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The role of money in relationships

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The role of money in relationships?

Does money really make or mar a relationship?

Should relationships be built on the foundation of monetary values?

Why is money important?

I am going to work my way from one question to the other, starting at the bottom.

Why is money important?

Now there are two conflicting ways humans view money; one, that it is everything in the world and the most important thing, thereby placing utmost value in it and envying those who have it in abundance. Two, that it is evil, corrupt, dirty and value shouldn’t be placed on it but rather on frugality and simplicity.

These are big misconceptions – to say money is not important or that it is sole purpose of being alive. It may not be the most important but it is very important. There is no denying the fact that it is needed to stay alive. Almost everything we do is a bid to make money and to live the kind of lives we have envisioned for ourselves. It is a symbol of value acquired, a value that is realized when the tender is exchanged for a want or need.

Money gives a sense of power because it takes you where you want to go by opening doors in your path. Although it may not be able to buy happiness or other abstracts like air but It can temporarily accord some modicum of purchasing power for said abstracts to the holder. Even a thing you get for “free” is directly or indirectly being paid for by someone. That is why it is important.

Should relationships be built on the foundation of monetary values?

A relationship built on money is more likely to crash faster than one built on true feelings. Because the moment the money ceases, the relationship is headed for doom. I wouldn’t say it is right or wrong to get into a relationship for the monetary advantage but it should be plainly stated from the onset, so both parties know what they are going into and they agree on the kind of union it would be.

Yes, money is very important, and building a relationship based on love may sound corny to most, but the truth is; it is the realest and purest thing ever when it is also supported with trust, sacrifice, commitment, and share values/goals.

Men, do not entice a woman you genuinely like into a relationship with money or things of monetary values, except you are ready for a transactional relationship with little or no emotions (there is no guarantee they will come to love you) and your value in that relationship will be solely based on what you can give. If unluckily she finds someone with more money, she is likely to drop you over for him. There are instances where relationships like this work -few and far between- but there will always be an imbalance.

Women, do not select based on money or what a man can give you. In such a relationship, you are more likely to be undervalued and seen as just an object. You might be fine with being undervalued, but remember; “he who pays the piper, dictates the tune”

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“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. –Jonathan Swift https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2014/04/30/top-100-money-quotes-of-all-time/?sh=6a0aef604998#:~:text=A%20wise%20person%20should%20have%20money%20in%20their%20head%2C%20but%20not%20in%20their%20heart.%20–Jonathan%20Swift

Does money really make or mar a relationship?

Love, trust, sacrifices, shared values etc. may be the bedrock of relationships/marriages but we mustn’t also forget the place of money. A couple can love each other very much but their relationship can be ruined over money disagreements.

We live in material world and for you to stay alive, you require some essentials like food, education, clothes etc. all these require a legal tender to acquire. So, its importance in relationships cannot be ruled out.

If you study most relationships and marriages, often times, their arguments are about money. When you can barely afford your daily bread, love and every other thing takes a back seat. It becomes tougher to live in harmony and peace.

Your partner starts to irritate you and you begin to lash out at them, either for not providing or as a man; for not being able to provide for the family. The tiniest issues will become full blown arguments and at some point, one or both partners will choose to walk away. Only in rare cases do we see partners stick it out and this takes lots of commitment and dedication from both ends to hold down the forte. So yes, it can indeed make or mar a relationship.

What is the role of money in relationships?

The same way money plays a crucial role in our individual lives, is the same it does to a couples’.

In some way, we all have relationships with money -what factors is if it is a healthy of unhealthy one- just the same way we have with our partners. There are several roles it therefore plays i.e.

  1. Sustaining livelihood; Relationships/Marriage involves paying a lot of bills; living expenses, health insurances, raising kids (if any), investments, and handling random financial emergencies. All these require money.
  2. It makes dating more luxurious and comfortable; When there is money in your relationship, it is easier to buy them the luxuries of life to show how much they mean to you. It’s easier to arrange surprises for their birthdays, order/ cook their favorite meals or fly extra miles to surprise them when they are out of town and so many other romantic gestures. They may seem frivolous, but sometimes, there is happiness in frivolities.
  3. Arguments would revolve less around money; Financial arguments are one of the biggest issues why relationships and marriages break up. “A hungry human is an angry human”, when there is little or no funds, partners are more likely to get easily triggered and fight over little things because of the underlying money factor.
  4. Independence; There is a confidence, freedom and peace that having money and being able to afford what a person needs without checking your pockets several times while doing permutations. It also makes it easier to leave a bad relationship. If you are financially dependent on your partner, without having your own source of income, it becomes extremely difficult to leave a bad relationship.
  5. It is easier to build your relationship based on other tenets; Your focus is more centered on other aspects of your lives and setting future goals become easier. Having money helps the atmosphere of love, by reducing pressure from both parties and increasing the quality of live

