There’s a Flaw in Everything That’s Perfect For You

There’s a flaw in everyone. At least that’s what we’ve been told – that no one is perfect and we should accept this truth.

We often reiterate this statement when a person we hold in high esteem disappoints us and we are resigned to the idea of forgiveness. Sometimes we state it with a dismissive wave of the hand when we want to evade unsavory discussions about others. But I have often wondered if at any point we apply this truth in some of the key choices we make.

I recently started shopping around for a new smartphone. I have had my old phone for a long time now, deliberately refusing to be swayed by whatever has been in vogue over the past three years. I assumed searching for a phone would be easy. Afterall, there are so many phones on the market, the idea that I could experience any form of difficulty finding the perfect phone for me was inconceivable.

I started shopping at the top of the range, not exactly because I was in search of a high-end phone but because whenever I typed ‘smartphone prices’ in my search bar, I was overwhelmed by a plethora of advertisements showcasing the latest phones and what they were capable of doing. These phones seemed so perfect – full of all the specifications I did and did not need, including many others I knew I would not care to use. But after staring at them for a while, I started to consider purchasing one. I was so consumed by the thought that I went to three different store in the closest mall to try them out, take selfies and see how well they fitted into my hand. They all felt great! I thought I had found what I wanted but a look at their price tags was the only discouragement I needed. Why on earth would I want to pay a hefty price for a thousand and one features I did not need? Sure they made the phones close to perfect, but the chances of me using any one of those features was really slim to none.

I headed to the mid-range section. Here, my wallet felt at home and there was less of the unnecessary stuff. The features were less bogus, more practical for my everyday use and really just perfect for me. But there was a problem. Everytime I googled one of these phones, there was a flaw. ‘The speakers are not so great’, ‘the screen is too big’, ‘ the processor is too slow’… the list was endless. At some point, I could feel my eyes bulging out of their sockets from reading so much information. But there was a lesson to be learned – these phones were imperfect but most of them had most of everything I needed. Perhaps the reason I was overwhelmed was because I started by first seeking perfection even though this perfection was not defined by me. It was defined by what everyone else deemed as cool and expected for a person of my age and status. This perfection was not perfect for me. It was perfect for the idea of me people wanted to see.

Think about your life and the choices you have made. Think about your relationships and the reasons you ended some of them. Were you seeking perfection set by the expectations of those around you or have you always sought what and who is perfect for you? Because the reality is that what and who is perfect for you may not sit well with the world. It may not be top-of-the-range or make people gasp and fawn over it. It may not have all the extra features everyone else is talking about but it will fit well with you and possibly have everything you need.

 You must understand that in this life driven by the facade of perfection, there is no one definition for what perfection looks like. Perfection can be flawed; it can have a few bits missing, it can be obscure to many yet glorious in its meaning. It can even be cracked with the evidence of brokenness and being put back together. But if this perfection makes you happy, if it gives you all you need and none of what you don’t, this is the perfection that’s perfect for you. XOXO.

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Why You’re Likely to Stay in a Bad Relationship

Have you ever wondered what the chances are that you’d stay in a bad relationship? Probably not. I never gave it much thought myself until I read an interesting article about how we as humans are likely to view investments. I can’t remember where I read the article or who the author was but I remember something stuck out to me about the way that he/she explained a person’s disposition to investments using the following scenario:

Let’s assume you go to the cinema to watch a movie. After scanning through available options, you settle on the one you think would be interesting. You pay for your ticket, grab your popcorn and head to the hall excitedly. A few minutes into the movie, you realize that it’s not along the lines of anything you like or it’s just really boring. What would you do?

There are two possibilities that may immediately come to mind:

  1. To sit through the movie and bear the boredom; afterall, you already paid for it. OR
  2. To leave the cinema hall the moment you realize the movie is not what you hoped it would be, and either pay for another movie that would give you what you need, or go elsewhere to have a good time.

According to the author of that article, most people are likely to choose option 1, i.e sit through a movie they do not like or are not likely to enjoy rather than leave the hall to choose a different movie or go do something else.

