What River Rafting Taught Me About Relationships

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I spent last weekend at the Girl Ignite Africa Summit where I was a mentor with seven other amazing individuals. We all got along from the moment we met and spent so much time laughing together, you would have sworn we’ve known each other for years. This connection and positive energy gave us so much optimism, we decided at some point during the weekend to go river rafting.

Now if you know me personally, you already know that I have an irrational fear of being inside water, especially if my feet can’t touch the ground. You might also know that when I am unsure of something I am about to do, I get all the information I can about it, just to make sure I don’t fail. Yes, I took that whole “Be prepared” mantra from my High School Girls Scouts pretty seriously.

So, before I agreed to go river rafting, I already had all the information I needed. I’d never paddled in a bathtub, not to mention a boat, but I was ready to put everything I learned through observation to practice. Afterall, I learned many other things through observation – driving, cooking, playing volleyball…somewhere in my head, the rules of lawn tennis lay dormant and will be awoken very soon. I digress.

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Four of us got into the raft – four ladies who were super-excited and who got along well the entire weekend. The guys by the shore told us “Get in, it’s easy” and so we got in. The raft was pushed into the water, and the task to move in a desired direction fell on our shoulders. We were alone and we had to paddle. And that was when we realized this was no easy task. Some of us believed we had to paddle backwards to move forward while others thought the opposite. Some of us paddled stronger than others, making the raft turn around in circles over and over again (I blame the river current partly for that one). And I believe some of us were so obsessed with making sure everything ran smoothly, that we could not help but speak loudly and tell everyone what to do.

But that was not the only problem we faced. As we waddled on the river, speaking at the top of our voices, trying to figure things out, those on the shore of the river kept yelling out instructions. “Paddle backwards!” “Count to three and paddle together!” “Move the raft forward!” “Turn around”…. The instructions we did not get before we left the shore were now being released in dozens of screams. Mixed with the cacophony of our own voices, we were soon stuck and frustrated, sitting on a raft in the middle of a river, rather unhappy with the fact that we could not hear each other or figure out how to move in the direction we desired.

And in the midst of all that, I had an epiphany that made me laugh.

 Isn’t this how relationships work?

In the beginning, it is so great to connect with a person who just gets you, makes you laugh and thinks you are the brightest, most amazing person ever. And the observers of this chemistry will very often encourage both of you to get into the boat. “He is such a sweet young man, I have no doubt he will treat you with dignity, respect, and love.” “She is such a loving young girl. I have no doubt she will make you happy”. And excitedly, we get into the boat, believing that chemistry is all that is required to row the boat forward. That’s until we get the shock of our lives when we realize there’s that little factor called communication.

downloadI guess you’re thinking “Oh please communication is easy”. Well, I used to think so too until I found myself sitting in that raft, trying to just paddle back to shore so I could get out and mourn our failure. And then it dawned on me… Communication is easy when you are not in a difficult, sticky, or in our case, a wet, lost situation. You cannot claim to be an excellent communicator if you have only been in rosy situations where you did not have to make an effort to communicate. You cannot claim to be an excellent communicator if you pay more attention to those screaming instructions from the shore than you do to the person you are in the boat with.

This is perhaps the real reason many relationships crash when they face difficulty. Sometimes, in the rocky phases of our relationships, we pay a lot of attention to what others have to say based on their own personal experiences. We trust the perceptions others have of our partners more than we trust our own perceptions. We trust the biased opinions others have of our situation rather than listen to the person we are in the boat with. We spend more time communicating with the outside world than we spend relating with the person in the ship. This applies not just to romantic relationships but also to our relationship with God but this is a post for another day). We tend to speak more to others about our situation and our partners than we speak to our partners. And maybe sometimes, we speak to our partners, but we do this so loudly, that we deafen them with our ‘megaphonorious’ (this is not a word) opinions.

Sometimes, our over-zealous optimism tends to ruin our relationships more than build them. Many of us go into relationships with pre-conceived notions of how they should work. We believe relationships have a universal framework they are based on, and we go in with the notion that the person we are with knows how the framework is structured. We don’t realize that while we may have a framework in mind, we must never forget that the person we are with is not a robot who responds to the buttons we push. That person is human with a different perception of relationships. And unless we let them be themselves, we will never move the ship of relation forward. Like we were going around in circles on that river, relationships where expectations are based on pre-conceived notions rather than an in-depth understanding of individual qualities, expectations, and perceptions, often end up going around in circles till one person gets tired of the ‘not-so-merry-go-round’ and decides to leave the boat.