The role money plays in relationships therefore, cannot be over-emphasized. A lack or short supply of it can jeopardize relationships.

Before you get into any relationship, always make sure you are financially compatible with your partner. Consider their spending and saving habits. A compatible partner would multiply your success, the opposite would diminish it.

That been said, Financial security is of utmost importance in a relationship. And it should be a joint effort from both parties. Don’t watch him/her try to make it alone. Make money together!!!

CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS COMMUTER 3- GOD FORBID!

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http://Mural painted by women in Zona 18, one of the most violent neighborhoods in Guatemala City. (Photo: Ryan Brown/UN Women)

Lagos, Nigeria.

You know how we always mumble “couldn’t be me” or “God forbid” when people tell their experiences about a certain incident; we believe that even when bad things are happening to other people, it couldn’t happen to us. This could be because we believe we are special or different from others in some unique type of way. Well, the story I am about to tell you is an incident that has happened to many and still happening to many in Lagos state and several other cities in Nigeria today.

It was almost 8pm I had just hastily shuffled off the last client for the day and quickly kicked off my heels, flexed my toes and slipped into my flip flops; dashing out of the office. The sky had darkened already and night life had begun. It was a public holiday so the streets were a little deserted. I stood at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle, clutching my bag firmly to my side.

It was common occurrence for Lagosians to commute in private vehicles that doubled as commercial vehicles and I had also adapted to this system because it was faster and easier to ride than the yellow buses that spend hours searching for passengers. So, I didn’t think twice when a cab going towards my way, pulled up in front of me. I got in immediately without batting a lid – a mistake that would come back to haunt me for weeks and months to come.

As I got in and looked around the cab, noticing there were three men already in including the driver; one with the driver in the front and one behind with me. I didn’t think much of it because I had gotten used to getting into cabs with just men due to the early hours in the morning and the late hours at night I commuted.

As I sat there, I felt a little uneasy – usually I would pull out my phone to read tweets online- so I just looked out the windows instead.

The cab had barely driven up to ten minutes when suddenly, the driver wound up the windows and clicked the doors locked. Before I could react to that, the man beside me pulled me into a strangled hold immediately choking my neck. I struggled with him, while trying to grab the handle of the door. The man at the front (let’s call them Man A and Man B) began grabbing for my bag which I refused to unhand. He grew furious, stretched out his hand and began punching me in the face and other parts of my body while the other was strangling my neck.  My flailing arms grabbed onto the door handle but before I could open, Man B jumped over, twisted my arm behind me and began pummeling me in anger. All this happened in split seconds and I was losing air from being strangled. I knew I would pass out soon if I didn’t release the bag to them.

Man B stopped punching after I released the bag to him and immediately Man A stopped restricting my air flow, but still held unto my neck. He ransacked my bag, took out my phone, purse and every other valuable in it. He demanded my password to open my cell phone and also ATM password, but I was reluctant to do that. Man A seeing this pulled out a gun and pressed into my neck; threatening to shoot if I kept giving them a hard time. I felt a chill run down my spine and my mind grew numb expecting the trigger to get pulled.

In that moment, I felt a sense of calmness. I could feel myself withdrawing into a corner in my head and shutting out very emotion. No feelings, no thoughts just silence in my mind. Knowing I could die didn’t seem to register in my head; I was going into shock.

I monotonously gave them the passwords they requested. Man A or Man B -I wasn’t sure at this point, striped me of all the jewelries I had on and began to grope my breasts and derriere, slipping his hands in between my laps but I had phased out and just wanted to curl up and be left alone.

After what seemed like hours but was probably minutes, I could hear them talking about what to do with me. Then the driver swerved to the side and told them to push me out of the cab. Man B threw my bag at me, the metal handle stinging my forehead in the process, and immediately opened the door. Man A shoved me as hard as he could out of the cab and they sped off into the night.