This got me thinking about why people stay in bad relationships. Why do people resort to sticking with unhappy relationships, abusive relationships, stuck-and-heading-nowhere relationships? Think about it: there are many people who say “we’ve been together for xx years so we just have to make it work” even though they know that their relationships are filled with bitterness, anger and resentment. There are people who prioritize the duration of their relationships over the quality of it and tend to focus on prolonging the duration rather than improving the quality.

This is because people worry about how much they have invested in a bad decision (in terms of time and money) and become obsessed with making it work. This kind of thinking continuously looks backwards and regurgitates the investments that have been made into the relationship rather than the returns on those investments. It’s a way of life that prevents many people from taking risks and daring to seek new possibilities. It’s a way of life many people have adapted to.

So here’s a challenge for you: Look back on your relationship and ask yourself if you have received returns on your investments? Please bear in mind that these returns should not include children. You do not need to invest your heart in a relationship to get a child so focus on other things like: are you respected? are you treated with love? Do you feel, in spite of the bumpy days that your partner will consistently support and care for you like you do for him/her? Are you confident, in spite of the turbulence you might face that your relationship is headed for a happy ending? That your relationship is filled with substance and not just symbols?

For once, forget about the investments you have made and ask yourself if you are happy in your partnership.

Because the truth is it does not matter how long you have been investng if you have been investing wrongly. It is equivalent to pouring water into a basket but refusing to stop because you have been at it for a very long time. The basket will never fill up and you will never stop pouring. So do what’s good for you.

XOXO

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Why Are We PREPARING for Bad Marriages?

If there is one thing that exhausts me on social media, it is the volume of opinions that are rammed down people’s throats as facts. There are so many opinions on social media these days that the thought of even logging onto facebook exhausts me. Even Twitter, my favourite social media app is becoming toxic by the day. And while Instagram is not that bad, I fail to understand the need to post pictures of my life so people can like them to feed my self-esteem.

Drained as I may be though, I am not one to sit around and leave people to believe erroneous opinions simply because I don’t want to be bothered. Nope… the thought of sitting around while people go on and on about how their opinions are facts is a bother on its own. Forget being a bother; it is a crime – one that relationship social media is constantly engaging in.

Image result for women in bad marriages

Source: MSU Today

For some time now, I have seen people post all kinds of advice about relationships. A few days ago, a lady on Twitter posted what she called a “survival kit” for young wives. She went to highlight that she had been married for 13 years, had three kids and had survived the damage she faced in her marriage. She went on to indicate that women who are preparing for marriage should be prepared to be “really really damaged” because that was a rite of passage of some sort. The post had many retweets, many nods, many agreements and a few outliers like myself who just did not agree.

You see, growing up, marriage was never packaged as a good thing to have, yet it was communicated as something that must be desired. Mothers and aunties often said in my language, “ile oko, ile eko” meaning a husband’s house is like a school. Now, if you attended the same schools in Nigeria that I did, you’d understand why this was certainly not something to look forward to. Marriage was packaged as a war front where your only chance of survival as a woman was to surrender yourself to some form of education and societally acceptable behaviour that would not in any way bring reproach to your husband. Some aunties went as far as highlighting that men could do whatever they wanted in marriage and it is your duty as a woman to build your home, lest you be regarded as foolish. Unfortunately, a bible verse was even used to further drive the message home:

“The wise woman builds her house; but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down” – Proverbs 14:1

And so I spent most of my childhood watching women scurry around to save their homes so they would not be regarded as foolish. Women stopped talking to their friends because their husbands did not want them to have friends. Women stopped working because their husbands did not like their line of work. Many women looked and still look the other way whenever their husbands chased women with shorter skirts and longer weaves…“At least he is not bringing them home”, they said. And as they built, some of their husbands tore down, leaving these women in the endless cycle of building and restoring. But that is not the worst of it. The worst thing is these women became mentors. They became the council of advisors for many women. They taught and still teach many young women to prepare for bad marriages.

“After one year, you will see changes in him”

“Once you hit ten years, the marriage becomes really tough” 

“The ups and downs get worse with time but you will be stronger because you will be used to him by then.”