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But leaving is not the answer to communication and perception problems. I know we live in an age where people cut other people off the moment those people piss them off because they are on some “I don’t allow negativity in my space”. Honeypie, a person who disagrees with you without subjugating you or belittling your dreams is not negative. You are just bad at communicating. Rather than leave, learn the skill of effective communication.

That was another epiphany that hit me as I fought the desire to just get back to shore and leave the boat. I had no right to leave. The fact that my over-zealous optimism was not working, was not enough reason to quit. I had to take deep breaths and listen to what the others in the boat thought. I had to communicate what I knew in a different manner. I had to take what I could from the shore and ignore what was not necessary. Most importantly, I had to realize that it was not about me. It was about me AND the people in the boat with me. It was about their expectations, understanding their intentions and realizing that they had the same goal I did – rowing the boat forward.

We cannot row relationships on our own, no matter how efficient we are. We cannot let our over-zealous optimism and over-efficiency make others seem inadequate. We cannot let a little frustration push us into giving up. Sometimes, all we really need to do in those rocky times is to breathe, shut up, listen to what the other person has to say, and ensure that when we do share what we know, we share it in a manner that is helpful, constructive and encouraging.

With this in mind, we finally rowed the boat forward and it was great to have that victory and learn that lesson. Below is a picture of us as we arrived back at shore, happy, ‘unfrustrated’ (this again is not a word) and educated in what I now believe is a communication masterclass masked as a fun activity.

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 Have you done any activity that taught you lessons in communication? Please share.

XOXO

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Perhaps This Is Why Some Marriages Break Down

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Source: The Daily Beast

Maybe….just maybe… marriages break down for one simple reason no one is paying attention to.

 

I had an interesting epiphany as I conversed with a friend last night. It was not a Eureka! moment, nor did the word Voila! come to heart. It was a theory that formed as the conversation progressed, highlighting what I believe may be the reason marriages go from “I can’t get enough of you” to “It feels like we just live together”.

In this age of information, there are so many ideologies and notions about marriage that are passed on to people via all information platforms, especially social media. If you are an African woman, the list might be along the lines of:

  • Submit to your husband at all times
  • Learn the art of silence
  • Know his favourite meal and cook it all the time
  • Learn the best sex moves you can and impress him every time
  • Wash his clothes – it’s a sign of love (Just in case you have been looking for the recipe to keep a traditional man happy, this is it).

The list for men is pretty short

  • Provide (Yep that about sums it up. You want to be a man now, don’t you?)

But there are no guarantees that all of these things will be sufficient to keep your marriage afloat. As a matter of fact, many of these marriages which are built on efficiency still somehow find a way to fall apart. And of course, many of us these days are so disappointed in the institution, we are beginning to view it as a burden. But what if we start to do some things differently?

You see, in my many years of relating with people and being a ‘life coach’ for romantic relationships (I should get that business card printed now), I have learned one very important lesson.

It is not your efficiency in the fulfilment of your ‘expected obligations’ that keeps your partner happy, interested or committed.

If it was that, then so many marriages will be happy considering the Voltron mode many women assume once the ring touches the finger. It is not about how much you get done or how well you get everything done. It is not about how early you rise in the morning to ‘do something around the house’ or how dinner is ready at 6pm everyday. It is not about how you sort out the bills or get the children ready with little or no help. It is not about how skilled you are at ironing your husband’s shirts or how well you have mastered the art of handwashing his pocket squares.

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These are all activities that keep you busy and for some, come with the territory of marriage. But maybe, just maybe these activities keep you so busy you ignore the most important thing you should be doing.

You stop learning about your partner.

We all hear of the couples who drift apart and settle for divorce in the end. We see those who live like flatmates even though they try to present rosy romance on Instagram. We know them, we’ve heard their stories. Yet, for some reason my brain cannot grasp, we repeat their patterns, assuming erroneously that Sally at the office was the reason hubby left or Ben the gardener was the reason Mrs Simpson no longer found pleasure in her husband.

I’ll tell you my theory: Maybe Sally at the office was paying hubby so much attention and learning his new interests that he felt like his dreams were valid again. Perhaps, Ben the gardener noticed the new hairdo every week and the change of nail colour that made Mrs. Simpson feel visible again.

