root word occupy Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines occupy as a term that means “to fill or use ( an amount of time)”. While the same dictionary defines occupation as “(1) the work that a person does; a job or profession, (2) An activity that a person spends time doing” among other definitions. Just because an activity is not paid for does not make it less of an “occupation”. It takes up one’s time and the person expends effort and at times intangible resources like time to accomplish such an activity successfully. The problem Dumebi has is that her role as mum and wife in the family seems irrelevant simply because she is not being paid a salary. She needs a salary which she can physically see and contribute to the family financial pot to satisfy her “usefulness” criteria. However, what she fails to see is that she is performing a role that is invaluable and necessary for the smooth running of the home. In her role, she sees to the day to day care that the children require. She is available to give adequate attention to the children. Provide a warm hub for every member of the family to return to. She is in charge of housekeeping and basically turning the otherwise brick walled house into a homely haven. Her children in return are well behaved and mannered, her husband is loving and she creates a secure stress relieving home for him. In reality, her role is even more difficult than her husband’s role. She does not go on break or leave like he does with his work. For even when the family took vacations, women like her remain on full duty, ensuring the travel plans, packing, shopping, hotel reservations and all the endless requirements are met. If you find yourself, a loved one or even your wife experiencing these feelings, encourage her to hang in there and try to reappraise her feelings about her role as mum and wife. It is a necessary and praiseworthy sacrifice whose remuneration is not quantifiable. In the case of Dumebi in our above scenario, she was quite fortunate that her husband could meet all their needs, care for and love her totally without dropping any hints of frustration or pressure whatsoever on her. For some of my other women who are not so lucky, they joggle the pressures of earning a living with […]

Family matters: Does staying at home with the kids make you jobless?


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The beauty of a precarious and tumultuous stage in life is that it becomes the time when all the lessons life intends to teach are actually learnt. It is the time when you are down and out. It is the time you finally begin to “pay attention”. The only thing left to do apart from wallow in self-pity is to start to use all our self-will to pull us out of the bad situation we find ourselves in. I personally have found that the only way for me to make any sense of my own life is to see life through everything else around me. Feed off new energies- positive energies. Since life has decided to keep pinning me down I have decided to keep rising up. I can now finally see. I used to live a very fast paced life. At the break of every dawn, it always felt like a whistle was blown. It was a rush to prepare to start my day, a rush out of the door into the car hoping to bit the traffic (which was silly now I think about it because I never managed to!). I got to work, rushed to hit all my targets, rushed my break, rushed to close in order to get home early enough. I was always so knackered at the end of the day. Honestly, I even rushed through sex at night with the hubby just to get me some sleep and start the whole cycle again. It was like I became the hamster in the cage. All I did was rush, rush, rush. It gave me a buzz. I even seemed to enjoy moaning about how stressful my life was because I honestly made no effort to slow down. Well, as soon as life started gradually to pin me down, the first emotions I felt were not relief from rushing but grief. I complained about my life until that point but the minute its course was set to change, I fought it. I tried to combine my work with caring for my son. I kept telling myself I could do it. It was hard to accept the reality that my son was not going to be safe in any regular crèche. All I could see was everything I could not have. Everything I was missing by being a carer. Everything I ever really wanted was slipping away- and very fast. With each passing day as my son’s health grew direr, I began to confront the prospect of giving up my job. It was emotionally strangulating- until I began to pay attention. You see, the secret of survival is to stop looking for what you want. Especially when you know that you cannot have what you really want. Stop searching. It’s like when you look too hard for your keys, you never find them. How about when you try too hard to remember a name or event, you never remember- until you let go. As you tilt your attention completely away from the puzzle of the lost key or forgotten name, suddenly, you will remember. Amidst your new quest, it slips right back into your consciousness when you least expect it to in a kind of eureka fashion. At my lowest moment, I decided to stop trying too hard to be who I wanted to be but to embrace who I had suddenly become. It was hard to find anything to do with all the time I spent beside my son both at home and in hospital. There was so much time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very busy in reality as a carer- I was doing feeds, changing nappies, giving medicines, nursing my son back to health and so on. However, I felt idle inside as a person. Deep within, I felt like I was wasting away. I remember thinking about if this was now going to be me? After all the years in university? All the years building my career? All my dreams? It was weighing me down way more than all the physical exertion of caring for Fred.The physical aspects of caring became my only means of escape from my crumbling reality– all because I was not paying attention. I began one day to notice during one of my walks one spring morning that a small leaf had grown on a tree. I suddenly discovered a trail of slugs too along the path- that made me smile each time I passed by. I found myself looking forward to seeing as much of them as the weather could permit. I noticed a cat along another path every morning and found myself wondering about it on days when it failed to appear. For the first time, I began to SEE my surroundings. I had all the time in the world now. Suddenly, a new world seemed to open up to me. I began to see the rips in shirts and tops around the house. I opened my needlework set for the first time in ages. . I redid my husband’s trousers meant for the bin and converted it into shorts and in no time, I acquired a sewing machine. That gadget can now testify to completing many a project with me. I went from doing up my interiors to redecorating for friends who have to date given me endless referrals. I used to love colouring and drawing as a child. Hmmmm, I had an idea to revisit that as well. I changed my walk direction the next morning towards the book store and bought a simple colouring set to get me started- nothing fancy. In no time, I was colouring so much and getting a real buzz. Before long, I was busy borrowing books from the library. I suddenly had time to pursue other aspects of my life that otherwise lay idle. I suddenly stopped only having ideas but also bringing them to life. It was an empowering feeling. Surely the boost my life needed- like […]

Wipe your eyes and pay attention



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Journey to self discovery tends to be a selfish journey. To discover self is to put self first in every decision. It means to discover what self loves and what self hates. It can lead to consistently doing more of the things self prefers and less of the things that cause self distaste. Putting self at the centre of every decision de-emphasises sacrifice. Fortunately some of the best things in life have become available to all to enjoy because some people have put themselves second-sacrificed. Freedom was fought for all because some people sacrificed even their lives for the sake of the fold. Sometimes these sacrifices endangered their loved ones. They did not let even this fact put them off because the good of everyone else was their focus. Two lovers can never fully experience the fullness of their love if there is no sacrifice of self. Each person surrenders him/herself to the other for the good of both. They learn what the other likes or hates. These may not necessarily reflect their individual preferences. However, if their love is to transcend time, they will both have to keep sacrificing from time to time. The advantage of expressing love in this way is that if each person is sacrificing, each person will invariably be receiving. Similarly, if each person is receiving it means that each person is being loved perfectly. Sacrifice is the true ingredient that helps love thrive because it entails tolerance and accommodation of each others’ flaws. A journey of self discovery can prove dangerous because it may compromise love- true love. Even the love of God for man entailed sacrifice. This sacrifice was the final proof of his love for man. It was the last straw that expressed his intentions for man after man’s fall from grace. Sin was man’s choice. Death was the consequence; a deserving consequence of man’s actions. God did not need to set up the sacrifice of his son to save mankind but he did. As the perfect example of love, he did not let this fact stop him. How can one claim to truly love another if there is no sacrifice involved? By focusing solely on oneself…in the name of self discovery, a wall is built to protect and preserve self. Unless this wall is erected around oneself, self remains unselfish, kind, truly loving… penetrable. Once self is penetrated, then that self can be changed-compromised…Compromise entails sacrifice. Sacrifice brings back love into the picture. When what I want takes centre stage, then what you need becomes secondary. Everyday lived in love…with love…showing love…expressing love… needs to involve a constant sacrifice of self. We can never fully love, if love is not blind. Love has to be blind… to faults… to flaws… to inadequacies… to be perfect. Love passes through pain in order to forge the unique bond to be treasured by the hearts beating together as one. To let go of this bond…is to let go of love. To let go of love…is to give in to self. We can never truly express ourselves fully in reality. To do that will be totally selfish and possibly lead to imposing ourselves on others. Total selfishness only leads to chaos. Freedom of expression is almost always a farce. There will always be limits placed on our freedom of expression by civil society to protect rights of people and society. To express every whim we desire for ourselves may trample on other people’s rights. To trample is to encroach on their own right to an existence. For the sake of peace, even the most selfish will have to imbibe an element of restraint. Whether they want to or not. To adopt this restrain will entail a sacrifice by another person or cause in a live and let live kind of way. We make allowances for others no matter how little. To ignore this restraint and withdrawal from trampling on the rights of others for our selfish reasons will be to incur the wrath of the law in some cases. Next time we decide to build walls around ourselves in order to stamp ourselves on the rest of humanity, let us realise that we are putting off another light of love in this world. What right have we really got to demand selfishness if we ever expect any consideration to be made to accommodate us in anyway. When self rises, dominance is born. Meanwhile, dominance can only work because another person accepts the will of a selfish person. This can be for many reasons- love, fear, peace, bullying etc. What a selfish person fails to realise is that another person  sacrifices their desire “not to be dominated” in order to accommodate them. So remember as you rediscover yourself and put yourself at the centre of every decision you make that you may be trampling on someone else to make that dream come true for yourself… Thanks for reading. You can also check out other articles in this series… Photo credit: Pixabay.