Oh wow! Sign me up real quick for the forecasted suffering, will you?

I’m being sarcastic but many women do sign up. I remember seeing an advert for a book about getting rid of the other woman in your marriage and a young lady wrote a comment along the lines of “Where can I get a copy? I don’t have a man yet but I need to be prepared.”

Why are we constantly preparing for bad marriages? Why are we accepting the experiences of others as the status quo and hoping for their suffering to become our reality? Why are women romanticizing the idea of having a “survival kit” for a lifetime commitment like marriage? I have so many whys but you already get the gist. Women are constantly bending over backwards to reiterate the gloomy forecast of marriage, and do you know why?

Many women do not dare to demand better for themselves. I find in this social media age, that the more retweets an opinion has, the more likely it is to be regarded as fact. Many people out there believe that the reality of others is bound to be theirs so they buy into damaging opinions really quickly and begin to prepare for the gloomy days ahead. Many people believe that if X is giving marriage advice and has been married for 15 years, then that advice is the gospel. LOL. So let’s say I work as a cleaner at a bank for years, does that qualify me to give you advice on investments?

The fact that a person has been married for years does not mean they had a substantial relationship with their spouse. Heck, people are married for years and live like strangers in the same home. People are married for years in abusive relationships. People are married for years to other people who do not want to have sex with them or even touch their skin…. yet we tend to believe the duration is equal to positive experience? Nope, it is not. It will never be. And you need to start telling yourself that if you want to stop preparing for a bad marriage.

Image result for women in bad marriages

Instead of listening to the survival kit gang, the ‘I’ve been married for xx years’ gang or the ‘your man will cheat or change’ or whatever kind of evil they’ve been stewing in for years gang, take a deep breath and ask yourself what you really want. Do you want the status quo of pain and unnecessary education? Or do you want a marriage where the ups and downs do not include cheating, abuse and alienation?

Dare to demand better. Life on its own is tough. Rather than prepare for a bad marriage, be kind to yourself and aim for a good one. If you prepare for a bad marriage, anyone who proposes marriage will do. But if you dare to demand better for yourself, you might just be the exception to the status quo. XOXO.

 

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How the Impostor Syndrome is Hurting your Progress

I haven’t written in so long and it feels great to be able to come back to my blog and share my thoughts with you all. I have been busy handling school, work, and life and I honestly tell you now that if hard work does not kill you, it will make you detest all the rich and successful people you know. But hey, you can’t detest those you wish to become, so here’s me raising a glass to all the successful people out there who broke their backs to get to the top. It is not easy following your footsteps but my eyes are on the goal. Dine with you soon.

Yea, I know what you are thinking. Is this a post about whining and soliloquy? Well, no. Be patient and take deep breaths. I am getting to it.

Image result for lady crying with tissue in hand

Yesterday, a young lady approached me to discuss some problems she was facing at work. She told me about how her interpersonal relationship with her colleagues was suffering and how she just avoided getting in anyone’s way because she was worried being more visible at work would only expose her to more hatred. I listened attentively, watching her body language as she spoke and listening to how her voice dropped everytime she mentioned meeting with her boss. When she had told me all she believed I needed to know, I asked her the question that had been playing on my mind the moment she began speaking:

“Do you feel you deserve the position you currently hold at work?”

She was visibly taken aback. She had probably expected me to equip her with coping skills on how to deal with that mean guy from accounting or how to act so her boss can be nicer to her. But I asked her the question that I knew would address all of her issues. Did she feel like she deserved to be at her job, in her position, getting the benefits she was?

She proceeded to tell me how qualified she was and how she had worked hard to get where she was. But I didn’t ask her about all that. And it became evident right there that what I was thinking was true – she felt she did not deserve to be in her position at work so she dedicated her energy to either defending her right to be there or hiding away so no one would discover her secret.

