#BrokenSeries The Breakers (2) – Society and Friends

If you have been following the #BrokenSeries, this is post number 3 in the series.

In the last two post, I highlighted how brokenness can make you feel, how to identify if you are broken but unaware of it, and how the acts of parents and lovers can lead to brokenness. In this post, I want to focus on the second set of breakers – friends and society. It might be immediately glaring that society can break you, but friends? How do they do that?

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Source: HubPages

 

The truth is many people are yet to fully understand what friendship is; hence even though they are currently being broken by their friends, they fail to recognise it. Instead of them to fight the seed of brokenness being planted, they try to play up to the expectations of friends who will never be satisfied. How do friends break you?

#1 They compare you with themselves or others: Be it in a positive or a negative way, this can have really adverse effects on your psyche. Your friends might continually highlight the fact that you are more talented than they are and that is not the problem. The problem is that you may start to feel guilty for being prettier, more talented, more intelligent… that it causes you to begin to withdraw, and not perform as well as you should for fear of losing your friends. Sometimes the comparisons are downright or subtly negative. For example, a friend might constantly talk about you being overweight, and that will make you feel self-conscious around other people, or your friend subtly points out how dark-skinned you are, and proceeds to admire people who are light skinned, and that suddenly starts to make you feel ugly, or even makes you feel the need to bleach your skin. These are simply examples but I hope you get the gist.

#2 They betray you: Ever told a friend something in confidence and it was the headline for the gossip magazine the next day? Or told a friend something because of the bond you share only for them to turn around and use it against you? That betrayal of your trust can make it difficult to open up to other people.

So enough about friends, what about society?

The new wave in society encourages comparison, and that alone is enough to make you feel like you are doing enough, not winning enough, not succeeding enough, not good enough period. Society looks at you funny when you reach a certain age, and are not married; when you are married and you don’t have children; when you have children but both genders are not represented; when they are both represented but not brought up to act the way society would like. Society looks at you funny when you rock up in a new car that is not in the luxury range; when your girlfriend is not an Instagram badass; when your wife does not have gloriously clear skin or an exotic accent. Society looks at you funny for being yourself, and not adhering to unwritten rules of engagement. Society looks at you funny for being that clumsy girl with a deep throaty laugh that is so not feminine. Society looks at you funny for being that gentleman with a soft voice. Society judges you for not being able to get the girl, or keep a man, for being a single parent, for not getting to the pinnacle of your career fast enough… for basically not complying with society’s impossible standards. And as times goes on, the daggers from society’s eyes start to hit you and you begin to feel less and less. You withdraw and derive no joy from the things that once excited you because you have subconsciously been made to believe that those things, and even you, are not enough.

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Source: Dr. Gori Gatter

 

And the sad thing about this is that you don’t even feel yourself doing it, until one day, you burst at the seams, crying a river you cannot attribute to anything in particular. But every time before that, when someone had asked you how you were doing, you had beamed at them with the perfect smile and said: “I’m fine”.

Look out for my next post on this #BrokenSeries

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#BrokenSeries2: The Breakers – Parents, and Lovers

If you didn’t read the first post of this series, you can find it here

This is the second post of the #BrokenSeries, and in this post, the focus is on the people and things that tend to break us, even though we are unaware of it at the time it is happening. Parents, past and present lovers, friends and even society have an impact on how we view ourselves especially if we are yet to come to a full understanding of who we are. In this post, I will focus on the first two – parents and lovers.

You might wonder why parents have been listed as breakers. Parents are our first contact with humanity, tasked with our development and nurture. Parents are the mirrors through which we see ourselves, and the windows through which we see the world. How then could they break us? How is it possible?

I guess I don’t have to tell you now that parents, no matter how amazing they are, are not perfect. They themselves are under the influence of upbringing by their own parents, and that may have been far from perfect. Many parents, unknowingly make mistakes that break their children, and these are some of them:

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Source: livestrong.com

 

#1 They make you earn their love: Love is something no one can earn, but some parents make sure that their kids earn their love. They only express their support and love when their kids are winning, and express extreme criticism when their kids are losing. This creates the impression that love is only available when you are doing something the other person admires. The impact of this is that you go into relationships in future, too eager to please, too eager to work for that love. You become an overly malleable doormat because you believe that is the only way to be loved. In the end, it does not work out because love, irrespective of the million sacrifices we make for it, cannot be earned.

#2 They inundate you with expectations: This is downright burdensome. Of course, every parent has expectations where their children are concerned. No one expects parents to have children and not hope for their success, or steer them in the direction of worthy achievements. However, when the expectations exceed your capacity, you find yourself overwhelmed and might start to express signs of brokenness such as ‘crying and not knowing why, seeking validation from everywhere because your small efforts aren’t good enough for mom and dad, or even drifting through life because you realize no matter how hard you try, you can’t live up to these expectations.

#3 They compare you: There is nothing worse than being compared with other children and being forced to measure up to their talents and achievements. Unfortunately, many parents do this, placing unrealistic expectations on their children and making them feel less than good enough by comparing them.