The road to self discovery can be SELFISH


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  I have had a few of my friends call to ask me what they are doing wrong to Mr Right because he has started to act up. He comes home tired and uninterested in them. I am not talking about the ones that come home very late in the night for no reason (that one is another matter!). I am rather referring to the Mr right that seem to have developed an aversion for you. He does not say he is uninterested but his body language hints otherwise. He says I love you so automatically that you wonder if he is just saying what you want to hear. You keep trying to get his attention but even when he gives it, you can tell that something is different. The gospel truth? It may not be anything you did. He may be going through a rough patch, a tough time at work or anything else but your fault. However, before we even start pointing one finger at him as ladies, do not lose sight of the fact that the rest of your four fingers may be validly pointing back at you. I believe that you can allow problems walk majestically into your relationship as soon as you lose sight of the fact that before you became wife or baby mama (as some are now referred to on social media) to this guy, you were his girlfriend, his chikito or better still his babe! Do you honestly still feel like his babe now? Do you think that all these extra levels you have developed your relationship to should diminish the fact that you are firstly and most importantly his girlfriend? The day you stopped seeing him as your boyfriend and feeling you were his mother, police and dictator was the day you crossed the line between marital bliss and perpetual sadness. Marriage is meant to and should only ever be a way to solidify and secure your relationship. I am not totally sure that it was intended to be the end of that special bond that you forged by having a relationship in the first place. You know that moment when one person asked, the other said yes and both fought tooth and nail to keep this relationship solid? Marriage is not meant to break that. Marriage is meant to transform you both into companions with a special bond (by the pre-existence of a relationship) not pull you apart. Do you remember the time of romance, butterflies, excitement, laughter, hot sex, experiments and pleasure between you both? If your marriage is not doing that, then join me as i take you through some simple steps you can take to get things right back on track. Have control over your children: If you have children already you will agree with me that as soon as they start arriving things change. I always liken my kids to a rash. They come either in trickles or at once to take over your whole life. If you do not control them, their need for your attention will spread until they encroach every aspect of your life including your relationship with your man. It is important to set out a routine for them to adhere to. One of the most important ones is the bedtime routine. Yes, bedtime! You have to start from an early age to put them to bed early. If not you will never have time for yourself (which by the way includes your relationship!) If your kids sleep at say 11pm, when will you ever have time for your man? The kids always come first but don’t forget that your relationship was existing first before they came along. They have to exist alongside every aspect of your life not overshadow other areas. That will not be fair to them and to you. You also have to make sure that they have their own space. If you lose control over where they sleep (by letting them sleep in your bed) how are you both going to engage in some adult play? So you see why a good grasp on your kids is the key to a happier relationship Start doing things together again: Doing things together is another important element that keeps your relationship flourishing. The pressures imposed on us by life mean that our relationships with our spouses tend to take the back seat. If you do not spend time together, you start to disconnect from each other. Can you remember how many activities you shared together as a couple when your courtship was in full swing? All those times helped create the bedrock for your relationship and ultimately, the marriage we are referring to here. I agree that it may be quite difficult to find time to go out now that the children are here. So by the time you put the kids to bed early for instance, you can watch a film together, have a meal together, snuggle up together (i did not say do anything else but at least enjoy the company of each other). Try to relax and unwind: This is an important element disappearing from most relationships. When stress levels are high due to the demands of day to day living, it seems impossible to achieve any form of relaxation. Apart from the health benefits of relaxation, it impacts positively on our relationships. You can play a nice soft music to chill out. Wind yourself down by having a bath just before your man retires for the day. That way you are not only relaxed but also very inviting when the time for serious business arrives. The nice fresh fragrance from your body will be a good calming attraction for him. With a relaxed mind and body, you can help dissipate the stress levels and even conquer your nagging tendency when your partner arrives. It is quite difficult to lash out on a calm person and cause offense Always create a conducive atmosphere: This is a very […]

8 ways to win your man back!



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“Stop ignoring people when they hurt you, you must always speak up for yourself!”…This became my husband’s favourite line nearly every other day. I seemed to constantly suffer at the hands of friends and family. “But I am a nice person”, I thought. “I have practiced bearing wrongs in my heart and even garnished it with forgiveness”. They say forgive and forget and lately I discovered that although I had forgiven, I never seemed to forget. Each time I set my eyes on those who hurt me, I screamed inside but on the outside, I plastered a smile across my face hoping that the pain would go away if I blinked back the tears hard enough. I was getting crushed under all the hurt. I felt like I really had mug tattooed on my forehead. I seemed to always be the one treated badly. Well to be fair, I never spoke up. I secretly grew jealous of people around me who stood up to these hurtful people. The truth was that they were avoided by these hurtful people who rather stayed away for fear of incurring their wrath. I certainly did not want to become a screamer however, something had to change real soon as I could feel myself approaching the end of my tether- fast! Well, was I truly being a nice person by pretending all was well when things were anything but well?  I had practiced suppressing my feelings so fantastically that anyone who wronged me would not see a trace of hurt even in my eyes. Yes! my eyes. You know they say the eyes do not lie. Well, mine were champion liars. You could not easily decipher any hurt through them. It was only a trained eye  (like my husband’s) that could tell that I was hurt as soon as he stepped within sight. He did not even need to see me sometimes. Just by saying hello to him on the phone, he could tell. However, lately, he seemed to be running out of patience with me. Not because he was tired of hearing my cliched lamentations and tales of woes at the hands of people I spent all my energy caring about but because he thought I deserved better. When I wrote “6 reasons why you may be getting knocked back”, I was referring in a way to myself. I came to those conclusions after one of such experiences. However, there was a U-turn in character or rather approach that took over my being after I wrote it. I resolved to learn from my own words. I was no longer going to keep being Mr nice guy. Karl was right. I deserved better. I remember when I was a very young girl, I had a bad tongue. I was at the other extreme of self expression where no one’s feelings mattered but mine.You know the teenage hormonal years of self discovery. I initially used to get a buzz from verbally trashing people who caused me even the slightest bit of hurt. Well my mother had many a conversation with me on this matter. I think the one that struck me was when she said , “you know how the bible says thou shall not kill? It is not only referring to killing with a knife. The way you talk to people, you kill them with our words and you are equally as guilty”. I was struck with mortal fear. I am not sure the poor lady meant “now you have to zip your mouth when people hurt you” or, “stop speaking for yourself”. However being a virtue seeking creature as I unconsciously tend to be sometimes, I took it to the other extreme and literally stopped responding back. You see, every time you are in a relationship where you constantly do not stand up for yourself, your feelings or your ideas (all because you do not want to hurt the next person), you are doing yourself a big injustice. By ignoring your true feelings, you are boxing yourself into an emotional corner. Repressed feelings do not disappear, on the contrary, they tend to build up feelings of resentment gradually until they get to a point where they no longer can be ignored. They most definitely explode and the worst part is that they tend to explode at the wrong time. You get to a last straw stage in a simple interaction that may or may not even be related to the person or issue and then BOOM! The screw literally falls out of your head and you unleash all the venom and anger in a what-about-me sort of way leading to overreaction. This leads to guilt and possibly endless apologies (to someone who may not really deserve the apology) that are the only way to make up for your seemingly unnecessary outburst . Do you know what this produces, further repression of future feelings as you begin to experience the fear of a possible re-occurrence of the shameful outburst you are still reeling over. The interesting part is how the brain begins to learn this method of repressing feelings until it becomes second nature. It gets to a point where you even forget how to speak out. Or worse still, you degenerate to a point of fear (even though you may not even realise it or admit it to yourself) You keep bearing this burden until it weighs you down. The solution is just simply starring you in the face. Stop repressing and start expressing your feelings. As soon as you can start it even with the smallest things, you are on the road to recovering your place in every relationship you enter. Contrary to popular opinion, repressing your feelings (for the sake of peace as people like to add) is not a sign of maturity. Maturity to me means; bold, grown up, coming of age. Which honestly in my books means becoming responsible for every aspect of our lives- which includes but certainly is not restricted to speaking up for ourselves […]

How speaking out can save Your relationships


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    One gift that is freely given to all irrespective of age, race, creed, wealth, religion and so on is Time… It is one of life’s constants because it keeps ticking away… endlessly… waiting for no one. Sometimes we are conscious of its ticking… and tocking… especially when we are close to a timepiece. Tick…, tock…, tick…, tock…. It goes on and on forever.. as it has done… even before our existence. At other times, we do not even notice as it whizzes by. In just a moment, a memory is forged… created… as time passes by. Sometimes these memories are good ones, happy ones and we treasure them. Other times the memories are not so good. Bad memories come along… ones we will rather forget … However, whatever the memory, in reality, they belong to our past; we remember them and they can make us happy or sad. They can encroach into the present with or without our intention. They can also strengthen or scar our future (depending on if the memory is a good or bad one). The “not so good” memories unfortunately carry within them the potential to linger on longer than we want them to. This is simply because they leave a trail of scars behind which trigger pain and sadness every time we remember them. Good or bad, all our memories are trapped in what I like to call packets of time. For time to trap our memories, they have to be in packets. Not just in minutes or hours but in bigger lumps that allow the events that occur within them to take place and subsequently elapse. Thereby giving them true meaning and substance. We use these packets of time to remember different events within the story of our lives. Time divides… splits itself up as it passes. Into three…past…, present and future. Until we appreciate these three divisions of time…this fantastic way that time branches out, we risk missing out on savouring the events that presently occur in our lives. We find ourselves dwelling too much on things that have happened …which belong to the past or laying too much emphasis on chasing the things that are yet to happen…which will belong to our future. To dwell constantly on our past or future is futile. The present is the real packet of time we can ever have control over. The past is gone…the future which will come remains unknown…but the present is here…now! We may not have the luxury of choosing what we face in the present. But right here… right now, we can consciously choose either to be strong or to be broken by the events of the present. We alone can choose how we allow the events of the present affect us. We can refocus our energies in the positives amidst the challenging circumstances we face. It does not matter whether our predicament is precipitated by our actions or not. What matters is that right here and now it is happening and we have to deal with it. The glass of life can sometimes be half-full or half empty but only you can choose how to view it. Whichever way you choose to see your glass, there is no right and wrong answer. The truth is that the volume of water remains the same but one view gives more peace than the other and it is your choice to find that comfort in the way that suits you best. It is by irritating the mollusc that the beautiful pearl is formed. The Mollusc finds itself irritated by a microscopic organism in its habitat and traps it in its mantle folds. Overtime, this singular act leads to the formation of the pearl. It is this attempt by the mollusc to make the best of its present disturbing circumstance by enduring the micro-organism that triggers the process that forms the pearl in all its beauty. Therefore one decision at a time in your packet of time based on the circumstances you face presently you can make the very best of every situation you find yourself in. Generally, it is easier to cope with life’s challenges when they are dealt with one at a time. Dealing with more than one challenge at every point in time can overburden and prevent one from truly experiencing the present. This is why when live gets too heavy you should try to approach the challenges one moment at a time, one decision at a time in order to get the best results. The present, is also the only one of the three packets of time that can be your last. This fact always remains unknown until it actually occurs. Live everyday like it is your last. Like the last éclair in the pack, you can savour it preciously and make the best of the present. If it is not the last, then that present will become part of your past. Having enjoyed every moment of the present, you can then step with satisfaction into the future. In conclusion, if you have missed out on making the best use of your present, try not to regret. Regrets are a waste of your time and energy. They also encroach on the present. They start with “if I had known”. The truth remains that, you did not know so don’t be too hard on yourself. The gift of hindsight is one we rarely possess as humans. Don’t judge yourself too harshly because in the past you acted based on the information at your disposal then. So take disappointments as experiences that make you more knowledgeable. Now you know and that knowledge will help to shape your decisions in the going forward. What’s done is done. We cannot undo the past. Don’t waste the present regretting. Thank you You may also enjoy some other articles in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay  

