This Mindset Is Ruining Your Life

As published on covenantrelationships.org

It is common knowledge these days that having a negative mindset will not translate to a positive life. Pessimists tend to see problems in every opportunity, while optimists see the opportunity in every problem. However, whether you are a pessimist, optimist, realist or an idealist, there is a very subtle mentality that is ruining your life. Subtle as it is, it is very common, and people are not even aware of the negative impact it has on them. I like to call it the ‘either/or mentality’.

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source: huffingtonpost

 

Think about it… how many times have you seen a couple in a mansion and assumed they must have an unhappy marriage because of all that money they have? How many times have you seen a man or woman who’s career driven and assumed their family must be in shreds because they are so dedicated to their work? How many times have you seen a handsome man and assumed ‘oh well, he must be a player’, or a beautiful woman and assumed ‘she must be taken or unintelligent’. How many times have you heard a person’s big dreams and reminded them they might not get married because they are so into this vision? I am sure you can already remember one or two instances where you assumed if someone had something, it was impossible for them to have the other.

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source: how stuff works

 

This either/or mentality is ruining your life! It is giving you the impression that you have to choose because you can’t have it all. It is telling you in your subconscious that life is not a buffet where you can have a taste of everything, but rather a restricted pre-planned menu where if you choose option A, you cannot have option B. This is why you are not going after everything you desire. This is why you are not winning at life. This is why you are too scared to chase lofty dreams because you believe the more you have, the more unhappy you will be. I have met men and women who often say they are not interested in buying their own houses and acquiring wealth for their children; they are not interested in building their careers and being well-known for their success because most people who have all those things are not happy anyway. Well, guess what? There are also a lot of people who don’t have those things and are unhappy as well. So it is not the wealth that makes a person unhappy. It is a lack of God in you.

Drop the either/or mentality and go for everything you love and desire! Build your career, acquire wealth, marry that partner that makes you genuinely happy! Live your life as a well-rounded individual who knows he has access to every single item on the buffet menu! There is no dream that is too big for God, and there is no such thing as option A or B. You can have everything! The reason people tend to say you can’t is because they themselves are too scared to chase after everything they want. Don’t join their bandwagon! XOXO

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#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

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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

 

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The Key To Achieving Your Goals

At the beginning of every new year, new gym memberships peak because people make new year resolutions to hit the gym, shed the fat, trim the love-handles, and unmask the abs. They sign their membership agreements, hit the gym the first week, and then the sore muscles hit. So they decide to rest for one week before they go back to the treadmill. One week of rest becomes two weeks, they hit the gym once again and of course, the sore muscles come calling so they take another two-week rest, and perhaps add a couple more days. As the months go by, they keep paying for the gym membership but they find every excuse in the book not to go to the gym. You’d think paying for the gym will inspire some commitment but it just doesn’t, because commitment is more about a psychological commitment than anything else.

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Commit yourself to go through with the goals you have set for the year. Commit to them in your mind; commit to them by writing them down; commit to them by being realistic with how you intend to achieve them. Some people sign up to join gyms that are 30 minutes drive away, knowing fully well that they hate long drives, not to mention long drives with sore muscles. Some people set unrealistic goals such as losing 50 pounds in two weeks or finishing a six-month course in one month. Even with commitment, unrealistic goals make the process frustrating.

To achieve the goals you have set for this year, first ensure that you want them badly enough. Write them down, envision the finished picture, think about the impact it could have on your life, then ensure that the means to achieve them are realistic. Don’t be too hard on yourself by setting stringent goals. Take your time if you have to. It is better  to achieve the goal within a longer period than to get frustrated halfway because the means to the final destination are unbearable. XOXO

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Men Are Victims Of Society Too