Perhaps, people are too busy trying to efficiently run their marriages like an operations managers runs a fleet of deliveries, that they forget to communicate with the person who makes the marriage.. (I mean, you can’t exactly be in a marriage with yourself now, can you?).

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Perhaps people are too tired from the 101% level efficiency they have to be on, that they forget to sit and crack jokes with their partners, listen to new music, try out food, and learn a new dance together. Perhaps people just get so involved with the symbol of the marriage, they forget the substance of it – a relationship – a ship where two people should relate. Sure, the ambiance in the ship is not always endearing but perhaps, there will be more days of love than days of heated words. But even heated words show some form of relationship, and they definitely beat days of silence- not silence from anger or pain, but silence because the fire has fizzled out and no one is willing to light another match.

I put it to you that this efficiency mode of running your marriage is not even for the survival of your marriage. Deep down, it’s for your ego. You view marriage as a cotton field and you want to be the best cotton picker who always exceeds the quota for the day. You want to say you earned it, and pride yourself as you tell people it’s hard work to be married and oh well, you just know how to keep it together. You focus so much on doing the work that you forget to relate with your partner.

So the point? You are more likely to keep your marriage alive if you don’t get up in the efficiency of maintaining the symbol more than you get caught up in discovering more about your partner and relating endearingly.

Advice: Know you can’t do everything. What technology can do, let it. What money can sort out, let it. What a third party can do, let them. Get excited about spending quality time with your partner and discovering more about them. Take every chance you get to peel another layer of partner and marvel at the pleasant surprise (well, not all the time) you will find. XOXO

 

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Are You Worried You Might Never Get Married?

You need to stop letting worry steal your joy. In this video, I share simple tips to help you enjoy your singlehood as a lady. Please share with friends and hit the subscribe button on my YouTube channel 😉

The channel name is Demi Fayemiwo or you can just click here

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How To Beat Emotional Abusers At Their Game

If there is one life code you should know like the back of your hand, it is how to beat emotional and psychological abusers at their own game. I did a video on the cycle of abuse, and how you can spot an abuser before they get to you.  You can check it out here. By understanding the cycle of abuse, it is easy to spot an abuser before they abuse you. And if you are able to spot a potential abuser, you can easily beat them at their own game. In this post, I will give you a  few simple tips to help you understand abusers better and beat them at their own game.

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The disclaimer here is that these tips may not work 100% of the time especially if you have been in an abusive relationship for a while. But they are guaranteed to work if the relationship is still in its early phases and you can already spot the signs of abuse. They have worked for me a few times, so take note. They are really easy and are based on the premise of self-control. Beating emotional and psychological abusers at their own game is like undoing every move they make on a chess board.

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The question to always ask yourself is: Are you a pawn or a queen? The best part is you can choose what you want to be

#1 Abusers are not as confident as they come across. More often than not, the reason abusers are successful in abusing you is that you are unable to spot their fake confidence. If you have watched the video (link above), you will understand why. They literally bombard you with so many compliments at the beginning, such that you can’t help but swoon over them. Well, don’t get carried away with swooning. Pay attention. Watch out for snide comments about the success of others. Listen to what excites them – the success or the brokenness of others? How do they react when someone they perceive as better than they are steps on to the stage?(Note: This person could be your friend, colleague, relative etc. It could even be you in certain circumstances). If you watch closely enough, you will see an abuser cower slightly when they perceive someone stronger is in your life. Then they will immediately follow up with a barrage of snide comments that are intended to downplay the achievements or persona of the other person. At this point, smile and do nothing. 

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Yes, you read right. Don’t stand up to defend your friend, relative or colleague. Hey, the comments may even be directed at you, but you don’t need to let your hair loose just yet. This is a game of poker. You simply cannot reveal what you have. This principle is called “stooping to conquer”.

#2 Once the abuser believes that you are easy prey and the time to walk all over you has arrived, he/she will begin to poke at your identity and the things that they once complimented you for. Remember when they called you “intelligent and beautiful”, you will suddenly become “dull with ashy skin and breakouts”. Remember when they said your sense of style was on fleek? You will suddenly become “cheap and slutty”. Now, this is where many people get confused. They assume silence is the answer to these thinly veiled insults. But nah… Surely you don’t want to lose your cool at this point but you also don’t want to keep quiet. What you want to do is destabilize the abuser by simply saying…”I am surprised you feel this way about my…(sense of style, intelligence, job…etc). You said just last week that you were impressed by it.”