Packets of time



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The last time we talked about the various roles held by parents in their homes. All aimed at providing the best for the family. Two important roles are commonly required to run a home. They are in my opinion the bread-winning and the home-catering roles. In areas of the world were families are structured quite simply with traditions and educational restrictions placed on women, these responsibilities do not need any debate. The men assume the bread-winning role while the women automatically assume the home-catering role. Whichever role is undertaken by each parent, they become responsible for either making the money – dough or using the dough to provide what the family needs. If you missed that discussion, you can catch up here. In some families, the battle regarding who carries out the bread-winning role is non-existent. Both parents decide to carry out the home-catering role.While the children in these units get the equal attention of their parents, the sacrifice becomes that of the economy. This steers the primary sacrificial role which the parents are responsible for unfavourably towards society. Where true needs such as disability and illness exist in a family, genuinely negating the ability of both parents to provide for the family, responsible economies are structured to gladly pick up the tab and give all families a shot at survival on a reasonable income through benefits. However, unless this is the case, deciding that both parents become home-caterers means that families begin to lean unfavourably towards the economic structures described above. They then rely solely on “benefits” handed down by government for their survival. As a result of which the rest of the society are left overburdened with heavy tax liabilities to cater for these families. The constant abuse of the system by these parents bites deeply into the fabric of the economy. It unnecessarily punctures the economic purse, causing an income leakage which will otherwise be spent on providing infrastructure and amenities for society at large. The long term effect of such systematic abuse can impoverish the economy as they get to crippling levels of unemployment that cannot be sustained while national income nose dives. However, not all economies have social systems like the ones described above. In these economies the assumption of the home-catering role by both parents does not last as long as described above. Their structures are based on the no food for a lazy man concept. The inability to generate any income for the family quickly means a direct inability to thrive or survive. Therefore as poverty begins to pinch every member of the household, the logical means of survival becomes dependent on how quickly the bread-winning role is reassumed by one of the parents. ——————————————– Ideally a family where the bread-winning and home-catering roles are well defined will be more sustainable. Either role can be assumed by any member of the couple. Depending on how the couple is constituted- male, female or same sex. The fact remains that whoever assumes a role is as important as the other. There is the tendency to over emphasize the bread-winning role because the bread-winners bring in tangible and quantifiable elements into the home. They earn money and with money naturally come respect and status. This can leave the person assuming the home-catering role feeling “left out”. However, this should not be the case. Home-catering is actually a complementary role. Without the smooth running of the home, how will the bread winner and children thrive? The home-caterers provide intangible and most times unquantifiable elements into the home. Stability, presence, smooth running, organisation, and even home making elements are provided by this person. No one can serve money in plates to eat. Therefore, the home-caterer converts all earnings to their various uses. The buying and preparing of food, purchasing of clothes for kids, shopping and every little thing required for the smooth running of the home. As a home-caterer, there is the tendency to feel isolated. However, it is high time this role is placed on the pedestal it deserves which is in a position alongside the bread-winning role- not beneath or above. Both roles are of equal importance in the home. Just like with everything else requiring excellence, division of labour is also key. If such excellence must be achieved in the home, everyone must assume the role they are better at and then strike a balance. Where both parties decide to work, at least one person should work less perhaps part-time to provide support to the children. Tantrums and attention seeking behaviours are reduced to the barest minimum when at least one parent can give the required attention to children. It is important for parents to take parenting classes if they feel the need to. There are books and online communities available to provide support to families. There is no need for pride or shame, remember, you only get a shot at raising your kids. You cannot press a repeat button. It is important to get it right the first time and get help when you feel you are struggling. Photo credit: Pixabay If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like reading some others in this series.

For the sake of the children – Which “dough” do you make in your home? PART 2


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One important characteristic of being a parent is the ability to make sacrifices for the benefit of one’s offspring. By offspring I refer to children: male/female, adult or toddler. The sacrificial element of parenthood is not even compromised by factors such as age, sex or even the position held by the offspring with respect to its place among other siblings in the family. Parents by their nature empty their love unto their offspring totally. As a result of this love, the decision to give up time, energy, hobbies, careers etc for the benefit of children are taken seriously by well-meaning parents. This is true for most parents all around the globe. However the ease and swiftness with which sacrificial decisions are reached means that sadly, many parents do not weigh the consequences completely. These consequences affect all parties ultimately placing a degree of strain on relationships within the family unit if continuously left unabated. As families enlarge in different parts of the world, the real costs (tangible and intangible) of parenthood begin to surface. It becomes quite imperative (at some point) that parents break down roles and responsibilities between each other in other to ensure the smooth running of the home. Two important roles are commonly required to run a home. They are in my opinion the bread-winning and the home-catering roles. In areas of the world were families are structured quite simply with traditions and educational restrictions placed on women, these responsibilities do not need any debate. The men assume the bread-winning role while the women automatically assume the home-catering role. Whichever role is undertaken by each parent, they become responsible for either making the money – dough or using the dough to provide what the family needs. I will use the term bread-winning role throughout this discussion loosely to describe the role that encompasses all activities relating to earning an income for the family to survive. The amount of tangible earnings accumulated by the bread-winner determines the level of comfort to be enjoyed by every member of the family. Similarly, the home-catering role as a term will be used here to describe every activity that provides care and support for the home including and not restricted to activities like housekeeping, cooking, running errands, shopping etc. Although it is not usually remunerated, this role also entails activities that disburse the earnings provided by the bread winner. These earnings are used to see to the day to day running of the home. This role although not directly winning the bread for the family, physically presents the “daily bread” to the rest of the family in various forms. In more complex societies as well as developing societies, the dynamics of the two roles described above are different. We see roles assumed by either parent as well as being easily swapped between them depending on various factors. Increasingly, women have become more empowered educationally and are not expected by society to sit around catering for the home. There are now regular instances of men deliberately assuming the home-catering role and so the clichéd role of women as such does not hold in these societies. In families where egos are high with less communication abilities between couples, the assumption of the bread-winning role becomes the basis for competition. As a result of which the ever important home-catering role slips into the background leaving the children suffering and crying for attention. Some children are left with minders and day care centres. These providers who although primarily set up to provide temporary back up care have increasingly become the main catering providers for parents within and outside the home. Unfortunately being profit driven, the interests of children become relegated as their need for financial gains outweigh the individual needs of children. The kids find themselves at the mercy of the world as they continually slip in priority both with their parents and carers. As society continues to evolve, the problems of abandoned children continue to erode every sphere. They degenerate from constantly seeking their parents’ attention without success to truancy and mischief as they grow older. They continue their search for attention until they transform into complete menaces to society and broken individuals in themselves. They in no time grow to become empty parents themselves devoid of love and attention. Having nothing but their physical and emotional absence to offer their children, the cycle continues. To be continued…. Thank you for reading Photo credit: Pixabay If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy similar topics in this series.  

For the sake of the children – Which “dough” do you make in your home?