Feminism is becoming more popular as more women and men fight for the equal rights of both sexes. As a result, more and more opponents to the feminist cause keep rising in a bid to champion the status quo that has persisted over the years and favoured men. For many of these opponents, feminism is absolute nonsense. Men and women are not equal; hence they cannot have equal social and economic rights. Many men are against the feminist movement as it makes women ‘undateable’. Someone on twitter recently said, “women are unhappy in their marriages because they don’t want to give up complete control to their men”. A guy on a TV show said he chose to marry from a different country because the women in his country were feminists who had not learned to rely on the ability of men to control the relationship (I really hate that word ‘control’ by the way). His choice of a bride was however very interesting – a woman who threw major tantrums, cancelled his flight via his email and even cleaned out his iPhone because he failed to get her a designer purse. It made me realise two things: 1. Many men do not understand what feminism or who a feminist is, and 2. men are victims of society as much as women have been.

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Growing up in an African society, it was normal to hear the phrase “Be a man” whenever a man was facing a situation that drove him to tears. The phrase was meant to remind him of the fallacy that real men don’t shed tears. Real men take every pain in stride and move on like nothing ever happened. It was also common to hear elderly men tell younger men “you must show her you are the man” when giving relationship advice. The idea behind such advice was to urge the man to make sure the woman in his life did whatever he wanted, the way he wanted it. Even when these men were unfaithful to their partners, these elders told younger men to show themselves as men and not mind the painful groaning of their wives.Afterall, they are men!

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I got to realise now that the feminist movement has exposed the fragile parts of masculinity that men have been raised to believe they are not men except they are able to control another person’s life, subject another person to pain and make decisions whose weight they don’t necessarily have to carry alone.

Society has victimised men by giving them power that they have not earned and by letting them ride on the insecurity wave that presents itself as security. Many men would not live with a woman who makes decisions regarding her career and her heart’s desires, not because she does not value their input, but because they are not in control of the situation. Many men would not marry women who are as educated as they are because they believe women who are ‘too educated’ (by the way, there is no such thing as too much education) are hard to control. Many men who marry educated women make it a point of duty to ‘clip their wings’ just so they can show them who’s boss. And interestingly, in all of this,  these men consider themselves secure in their identity and individuality. Well, guess what? They are not. If anything at all, society has sown the ultimate seed of insecurity in men, telling them that they are not enough as they are, except someone is enslaved by them.

That is why feminism is regarded as a problem, rather than progress. That is why men don’t want women with vision but will happily put up with a woman who has no direction or plans for her life. It is the reason men will detest a woman who has her life together and will celebrate a woman who is unaware her brain is in her head. This is why submission is still a word in relationships and power is necessary to make the man feel good. It is why words like leverage are thrown around in discussions with their partners, and the term head of the home is more important than anything else. It is why many men are afraid of genuine love because it is too carefree, too happy, too free. It cannot be controlled; hence they let it fo (post for another day).

It is so difficult to be a man, but the added pressure from society to prove that masculinity adds a whole different dimension to that difficulty. Society has raised men to be narcissistic and self-destructive. They are not raised to choose the partners that uplift them; they are raised to choose the partners they can subdue. As a matter of fact, they are not raised to choose partners, they are raised to choose disciples and robotic elements who agree with everything they do, do everything they say, and say everything they want them to say at the time they want them to say it. With time, these men get bored and begin to feel like they are hibernating in life. In spite of that, they would not be caught dead with a woman who has an opinion, a vision or plans for her life. Of course, this spills over into other aspects of their lives. I have heard of men who refuse to rent houses owned by women, find it hard to take instructions from a female boss at work, and even disrespect women they barely know on the street because they have someone like her at home *sigh.

If you think society victimised only women, observe men and think again. As we liberate women, we must liberate men too! We are all victims of sick societal values that foster insecurity. XOXO

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You Can Snap Out Of It

It is 2017, but to be honest, I feel like I carried 2016 with me into the new year. I’ve learned in the past couple of weeks that things don’t change, and everything really boils down to perspective. However, it is very easy for perspective to be clouded. It is very easy to see the things that are not working out, especially when we have high expectations that they should. We gradually dig ourselves into a dark pit because our perspectives are skew and before we know it, we lack the motivation to do what is necessary.