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#4 They don’t pay any attention to you: Are you that smart strong kid who is independent? Chances are your parents would leave you to do what you please because they believe you will always make the right decisions. While independence is not a bad thing, it leads many parents to think you don’t need affection. In the end, you grow up scared that someone will love you and you won’t know how to handle it so you tend to avoid intimate relationships and emotional co-dependence

 And while you are out there in the world, keeping it all together, even though you know you are full of cracks, you get into relationships and they add to your brokenness. I often tell people that getting into a relationship with anyone is a risk. Firstly, people tend to put their best foot forward when they want and draw back when they have you. Secondly, there is a chance that if you have been broken by your parents unknowingly, you will get into the wrong types of relationships in your eagerness to be validated. You’ll find yourself in relationships with people who take advantage of your eagerness and break you even further by subjecting you to verbal, psychological and emotional abuse. Of course, the seeds of abuse are easy to plant in your mind because your parents’ failures have already plowed the soil in readiness.

And while you are out there in the world, keeping it all together, even though you know you are full of cracks, you get into relationships and they add to your brokenness. I often tell people that getting into a relationship with anyone is a risk. Firstly, people tend to put their best foot forward when they want and draw back when they have you. Secondly, there is a chance that if you have been broken by your parents unknowingly, you will get into the wrong types of relationships in your eagerness to be validated. You’ll find yourself in relationships with people who take advantage of your eagerness and break you even further by subjecting you to verbal, psychological and emotional abuse. Of course, the seeds of abuse are easy to plant in your mind because your parents’ failures have already plowed the soil in readiness.

How do lovers break you?

#1 They compare you to their past lovers: Nothing is worse than being compared to someone your present lover dated in the past. And because your parents have raised you to earn their love, the comparisons push you to work harder to earn the love of your lover, resulting in your burdening yourself, and eventually breaking down when that lover leaves because you just couldn’t measure up.

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lifescript.com

 

#2 They point out your flaws most of the time: Do you know that when you hear something regularly enough, you start to believe it whether it is negative or positive? Well, this is how some lovers break you. They point out the many things you are good at, the beauty points you have not scored, the income you have not earned, the failures you have shared with them, and so many other negative traits you’d rather not be reminded of. Constantly listening to these negative statements about yourself eventually break your spirit, and you start to wonder if you are even good enough to be in a relationship or even be loved. And the moment you start wondering, you find yourself walking around with drooped shoulders.

#3 They cheat on you: These days, I find that cheating has been normalized because many people have become desensitized to how damaging an effect it can have on their psyche. Such people think they are strong because they can look past the cheating and keep the relationship moving like nothing happened, but the truth is they aren’t. They have gotten to the stage of brokenness where it is OK to accept less than they deserve. They even encourage others to believe the mantra that says cheating is normal, expect nothing and you will not be disappointed. While I believe that expectation is the mother of disappointment, I also believe that relationships should not be void of expectations. You should expect your partner to treat you right, make you feel secure in their affection for you, and do their best to keep your relationship alive. Accepting infidelity as a normality is a sign that you do not place value on yourself, hence it is OK to be treated as second best. Cheating is such a damaging activity that makes you question your worth, compare yourself and break yourself even more. In the end, you come out of it terribly scathed and badly broken.

Which of these do you relate to? What would you like to add? You can send me an anonymous message using the contact me tab on the home page. Look out for #BrokenSeries3 next week where I address the second set of breakers – friends, and society. XOXO

 

#BrokenSeries1 – What Does Brokenness Look and Feel Like?

This #BrokenSeries is about baring it all. The urge to write it was dropped on my heart while I was meditating a few days ago and I hope it will help you get to the root of your brokenness.

Someone once said to me “I feel like I am in free fall from the top of a cliff, and I know there is no one to catch me. I should be panicky and stuff, but I have come to accept the fact that I will hit rock bottom. This free fall is my norm”

At the time, I don’t think I’d ever heard anything so poignant, and I remember just looking at her, short of words that could help alleviate her perception of her situation. The picture she had painted in my mind was so vivid,  yet I could not ascribe a term to it. Later, as I went through a similar phase, I realized what the feeling was – brokenness.

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There was a time I felt that one could not precisely put in words what brokenness felt like, but thinking back to that conversation with that lady made me realize how strangely lucid being broken can make a person, to the point that they would even successfully use words to describe a difficult state of mind many people cannot understand.

More and more often as the days go by, I realize that there are more broken people in the world than humanity would like to admit. There are more broken people in the workplace than organizations would like to accept. There are many broken children coming from broken homes constituted by broken adults. There are many broken adults stepping into relationships for the joy of breaking other adults. Brokenness is a reality; albeit one that we would rather shove under the carpet and act like it doesn’t exist, even though we can feel its prickly stems as we walk barefoot on that carpet.