I stumbled in the dark trying to guess where I was but I couldn’t. I could see cold eyes staring at me from corners, perhaps gauging and assessing a potential prey and knew I was in a dangerous place. I had to get out of there immediately or I was bound to lose my life that night.

I walked briskly forward, as I saw an old man walking towards me and I summoned courage to ask where I was. He was like an angel sent to my aid on this unforgettable night as he helped me find my way until I could find a way home.

Getting to my home at 1am in the middle of the night, I burst into tears and all the feelings and emotions I had repressed came flooding out. The aches and swellings on my body simultaneously making themselves known.

I had gone through a traumatic experience; many more would go through the same experience. I understood why what happened did, I understood that bad people exist, I also understood that the existence of bad people doesn’t deprive the world of the good men who helped me find my way home that night, but I just couldn’t reconcile it all.

That night, I wept for Nigeria, I wept for those who had had same experience, I wept for those who wouldn’t be so lucky – or unlucky – I knew I was going to battle the PTSD for a long time to come. I know as you read this, you are probably saying “God forbid this happens to me” and I sincerely do forbid it for you too.

Relationship Green Flags

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Relationship Green Flags

It is in the human nature to often focus on the negatives of a thing more often than we focus on the positives or potential positives of a thing.

We talk about red flags in relationships almost every day and when we meet new people we begin to focus on those negatives or flaws that we term as “red flags”, instinctively expecting perfection of the person. Meanwhile, in most cases, these red flags we seem to abhor reside prominently in us, but we are often oblivious and lack self-awareness enough to discern this. Not a lot of people are conscious and healthy with insights into who they really are. But this is something we will discuss in another topic; today we will be looking at some green flags that we should look out for in new partners.

Firstly, what are Green Flags?

Green flags are general guidelines that help you assess how healthy your potential partner is. They let you know you’ve got a good thing going with whomever you are with. In today’s dating scene where authenticity is rare and a lot more people are damaged and have let themselves get overridden and blindsided by previous dating experiences, green flags are very important, if not more so than red flags.

I know for a fact that we all have different things that we would individually tag as green flags; however superficial and perhaps unrealistic some of them may be. But there are just some things that are very important that tells you the person you are with is most certainly a keeper.

Let’s take a look at these 10 flags I have put together

  • It is you and them against the world, not you against them; I have come to realize a lot of people go into relationships these days with the mindset that they are in to compete with their partners. They scrutinize and pick up on everything, making the relationship a living hell and their partners start to resent them. Relationships should be both of you against the world not against each other. So, when you see a person who handles and sees being in a relationship with you as both of you complementing each other rather than competing against each other; know that you have struck gold!
  • Spiritual, intellectual and life-purpose compatibility; This is often overlooked by most people. Choosing a partner who is compatible with you, your goals, intellect and spiritually, is one of the best decisions you can ever make in your life. This has to be the greenest of all the flags! Put a ring on the finger and a watch on that wrist immediately! (Lol)
  • Communication; This is one of the most important skill anyone can have in life. Not just in relationships. Communication as I will always say; is the best way to transmit thoughts, ideas, opinions, facts and values. The place of quality communication plays a huge role in relationships. Finding a person who can talk about anything and everything and even when you may have opposing preceptive doesn’t descend into fitful bouts of arguments or malice keeping is a green flag not to be trifled with.
  • No blame shifting or condescension; This is a hard-to-come by attribute in most people these days. People are quick to shift/place blames and react condescendingly to situations than they are to review and criticize themselves. A person who admits and owns up to their actions shows maturity and emotional intelligence.
  • Teachablility; When you meet a potential partner and you can clearly see the teachableness in them. They understand the place of humility and know when to learn, un-learn and re-learn. “Being teachable is admitting you don’t know everything and allowing others to show or teach you. Humility demonstrates stronger character than ego and pride. Admitting you are learning doesn’t detract from who you are or your leadership authority, it demonstrates to others it’s safe to admit you don’t know something”. This is a very huge green flag in a person.
  • Is self-dependent; A person that is self-dependent is a strong willed and determined person. A person who is confident, creative, resourceful and know what they want. Now who wouldn’t want that? But of course, self-dependent or sufficiency isn’t as easy as it sounds. As humans, it is easier to lean on others than to depend on one’s self, which makes finding emotionally independent individuals a hard task. If your partner possesses even a modicum of this attribute, and has a stable life outside of you while still choosing you as a priority when wanting to do stuff, you most definitely won the lottery.
  • They are your biggest fan and also most constructive critic; A partner that is willing to support your goals, aspirations and dreams and on the other hand, can criticize when it is needed in a constructive and honest way. It shows they are invested in your growth and improvement. I know most people may not like the criticism part, but that tells a lot about you as a person and your unwillingness to grow.
  • You are instinctively at your most natural around them; When you do not have to put up a façade whenever you are around them and act the same way you would if you were alone. You do not have to go extra lengths to impress them or become inauthentic. This is possible when you realize they notice the little things about you and appreciate you for who you are -without judgements or trying to conform you to their own prototypes- you instinctively relax and go on to be your true self.
  • Being with them is easy and brings you peace; There is not buttressing to this point. Everyone wants peace of mind in life. Being with your partner should bring peace to you without strain. You will be willing to share every aspect of your life with them; either good or bad and giving yourself to them will come so easy.
  • Empathy and perceptiveness; This is one I take very strictly into awareness. A healthy partner will show signs of empathy to not just your feelings but also to the feelings of others. They are kind to people regardless of socioeconomic standing -especially people in the service industry. The ability to empathize with others and being aware of other people’s feelings are not skills that many people have and it is one to be treasured!