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I have personally come to the conclusion that some people are devoid of feelings. No matter how I constantly try to bear the pain they cause by making excuses for them in my head they prey on my forgiving nature. They take me for a ride and cause me emotional damage. Their hearts have developed hard shells pumping venoms instead of blood around their body. In the end they are transformed into a brick wall barricading any affection thrown towards them. No matter how nice you are to these kinds of people, all they ever seem to do is throw all your kindness back at you. The sad thing is that most times, despite being aware of the possibility of being treated in this way, you still put yourself in the firing line. The advice from well-meaning friends and family incessantly fall on your deaf ears. The harsh reality is that you feel helpless to these weird sorts of friend(s) you keep. You really want to get their attention but they are not budging. Today we will try to analyse some why that might be the case. Perhaps by seeing some of these reasons, we will be better equipped to reassess the course of action that will be best in dealing with such relationships. Here are six interesting reasons why they keep knocking you back :   They are just mean: just so you know from the start, and stop beating yourself up about not getting the attention you deserve because they may just be mean. The same way you find yourself super nice is how they find themselves super mean. Yes like the devil’s incarnate kind of mean. They cannot just help themselves. It is in their DNA. You must accept that there are some people who have a directly opposite character to yours. It’s hard to believe but they too must be wondering how you can keep being so nice in spite of all they are throwing your way. They had a bad childhood: a childhood devoid of much love or expressions of love can leave a child with some deficits in the aspect of reciprocating love. It may leave them without the ability to properly express or show love (since they had no adult modelling such behaviour to them during childhood).Some are too scared to show love because they feel that any display of simple affection or appreciation may be a sign of weakness. As a result, they avoid informal interactions erecting emotional brick walls to put off people like you who come across to them as “nicey-nicey”.No one can claim to have a monopoly over bad childhood as no childhood is perfect. Certainly some childhoods were more desirable than others. That has not stopped people with less desirable childhood circumstances from turning out well with fairly acceptable social interaction skills to go with it.Even the so called fantastic picture perfect childhoods can be very overrated as they do not always produce the best adults too.I accept that what happens in our childhood plays a big role in shaping and moulding us. However, I also believe that at some point (as we become aware and can discern good and bad behaviour) we must take responsibility for our actions towards others especially when we become adults. By seeing the effect your actions have on other people, we can begin to find better ways to treat people. We can also learn more acceptable ways of interacting and making ourselves better people. They are just busy:It may be that you are choosing your moments badly. Ever heard of “bad timing”? You may be a victim. You need to learn to choose your moments better. Some people may not necessarily be mean. They may just be very busy or worse for you, very professional. You need to try not to be too informal at the wrong time. It may be that your nice gestures are always inappropriately timed rendering them ”awkward” and leading to definite rejection. Read the context. You also need to be considerate and “swap shoes” with this person. Perhaps you will have the same reaction to your kind gesture too if the tables were turned. They do not like you:As much as I hate to burst your bubble, this is a big possibility too. The person probably just does not like you. Let’s face It … we cannot be loved by everyone. Even Jesus was hated by the people he was only even nice to. He cured them of their diseases, fed them with manna and even raised some of them from the dead. What could have been better than that? It did not stop him being hated! So you see, it’s not an entirely alien possibility. Some people can just hate you for something or nothing. For even existing, they hate you. For getting promoted…hate! for breathing…beef! Others hate your guts, your face, your swag…. In fact the list is endless. So just accept it and move on because really, it’s no big deal. They are tired: This may be the reason why your niceness is being thrown back at you.. Luckily not everything is about you. They may just be genuinely tired. What they are tired of is another story but the good news is that it has nothing to do with what you have done or forgotten to do. They may be physically tired and stressed out. Perhaps you keep coming to them at the end of their day when they would rather relax before driving home. So although you may not have chosen a bad time, the stress levels leaves them indisposed to connecting with you. As a result, they may come across as very irritable, temperamental and impatient! You need to consider this option and stop beating yourself up. Tiredness can lead to high stress levels. Stress can make people behave in the oddest ways. It has been known to be one of the courses of overreaction. It will be a good idea to assess a person’s mood […]

6 reasons you are getting knocked back


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Do you keep getting asked this question? You see, this may be the opinion and vibe you get from some quarters.  You may have always brushed this off as silly talk. Today however, we will do something different. You can engage in an out of body experience like I do sometimes. I like to call it that because it’s a state that can make you feel numb. You replay all the events in your life regarding a particular issue and sit on the side-lines watching as a spectator would. Next you review your actions and imagine it was being done to you. You ignore the reality that you were the one who was the actual actor in the movie that is your life. After that, you zoom on the issue and look closely at it again to see if you will come to the same conclusion that others have reached about you. Well, that was just to give you an illustration about the out of body experience I was particularly referring to as we all know there are different types. This one is not the witchcraft type (ha! It’s always best in my books to clarify things for the avoidance of doubt). Looking at the issue closely, I think technically some of us can really be secretive.  However, it is not for the reasons we are accused of especially when the secrecy in question to has to do with keeping quiet about achieving a mile stone, completing a task, organising an event… you know, those sorts of secrets. You see when there is a task to complete; I believe more in getting on with it than talking about it. After all action they say speaks louder than words. I have found that talking about a plan saps all the strength needed to carry it out. It seems a bit easier to just act things out. For instance if I want to redecorate my living room, I will just get busy with the project. The reason is simple, like everyone else; I am too keen to see the finished work to be wasting any second deliberating or conferring. I want to see how it will look for starters. I am always very keen from the start to remove any pressure that will be imposed on me as a result of creating expectation in people. The more ears hear, the more eyes will analyse my work and ultimately the more pressure I will feel. I am no expert in life but the best things do not start off being perfect. They go through many stages in the refining process. It’s like an artist or writer not exhibiting their work until they have totally finished creating the masterpiece. You do need various kind hearted (and sometimes mean) opinions distracting or tilting your focus. Honestly, starting a project, you may not even know what to expect the work to look like until you finish. If you are like me then you will find that you are just mostly filled with all these little bits of ideas and thoughts about how to go about things like; placing this here or painting that in a particular colour. Ideas upon ideas keep piling up in your head waiting to bubble out and be tried. You may just be quiet about things because you want to be able to make your mistakes privately and learn from them. This is the safety net that you find in the solitude of the privacy you avail yourself by being a bit hush hush… You raise your head from time to time when you need help or pointers. Sometimes talking about a plan so much inscribes it on stone and you feel a bit embarrassed about changing all or part of the plan. You risk worrying about not being taken seriously. This impedes your creativity. Skills are honed after a lot of trials and failures. Something may seem like a perfect way to execute only to begin and the path it will lead to opens up. It can be like a maze sometimes, until you actually start, you really are blind to all the potential twists and turns you are likely to encounter. Before the starting point, these twists and turns are all hazy ideas but as you begin and etch closer to various action points, their potentials become clearer and less hazy. This means some action points are subject to change where impractical. In my case, I have tried and tested this many times and it has worked. I seem to thrive better in that solitude of silence. So when you find that I have accomplished a huge deal and feel left in the dark, please do not take it personal. It was not intentionally done to cause offence. It was done to give me a sense of direction. To remove the distraction caused by scrutiny. To reduce the distraction caused by worrying about bringing disappointment if it failed. Know that of every action I have accomplished, there may have been ten others that failed but the fact that you are still unaware of them means I can keep trying without feeling that I am a joker. So today, it may be a good idea to communicate more with people who love you about why you choose to be private about certain issues. It can be annoying to feel left in the dark even when it is for a positive reason. I hope that by sharing this and knowing you are not alone in this regard and dispel the weight of criticism regarding your need for privacy. Everyone deserves to be able to keep things close to their chest if needed just as long as you also respect the privacy of others. Thank you for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay You may also enjoy some others in this  series  

Why are you always so secretive?



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Have you ever noticed the similarity between Later and Tomorrow? They are both moments in time that lie ahead and never come. Their major difference being- the timeline. If we look at the two of them like journeys; Tomorrow feels like miles away while Later feels nearby and more like an arm’s length away. Tomorrow seems far off while Later is the future that feels touchable, foreseeable. What you need to realise is that those timelines are mirages in time. The nearer you get to them, the farther they get thrown ahead. You never realise this until you look back and see that a lot of time has been wasted. The solution? Is to focus on another piece of the timeline called NOW!!! Now! is the time you have. It feels touchable because it is this exact moment you are standing within. Now! Is when you need to start acting. Now! Is the time for change. Now! Is the time to make a difference. Now! Can be the time to break down that barrier that Later and Tomorrow create by their mere existence. Now! Is the time to make that plan. Now! Is the time to move towards that dream because trust me… It’s either Now or NEVER! It doesn’t matter how big a step you take. You can walk. You can trot. You can crawl. You can even stroll into that plan. As long as you keep moving towards the plan, you will solve the riddle about How you will achieve it. The new question will not be about If you will achieve it but When you will achieve the goal you have set out to achieve with the plan. For with Ifs lie probability whereas Whens are more beautiful for they hold the promise of certainty. Until you start to make the commitment right Now, you will never reach the unreachable. Don’t put it off till later or worse still tomorrow. They will never come but there is only Now. If you are waiting for the right time, then you will join the league of procrastinators. It’s an interesting league of moaners waiting for perfection in timing. Achievers realise early that there Is never really a right time. That will be a luxurious train that actions needed to get things done will need to ride on. All that is required is the opportunity resting within the time which is always found in “Now”- That you are alive. That you can breathe. When you can actually make that move. It might not be the best move but because it’s your move, it may be all that is really necessary. You will never know the outcome of that move if you do not try it out Now. If it is the right move, Hurray! If it is not, tick it off your list of moves knowing for sure that it is not a move that works. That allows you conserve your time and energy for other more promising moves in your moves–sack. We have no control over the mix of circumstances life will give us to work within. They are not only constantly coming at us from all angles but there are endless arrays of them. They render the right–timer’s quest for stability before action futile. What we must do to overcome, is to make the best out of what we have got Now. In the uncertainty and chaos that sometimes becomes the definition of life first comes confusion, then endurance, perseverance, attention, stillness… because as soon as you hit rock bottom, there is  a calmness in the despair that arises. Leaving the options available approachable without fear of sinking further as there is nothing left to lose. At the bottom of life, there is no other way out but Up! So pick yourself up today and embrace this opportunity for change which is right here and right Now. Photo credit: Pixabay

The only time to take action is NOW !!!