Surely, she’s not a peculiar case. Many of us have had a brush or two with the impostor syndrome. It is that tiny voice in your head that tells you to introduce yourself as ‘a boring technician’ when you are actually the senior engineer. It is that whisper in your head that says you can’t call yourself a tech girl because you don’t know all the coding languages in the world. It is that mixed feeling of anxiety and confusion you get when you are invited to a prestigious meeting with your peers and you start to wonder when you arrive at the meeting if the said people are really your peers because they seem to be bounds of knowledge ahead of you.

Many people, including I, will tell you that this is a feeling you will have to deal with at some point in your life. The problem is staying stuck on it, or even worse – not knowing you are going through it. Some people swear “it is harmless.” “It’s just a feeling.” “One day, you will get over it.”

Image result for impostor syndrome

Well, what if you don’t? If you consider it to be harmless why would you be motivated to get over it or through it? Let me motivate you by telling you what the impostor syndrome really does to you:

1.) It makes you less likely to take initiative at work: People who let the impostor syndrome take over their lives are less likely to make decisions on their own. They often second-guess themselves even after ensuring that the decision they have reached is the best possible one. This makes it difficult for them to progress at work because really, no boss wants to promote a person who requires 10,000 emails of assurance before they make a decision.

2.) It makes you unnecessarily defensive: When people feel they don’t belong in a position, company or any place at all, they tend to defend themselves even when they have not been attacked. The lady I spoke with went on to tell me about her 1001 qualifications when all I was really asking was whether she felt like she belonged in her team and her workplace. A defensive attitude, no matter which direction you swing it is hardly ever a good way to climb up the ladder at work. It makes you unpleasant to work with, makes it difficult for others to understand you and makes you come across as ‘naturally abrasive’. Yes, we are all abrasive every once in a while when things are just not looking good, but when the people you work with start to think that is your natural disposition, you have a problem.

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3.) It makes you cower: You know what it means to cower right? To grovel, crouch, kneel, crawl… basically act like you are beneath everybody including your peers. This is the opposite of being defensive and shooting down anyone before their words or actions get to you. It is the worst trait you can manifest at work. As much as people love to take advantage of doormats, no boss wants to promote one. Think about it. When was the last time you looked at your front door mat and thought to yourself:

“Wow! So many shoes have been cleaned on this mat, I think it is time to move it to the living room as the center rug” Never? That is exactly how your boss thinks of you when you are cowering.

I know the impostor syndrome can be overwhelming but it is something you must overcome. Firstly, start by believing in yourself. If you have been offered a seat at the table, it is because you deserve that seat. No, it is not affirmative action. It is not for demographics. It is because you are qualified to be there. Own your seat.

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Secondly, focus on delivering your best work rather than worrying about what others think of you. You’re new and your colleagues don’t like you? Focus on delivering your best work. You are not in the workplace to be liked. You are there to prove you are worth the contract the company signed with you. And you want to know what the funny thing is? Your colleagues probably don’t even dislike you. You just expect them to because you think you shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Lastly, be assertive. Many people with impostor syndrome find it hard to assert themselves. It is like they have this fear that any assertion on their part will lead to them being exposed and laughed at. Think about it though. If you are qualified to be where you are, what are afraid of? Why do you think anyone will expose you? What exactly will they expose? Possibly nothing.

Stop letting the impostor syndrome ruin your life and your career. Rise above. XOXO

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My Experience with Gluten-Free Spaghetti

Hello everyone! Welcome to this new section of my blog.

I have realized that motivation is not all we need to get through life yea? We need practical ideas and choices about our lifestyle. Sometimes, we need a little help with making the right food choices, visiting the perfect restaurant, doing the right kind of exercise… you know, everyday choices that help us live the motivated and fulfilling lives we desire. So, I have decided to blog about my choices, places I visit and things I eat to stay healthy, and hopefully the exercises I do (filming them still presents a challenge). I hope you find these posts helpful and I hope they push you to make good or better choices. Many of these posts are will be in the form of reviews so, let’s get started with the first one – gluten-free pasta!