Having said all this, you must take into cognizance that this is a two-way street. For you to receive the kind of Love that you want, you must also be the kind of Love someone craves. Remember; healthy you equals healthy love.

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.” —  Gloria Steinem

https://quotefancy.com/gloria-steinem-quotes

WHAT GUARANTEES HAPPINESS ?

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“Happiness is a journey not a destination, work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s looking.” — Buddha

What guarantees happiness? Is it money? Is it helping the poor/needy? Is it love? Is it family? Is it self-care?

I recently stumbled on a site that talks about life hacks, I decided to click on an article that was dishing out the recipe on how to guarantee your happiness in life through the hacks they listed. And the way they listed it so simply, you’d think it was as easy as ABC, -which by the way, kindergarteners will beg to differ- you would think perhaps there was something wrong with you for not being able to follow these simple steps and automatically attain happiness. But the truth is; nothing guarantees happiness in life. In fact, nothing in life is guaranteed because nothing can last forever, everything loses its shine someday. Happiness is not an equation that you need to solve with a particular formula -or in the case the article, a recipe- to get an ultimate result.

Instead of seeking a formula for happiness, one must learn to accept unhappiness as part of life. As humans, we are wired to constantly crave things, we are insatiable and there is no end to seeking happiness, comfort or freedom. We are constantly in pursuit of happiness, everything we do, every action we take, is in a bid to attain the ultimate happiness that we can hold on to forever. But we will never really attain the height of happiness we seek because we will always keep craving more and more and more until the day we leave the Earth.

You know why? Let’s say for instance; at the point you are right now, you believe buying a new car is what will ultimately make you happy, immediately that becomes your utmost want. You begin working hard and putting all your resources towards acquiring that car, because there is a purpose fueling you. And finally, you are able to afford the car, and you feel the bubbling of your heart and you are content. Fast forward to some months later, you still love the car but the sheen it had in the beginning has begun to diminish. Now, you want more. Perhaps a bigger car with more specifications than the one you currently own.

On and on it goes, more and more wants. So, can we truly guarantee happiness? And if we can’t guarantee it, how then can we maintain the little bouts of happiness we get?

For you to enjoy happiness, you must embrace all the joys and sorrows that come your way. You must understand that unhappiness, suffering and pain are a part of human existence and this might seem pessimistic to you because you prefer to hold onto the positive aspect of life and turn a blind eye to the negative side of existence. But it is a truth you must be willing to accept. Life is a wheel of opposing concepts, everything exists in positives and negatives, light and darkness, masculine and feminine, etc.

You must understand that this is a constant journey and therefore, you need to find your happiness from within you. Through how you handle everything that comes your way, either good or otherwise. Learn to live in each moment and create memories in your unconscious, that is exactly where happiness lives. Enjoying the passing of life, in each moment you find yourself. We must stop thinking happiness is a thing that exists in the future, but rather see it is a thing that exists in each day that we can access in little doses in the pockets of our existence.