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Life is not a competition. We live. We toil. We struggle. We love. We play. We are happy. We are sad. We think….All the things we do… are done … to survive. We have to live life to the fullest every day. But while we all exist alongside one another, while our eyes can see constantly… what others can do … what others have done and what others will do…we must never lose sight of the fact that… IT’S NOT A RACE! Even though it feels that way sometimes especially when we are constantly competing and trying to outwit or out shine one another. It’s not a race let alone a competition. It’s easy to lose sight of this fact. As we seek to impress and crave acknowledgement. At the end of the day, it is every man for himself… everyone at their pace… everyone with their abilities… everyone with their strengths yet all drawn back by their weaknesses. It doesn’t even matter if you get there… it doesn’t matter if you do well… it doesn’t matter if you stumble… it doesn’t matter if you fall… it does not even matter if you fail… what matters is that you tried! It is only those who enter the race with even as little as a trial that have the possibility of crowning their endeavours with success. In fact, the real losers are those who stopped trying along the way. Life in itself is precious… in whatever shape or form it takes… strong or weak… tall or short… Mr endowed or not. Don’t wait until you are losing it… don’t wait until it is slipping away to value your life and appreciate what is really important. The important stuffs are not mainly in the things we chase daily. They lie in the ones we cannot see or feel… deep within us adding substance to our lives. If we nurture them daily, then they will enrich our personalities making us more attractive to others. They are kindness, love, empathy, sympathy, mercy, peaceful coexistence with one another. We must keep our sanity by quitting the habit of constantly comparing ourselves with others. Contentment is one of the key elements of sustainable happiness in this journey of life. By being contented with what we have now it does not mean we are excluded from wanting more from life. It just means that when we try only where reasonably possible. It is never at the expense of anyone. So that when we finally get all we want, it will be worth the wait in the end because at the end of the day, IT IS NOT A RACE ! Photo Credit : Pixabay  

Why you should stop competing with others



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The last time, we discussed about some ways to know if your child is ready for potty training. As earlier pointed out, it is both an unnerving and daunting exercise for parents irrespective of their level of experience with children. However be reassured that it is not an impossible task.. Once you have established that it is time to start the potty training, you are on your way to getting started with the actual exercise. Today we will focus on some ideas and ways to begin. For more information about ways to know if your child is ready for potty training, click here (1) Buy a potty if you do not have one already. A regular one will do. However let your child’s individual need be the guide. I will personally suggest putting the potty in any room that is comfortable for your child. The living room may be preferred initially. Some children prefer the safety of their bedrooms. For some families, leaving the potty beside the family loo helps the child associate passing motions with the potty. The key is to observe your child and do what you find easiest for them. Remember there are no rules. You are in charge of the whole process. You can decorate the potty area with things your own child normally finds attractive. Stickers of favourite toys or characters may draw them to the potty area. The aim is to initially get your child to be drawn to the potty area. It doesn’t matter if they do not actually use it correctly at first- that comes with time. Just initially encourage your child to be familiar with the potty to help burst any fears and if possible stop them having any potty related anxiety. (2) Patience – You will need to be patient with your child as soon as you decide to embark on this journey. Children become easily scared and discouraged by rebukes and short tempers. Your child might erroneously associate your constant frustration as a reinforcement of their failure. I find that children tend to be drawn more to activities that generate pleasure to them (who doesn’t ?).  When they feel unsure about your response they may tend to hold in the wee. I feel children function better with praise . You cannot possibly give what you don’t have. If you are really stressed, it is unlikely that you will be patient enough to ignore accidents (which characteristically tend to occur at the start of potty training). Try to stay calm. Your disposition matters a lot. Imagine if you had a boss who seemed to pick on every error you made, you will find yourself scared of trying out error – prone tasks. However, a more reassuring boss around you may mean that you become confident enough to attempt more difficult tasks leading to more learning opportunities. Remember that your child is a little person (person being the operative word). This is one reason why it may not be a good idea to feel pressured into potty training just because you feel your child is long overdue. Do not forget that it is a journey for both of you not just your child. You also have to be ready. (3)Use a suitable reward system I will encourage you to use the same reward system you normally use. The existing type familiar to your child will do. Potty training is not different from any other learning activity that you have engaged your child in. Just relax and do not over complicate things by creating a new way to reward your child’s success. I am a firm believer in consistency especially where kids are concerned. Children get easily confused when things keep changing. A suitable reward system ensures that your child’s focus is distracted from the difficulty of learning to use the potty. It will not disrupt the process. This is one of the pitfalls I find with using sweets, chocolates and biscuits as rewards. They keep the child properly focused on earning them with each successful potty use. However for some children, they create a craving that supersedes the learning intended causing distress to the children when they are withdrawn. There is also the risk of tooth decay amongst others.  However, if you’re sure you can control your child then go for it. If that is what you use for your child, let me not stop you (4) Look for cues and signs – During this entire process you have to keep looking for ways to encourage your child to use the potty regularly. You can achieve this firstly by looking for cues & signs and secondly by anticipating the need for the loo. Every child has their own way of acting when they need the loo. You can determine your child’s style by observing closely. Just before they need the toilet, there may be a pattern that emerges. Some children wriggle their bottoms when they need the toilet (common amongst girls) while others pull at their trousers endlessly (in the case of boys). In general some children squeeze their faces, stamp their feet in frustration and pout their lips in an odd way. In extreme cases, some children cry. All these gestures and actions are just the child’s way of expressing how inconveniencing the need for the loo feels (mainly depriving them of their play).  Once a particular pattern is noticed, use this as a way to lovingly remind your child to use the potty. Anticipation will be your way of predicting when your child may most likely need the potty.  For example if it has been a while since the last toilet use, you can give a subtle reminder. If you are on your way out, you can encourage your child to use the loo first. Also, after having lots of drinks, it may be a good idea to remind your child to use the loo. (5) Reassurance – Always bear in mind that children like to make play their […]

Potty training – Getting started


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I think it is quite natural for us to judge people especially unconsciously based on our own standards. Everyone has a capacity to carry out an activity, a capacity to express a feeling- an emotion. The fact remains that no one will do more than they can. We are created to act, express and function within the limits imposed on us by our individual abilities. The limits imposed on our personalities and abilities are influenced by so many factors. One cannot do more than he is physically or psychologically able to, no matter how much s/he will like to. For this reason, attempting to explain the reasons for people’s limitations and inabilities may be unfair to them. Totally defeating the main aim of judgement which is fairness justified through the complete availability and knowledge of the facts pertaining to a case. Some of us fall short of standards expected from us for various reasons. Ignorance and heartbreak rank highest on my list. The constant sadness and disappointment that characterises broken relationships can lead to heartbreak. As a result of this feeling, some people may decide to safely avoid investing the time and effort required when forging real connections (causing an inability to socialise unpretentiously). While it may appear easier to describe them as wicked, it may not be totally fair since their actions are borne out of the need for self preservation. Ignorance on the other hand can cause a total knowledge gap that can be misinterpreted as the deliberate cause of offence. Although we know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, it sadly is one of the main reasons why people may fall short of the standards required of them. A typical example is that of Stan my brother in-law. He came to marry my sister in my hometown Ugboko – in Nigeria. In Ugboko it is expected that head coverings are removed by males as a sign of respect when addressing elders. However, Stan was not only from another tribe but also from a foreign land. He was an onye-ocha1 who of course had no clue about our tradition. He breezed in with my sister for a quick ceremony one afternoon. Without much notice, there was hardly enough time to acquaint him with our customs and traditions. In his ignorance, he wore an elaborate hat to protect himself from the merciless sunshine. Stan was quite ignorant about the fact that the disapproving stares he received during the ceremony was because of his inappropriate attire. Although allowances were made for him as a foreigner, he unfortunately judged the atmosphere as cold and unwelcoming. After years of acquaintance with our people and culture through marriage he feels differently. He is now more aware of our omenani2 as well as the things we call nsor3 leading him to a different view about the events of that blessed day. In the same way, our judgement of him is more liberal since we all now realise that he sincerely meant no disrespect. At times too, people are distracted by the events in their own lives. A house move, a new baby, a job loss, a past experience and the usual pressures of life can make people ignore our efforts to socially connect and preserve ties with them. Even though we continuously initiate such relations with them, we should resist the urge to condemn their inabilities based only on our expectations. The ones we place on them as a result of being able to reciprocate in the way we require them to. Let us not ignore the fact that it is hard to care for anyone else if we are not in the appropriate headspace to deliver such attention. Some people can regulate their feelings very quickly, enabling them stop their personal shortcomings from interfering with their interactions with others. However, these are only a minority of people as majority of us constantly fall short. By keeping these in mind, hopefully we will take people’s mistakes and excesses less personally, helping us relax our judgement.  We are all unique and special in our different ways. Let us accept that not everyone will love and care for us in the way we wish to be loved (or even in the way we will love them). We can communicate our displeasures where necessary. With effective communication, we may be able to guide others on how best to treat us. We all need each other but we are not all perfect. We must learn to relax our judgement of others especially when it is based on our standards. We will keep doing our best for one another but although it may fall short sometimes, we won’t stop trying. So what do you think? Do we really judge people by our own standards or are there minimum standards we must all adhere to? Please share your thoughts with me I am really keen to hear from you.   Photo credit :(1) pixabay, (2) pixabay     Footnote Onye-ocha – Caucasian person Omenani – Local traditions Nsor – Taboos

Judging others by our standard.