Recently, I started to notice something weird about my body. My stomach was distended for hours after eating, my body felt blocked up and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed after eating like an overfed python, hoping for digestion to happen fast. But it didn’t. It was so bad that I felt slow, and my body felt like an extra weight I had to carry around with me. This happened every time I had carbohydrates – especially refined carbs. I could have a basket of fruits and vegetables and not have the same reaction. But one serving of pasta and I felt like I had to drag myself everywhere. I started to keep a food diary and voila! the common factor jumped out at me – gluten was killing me slowly!

So I decided to start trying gluten-free options. I live in South Africa where gluten-free options are more expensive than regular options and can sometimes cost five times more. Yep. You read right. Five times more. Thankfully, my gluten-free spaghetti did not cost that much. The regular option I used to buy cost R16.99 while the gluten-free option (image below) cost me R31.99 – twice as much. The option I found was made of corn and rice flour. My buddy in the USA told me she had gluten free option with corn flour only.

I got home and got to work. Sorry guys. I forgot to film the cooking but this is really what I did:

 

pasta-2.jpg

If you are in South Africa, you can get this from a local Pick n Pay grocery store

  • I let some water boil in a pot, added a sprinkle of salt and a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.
  • I added about 100g of spaghetti. I didn’t break them and left to boil. First thing I noticed was that the pasta dis not cook as quickly as the regular option. After boiling for about 8 minutes, I noticed it the pasta was getting sticky. I took it off the stove and poured it in a colander. I rinsed it with cold water to get rid of what I call the ‘starchiness’. The spaghetti was still tough as though it had not been exposed to any heat!
  • I put it back in the pot and poured some water over it. I put it on the stove for another three minutes and took it off when it had softened a bit. I had to do this because I had prepared meatballs and pasta sauce and planned to complete the cooking in the sauce.
  • I drained the spaghetti in the colander and added it to the sauce I already prepared. I lowered the heat and left it to simmer for an additional two minutes. I was scared of overcooking it.

Then I served myself a pretty portion (image below) and this is what I discovered. I will do the cons first.

pasta

I sprinkled some parmesan on it and some chopped parsley

  • the spaghetti was grainy to taste. It did not have the smoothness of normal semolina-derived pasta and that grainy-ness was annoying to me. It felt like I was eating bits of rice really.
  • It still didn’t feel like it had cooked through even though the packet said it cooks in ten minutes. From the way it felt though, one extra minute on the stove and it would have been overcooked.
  • It had an after-taste that came across as egg-ish. But hey, I don’t have a professional palette but that what it felt like.

Pros: 

  • No distended tummy after eating. I could still feel my abs – all one and a half of them.
  • My body did not feel clogged or slow. My energy level was boosted instead. I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to lie down like an overfed python.
  • A very good pasta sauce can cover up most of the after-taste. Mine was a thick sauce made with fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper and onions but I could still catch a bit of that egg in the middle of my tongue.

So there you have it. You know what to expect if you decide to go for gluten-free spaghetti. But if you’ve tried a different kind of gluten-free pasta and gotten different results, please share in the comments. XOXO

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Protect Your Joy; Protect Your Life

As 2017 drew to an end, I decided to go off the grid. It wasn’t due to exhaustion (although I admit I was almost at the end of myself by December); nor was it a stunt I believed would make me appear more mature. I took time off to communicate with God and believe it or not, with myself.

You see, as 2017 trudged along, I stopped speaking to myself and I definitely stopped listening to myself. I am a naturally optimistic person; you can even say when it comes to determining outcomes I am in my own world. As much as I prepare for possible negative outcomes, I tend to visualize the positive outcomes more. I excite myself thinking about them. I walk as though things have already worked out; I talk as though I am already in the reality of a positive outcome.

But something was different in 2017. As the months went by, I stopped visualizing the positive. I stopped seeing the positive. I stopped walking like it was going to happen. I stopped talking like it had happened.

Image result for sad man

I spent a lot of time listening to what others had to say even though they were not speaking to me or about me. I listened so much that I started to internalize what others had gone through; I started to expect the negative outcomes they got and at some point believed that my glasses were rose-tinted and life, in reality, was a rolling ball of negativity.