Children are the best role models on the journey through happiness; why? They embrace everything that comes at them, they don’t dwell on their unhappiness for too long and at the same time, they embrace every opportunity of happiness that comes their way. They live life and enjoy every moment. Embrace your inner child once more.

Learn not to put what makes you happy in fleeting things, people or material objects. This will only serve in making you miserable. Albert Einstein once said,

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ― Albert Einstein
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The best chance you have at curating happiness for yourself is by finding things you are passionate about, things that inspire and motivate you. In doing that, every achievement and milestone crossed brings you joy

Yes, money, power and love can add to one’s life, but without something to do that motivate you or that bring contentment to you when you do it, they are impotent in creating/generating happiness. They are but fleetingly available and can only bring external joy. Think of this way; if money, love or power were the determinants of happiness, does that mean a person with all this is unhappy? If so, why then do the rich cry? Why are those who wield power often lonely? Why are some who claim to be in love constantly miserable?

The answer to these questions is simple; they are superficial and the joy they bring sometimes do not last long enough. Practice contentment also. Reveling in your accomplishments no matter how little, and in everything you have can bring contentment, so focusing on what you have is a great way to stay content.

Remember happiness is not in tomorrow/in the future, it is in today and it exists in the little things around and within us but we fail to notice because we too busy looking for it far into the future. So, be intentional and live like tomorrow may not exist -because it may not-

I DON’T WANT A RELATIONSHIP! OR DO I?

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So, I had a conversation with an acquaintance recently, and he went on and on about how he didn’t want a relationship and didn’t need to be serious with any woman. For about 30 minutes he continued on his speech about how people were two-timing each other and being disingenuous in so called relationships.

In like manner, the social media has become filled with the same stance about not wanting relationships -both men and women-, going on and on about how being single is bliss.

And this got me thinking, “do all these people really want nothing to do with relationships? Or perhaps there is an underlying factor that I was missing?”

So, I observed and studied the comments people made under relationship posts on the internet and I realized something; all the “I don’t need a man”, “I don’t need a woman”, “I don’t need a relationship” were non-existent. There was a visible air of craving from all the comments that one could deduce that they craved what these couples on the internet have. It was evident that people still want relationships, in fact, they badly crave the intimacy and companionship that being in a relationship provides.

Which is why I decided to write about this today. During my findings, I realized a lot of people-men and women- want relationships but they seek real and healthy relationships with real people without worrying that they might get played in the process. So, when a person says they don’t want a relationship, it is because they don’t believe that there are real people anymore. They don’t believe there are people that they can trust who wouldn’t hurt them or take their feelings for granted.

The chances of getting this in today’s world has become so slim that men and women would rather say they do not want relationships rather than get their hopes up that they might meet a person who is different from the others they have encountered in the past.

But you know what the problem is with this? People have such negative perception of relationships so much so that they end up jeopardizing any opportunity to be in healthy relationships while denying and telling themselves they do not really want it. Those that try to convince themselves that they do not want relationships and who do not make the conscious effort needed to build one, may end up realizing this too late when they are probably 50 and their neighbors are having family gatherings and celebrating the joys of companionship meanwhile everything looks bleak and dried up on their own porches.

The truth is a lot of people are unwilling to put in the work that a relationship needs to make it work. They do not want be in a position where they have to take responsibilities for their actions to be accountable to someone else. They are unwilling to make sacrifices needed to thrive a budding relationship

Because of this, people are starting to have unrealistic ideas of relationships, based off of what they see on the internet.

Now, I am going to break this “I don’t want a relationship” ideology down to this, you see when people say they don’t want relationships, what they are really saying is “I want a relationship but I don’t want to act like I want one, so that it can happen”. Just like when you are downloading; say a movie, and you decide not to look at it or think about it hoping that if you don’t it won’t get cancelled and it would load faster. Ha-ha it is like trying to play reverse psychology on the universe. Lol

As a person, what you fail to understand is this; when you say you don’t want a relationship, you unconsciously chase people that are really good and compatible for you away because they believe that you do not need them, and on the other hand, you begin to attract people that just want to play around. Because they are thinking “hey, she/he doesn’t want a relationship, that’s good for me, let me just hit that and walk away. No strings”. Leading you to say; “all they want from me is my body or in the male instance: money” thereby developing a negative outlook towards relationships.