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We human beings are deep creatures. We exist entirely when we exist interiorly. Although we are physical beings with form, shape and presence, our greatest possession is that which transcends the solidity of our presence. When our purposes are interiorly drawn, they become sustainable. In other to reach our full potential, we must cease to perform our actions through our physical beings only. Our physicality must be instruments through which we reach within ourselves. By reaching and being in touch with your interior selves, we can then perform actions that will go beyond the physical. We will emit signals from our beings that will be perceived in the interior part of the beings we see all around us. For instance if one performed a song from within, each sound made would become transformed into a profound melody. People would tend to be “touched” by the unique rendition. The renderer too would become lost in the song as s/he continues to experience the song from within. This experience would remove the renderer from the present and catapults such a one into the beauty and melody uniquely created by him/her. The listeners would then become transfixed as they connect internally with the sound created, leading to their approval and reinforcing the confidence to enable the renderer reach higher heights in pitch and artistry. When you look interiorly, you see beyond the physicality of the person (the being) standing before you. By each word spoken, you sieve through utterances and hear true meaning in mere spoken words. Interior attributes of a person tend to be laid bare by their physical portrayal of themselves. The more they try to hide their true intentions, the more easily an eye that is interiorly equipped can see through the gimmicks. Interiorly inclined people are hardly deceived by the materiality surrounding people. They tend not judge authenticity by only the things fathomable through their five senses. They know that these can easily be altered to fuel deceit. They rather focus their emphasis on the intangible which tend to be the bedrock of true character. The interior minded knows all too well that the shrouds placed to distract true character tend to melt under the pressures of reality. When we look with our interior eyes, we become able to discern the sincerity of the purpose of each action, speech and association we come across. With each encounter we make, we begin to see through acts of love, selflessness, kind-heartedness, greed and even wickedness. If we cease to judge by vanity or physical beauty (that tend to be evident and tangible) but by the beauty of the heart (that cannot be physically seen or disguised) then we begin the journey towards sharpening our interior vision. The interior eye can see through the facades created to distract because, it is almost impossible to hide true purpose from one who is never seduced by materiality. Like the biblical serpent in the Garden of Eden, they soon become awash with subtle clues and hints revealing the true colours of their intentions. Physical things are material. Their materiality creating the perfect recipe for the distraction of our five senses – beauty, wealth, popularity, speech and eloquence and so on are all culprits. In the same way, the actions we perform are more sustainable when they are interiorly driven. When the reason for undertaking a venture goes beyond tangible and material advantages, they become sustainable over time. For instance, if material profit drives a venture, the individual may be distracted from other ways to make the venture successful if the venture proves initially unprofitable. However, if the venture is driven interiorly (by things we cannot see but feel within), its initial failure becomes ignored as an opportunity to saturate the venture with every fervency and tenacity that can be mustered. Low bottom lines, losses and initially low ratings can distract us from the real reason for undertaking some ventures. When we express interior feelings, they permeate and break down the barriers and walls surrounding people. Every time we sincerely express love, hatred, envy, happiness, sadness, greed and so on, they affect people in positive and negative ways. To build positive and sustainable connections with people we must then seek the improvement of the quality of our own interior bank.  We cannot give what we do not have. The quality of our interior banks transforms our personalities in various ways becoming the basis for making or marring our relationships. Relationships lacking in interior connection (positive or negative), become the ones that succumb to the wall of distance. By the gift of interior connection people physically separated by distance can become drawn closer than those within the same geographical location. Those within sight but lacking in the interior unity can sit beside each other and yet be as far as east and west in their hearts. It’s always a blessing to see those who although separated by millions of miles are drawn closer through the interior feelings they share. As a result, one can be all alone but never lonely while another can be surrounded by a crowd and yet…be lonely. Keep your interior man alive by connecting interiorly with people the people you meet. Let all your actions come from the interior today and see the difference it makes to those around you. Photo credit: Pixabay

Mind Power – Why we need to connect interiorly with people


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While it is the least outcome we ever consider, it is the reality that some of us have had to confront. Nobody prays to have a sick child let alone have the child unwell for longer than a few hours. Sadly, many parents around the world have to deal with this. For some, it is short term but for some others it is a nightmare that gets more complicated by the day. In some parts of the world, infant mortality is a reality and child health is gambled with by governments whose corrupt preferences mean less investment in adequate infrastructures including hospitals, laboratories and even staffing. This leaves helpless families resorting to total dependence on the forces of nature – God and even local deities for solutions to some simply avoidable, treatable childhood illnesses that sometimes have fatal outcomes. On the other side of the sphere are countries with excellent health care and diagnostic capabilities including staff, research and state-of-the art facilities. In those countries, child health is valued and many lives are saved. Early diagnosis means many childhood illnesses are determined and treated where possible. However, this also means that in the advanced countries, some parents, whose children’s lives are saved have to live long term with illnesses. Those families adhere to the management plan and survival strategies given for their children as prescribed by the respective medical teams. In the end, improvement of long-term outcomes (especially the quality of life) for children and their families become the focus for further research leading to breakthroughs in some areas. In less developed societies however, where there is a total loss of confidence in the healthcare system, many children die needlessly. But interestingly, there is a general belief by some people there that the advanced societies are plagued with an assorted array of diseases especially child related ones as a result of their lifestyle choices. Genetic illnesses (amongst many forms of ailments) are blamed on the mistakes of civilised parents. I am not personally sure about how this ideology came to be. It feels like a gimmick by unscrupulous leaders and institutions in less-developed societies to distract the people from their inadequacies as leaders. Most of the people are illiterate. Even those who are educated stay enslaved by their backward ideologies. They subsequently end up being educated illiterates as other aspects of their reasoning vehemently resist enlightenment. The fact remains that in less-developed countries, many children who have died have not even been given the chance of an existence. Many of the people living daily with various ailments in advanced countries are adults who were once “children” given a chance to “live” because of the medical prowess of their countries. Certainly, over time people’s lifestyle choices may or may not affect their health outcomes. But even the opportunity to live long enough to make those said lifestyle choices is provided by the lease of life acquired through the exemplary healthcare enjoyed by those societies. I am particularly touched by this on a personal level. I remember when my very first son was born back in Africa, he became unwell and subsequently died. Honestly, doctors did not know why or what caused his death. I could not fault the doctors’ efforts or abilities because they were beset with numerous constraints. All the constraints where imposed on them as a result of the limitations in the system in general. Irrespective of their individual abilities as medical personnel, they were unfortunately rendered helpless due to the lack of supporting infrastructure. They, like other workmen could not function optimally without possessing the tools of the trade. These doctors were just victims of the gross systematic failure embedded within their society. At times, the doctors had ideas about tests and interventions to perform on my son. These ideas unfortunately stayed stuck in their keen medical minds. They bubbled with different courses of action that could potentially save my child but their keenness ended in frustration as with every passing moment they realised that it was a lost battle for which they were ill equipped. Simple scans required our travelling many miles to different hospitals with the adequate equipment to aid diagnosis. The commute was impossible to even attempt in the absence of adequate ambulance services to convey frail children like mine to such facilities. He simply stood no chance. It was sad because, we all simply watched daily as my child withered away like a plant. Every passing day brought a new challenge that drew him closer to the end. On the day he turned blue, I was asked by a health care professional to pray. In not so many words, he said the child could be possessed by evil all because he had never seen such discolouration. Now with hindsight and exposure, I have come to realise that it may have been down to him not getting enough oxygen! Worse still, I even doubt to a large extent the validity of the paper upon which that doctor’s certificate was inscribed. Do not get me wrong, I am a woman of prayer and appreciate the effectiveness of prayers. However, I am not convinced that God will come down from heaven to do for man what he must do for himself. We simply are inadequate as a continent. We fail our children daily. The healthcare system in its entirety is brought to shame and disrepute as a result of failings such as these. Even with all the aids and assistance pumped into child health by more developed countries, we still fail our people every single day. I appreciate that there is the possibility that my son’s outcome may not have been different in an advanced society considering what I now know about the possible reasons for his demise. However, as parents, perhaps we would have had more answers than questions. We would not have been psychologically tortured and tormented by the constant insinuations we were left with. We would have had more than ill fate, witchcraft and […]