Thank God for those three days I spent off the grid. Thank God for those three days I spent immersed in my bible, speaking to God and listening to my heart. They made the important difference I’ve experienced in 2018 so far.

You see, no matter how cautious we are, we are to some extent influenced by the environment, by the things we hear and by the things others are doing around us. Last year, I listened to so many negative stories about relationships that I started to let go of my dream relationship. I said to myself “Demi it’s too far-fetched, it won’t happen”. I started to expect the worst, and as a result, I did everything possible to avoid it. Of course, it did not help that old scars began to find their way to the surface with the direction of my thoughts, reinforcing the negativity I was internalizing without being aware of it. I thought of the dream life I wanted to live and started to let my reality get in the way of that dream. I listened often to the people who told me about how their dream lives did not work out – not in celebration of something better, but in resignation to life as it had played out.

But those three days changed the direction of my thoughts and made me ‘rogue’ in how unshakeably I now believe in the validity of my dreams and aspirations. I started the year off happier, better and stronger than I ever was all through 2017. And I just want to say these to you:

 

Image result for happy man and woman

Source: She knows

 

  • Your dreams are valid. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if the people around you have never had what you dream of, don’t assume it is a natural rule that you can’t have it. The validity of your dreams is not dependent on the approval of those around you. Please don’t ever forget this.

 

  • You can sympathize with others without internalizing the negativity they have experienced. In other words, just because it happened to someone else or many other people, does not mean it will happen to you. This is where many of us struggle. We struggle to separate our lives from the lives of others. For some reason, we feel solidarity with those who are experiencing negative outcomes, and there is nothing wrong with this. However, we must remember that our solidarity is based on support and not necessarily on us sharing the same negative niche. For example, if your best friend’s husband cheats or if your buddy’s wife is abusive, by all means, be a supportive friend but don’t go home with the assumption that your own partner will be the same. Don’t subscribe to a club based on perception. Your reality might be different. Focus on your reality

  • Be OK with pulling out when you feel your heart is reaching a tipping point. Yes, there is an emotional tipping point where you go from being a supportive friend, neighbour or colleague to being overwhelmed with so much emotion, it is as though you are right in the situation when truly you are not. Be OK with excusing yourself. Be OK with saying “Can we please discuss a happier topic that will make us both feel better?” Be OK with giving a good tight hug and then leaving if you don’t want to listen anymore. It does not make you a bad person. You’re no use to the person you are trying to support if you are overcome with negative emotions. So why not pull out for a bit, get yourself together and step back in when you really have your heart protected and can speak to them from a position that offers strength and support, rather than one that dwells in the pigsty of negativity?

 

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Source: Dreamstime.com

Finally, please remember that negative outcomes make the news more than positive outcomes ever will. Negative stories get more shares on Facebook. Negative topics make the trends on Twitter. Look out for what’s not making the news – working marriages and relationships, successful fulfilled people walking in purpose in their own way, fulfilled dreams and aspirations, peaceful towns and cities with little or no crime… these trends don’t make the news but it does not mean they are not out there. Look for the positive and protect your joy. Believe in the validity of your dreams and stand firm. The negative outcomes of others do not, cannot and will not dictate your own. XOXO

 

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Starting the Year Off Right

Am I the only one who regards January as a trial month before I get right into the swing of things? Just me? OK then 🙂

It feels great to be back to two things I love – blogging and vlogging. I hope to blog as much as I vlog this year and I hope you will join me on this awesome journey. 

So at the end of last year, I took some time to plan for my vlog. Yes, in case you are unaware, I have a YouTube channel (Just search Demilade Faye on YouTube) where I share motivational advice to get you going. My plan for this year is to create themes for each month and speak on topics under that theme for the whole month. Yes, I am not playing around anymore. I really want these two things I love to have a positive impact. 

For the month of February, I have selected the theme: Creating the Life You Desire… because really, who wants to keep living a lie, pretending to enjoy life when their heart yearns for something else?

The first video is up! The topic is: Start with yourself.

It is like doing an assessment, but a really fun one because this time it’s about you. You are the jury and the judge and if you don’t like the results you find, the topic for next week might just help you make a change.