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So what does brokenness look and feel like? How does one qualify it given there are so many angles to it? Is it simply that free fall feeling that was expressed to me? Does it unleash the dark and sinister? Does it make people timid or does it make them aggressive? It is difficult to put brokenness in a box but here are a few signs that you or someone you know is broken:

#1 You accept less than you deserve: One of the major signs of brokenness that I have seen is when people start to accept less than what they deserve. They are aware they deserve better. They know they should be treated better, approached better, loved better, and valued better, but they have been broken for so long inside that less seems OK. Don’t get me wrong; they are not excited about less in a ‘kumbaya’ manner. They are simply OK with it because they have identified other broken people who are getting by on the same level of less. This form of brokenness is mostly common in people who have been psychologically and emotionally abused in a romantic relationship or even unknowingly by parents

#2 You find yourself drifting through life: This is a form of brokenness that is not easily seen from the outside. Many people die at 25 and are only buried in their eighties. This kind of brokenness is a result of giving up and accepting whatever comes your way. It is a form of brokenness that says “no matter how hard I try, I will not make it to that height I dream of, so let me simply make do and stop dreaming”. You see, dreaming is an inherent human trait, and when that aspect of our lives is silenced, we tend to become leaves on a lake, simply drifting in accordance with the direction of the lake. This form of brokenness robs you of the zeal to even pursue the things you are passionate about because you believe that they will fail anyway

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#3 You are always looking for someone to love and validate you: Isn’t this obvious? The form of brokenness where sitting alone with yourself in a room is enough to have you call 911 because it is so damn scary. Because of this, you tend to be on the lookout for love from any angle, even if it is the destructive type of love. You tend to always seek attention because that is where your validation comes from. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes to be reassured, admired and validated every now and then; but in your case, a lack of compliments when you suavely or gracefully walk into a room is enough to ruin your whole day. People who exhibit this often make up stories just so they can be admired by others. Their confidence is from an external source; hence it is not real.

#4 You are scared of someone loving you: Isn’t it odd that someone would be scared of love? I think it is; but alas! It is the reality of many. This kind of brokenness is difficult to decipher because, at first glance, all you see is someone who enjoys their own company and truly cannot be bothered if no one else is there (opposite of #3). However, a closer look will reveal that some people who are like this are scared to be loved and scared to love. Why? They have loved passionately in the past and had it thrown back in their faces. They have gotten back up and given love their best shot in another angle only to be ridiculed. And so they begin to retreat, and the idea of love becomes scary. Their minds are always filled with the negative ‘what ifs’ so they apply avoidance strategies and stay away from potential love interests because they are scared they might just love them back and end up getting hurt. This kind of brokenness also comes with an intense fear of rejection, rehashed pain, and a general perception of feeling unwanted.

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#5 You cry and you don’t know why: This one breaks my heart very often. I have hugged people I barely knew and suddenly felt them shaking as they sobbed. I have been hugged by someone I barely knew and I broke down in tears. I probably found a superficial explanation to explain why I was making that poor person uncomfortable, but deep down, I knew it was a myriad of reasons – so extensive that I had even lost track. This is a sign that something is your sub-conscious is crying out for help, for care, for nurture, for positive attention. It is a form of brokenness that comes intermittently without invitation or expectation. Sometimes, you are broken this way because you’ve kept so many things deep down for so long, that you are beginning to burst at the seams with a toxic mixture of sadness, depression, pain, anger, anxiety and a whole lot of other emotions psychology probably does not have names for yet.

#6 You derive joy from hurting others: This has been mistaken as a show of power and strength, but it is really not. It is a sign of brokenness that comes from a person who does not believe he or she is worthy of love and does not understand why others think the opposite. People like this take joy in clipping the wings of their successful partners, breaking the hearts of people and laugh even harder when these people forgive and ‘come back for more’. Of course, they are never perceived as broken, but the truth is something in them tells them they are not worth the trouble others go through for them, and it is better they sabotage such affectionate efforts to prove their point. And they do just that.

If you identify with any of the above or would like to add some information, please do so. Feel free to comment anonymously, but most importantly, bare it all and be honest with yourself. Remember God is close to the brokenhearted and he saves the crushed in spirit (psalm 34: 18-19). Look out for the #BrokenSeries every week

XOXO

Battle of the Mirrors: Which Mirror is Good For You?

Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and realized that you look absolutely perfect? No wrinkles or acne spots, no visible pores, and your complexion is just magically the perfect even tone? Yea I stood in front of one at my new apartment over the weekend and thought to myself “wow look at me!” I had to run some errands and did not want to put on any makeup so I put a light dusting of white powder on my face, grabbed my car keys and headed out. While in the car, I was tempted to look at myself again (I am not a narcissist I promise lol. I just love mirrors). I pulled down the mirror on top of the driver’s side and stared agape at myself. My entire face was white as though I had never heard of a moisturizer; and worse still, some acne marks were visible. I quickly grabbed a moisturizer in my car and plastered it onto my face. It looked better, but not as good as the mirror back home indicated. My “wow look at me” confidence became ” avoid eye contact with anyone and everyone so they won’t ask you what happened to your face.”

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It made me think about friends and relationships and the kind of people we tend to accept or reject. Many of us have friends who are like the first mirror. They tell us we are perfect just the way we are, they make our flaws and weaknesses seem invisible and tend to overlook any shortcomings. In other words, they project us as the epitome of perfection. These are the friends we often refer to as “good for our ego”.