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What if I tell you, you can snap out of it just as easily as you dug yourself into it? You probably won’t believe me, but the truth is you can.

You see, I have come to learn that everything we do in life boils down to decisions. Our decisions shape our lives, determine how we approach situations, and most importantly, how we rise up after a series of unfortunate events. I realised recently that making a decision to not stay down can easily evoke the motivation you need to get back up. Making a decision that defies the state you are in, can shift your perspective and help you power through.

So what’s that cycle you are stuck in? What’s that thing that’s sitting on your back, weighing you down and stealing your joy for everything else? Make a decision to power through irrespective of how you feel, and watch your motivation return. Have a super week! XOXO

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#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.

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How to Get Over that Ex You Work With

This post is really for the ladies but hey guys pick up some tips too!

Getting over an ex is difficult enough without the added twist of having to see them every day and possibly even work with them! Someone on twitter recently asked if people would take up a new job knowing that their ex works at the same place. Some responses were affirmative; others wanted some more information regarding the nature and logistics of the job, and others simply said no. I said I’d take the job and strut to that job every day, and that is not just me talking for the sake of sounding brave. I have actually been there, done that and I printed t-shirts for everyone to declare my awesomeness.

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So what are my tips for succeeding at this? Get a pen and paper.

#1 Acknowledge that you may still have feelings for your ex: The reason many people fail with this ‘getting over the ex’ business is because they want to be in denial. They want to put up a facade of toughness, whereas one wave of the hand or a slight touch will have them undone at the seams. Say it to yourself that you still have feelings for this person,  accept that, then take the next step…

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#2 Ask yourself what’s important: You see I have come to realise that feelings don’t just disappear, and it is not so easy to just ‘get over stuff’. You can’t just push a button and reset your emotions or even your life depending on how deep the relationship was. So you need to play the game of what’s important and what’s not. Just to give you a clue: your success is important, fulfilling the requirements of your job is important, crying over your ex and walking around like a train killed your cat – not important. Acting like a lovestruck teenager who can’t keep his/her emotions in check – not important. Paying bills – important, having food to eat – important. If you are both on the same project, impressing the boss and successfully executing the project – important. Getting carried away on the good old times and crying at odd times – not important. I’m sure now you get the gist.

#3 Keep your emotions in check: In the workplace, there is some degree of flirting… even in the nerdiest of places. Chances are your ex will flirt with someone or someone will flirt with your ex. Don’t start giving him/her the evil eye. Don’t start a malice game or even try to claim your territory It is no longer yours. Don’t tell the whole office how your ex broke your heart and left you in pieces Let tip #2 be your guide. What’s important versus what’s not. You are important. Succeeding in your career in important. Keep the emotions aside. Cry a river when you get home but at work, the focus should be on the job

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#4 Don’t check to see if they still love you: If a person still loves you, you won’t need to check by pulling stunts or having that ‘can we just talk things out before we go our separate ways’ moment. That is a trap from your heart. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. Such discussions end up being open-ended, and there is no such thing as ‘open-ended closure’. Nah… never heard of it.

#5 Start relating with potential ‘dateables’: NB! NB! This is not to make your ex jealous, so he/she can return on bended knees, singing BoyzIImen’s ‘end of the road’. Nope nope. It is a technique to move on. Go out on dates with other people; meet with your boys for drinks after work or your girls for a nice girlie time that does not involve moping over the fact that your ex did not say hello when you passed each other in the hallway. Have genuine fun and let laughter find you.

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Now, these tips will not help you when thoughts of your ex come to torment you in the dead of the night, and you start to question why he or she left. In times like that, remember Leona Lewis’ ‘Better in time’. Things will hurt when they have to but they get better in time. Cry your eyes out in your bedroom if you want to, wake up the next day, beat up your face with good old MAC  and some Urban Decay. If you’re a guy, get that beard trimmed and your hair cut. Show up at work, and repeat steps 1 to 5. XOXO

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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

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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

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