Now at the point, the abuser will look very confused and try to understand what you are doing. They will immediately realize that you have been paying attention all this while, and will reprogram the strategy – they will either skip to the next phase which is to take unveiled pokes at your identity by comparing you with other people or their exes, or they will revert back to the compliment stage where they distract you with exaggerated notions of yourself that you need not believe. Do not fall for the latter and if they proceed to the next stage, here is what you do.

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Abusers know comparison can break your spirit 

#3 Abusers know that comparison is what breaks a person’s spirit. Being told that you are not as good as your friend, your colleague or even your partner’s ex can have you in mental hell for some time. So they use this tactic very carefully. They can make a passing comment about how Sally cooked spaghetti better than you do, and from there, it graduates to outright statements like “Nelson is a better provider than your broke ass”. Now the abuser at this point is looking for emotion. The abuser wants you to lash out at the comparison and bring hell up from the darkest abyss of your soul. And I bet you, you will want to rouse all the madness within yourself in response. But take deep breaths because this is what breaks the relationship.

Look impressed. Yep. You read that right. Look impressed as your abuser makes the comparisons. “I should call Sally and ask her for that Spaghetti recipe” or “Wow! That Nelson must have been quite the guy. Why did y’all break up?”

This will throw your abuser off course completely and the confusion you will see on his/her face will be absolutely laughable. Don’t laugh. The situation might get volatile. Simply finish whatever you were busy with, pick up every last thing you own if you are not in your home and leave as amicably as possible.

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The abuser will at this point go back to the drawing board, ready to either restart the process or terminate the relationship. Irrespective of the decision they make, you have ONLY ONE option – delete their details, block them completely and act like you’ve been hit with the spell, Obliviate where they are concerned.

Then pour yourself a glass of wine and pat yourself on the back as you say to yourself “You’re doing great sweetie”.

XOXO.

P.S: this post stayed in my drafts list for two and a half years. I dated an emotional abuser and I conquered. I hope you do too!

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This Is How You Are Unknowingly Negative About Your Life

As you may already know, I started a vlog a few months ago. I put some of my posts in videos on my YouTube channel. Please watch and share with friends. Don’t forget to subscribe as well! XOXO

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Don’t Allow These Five People Into Your Life

No one wants to go through life feeling paranoid and assessing people every second. Unfortunately, it is a cross we all must bear. The people you allow into your life can either make you be at peace with yourself, or they can make you question yourself endlessly. Of course, it is difficult to box all of these people into five simple categories, but I believe being able to identify these basic five can save you from  experiencing the advanced stages of the emotional whirlwind they carry with them

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 #1 The Blameless ones: We’ve all met them – those who refuse to take any responsibility whatsoever for friendships or relationships that have gone awry. They sit and tell about what X did and what Y said, but conveniently forget what role they played. These are the people you get into a relationship with and immediately begin to regret it. These are people who never admit they are wrong but will instead insist that their intentions are noble, hence, even though their actions hurt, they cannot accept any kind of blame. I could go on and on about them, but let me rather tell you the impact they could have on you. Depending on the dynamics of your relationship, if in some way they have managed to ingratiate themselves to you, you will find yourself apologising for every single thing. You may one day find yourself apologising for breathing! Save yourself the strain and just run.

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#2 The Loud-mouthed informant: There is usually that one person in every group dynamic who knows something about everyone else. That person who comes over to your crib and tells you what everyone else is dealing with, who the joker of the group is, whose boyfriend has two penises and whose breasts have gone from firm oranges to flaccid cucumbers. This person will often set his/her eyes on you when you are the new person in the group, and trust me when I say a lot of wisdom is required here. The loud-mouthed informant can easily get you into an attitude of gossip where you find yourself taking sides in an imaginary battle, and taking ownership of POVs that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Pause. Breathe. Change the subject every single time. Don’t volunteer any personal information. Don’t offer an opinion on any negative bit of information regarding anyone else. Why? The loud-mouthed informant has two things you may not be able to sustain in the long run – time to go around learning everyone’s business and of course broadcasting them, and the ability to turn the tables on you should hell break loose. My advice? Hear no evil. Make it clear you are not interested. And if you really want to piss off the loud-mouthed informant, sympathize with the negative stories. This shows you are on a different wavelength. Oh! Another name for these people? GOSSIPS