Then there are the other friends (mirror number 2) – the friends who point out our flaws and tell us the cold hard truth. They tell us where we are weak, what needs to improve and what is just downright unacceptable. And these are the friends many of us have a hard time with. They are not good for our ego in any way; if at all, they seem to be ego deflators, looking to burst the bubbles of perfection we create.

So big question is which mirror is good for us? Both. Not just mirror number one or mirror number two but both mirrors together. On the one side, there is a mirror (i.e. friends) that celebrate our strengths and tend to tell us we are awesome – which is not a bad thing. As human beings, we all desire some kind of reassurance and approval, and whether we admit it or not, we like to be recognized for the things we are good at.

On the one side, there is a mirror (i.e. friends) that celebrate our strengths and tend to tell us we are awesome – which is not a bad thing. As human beings, we all desire some kind of reassurance and approval, and whether we admit it or not, we like to be recognized for the things we are good at, while our weaknesses are masked. On the other side, we have the second mirror (also friends, not haters) who tell us where we fall short, not just for the joy of deflating our ego, but for letting us see that we are not perfect as we seem. These are the friends who would straight-off-the-bat tell us we are wrong in a situation and tell us we are flawed in our comprehension and perception. This is not a bad thing.

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What is most important is ensuring we strike a balance between the two to ensure self-improvement. No single person is absolutely perfect, so don’t stick to only mirror number one for the sake of creating delusions of grandeur. Get some input from mirror number two and create a realistic profile of who you are. Improve on your weaknesses (not by slapping on moisturizer randomly), treat the source of your flaws, improve your approach and understanding of situations. Get off the “I’ve got haters” bandwagon. Sometimes they are not haters. They are simply spotlights shining on the parts of you that need a little more work.

XOXO

 

#TeamSnoop: On The Issue of Le Boo’s Cellphone

You’ve probably been in that situation – to snoop or not to snoop through your partner’s phone. People with a lot of experience in the field tell you it is best not to snoop to avoid giving yourself a heart attack. On the other hand, those who have been in less than desirable situations as a result of ignorance, tell you it’s best to snoop, so you know where you stand. Now you are stuck at crossroads, wondering which turn to take. Le boo has made it clear to you without mincing words that the cell phone is off limits, and going through it is a deal breaker. But there is a nagging feeling you cannot shake that keeps urging you to do the unforgivable – go through Le boo’s phone. But you can’t, and you are miserable because you can’t. You keep asking people for advice but they confuse you more and more with their responses. Let me put you out of your misery…

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I find it completely ridiculous that people, especially married people declare their cell phones as off limits to their partners. Never mind ridiculous, I think it is preposterous! I find it shocking that people have to go to the extent of snooping through a lifeless device they should normally have access to. How on earth are two people, who are in a committed long term relationship, where they are morally approved to play with each other’s genitals, place limits on their cell phones and let their partners believe it is OK? No, it is not OK.

When you commit yourself to a relationship with a person, you are committing more than your heart, you are also committing your life. Your finances somehow trickle through to that person; your health is in that person’s hands; your emotional, psychological and even physical wellbeing can be affected by that person’s actions. How can you think so low of yourself that you’d believe, after placing all these vital aspects of your life in that person’s hands, you don’t need access to their cell phone? Miss me with this BS.

I am not on #TeamSnoop, and I am not on #TeamDontSnoop. I am on #TeamIPickThePhoneWhenIWant… not because I have trust issues but because that is the expected norm after giving so much of myself to someone. I don’t believe in snooping through anyone’s phone. That to me indicates an unhealthy relationship. I believe both partners should be open and honest with each other so much that if they accidentally take the wrong phones to work, one of them will not contemplate suicide before the day runs out. It is probably idealistic to you as you read this because your mind has accepted ‘off-limits cell phones’ as a norm. Mine hasn’t. I can leave my phone lying around at any time and not throw a fit if I find my partner going through it. I expect the same courtesy. If you are serious about how much you love yourself, you’d expect the same too. You don’t need to stoop to snooping if you are in a two-way committed relationship. No, it is not an invasion of privacy to pick up your partner’s phone when it rings, as opposed to sitting next to it and wondering if it would be OK to answer, as though you are some side dish.

You don’t need to look through it every day like an inspector, you shouldn’t even have to do that. But you should be free to answer it if it rings, read a text that pops up on the screen while it’s next to you without feeling like Judas Iscariot and relate the said text message to your partner without a subsequent tantrum.

#TeamSnoop? Drop that BS. The “Ignorance is bliss” mantra? Forget that; if anything at all, ignorance is death these days.

Here’s How You Are Creating Communication Problems In Your Relationship

One of the biggest issues surrounding relationships (friendships included) is communication. Most of the relationship issues I have heard, read, and watched all boil down to that one seemingly tiny factor called communication. This is rather interesting when one looks at it from the inception of the relationship where communication was not an issue, and both parties seemed to understand each other perfectly. How then do people get to the point of not communicating effectively and ruining their relationships? I’ll share four ways with you.