Please check it out below and share with friends. Invite them to join us on the exciting journey.  XOXO

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On the Issue of Users and the Power of Time

You probably think this post is about how time heals all wounds even though it doesn’t erase any scars. Sorry to disappoint you, but it is not.

In recent relations with people, I have discovered that time is a gift. A gift many of us are unaware of. A gift that can literally save us from all the heartache we complain about on social media. Time is a precious gift, not just because we can’t get it back once it is wasted, but because it is a teacher.

Have you learned to give people, things, dreams, ideas, visions time? That is one thing I learned this year. Especially when it comes to people.

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“Time reveals all things”.

This is no ordinary cliche. It is a life motto. It is a lifesaver. It is an open secret. Time reveals who people are. Time reveals the truth in relationships. Time reveals the cracks people hide underneath well-crafted masks designed to deceive and emotionally bankrupt.

It is so easy to be swept off by the initial aura of a person. It is easy to believe people are who they say they are, especially when they have the whole good person act together. It is easy to fall for the non-existent good in people who have perfected the art of ‘appearing to be’ as opposed to ‘actually being’.

Just because people are Christian or appear to be religious, it does not mean they are not users. Let us get this straight and not get carried away with the misconceptions of their appearance or even their words. There are many bible-quoting, demon-chasing, tongue-speaking people who are out to use others to their advantage without caring about the emotional or psychological bankruptcy they will leave behind. These people put on the garment of humility in order to connect with your good nature, because they know that nothing in you will relate with arrogance. But wait. Take a deep breath. Listen closely and watch carefully. Observe earnestly the faux humility that’s laced with entitlement and ask yourself if humility can truly co-exist with an entitled nature. If you are struggling with the answer to that one, it’s NO. The two cannot co-exist.

But being the good-natured person that you are, you avoid jumping to conclusions the first time of entitlement rears its head. You ascribe it to a difficult phase in their life, a need you’ve been chosen to fulfill, and you even hope that your good nature will change them, because you know exemplary conduct has the power to change a person.

Can I just put a pin in your bubble? Oops! Not waiting for a response to that one. Here goes:

 

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You cannot change a user. Your good nature can’t. Your sacrifices can’t. Your words of encouragement can’t. If anything at all, users view you as a more viable candidate for their selfish ends the more you try to change them. They will spur you on with encouraging words regarding your self-sacrifice. If they are callous enough, they will go the emotional route, and confess non-existent feelings for you – confessions that negate their actions or even perceptions of you. They will ‘lovingly’ discourage you from pursuing any goal that antagonizes what they can get out of you because they are focused on the end goal – to use your good nature, skills and influence to their advantage, after which they will suddenly come up with a list of your faults and explain why they have oh so patient with your excesses. 

How do you prevent yourself from falling into this? Give people time. Don’t jump into emotional confessions just because they put pressure on you. Oh yes! they will do this in order to cement the foundation of their faux humility and entitlement and to implement the modus operandi of your emotional and psychological bankruptcy. Don’t be quick to jump onboard their bandwagon, cheering them on in dreams where you are the support ATM where no deposits are made. Don’t think it’s awkward not to say “I love you” back when they have said it a million times. Don’t feel the need to tell them you miss them because it seems unbalanced that they seem to miss you more. Give them time.

Time to reveal their true nature and their perceptions of you. Time to show that they are truly who they are they are, or not. Give them time to reveal their real intentions, because with the power of time, users get frustrated and everything bubbles up to the surface. Give them time, not to prove you wrong (because you are not to form negative perceptions prior to engaging with them), but to show you in actions the kind of relationship they are hoping to build with you. Yes, it may seem like you are overly cautious; but rather be that than have another piece of yourself stolen away by an emotionally-unavailable user whose feelings for you were based solely on what they can get from you. You might even feel like you’re losing out on some people with your cautiousness, but guess what? genuine people always stand the test of time.

Use time to your advantage. Let it teach you. let it show you. Let it reveal all things. Time is power. Start using it right.