#3 The Deluded ones: I have found over the years that these people are more common than we like to admit. I met one recently and I found myself thinking ‘Do I have a stamp on my forehead that recognizes the crazy in these people and pulls them toward me?’ Fortunately for me, I have learned that the delusion of grandeur is a craft many people have mastered. They attempt to approach every friendship or relationship from an elevated point of view of … wait for it… themselves. They assume that they are better than you are, smarter, more interesting, more successful. They assume in the weirdest way that they are doing you a favor by being a part of your life. They will name-drop as often as they can, and tell you about the important things they do and have. They will pay you compliments you know are not true and will explain anything they perceive as a fault in themselves before you even recognize the fault (I can write a whole book about these people).

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But when reality hits that you have more going for you than they have going for themselves, they try to ingratiate themselves towards you. They start to offer you things that can help you ‘be better’ and ‘do better’. ISSA TRAP! Don’t even fall for it. You need to shatter their illusion by assertively declining. You should, however, be prepared for some backlash. When a deluded person finds it hard to crack you, they will pull down your image if they can. They will rather have people believe you are not good enough for them than admit that you saw straight through their BS and stopped them in their tracks. The delusion of grandeur runs deep guys. Just don’t get entangled in it.

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#4 The ‘All-eyes-on-me’ buddies: Now these people are really something. Have you ever had a friend who wanted you to be successful…. but not so successful that you end up better off than they are? I can them the contraceptive buddies. These are people who stick around in your life and appear to encourage you. However, the moment you share a vision or a dream with them, they abort it with their very glossy presentation about how many things could go wrong. If that does not work, they tell you not to get your hopes up too much. Afterall, life is unpredictable. They will support your dreams if they are smaller than theirs, but will never support a dream that will catapult you to a height they perceive they cannot reach. These buddies are not out to harm you, but they will never let anything grow in you. I don’t even need to go into details here. JUST RUN.

#5 The Frozen: I have learned recently that no matter how great you are at something, or how well you are doing, there are people who will not clap for you out loud, nor will they ever pay you a compliment out loud. They will rather burst into tiny feathers than say “Hey! You are doing so well”. It is as though they are frozen. They will rather point out everything you are doing wrong (no matter how insignificant they are) than tell you everything you are doing right. And if they cannot find anything you are doing wrong, they will manufacture something (It does not take long; the factories are in their heads). They will look for something that dims your shine and makes you feel insignificant. Avoid these people, especially when you are feeling down and out. Avoid them when you are on top of your game, or on your way uphill. They will never see anything good in any step you take. Don’t waste your energy. Preserve it for pursuing your success whether they clap or not.

Do check out my YouTube channel. Search Demi Fayemiwo on YouTube

XOXO

 

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This Feminism Nonsense

Feminism is just absolute nonsense! Really now! Look at how it has altered the dynamics of society, making women think they own the place and call the shots when clearly this world was built for men and men alone. This feminism is an unnecessary revolution staged to destroy what actually works in society to create a system where roles have been changed, slaves have become masters and life has become hell for men. Women no longer want to cook for their husbands because of feminism. Women no longer want to be bothered with house chores because of feminism. Women now want equal pay (like they have the same responsibilities as men). Women want to be respected like men (like seriously? Did Sarah not call Abraham Lord?)

Of course, men are retaliating; men no longer pick up the bill on dates they invite women to because well… she’s a feminist. If she wants equal rights, she should pay the bill. Men can no longer tell their wives what she can or cannot do with her life. They can no longer decide if she gets to study further or gets to keep her childhood friend. Their authority in their homes has been undermined because of this feminism nonsense. Women no longer want to submit; they don’t want to apologize when their men cheat; they don’t even ask what they did wrong that led him to cheat and try to fix things. They have these groups like FIN on Facebook that provide support and improve their self-esteem. This feminism nonsense has made women too strong! So strong that men no longer find them appealing, and have to now subject potential spouses to interrogations aimed at testing their aversion or adherence to submission. It has become a necessity to screen submissiveness, no thanks to this feminism nonsense.