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#1 You expect your partner to know you so well without you saying a word: So many people want to be read like books, rather than listened to like music. Sadly, people are barely patient enough to read books, not to mention study it in depth to understand it. Some people want their partners to know them so well without them having to say a word. How adorably infantile. As a grown up, not communicating who you are, what you like, what you cannot tolerate and what you cannot give in to will end up creating communication problems with your partner. You cannot act like you are OK with things and then start acting up expecting your partner to get the hint that you are not OK. You cannot expect to act like  a crying baby while your partner runs around trying breastfeeding, a variety of toys, TV and a rocking chair. If you cannot speak up, expect a pacifier to be stuck in your mouth in no time.

#2 You expect your partner to know you….by now: This is the core reason of every miscommunication – expecting the other person to already know what you like and what you don’t like. It is a cute assumption to make and a destructive one too. It is the mother of all communication problems in relationships – assuming that if your partner has taken his or her time to study you, they will know what to do, what not to do, when not to do what they ought not to do… the whole nine yards. Oh yes! Your partner knows you, but your partner is not a programmed robot. Your partner will err on the side of what he or she should already know more times than you can count. Be ready to say again very calmly what or how you feel, why you feel that way, and why you would not like to be in a similar situation again. Keeping quiet, keeping malice… those things don’t help. Next point…

#3 Sulking and malice: Question: whatchu doing honey? Sulking and malice have never resolved anything, and believe me when I say they only work the first couple of times. Afterwards, the guilt trip fades, the pity party ends, and your partner will be glad to leave you to your vices while they go spend time with more vibrant, ‘more alive’ people (because you know, to sulk effectively, you need to act like you are dead and not respond to anything). Instead of sulking every single time, state very clearly what you feel. Your partner is very likely to want to discuss things with you if you approach them with boldness and maturity. If you keep up the sulking and the malice, it is only a matter of time before your partner starts to seek better companionship elsewhere.

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# 4 Not listening: I tell people the only shouting match I want to be a part of is one where we are both supporting our football teams. The other shouting match? Thanks but no thanks. Many people end up in shouting matches because they were not listening to the other person to begin with. Some people hear their partners, pick an uttered phrase, take it out of the context of the discussion and ka boom! the floors begin to vibrate. Take time to listen IN CONTEXT. Stop listening to respond with a thought you’ve already stored somewhere in the back of your brain as the perfect backlash. Listen to respond to the situation at hand.

Have a great day XOXO

You Want to Win in the New Year? Leave These Behind!

As the year rolls to an end, as it custom for me, I take time to reflect on battles won, blessings received, friends made, and the impact I have had on those around me. Most importantly, I take time to go through the junk I may have accumulated during the course of the year – the conference programme I’m still holding on to five months later, the pair of shoes I know I won’t wear ever again because they just made my feet sore, the non-directional associations I may have built and the habits I developed against better judgement.

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As the year ends, it is important to clear out the junk

What I have come to realize is that during the course of every year, we accumulate things – the things we need, the things we want, and the things other people tell us we should have – habits included. Some people tell us to be more dramatic in our approach when we want to confront someone who has hurt us (like we need to pull one of those cheaters show confrontations to prove we are not stupid); some people tell us we need to be more mellow in how we talk about our dreams, and of course others deposit the seed of self-doubt in us by pointing out the things we are not so great at. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that we accumulate a lot of stuff- the necessary and the unnecessary, and it is important to shed some of the weight if we intend to win in the New Year.

So the big question remains: which weight should we lose and which should we keep? Like a Caribbean woman who is in love with her curves, we must know that while the stomach fat (figuratively speaking) has to go, the butt has to be nicely rounded, breasts perky and hips protruding. To win in 2017, I advise that you leave these behind.

#1 Self-doubt: I can write you a book about self-doubt and how crippling it is, because I have experienced it. Many people seem to stand firm, but one negative word from a person they believe is better than they are sends them into the pit of doubt, and causes them to forget about the pursuit they were so passionate about. If that’s you, it is time to reawaken the zeal and come back with a bang. Whatever anyone has said is not the final say. You may not be as good as they are, but you surely would not get there by giving up. Get up, dust yourself off and ease back into the path of your dream.

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Stop being a creep in 2017

#2 Ex-shadowing: Like my darling Lipglossmaffia (check out her blog here) has been saying on Twitter recently, leave your exes alone! Stop attending their weddings, checking them out on Facebook, trying to learn more about their new girl, and trying to figure out how you can make them miserable. The relationship has ended. It is over. They have chosen to be with someone else; trust me, they probably did you a favor. Stop shadowing your ex everywhere. Let your ex be happy. Focus on what lies ahead because ahead is where your happiness is. Ahead is the only place to go. Stop standing still; stop looking back; stop watering the seed of bitterness. Move on.

#3 The leaf-on-a-lake mentality: Have you ever seen a leaf on a flowing lake? It goes wherever the lake goes. It is pushed in the direction of the lake irrespective of what the destination of the lake is. This is what many people have become in 2016, and are planning to continue with in 2017 – swayed by the opinions of friends, frenemies, colleagues, and even strangers, simply because they want to be accepted. If you cannot be accepted as you are by those you spend time with, you need new company. Sure, they are positive tweaks that can be made to your personality based on constructive conversations with friends; but that should not lead to a mob mentality. Don’t accept something is right because everyone around you says to. Don’t give up simply because the popular opinion is that you are about to tread a difficult path. The popular opinion is not necessarily the right one or the wise one for that matter. Be woke for your own sake. Don’t let others tell you how your life should play out.