PS: This post does not mean you should not be kind to people. By all means, be kind. But don’t be roped into an emotional investment with a person whose end goal is to use you.

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For All the Strong People Who Are Feeling Faint…

This post is for all the strong people out there and for those who surround them. I hope this touches your heart.

You see, being a strong person is great. It means you are a survivor, a victor, an overcomer. Many strong people are alone but they are hardly ever lonely because they are either planning the next big thing or fighting a new goliath to reach the next level. Many strong people tend to do life alone and no one seems to understand why that is.

The problem is people who surround strong people expect nothing less than strength from them. They expect strong people to be ‘on’ all the time, abuzz with bible verses and inspirational quotes. They expect strong people to always have something to pour out while they eagerly receive. They don’t ever expect strong people to faint or even feel faint.

But here is a fact: Strong people faint many times.

Strong people feel situations like you do. They might know all the bible verses, but when it seems like the doors of life are closing in, strong people break down and cry too. It is at times like this that they need words of encouragement, love, hugs, a treat, no pity parties but an outlet to let out the pain they feel and an encouraging verse to strengthen their hearts after they have emptied their hearts of hovering depression.

But what do people around them do instead?

They judge. They mock. They castigate them for daring to faint.

“Shouldn’t you be the strong one here?” “If you are weak, how can we be strong?” “I don’t believe you are saying things like this. You should know better!” “Wow…. and you say you believe in God?”

It is no surprise that strong people learn to shut up. They struggle with vulnerability. Even in relationships, they struggle to say “I don’t really have this on lockdown because I don’t feel equipped to handle it.” They are scared to say “I feel like God is not coming through for me. Everything is such a mess.”

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They struggle to bare their emotions with anyone, including their partners. From my observation, I have noticed that the partners of many strong people tend to leave them to handle life alone. Any attempt at expressing vulnerability is met with a barrage of inspirational quotes and Bible verses that mean nothing to a heart that just wants to empty itself of the pain of struggle. How can these quotes and verses find room in a heart that is already filled with despondency and doubt? Oh yes! Strong people get despondent too. They doubt their journey too. They wonder about their process too. They cry. They faint. And people let them do it all alone. People make them feel guilty for feeling faint, and question if they truly serve God.

Dear strong person, the fact that you feel faint after holding on for so long is nothing to feel guilty for. David, a man after God’s heart, felt faint many times (read the psalms and take note of this). I imagine that Joseph through his travails lost hope many times. People may desire you to be a robot so they don’t have to invest any human emotions in your wellbeing, but you are not a robot. You are human. Sometimes the weight will be too heavy. Sometimes your heart will break over the smallest things. It is not because you are weak or because you lack faith, but because you are human and humans get tired. Sometimes you will seek encouragement or an outlet and be met with judgment and concealed mockery. Whatever it is, do not stop being human.

Did you expect me to say “do not stop being strong”? How can I say that when I know exactly how dark some days can be? I know how quickly courage can become cowardice, how quickly faith can turn to fear, how frustration can creep in on you and make you question your life.

I get it. Perhaps many people don’t. But I get it. Being strong can be a lonely journey. But let’s learn a lesson from David. Everytime his spirit felt faint, his go-to person was God. He cried to God, talked to God, expressed himself to God. God is the best listener. His ears are always open and his eyes never close in sleep. Yes, we all wish for people to understand those dark days without mockery or judgment, but many of them won’t. Those who do will stand by and get you back on your feet. They will give you a pep talk that will lighten your heart, or they will buy you three flavours of ice cream in one cone just to show that everything can work together for your good. If you are surrounded by these people who get the gist of your concealed fragility and your human-ness, keep them close. They are needed for your journey. If you are surrounded by those who castigate your fainting spells because ‘they’ve been through worse’ or ‘you are acting non-christian’ by fainting’, love them but never faint in their presence.

Take it to God. It is him afterall who gives you strength. XOXO

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Understand the Seasons of Your Life

Hey you! What season of life are you in? Are you doing what is required of the season! Check out this five-minute video from my YouTube channel regarding two important seasons of life we must understand.

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