This feminism nonsense has come to erode the hearts of impressionable young women who do not understand the need to be weak and vulnerable so they can be appealing to the men who are available. These women think they deserve better because this feminism nonsense said so.

Women now want to negotiate equal pay at work because feminism said so; they have no respect for men who are psychologically, emotionally and physically abusive because of this feminism. Women now speak up, they meet up, they hold their heads up because feminism said so. Can this feminism nonsense just die a natural death like du-rags and over-sized jeans did? (Or are those not really dead? Lord help us!

LOL.

Of course, these views are not my own. These are the views of many people out there who have absolutely no idea what feminism is or how it came about or even why it is necessary for society. There are interestingly many people out there who still believe the burden of keeping society falls on women and I bet if you are one of them, you just got disappointed reading this paragraph. HEHEHE. Sorry, not sorry.

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Everything Will Be Alright

There are times when I don’t understand how life works. Yesterday at church, we were asked to write letters to God and I honestly did not know what to write. I did not understand everything that was going through my heart. I asked myself if it would be an appropriate avenue to yell and complain, or was it a good time to say “thank you God for all those things I didn’t thank you for”. Was it a good time to cry and just tell God I was about to give up on him? Or could I just ask questions and hope for the best answers? What exactly was I supposed to write? I sincerely did not know so I left the page blank.

It did not help that this morning I got heartbreaking news of someone’s loss. I cried. Why does God let those who trust and love him go through so much pain? Why does faith need to be tested and shaken on all sides to be proven? I wish I had the answers but I don’t.

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One thing I do believe in though is that nothing is indeed permanent. I have fought and won so many battles, such that re-living the emotions I felt back then is almost impossible now. Indeed there are those battles that have left marks as reminders, but I choose to see them as scars that remind me of the strength I possess. I see them as proof of valiance and hope that I can face anything else that comes my way. Guess what? You can too.

As a child, I learned a quote that said “Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not the end.” It gives me hope everytime I think about it. It makes me realize that I am not at the end when I am in the midst of a storm. I am not at the end when I am in pain and suffering. I am not at the end when I am buried beneath battles and numbness I cannot explain. You are not at the end either.

Every trial has a purpose. Every battle produces a hero. Thankfully, with God, we are not heroes like Achilles with sad endings. We are headed towards beautiful endings crafted in the beauty of God’s grace and favour. Even in the numbness you feel now, know that God is able to bring excitement and beauty that will blow your mind. I can imagine you don’t want to hear that now…certainly not in the midst of your pain and suffering. I can understand that…but I can’t help but tell you…

Just like everything else you have been through, this too shall pass.

All will be well.

P.S: In honor of forgotten dreams, I am finishing posts I saved as draft over the years. This is post number 4.

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This is Why Many Christian Women Accept Abuse

I started writing this post about four years ago, and for some reason, I did not finish it. It was a very angry post, written with a lot of emotions that would have caused you all to wonder if my page was hacked.

Since I have decided to finish all the posts I saved as draft in honor of forgotten dreams during the month of August, here goes:

 You may not like the tone of this post but I will simply come out and say it: the abuse many women suffer in relationships is often a result of ill-conceived notions others have projected on to them. Notions that have come from the realities of others, which are now projected as facts rather than the isolated experiences they are. Notions that lead them to believe there is nothing better out there, notions that continually impress on their minds that abuse is a normal way of life, and no one is free from it. Yes sure, there are self-esteem issues to consider and parental patterns that have been imprinted from childhood, but in this post, let’s first discuss the impact other women have on the movement of abuse.

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There are many women in the world, in this age of enlightenment who indeed believe that abuse is a normal way of life. There are many women who spread notions such as “all men cheat”, “a man can still love you and cheat”, and “learn to avoid speaking up so he does not abuse you.” There are many Christian women who stand in places of influence and indirectly support the abuse of their fellow women.

I remember watching a video where a woman had asked a panel of Christian women for advice concerning her marriage where she was the breadwinner and was abused everyday by a husband who was in a drunken state most of the time. One of the female panelists started by asking her if she was watching what she was saying to her husband, because you know, “speaking to him disrespectfully could provoke his anger.” HUH???!!! A woman had just said in the full view of a gathering of women that she was getting hit everyday by her husband and the first point was to address her manner of speaking (via speculation) and proceed to advise her to watch war room and find an older Christian woman to mentor her. I closed the video thinking if that is what young Christian women will get from being mentored by older Christian women, they are better off taking advice from magazines.