Having a sick child- The African Experience



Potty
Mark winced and pulled his face. That look was all too familiar. Just like when you accidentally drink a glass full of freshly squeezed limes into your mouth thinking that it was water. It was the same kind of squeezed look I saw on his face. It potentially turned even the most handsome princes into ogres and my boy was no exception. He was lifting his shirt in an upward motion and the next thing I knew, Prrrrr… I heard the sound of wind escaping from his bottom. “Oh no”, I thought, “I have missed it again”. You see, it was time for me to teach my child one of life’s essential skills- potty training. Everyone thought I was giving him this lesson a bit late because he had just turned three. The mums I knew all talked about how their kids were successfully potty trained at 2 – 2.5 years. Every time the question was thrown my way, I not only said he wasn’t ready but I proudly announced that he was to remain in diapers until I felt he was ready. I was his mother after all. I certainly was not going to let anyone pressure me into potty training my son. Most of the children described above were already talking and communicating properly but Mark was not. Personally, I feel this is one of the primary prerequisites for potty training. Some form of communication has to be established between you and your child. It doesn’t have to be verbal. It can be non-verbal. What matters is that you can give a simple instruction and your child can understand. Do not fall into the textbook trap. At times the books suggest ages for potty training commencement. Remember that those ages are suggested based on averages across a wide range of children with different levels of ability. Every child is different.  We just need to stay in control of that decision. In my personal experience, I find that answering these questions can be a good way to start. (1) Does your child communicate with you? Do you think they understand it when you give them simple instructions? (2) Does your child have a way of letting you know s/he is soiled?  This may vary from child to child depending on their communication level. While one child may ask to be changed by speaking, a non-verbal child may take your hand before pulling you towards the changing area. (3) Do you think your child stays dry for up to 2 – 3 hours at a time? You can find this out by taking your child off diapers and leaving them in normal cloth knickers or trainer pants (depending on what you can afford). You can then time how long they stay dry for over a period of time. You can try this on different days to get a sense of how long. (4) Does your child ask for a potty? If the child can already associate needing the toilet with the potty, then you have made progress. This is quite common with children who have older siblings to copy or where a potty exists already in the home. (5) Is your child curious about underwear? Perhaps s/he associates diapers with babies (usually common with kids who have baby siblings). You can tap into this to start introducing the potty. (6) Does your child have a pattern of toilet use? Some children poo after each meal, others at other times of the day, these children have a pattern. However, the last group of kids have no specific pattern. It will be helpful to find out what pattern if any your child has before you begin potty training. To determine the pattern, it may be a good idea to : Keep a record each time you do a nappy change. You can write this down in a journal or paper consistently. You can record it over a period of time (say for a week or two). Be consistent with the record keeping and you will see if a pattern emerges. This will be a helpful guide during the potty training. Make sure this record is kept when there is no upset to the child’s normal daily routine. Some children will not “go” if you are in a different environment e.g. on holiday, of visiting and staying over.  You have to bear in mind that the places you take your child to may be familiar to you but anywhere away from home is not familiar to your little one. If you have answered yes to most of the points raised above, you may be on your way to an exciting journey with your child. It may seem daunting especially when it is your first time but be reassured that it is not an impossible one. We all struggle, even experienced parents know that every child is unique and will attain this milestone in his/her own way. For every parent (experienced or not) the approach and disposition adopted towards this exercise makes all the difference. Next time, we will explore some things you need to get you started.   Photo credit: Pixabay  

Potty training – is it the right time to start?


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  These days of austerity and limited supply of money in households has meant that families now find creative ways to make their money stretch farther than an elastic band. No one imagines being hit by one of these hard times but like everything that comes along through change and uncertainty, it can be sometimes inevitable. The extent to which it hits every individual is another matter even subject to controversy.   I remember during the good old university days back in Nigeria, “alarm” was the term used to describe any form of hardship we faced as students. Alarm always came along irrespective of whose child you were – rich or poor. It just meant something different to each category of student. The controversy was not about the reality of the alarm as an experience. It was rather about the definition of what bank balance qualified a student to be in full-fledged hardship. The truth was that we all had different alarm thresholds.  We could neither brag nor discard the existence of these thresholds in a hurry. Every alarm experience was unique bringing with it pain, sadness, dexterity, creativity and even hope. I giggle whenever I remember the good old days. Now, fast forward donkey’s years later after signing contracts, chairing meetings, travelling the world, becoming a mum and all, I can still tell when the good old alarm rears its ugly head. I can sniff it from a mile off.  You cannot blame a girl for devising some alarm alerts. I find that with a good understanding of proper alarm alerts one can postpone or reduce the alarm impact when it eventually strikes. Many of my alarm alerts are not new. The only problem is that we all generally choose to ignore them. The alarm impact will become severe enough to scar us for quite a while if we underestimate them. Alarm can occur as a result of controllable or uncontrollable reasons. One of the most significant alarm alerts is losing your primary source of income. When you lose your main source of income, you must start readjusting your expenditure. Technically, when one’s income reduces, it makes sense to limit the level of outflow. This will be the most sustainable response in my opinion. Income constriction may be temporary or long term therefore appropriate adjustments should still be made to prevent reaching the point-of-no-income. An increase in family size should also be another alarm alert. This can be expected or unexpected. When a new baby is on the way for example, there will be some inevitably new expenses to be catered for. These can put a strain on existing income. If income flow remains the same then adjustments must be made to the current components of our spending. Cutting down on some luxuries, increasing savings etc may reduce the impact of the alarm that may occur due to the increasing family size. Acquiring new tastes and habits should be an alarm alert too. When we begin to engage in new habits and develop new tastes, we must remember that they may impact on our income. Sometimes these costs seem small and irrelevant but they all add up, creating pressure on your existing income level. If you are spending more than you are earning then you need to have a rethink because you will be on your own when you go broke. The only means of averting an alarm strike will be to confront the reasons for the non-sustainability of our current income. Why are our current levels of income no longer enough to sustain us?  Are the reasons under our control? If so, then what steps do we consciously need to take to stay on top of things? Such practical steps can help to cushion the effects of the alarm strike. Living within our income will be the right place to start. We can start by calculating what our total available income is. How much income do we have at our disposal in terms of cash? We can determine this by totalling our cash in hand, cash in our bank account(s), cash received from our debtors and so on. Once this is worked out, the next thing to do will be to start taking active steps to try to live within this amount. Personally, I make sure that I spend my money on only essentials as soon as I start to sniff alarm. For me, essentials are basically food and shelter. I do not normally add clothing to the equation because as far as I am concerned, my existing clothes will do just fine. I find that once I can eat and keep the shelter over my head I feel less pressured. At the end of the day, life boils down to those basics- food and shelter. Cut down your credit level. Start cutting down on your level of debt exposure without delay. In this day and age a lot of us are living on credit. Credit cards, car loans, mortgages, store cards etc. If you can pay off any of your debts before an alarm strike, do not put it off. Before an alarm strike, if you find that all your earnings gets exhausted on paying off the different types of debt you have you may have to quit delaying taking steps to reduce your debit level. This should be prioritised to reduce the possibility of defaulting on them in case they fall due during an alarm strike. Focus on your minimum payments. During an alarm strike, make it a point of duty to keep up with your minimum payments. It is normally a bad idea to pay only the minimum payment on debts. This is because it will take much longer to clear the debt. Interest rates may soar resulting in an endless cycle of debt. However when one is broke honouring at least the minimum payments becomes the least that can be done to salvage the situation. Since debts do not shrink with declining income levels, this becomes […]

Alarm strikes- Tested and trusted tips for your shrinking pocket!



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Change is constant. It is one of the most inevitable events in life. Things change, people change, tastes change, likes change, even dislikes change ! While I am not someone who embraces the idea of a proposed change, I do not resist it when it finally comes. It is funny how the thought of a disruptive incident occurring scares me more than the event itself. I remember worrying and moaning in the past about the prospect of an event occurring even to the point of fear. The weird thing was that when it actually happened, I coped very well emotionally, psychologically and in every way. Well, so change! Yes, as we were saying… is constant. Today however, I am exploring the reason for change. You may want to change something about yourself.  Your look, a habit you have, your routine and so on. That’s good. But what I will like to focus on is why you feel the need to change ? If you can ensure that you are changing for the right reasons, then you will stay on track when the going gets a bit shaky. The path that leads to realizing change is never easy. It may seem straightforward initially but it usually gets to a point where it becomes tedious. When this happens, if you are on that change path for the wrong reasons, you will never make it to the promised land. In my opinion and experience, the best reason for change must come from within , that is, right from the inside. You must be making the change because of a perceived benefit to ‘’you’’. You must be at the centre of this change decision . Your needs must necessitate this change decision. No external force should have the ‘’louder voice’’ in your head regarding the need for change . You should not just change because of anybody-  friend, family, society or celebrity.  If you let them drive your change decision, then when hard times strike along the change path , you are likely to lose conviction easily and fizzle out. This always happens when the change reason is not deeply rooted. External forces can influence the reason why you feel the “need” to change but then you need to analyse how that change will be good for you, it is important to define and know what that change will mean to you and how it will improve the current course your life is taking. Once determined, let it be the driving force for your change. Sometimes, you can discover the need for change on your own. You are an individual who knows right from wrong. So it is expected that sometimes you will find areas to change single-handedly. Your change direction may not even be popular at the time you choose it. However you will know if it will be good for you.  If you then discover that it will positively steer your life in the right direction, go for it! Change can have positive or negative consequences. You must know and understand all the positive and negative aspects to your proposed ‘’change’’. You must not only focus on the positives. Look at it from all angles. Analyse what these different angles will mean for you. It’s a good idea to only choose courses of action where the positives outweigh the negatives (in terms of outcomes) before selection. Let’s look at a common example, you are worried about the way you look. It may be your physical appearance or even the way you materially project yourself to others that bothers you. Friends and family may also be piling the pressure by constantly teasing and complaining . The pressure may be strong enough for you to decide to make some changes. Now, in this case, external factors may be mainly responsible for your change decision. However, all the comments should not  be the sole change determinants. You also need to make sure that these changes will be good for you and that they are what you need to forge ahead positively before embarking on them. Similarly, before you make a change, let it be a change that would be good for you. The fact that it worked for someone else does not mean it will work for you. We have to be careful not to be pressured into doing things by other people because, when the chips are down you will be left on your own (OYO) by those same people. You will have to live with the consequences of your actions. Not even the people who pressured you will share these consequences with you. You only live once (YOLO) therefore, make every change count for you. Photo credit: pixabay  