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Gossip will eventually leave you empty, and one day, you will be the gossip meat!

#4 Gossip: There was a time in my life when I thought it was impossible to have conversations with my female friends without some juicy malicious gossip on the menu where we could tell everything we knew and make jest of whoever served themselves up as gossip-meat. Growing up however, I realized there are TONS of things to discuss without engaging in any form of gossip. I have spent a lot of time with my female buddies this year, and most of our discussions have circled around work, life, our aspirations, fashion, projects we are busy with, our fears, our pain, reassurance in God’s love, funny events, and the things that irk us. It made me realize I’d grown beyond petty; so grown that I am not bothered by any gossip where I’m the subject. I don’t even get pissed. If it’s true, I simply tell the messenger “Oh yea I did that” and I keep sipping my red wine, my daiquiri or anything that happens to tickle my taste buds that day. Leave gossip behind. It will do you a whole lot of good. It is such an unnecessary weight to carry with you, and even worse, it is a huge distraction from your own life. Discussing someone else’s drama while you don’t know what you will make of yourself in 2017? Leave that BS behind. You are not gossip girl.

#5 Comparison: The temptation to compare is so strong that simply telling you to stop comparing is not going to cut it. You must compare; by all means, do. But make sure you are comparing yourself with yourself. Where were you yesterday? Where are you now? Where are you heading? Have you moved from where you were yesterday in terms of emotional, psychological, and relational maturity? Even if you have only moved an inch, kudos to you! Now, focus on moving your desired amount of inches, centimetres, metres, or even kilometres in 2017. YOUR DESIRED AMOUNT, not Pete’s or Sally’s – Yours. This is a one-man race.

#6 High-maintenance relationships and friendships: Many people are pulled back from where they should really be because of high-maintenance relationships and friends. When I tell people that I see some of my closest buddies only once a month, they look surprised. Some people assume I am a recluse (don’t make me laugh). I learned years ago to not entertain high-maintenance relationships that are more of anchors than they are sails. The ‘you haven’t checked on me in two days’ friends, the ‘are we still friends? We only meet up once a month’ friends, the ones who are insecure when they hear your big dreams and make it seem like you are trying to relegate them to the background, the ‘I’m not ready to move ahead just yet and you shouldn’t move ahead without me’ relationships… whatever they are, leave them in 2016. You need to invest your time in productive circles and projects, and you need people who will support you, remain in your life and understand that you moving ahead in 2017 does not mean you are leaving them behind or cutting them off.

#7 The door-mat mentality: Just like the leaf-on-a-lake mentality, many people have the doormat mentality too. Sometimes it is from a place of love for the people around us. We tolerate their excesses and let them get away with things that upset us because we want to preserve the friendship or relationship. Believe me when I say the friendship will not last anyway, so you might as well leave it. Whatever you compromise yourself to keep, you will eventually lose, so don’t sell yourself short. Speak up, rock the boat. If things fall apart, let them look for another doormat. Recently, I read a quote on twitter that said:

“You can lie flat on the ground for people to walk all over you and they will still complain you are not flat enough”

If that doesn’t tell you anything, I don’t know what will.

#8 The need for external validation: Social media followers, number of likes on instagram, number of comments on facebook pictures… if any of these things make you feel valid in this world, honey, you need to wake up from your dream. I have been shocked in so many ways in 2016 by the extent people go to gain followers – nude pictures, fake stories, unnecessarily mean comments… the whole nine yards. News flash! The only validation you need is you. You need to love yourself first; without self-love, you can be reduced to a speck of dust by a targeted comment from a perfectly positioned person. Always remember: If you live for the compliments of others, you will one day die from their criticism.

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Sometimes, all you are really doing is busy moving around in circles.

#9 Aimless movements: These days, I see many people take pride in telling others how busy they are. The most common comment I have heard this year is “I am so busy”, and when I ask “with what?” I get a rambling of sorts that tells me ‘shucks this person is busy! But not really busy with a goal in mind”. I will admit that used to be me – busy chasing ten hens at once and hoping to catch all ten even though they are running in different directions. This is what I call aimless movements. Leave this in 2016. Define the goals you want to achieve in 2017! Don’t spend the whole year being busy and at the end, no one, including you can pinpoint what you were busy with. Define the goals; make sure they are realistic and chase after them. Make sure you don’t get distracted by the occasional bandwagon that’s heading nowhere in particular.

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Source: Kristen Lamb’s blog

#10 Fear: I can tell you a thousand and one stories about fear – from when I left home to live in a foreign country at 16 to when I unknowingly enrolled myself at a University where everyone spoke a language I’d never heard, to the many adventures I have had in my life with the fear of failure always tugging at the corner of my heart. Fear does not leave, but you can choose to leave it behind. Fear does not say “Oh I chilled with Sandra in 2016, now I’m going to go chill with Lillian in 2017”. You will always be afraid but whatever you want to do, do it afraid (Like Joyce Meyer says). Remember fear is not a huge body builder that can beat you up and throw you off a cliff into an ocean where your body will never be discovered. Fear is an instinct that seeks to preserve you just as you are – no risks taken, no rewards received. Fear ensures that you stand still. Leave fear behind in 2016. Choose to do whatever you have set your mind to do. Have you seen people sky-diving from a plane for the first time? Do you think they are not afraid? They definitely are, but they do it anyway. They jump off the plane afraid. In 2017, take your big leaps afraid! The joy that comes after is AMAZING!