I tried to imagine the impact the position of this woman on the panel had on many women who were in abusive relationships and present in that gathering.

It’s probably my fault

I should do better

A wise woman builds her home. I need to stay so the world does not consider me foolish

I came to the conclusion that the reason many women accept abuse is not necessarily because they don’t have the strength to leave. It is not because they can’t find their feet afterward.

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It is because society and the church make it seem as though leaving an abusive relationship is a crime. Many Christian women are quick to spring up and say “God hates divorce” but would not speak up to proclaim that the same God wants his children to be loved and treated with dignity and respect. Many Christian women march in favour of blind submission where their counterparts are exploited and humiliated over and over again. Many Christian women… wait for it… believe indeed that abuse is NORMAL; so normal, that they do not even call it abuse anymore. They call it the authority of the husband, the right of the husband to correct his wife… They say things like “all men cheat. It is just the grace of God that protects us from diseases” (I kid you not, someone said this to me).

They consider women who leave abusive situations as rebellious women who are undeserving of support and love. “If she needs help, she should go back to her husband”, they say. WOW… No wonder the tales that touch mostly come from the church (I am not referring to any church in particular).

The culture of silence is one many Christian women still seek to protect. The art of appearing ‘picture perfect’ has indeed been perfected so much that any woman who seeks to break the code of conduct by speaking up is seen as a wave that must be silenced, else other women follow her lead. The culture of victim blaming is prevalent. In a bid to appear pious, fellow Christian women will convict an abused sister for her lack of tolerance but will not stand up to the man who broke her spirit.

So of course, many Christian women accept abuse. They put on their lipstick and foundation, position their hats at the perfect angle and flash the smile that has fooled many into believing their idyllic lies. They quieten their hearts before they head out to church with their everyday mantra:

“God sees what I am going through. My reward is in heaven”.

XOXO.

 

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How much are you worth?

I never really thought about this question until a recent discussion with a  couple of male friends got me wondering. Truth be told, when the question was directed at me, all I could manage was a smile and that smile haunted me for many nights because I figured I could have been more loquacious.

How much are you worth? 

Pause. Think about it. This is not the time to spring from your seat like ‘Jack in the box’; it is not the time to talk about your degrees, your job, or even your possessions. It is not the time to talk to about how people treat you or how amazing your personality is.

 

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Source: theodysseyonline.com

 

It is not a question you can answer with words. It is not a question you can answer by quoting Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman. It is not a question you can answer by feeling insulted that someone would even dare ask you that. It is not a question you can answer by defending yourself.

I started writing this post four years ago, and I could not finish it because I realized indeed that the many ways I listed above could not effectively answer the question. Sure, I might have been able to sell myself as an assertive woman who believed in herself; but all the words in the world could not aptly describe what I was worth.

Four years, later, it hit me as I drove down the busy highways of Johannesburg on a traffic-free day. The answer to that question is not in words; it is in actions. How much you are worth is deeply ingrained in how you treat yourself. It is deeply entrenched in what you believe about yourself, and most importantly, it is found in the core of who and what you accept into your life.

I have seen many women recite phenomenal woman over and over, and right afterward, went ahead to do and accept un-phenomenal things. I have heard people write quotes on Facebook about how they are worth the world, yet could not stop their partners from treating them like doormats. I have been that person so many times. I have been the quoter and not the doer.

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But that day, when the question was thrown at me, it seemed as though the heavens opened and whispered in my ear “your words will not suffice. Your words cannot describe your worth enough”. So I smiled. Yes, I wished I’d spoken but I realize now that my heart was saying to me “Shhh. Pull back a bit and explore the deepest recesses of yourself. Pull back a bit and hear me speak.”

So if you are wondering how much you are worth, or if the question has been thrown at you before and you feel your verbal response did not do the trick, stop and listen to the silent whispers in your heart. Stop and ask yourself if you present yourself as worthy or worthless. Stop and ask yourself if you treat yourself with tender loving care. Do you treat yourself like you matter? Stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself “do I place as much worth on myself as God places on me?”

Therein lies the answer to that question.

And when you answer with all the sincerity you can muster, you will find the strength to treat yourself like the gem that you are. And no one will ever feel the need to ask you how much you are worth. They will simply see you are a priceless offspring of the King of Heaven.

XOXO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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