Change


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I love that word perspective. It’s all about how we view things. It’s an interesting concept because one object can be viewed in so many different ways. It can mean different things to the same person(s).There are so many factors and things that can influence that view. The placement of the object can be of utmost influence. The pedestal the object is placed on plays a crucial role because it can either cause clarity or obscurity. The ideology of those viewing the object can affect their perception. The mood (of the onlookers) as well as the context from which it came to be viewed are also factors that affect how objects are perceived. We can broaden the definition of perspective to include our views on issues like politics, fashion, criticism of celebrities, and so on. One fact still resounds irrespective of our perspective on various issues-the true meaning ascribed to that object or true definition of the issue as set out by its originators remains unchanged. It does not matter how we feel about an issue or an object, or what we think about that object when it captures our attention, the point is that it always remains what it is. We are all entitled to our perspectives and opinions. Interestingly those views at times change and are not cast on iron. The issue regarding perspective comes to mind due to the tendency we have of getting caught up and worried about how people view us. For some us, the feeling of confidence is constant. However, there are those whose confidence depends on being ignorant about how they are perceived by others. They become perturbed as soon as they are made aware of some form of criticism against them. We will generally be less troubled if we remained unaware of people’s perceptions of us. However, since we do not exist in a vacuum, our interactions with others reveal their feelings about us. We are made aware of these by utterances, actions, mannerisms and behaviours towards us. We become objects of focus to them. Like the focal point of a lens when a picture is about to be captured, that view depends on what they see or choose to see, what you present, the angle of view, the context of view. In some cases, it can depend on how they feel within themselves. At times peoples’ realization of their inadequacies alongside our unwavering strengths can overwhelm them to the point of frustration. Snipes at us can sometimes be totally unfair, irrelevant and uncalled for. We become their objects of amusement as we get caught in the crossfire between their personal frustration and jealousy. If we let them get into our heads, we will be permitting maximum damage to ourselves for no good reason. We must allow people have their own opinions. They are entitled to it after all. However, we have to always appreciate that the existence of opinions does not always make them correct. We therefore have to find a way not to take them to heart in order avoid getting hurt by those opinions. While some opinions are honest others are only intended to offend and inflict maximum damage. In the end, they are all just perspectives. We can consider them for the sake of objectivity. Such objectivity can lead to adjustments to accommodate others while improving on ourselves. After all, constructive criticisms lead to improvement. However, we must be careful not to let such interactions bring us down. It can be annoying when an idea is not ours. There is not much use fighting it. No one has complete mastery of any subject matter. At every point, there will always be someone more knowledgeable than we are. We too have areas where we excel. Everyone has their own distinctive area of advantage. The best way for us will be to adopt a strategy that acknowledges the superiority of others where applicable. It will help us align ourselves alongside such superiority thereby opening up avenues for learning and self-development. We will then find ourselves improving and acquiring the skills we appreciate in others. Less energy will be expended this way compared to spending time attacking and antagonizing people. What do you think about perspectives? Do you think we are better off not hearing them or perhaps you think they are best ignored? As you know we value your comments. What’s more…. It will be nice to hear your perspective too!   Photo credit: Pixabay    

Perspectives – Why you must stop worrying about what others think.



Certainty
Wakey wakey! I said to my son and he did not stir. I poked him and up he leapt with a smile spread across his cute little face. He was very ticklish. Wide awake! He would catch the tickles if you gestured a clawed hand at him and pulled a face! You see, the past few days had been extremely stressful for this little sausage of a boy as we roused him too early and put him back to bed late each day. We were struggling to make it to his ill brother’s bedside. The hospital was in another town requiring a two hourly commute each way. So to be fair, he had every reason to be knackered. He opened his eyes, lips smiling, and whispered ‘crisps’ , ‘crisps’, until the ‘sps’ sound faded gently away. He kept at it like he was striking a bargain with me for disturbing his sleep yet again. To his dismay as he locked eyes with me, he saw my stern unwavering look. At this point, he employed a more diplomatic tactic. He gave me a big cuddle, the type that leaves you feeling breathless. He then whispered into my ears ‘hello mummy… I love you…’ melting my heart as I thought, ‘Aww…bless him’ . I then said, ‘I love you too darling’. Mission accomplished he must have thought and rightly so. His next words were ‘mummy please will you buy me some crisps today? You know I haven’t had any for aaaaaages’. Hahaha I giggled… who can say no to that! So I agreed and mustered some firmness by adding a disclaimer ‘well maybe this one time since you have asked me so nicely! So as you can imagine, our preparation that day was as smooth sailing and without arguments as it was speedy. We got to our destination as planned and I got him his ‘crisps’ as promised. I even let him choose a flavour to his utmost delight ! As we arrived the hospital ward and observed all the sanitary requirements- hand washing, hand cleaning, coat hanging. We even got cosy by wearing our slippers and my son settled down excitedly into the kiddy chair by his little brother’s bedside. I opened his ‘crisps’ for him and his grin seemed to grow bigger as I handed back the packet of ‘crisps’. I thought his face was going to tear! Afterwards I turned around and carried on with everything else I had to do. As every mum with a poorly hospitalised child knows, there can be tons to do when you arrive. Suddenly amidst all this, I heard a clatter…clatter… clattering sound behind me. My boy in his excitement had poured all his crisps accidentally on the ground! Weeeeeeeeeeee… he cried and as you can imagine, he burst into tears. I tried to console the distraught toddler with a renewed promise of getting him more ‘crisps’ . Which was quite a herculean task, but as I looked down at him once settled down, a thought crossed my mind about how similar to life this whole episode was. After all the build up to eating the long awaited crisps ; the soliciting for, the waiting for, the anticipation of the enjoyment of this bag of crisps and the certainty that once acquired, there was nothing to stop him enjoying and satisfying this crisp craving. It fell through just as he was about to take his first bite. How uncertain can some ‘certain’ events turn out to be? How many times have we been assured we had a job for instance only to get to the interview and get told “sorry we found someone else more suitable” and next thing you know, all the plans riding on that job just fall before our eyes like a pack of dominos. I personally will say always guard yourself. Just because something is certain does not stop the fact that ‘anything can happen’. This way of thinking guards me personally and reduces the level of disappointment I tend to feel given any circumstance. You need to be able to console yourself fairly quickly (like I did with my son). Resolve to try again, find an alternative but try not to dwell on regret . Well, look at it this way, now you know this course of action is not feasible. You are now the wiser for it. That is one positive way to see it. Never lose sight of other possible baskets to throw your eggs in no matter how secure and sure the current basket is. It is wise to give this current basket your best shot so that if it falls through you can be rest assured in the knowledge that it was not for want of effort. As a wise Kin Hubbard once sums it up “There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose”. Photo credit:  Redeeming God 

Certainty


Private corner
Have you ever heard yourself think “People don’t care about me” or “nobody even bothers?” Well, while that may be true, have you then wondered if you may have contributed to that? Oh yes! I know we normally prefer to feel detached from the reasons why people treat us the way they do. However, at times we need to stop and take stock of how we may have unknowingly encouraged people to treat us wrongly. I had a call today from a friend. A very good friend. I had recently been upset about her uncaring attitude towards me. My conversation with her was also an eye opener to me. I did my best to express my dismay at her lack of sensitivity towards my plight. I expected more support from her. She in turn pointed out some facts to me explaining why this came to be the case. Our heart to heart conversation has led me to question if I had discouraged her from caring for me without realizing. Privacy! Yes privacy was the main culprit. In the past, people appeared to “care” about me. They asked me questions about things. They asked questions about my condition and how I felt. Answering these litany of endless questions left me overwhelmed. They felt more like “prying” questions rather than “caring” ones. Consequently, people perceived my withdrawal from answering them as a subtle hint that I wanted to be left alone. This resulted in their deliberately deciding to respect my privacy by leaving me be. I am not going to lie, it felt good not been quizzed at every opportunity in the name of “care”. I sometimes jokingly referred to these as ‘information-seeking-CID-tendencies’ or ‘nosiness’ on their part. However, my private space slowly became less comfortable and lonelier with each passing day. I started to wish that somebody would ask me how I was. As days turned to weeks and weeks to months, sadly, nobody asked. I guess they did not want to get their heads bitten off by my harsh tongue or rolling eyes. I felt like screaming for attention but it never came. Everyone assumed I was going to ask for help if I needed one. It became even more embarrassing for me to reach out. I dropped little hints and then even larger hints. My attention seeking also went from subtle to obvious until I had a proper breakdown which luckily a clever friend saw as a “cry for help”. My good friend made me realise that my attitude of pushing everyone away coupled with my vehement refusal to speak or open up meant that no one could help. They could not come into my head to read my thoughts either. So they all just stayed away hoping I was going to come to them when I was ready. As we spoke, I appreciated how lucky I was to have such a friend like her who saw beyond my snipes and tantrums, ignored them and still came to my rescue. For this, I was thankful. Unfortunately, not everyone is so blessed. So I want to open your eyes to see with me why there can be disadvantages to going all “cold-turkey” or “leave-me-aloney” on everyone. While I still want my privacy, I have learnt to acknowledge peoples’ care and concern and to also appreciate it. I agree that can feel very nosey at times but perhaps realising that people only mean well most times can help us to be more patient with them. The problem is that most times though they have no clue how to. To you the friend who is constantly being pushed away, try not to take it personal. It is quite stressful dealing with “stuff”. You can give your friend space, but please, please, still find time to ask how they are as they may have trapped themselves in the private corner of discomfort. It gets lonely at times but knowing you care will make all the difference, trust me! Do not fall into the “I am fine!” trap! “Oh how are you?” and you always automatically say “I am fine” remember it is also a question and an opportunity for you to say you are “not fine” and possibly get help. The thing with care and compliments is that if you keep throwing them back at the giver, they gradually get withdrawn unconsciously too. Perhaps they too become used to your frequent answers and just assume you are fine. You can encourage them with a smile when you are fine and even say “thank you for asking”. That way, you encourage them to ask next time and also reassure them that you do not feel disturbed by their questions. We have to see that though we may not be rude about pushing people away, we may choose to be passive and it can still have just about the same effect of turning people off and pushing them away. So have you ever boxed yourself into a private corner like I did? Please leave us a comment below and let’s hear about your experience. Did you manage to get any help in the end?   Photo credit: Pixabay

Private Corner