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Take a leap of faith in the direction of your dreams. God is your parachute!

Wish you an amazing 2017 ahead. Thank you for reading motivation springs this year. Next year will be bigger and better. You are loved. XOXO

You Need the ‘Wing-Man’ Mentality

If you are reading this, you have probably heard of the term ‘wing man’. Many people use it to introduce their best buddies, their work partners, and really anyone else who holds a significant position their life. On Sunday morning while preparing for church, my thoughts drifted to Obama’s administration (weird I know). I found myself admiring the fact that he led two scandal-free terms and took an economy that was in the gutter when he was sworn into power, and raised it back to better standards. Surely he did not do any of that of his own. Of course he had Michelle to support him and push him when necessary, but he also had a wing-man – Joe Biden.

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 I imagined for a while what America would have been like if Joe Biden and Obama did not get along. In what state would the country be if they antagonized each other or saw each other as the enemy most of the time. What if they didn’t have a common goal and simply were there to push their own personal agenda. Yes, Obama had Michelle, but she could not help him run the country. He needed Joe Biden on every level to be his wing-man, his support system and his decision partner.
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 This got me thinking about relationships and marriages. Many people get married to fulfill their own personal agenda, i.e. being more respected in the community, having children, having someone to do the laundry and cook their dinners, or simply just having a different last name so that they do not feel left behind. In such marriages, there is often an imbalance of emotional, psychological, physical, intellectual and spiritual commitment. As a result, one party is viewed as ‘highly disposable’ – a feather that can easily be removed or replaced, because afterall, there are better people out there. In such relationships, there are no common goals, no common vision, no common direction, hence it is easy to take each other for granted. There is no ‘wing-man’ dynamics; in some  cases couples even compete to outshine each other (makes me wonder why they bothered getting married). Where there is competition, there is no mutual goal!
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If you are married, you need to develop the ‘wing-man’ mentality. You need to see your spouse as your ‘wing-man’ (I am speaking to both men and women here). Your partner is not the enemy (that is if you are not being abused). Your partner is not someone to compete against. Your partner is not the opposition. If you have the wing-man mentality, your partner becomes your strategy partner, your winning partner, and when times are bad, your losing partner, but a supportive partner nonetheless. The wing-man mentality means your partner is part of every decision, in the know regarding every move, and is your go-to person when you are caught between the Egyptians and the red sea. Your partner is not a feather you can easily move or a piece of clothing you can change for something more shiny at the store if you still have the receipt. View your partner as someone who is indispensableto your existence and you are golden. A marriage where both partners have the wing-man mentality is more likely to thrive and is most often above petty issues. XOXO

Good Guys’ Guide to Getting the Girl On the First Date

A while ago, I wrote a post about good girls getting the guy (check it out here). This is a follow-up post aimed at the good guys who just can’t seem to get the girl.

There was a time I thought women were the problem; perhaps we truly prefer the bad boys who keep us on our toes emotionally and make us shed tears like we’ve been cast in the role of Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald in Passions. Perhaps, perhaps, the predictability and reliabilty of the good guy is just too boring and we need that extra drama to enjoy the relationship better. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. While there are indeed women who serach for unnecessary drama, I have come to realize that the current playbook (or should I call it the subconscious rule book) for good guys is the most insipid thing to ever exist on this earth. Go on a date with the average ‘good guy’ and a poor lady is subjected to conversations about skyscrapers, wind, forest animals and the temperature of the sun *cricket sounds* Guys it is no longer 1835! If you want to get that beautiful sparkly lady with a big personality, get with the new rules.

#1 The way you dress actually matters: I don’t know who came up with the idea that inner beauty is all you need but I can tell you now that the external look is what pulls a person towards you in the first place. I don’t understand the men who still wear baggy pants, oversized blazers, checkered bright coloured pants or even safety shoes on a date. Don’t show up in a red suit, a white suit or a lime green suit (Yes I’ve seen that before)! If that’s you, you’ve most likely lost the girl from the moment she laid eyes on you. She might sit through the date just to be polite but that is the last time you will set eyes on her. If her tolerance for bullshit is zero, she will probably leave you sitting there.

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Tip: Dress based on the kind of date you have planned. For a casual date, slim fit jeans, a tshirt and a pair of Toms classic canvas shoes is perfect. Don’t forget your cologne. How you smell also matters. Trim your beard, brush your hair. There is no crime in looking absolutely gorgeous.

#2 On the first date, she doesn’t want to know why you gave your life to Christ and she doesn’t want you to ask her why she did: I think many of guys attend lotsof relationship seminars where they are given a list of ‘safe’ topics to discuss just so they are sure the woman they are interested in is the  ‘right kind of woman’… like that question tells anyone anything. If this is you, please stop asking this question on the first date or any date at all. If she is polite, she will give you a vague answer but not before she visibly rolls her eyes.

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If you want to know her better, ask about how she spends her leisure time, if she has done any recent traveling, movies or books. Don’t ask about her ex! That is none of your business! Also don’t ask about the number of guys she has dated

#3 Understand that you are speaking to an adult! I pasted this on my facebook wall and I will say it here again. There is nothing sensible or attractive about a grown man speaking to a grown woman like he is speaking to a child in Grade 5. Dry jokes and sentences you used to utter in nursery school with your nursery school friends do not fly. Grown women prefer direct conversations that make them laugh and make them comfortable around you. Anything else will most likely bore us to death. This is where we go to the bathroom and never return.

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#4 Let the flow be natural: Nothing is a bigger turn-off than a guy who does not let the emotions build up before he starts to make the big moves. Yes, you might be ready to tie the knot but the first date is not where you start to tell her about how you want to be married and how you have read the scripture, hence you feel ready. Dude do not attempt to schedule weekly or monthly dates so you can speed up the dating process and ensure the connection happens quickly enough. Someone recently asked me if we can pick a day every month where we meet… It was funny in the big bang theory; it is not funny in real life.

#5 Read the signs! Read the signs and body language and decipher if you are the type of person she would like to see again. She will most likely respond positively if you have made her laugh, been a little naughty and shown her your fun side (I mean actual fun, not house fellowship fun please). If however you have spent most of the date with long bouts of silence, lots of question and answer sessions and unncessarily serious conversation, she might not want to see you again. Don’t become that itchy irritant in her butt who calls even after she has made it clear that she does not have time to hang out with you again! Let her go. Work on yourself and then try someone new.

Post comments below. XOXO

 

You Are Living Life Wrong if You Are Doing This

Every year, as December approaches, I see many people trying to make the most of the last few days of the year. Messages like “It’s not late; you can still achieve the goals you set for this year” start popping up, and it seems like there is a rush to make sure everything we planned to achieve on the 1st of January gets a tick before the 31st of December. The rush is real; for some the timeline is unrealistic; for others, it is just depressing to think about.

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You see, as this time of the year approaches, there are people who take stock of their lives. These people look at their lives in December and try to determine how far they moved between January and December. Did they even manage to achieve one goal on their list? Did they manage to work hard at that goal they set even if it failed? If it failed, why did it fail and how? And of course none of this is bad until they move  to the wrong side of things and start to peep over the fence:

Why is Sally a success and I’m not?

How come Paul got that fancy job that comes with a car and a chauffeur and I’m still here trying to get my boss to pay me on time so I don’t skip rent?

I have all the degrees I need, yet I cannot find a good job. Something is wrong with me.

My life is just behind. I have to play catch-up every single day. 

Many of these thoughts are echoed in words; and although well-veiled, a discerning ear and mind can tell what the basis for sadness and the aura of  failure is – comparison.

Many people love to engage in comparison, and for the life of me, I may never be able understand it as I once did. You see I have come to learn that comparison is the hallmark of foolishness, and the mother of many poisonous emotions including envy, jealousy, bitterness and even depression; afterall, comparison is the full package of Ali Baba and the forty thieves subtly aimed at stealing our joy without us realizing it. It is perfectly OK to want to look at others and use them as inspiration to propel ourselves forward when we lose steam. But it is NOT OK for us to compare ourselves to those people.

Image result for comparing yourself to othersYou must understand that your life is a different book from Sally’s,  Paul’s or whoever it is that gives you a headache whenever you think of how well they are doing. Chapter one of your life has a different storyline compared to someone else’s, and there is a reason your life has been written out the way it is. There is a reason why you are being forced to learn certain life lessons and fight certain life battles. There is a reason you are being made to work your way to the top while it seems others are gliding past you with the skill of a formula one car racer. Everything you are facing now is preparing you for that future that plays in your mind’s eye when you dare to close your eyes and dream.

You need not compare yourself to anyone; you are not behind. You are on a different race track, facing different hurdles, dealing with different rules. It is really insane to look at someone else’s race track and wonder why you can’t just jump onboard theirs and live like they live. If you live like they live, you will never become who you should be. You might be successful, no doubt. But you will be a copy of someone else, rather than the authentic success you ought to be.

Image result for comparing yourself to othersYou are not behind; you are on a different course. Embrace this course and make the very best of it. A positive attitude, perseverance, and constantly renewing yourself to ensure you are relevant will get you farther than following the rules of a pre-determined playbook ever will. The growth one experiences from going through adversity cannot be gained by simply reading a book or listening to a motivational speaker. So stop detesting where you are right now, and how your life is playing out. Rather embrace this phase. You will need the stories when you are successful.

Next time you see your ‘Sallys’ or ‘Pauls’, be genuinely happy for them, listen to the insights they have to share about their journey (don’t assume arrogance on their part simply because you feel inferior or stuck), take the lessons you can and ditch the ones that are of no use to you. Improve yourself in every way, keep seeking opportunities and remember to always make the most of the opportunities you get. You are not behind.  Life is not a competition; it is an individual race. Your success is defined by what you want it to be, not by what others think it should be. XOXO