Going back to the relationship posts I studied, I also realized that people have been tailoring what an “ideal” relationship should be; to what they saw on the internet of seemingly happy people -the picture-perfect relationships.

News flash; perfect relationships DO NOT exist. I want people to understand that all relationships are bound to have shortcomings, because these are two imperfect people with different backgrounds, ideologies and philosophies, coming together to build something that may last a lifetime. It cannot be perfect. The pictures you see do not tell the story of what goes on behind the camera. So, when you see these internet relationships, do not use them as yardsticks for getting into a relationship. The only way a relationship can be actualized and go the extra mile without either partner quitting is for each partner to say, “look, I have my flaws, you have your flaws; we are going to get on each other’s nerves, but we are gonna make this work”

That said, except you are perhaps asexual or do not genuinely want a relationship, stop deluding yourself and embrace what you truly want and go after it with a positive spirit.

Letter to him…

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With every word you seductively filled up my senses

I lay there stimulated by the mental penetration

Our minds tangled in the thrones of passionate expressions

Energies in sync with ideas gliding against each other

Completely focused on reaching an apexing consensus

I stare deeply with your optic orbs piercing mine

Trying to infiltrate every inch of your wit

A soft caress, stroking my mind before tasting my thoughts and gently exploring my soul

And I knew a physical touch was fickle compared to this

temitop_

CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS COMMUTER

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The Lagos Commuter

It had been a long day at work; my blazer had begun to feel quite itchy from been worn for so long. I was desperate for a long bath to wash off the stress of the day and couldn’t wait to get home. The bus I was in moved at a sluggish pace. I hated these Lagos yellow Vanagon buses; they are infamous for how they delayed passengers and took too much time searching for people to get on board not minding those already in the bus. My derriere had gone numb from sitting on the hard wooden chair for long. Shifting from one butt cheek to the other no longer helped and my eyes were starting to water from the smoke that filled the interior of the vehicle.

After what felt like an eternity, but was probably 15 minutes; the bus sputtered forward, engine groaning as more smoke accumulated, stinging my eyes further making me shut them while mumbling obscenities at the driver and his conductor who kept screaming “ikorodu eni kan… (One more person for ikorodu)” and a passenger responded sarcastically “sé fé gbé eni ye si wa lori ni?” (Do you want to put the person our heads?). Finally, the vehicle pulled out to the highway, and we were on our way, much to my relief.

As always, the traffic congestion for which the City of Excellence is known for, had already begun. Slowly but surely, we moved along.

I rested my head against the glass staring out the window lost in my thoughts. As we closed in on an intersection, my attention was drawn to cars that had begun diverting into the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane in a bid to escape the traffic. Some passengers began clamoring for the driver to also swerve into the BRT lane so we can also get ahead of other cars. The driver turned deaf ears to their chattering and kept on the same slow-moving lane we had been on for the past 30 minutes. Flicking my wrist, I stared at the watch and knew the bath time I had scheduled just reduced to a brisk shower time -if I could still keep my eyes open- I sighed and stared out once more and watched as a man walked to cross the road into the BRT lane unto the other side. He didn’t seem to be aware of his surrounding and walked briskly. As he stepped onto the lane, a BRT bus sped down the lane at a fast rate and everything began to move slowly yet very fast before my eyes. I knew the man didn’t see the bus, I tried to call to him in my head but I knew it would be too late. As I watched I saw a yellow vanagon – that had entered the BRT lane due to the traffic -from the corner of my eye speeding from the opposite direction, smoke rising behind it.

As the bus closed in on the man, the headlight flashed on his face and I could see his expression as he came to the realization that his life was at stake in that moment. In those split seconds; the BRT driver tried to stop the impact, stumping on his brakes, as the tires screeched and skidded on the tarred road, but at the speed he was driving, it was impossible. I watched as the bus rammed into the man hard, flinging him about ten feet forward, his head hitting the floor hard and blood pooling instantly. In the same instant a speeding motorcycle who had just sped out from behind the BRT to over-take went crashing into the speeding vanagan that was coming from the opposite direction. The impact sent the motorcycle and its rider careening under the tires of the bus, crushing the rider’s leg in the process.

The Lagos Commuter

I sat and watched in horror trying to process what happened as people rushed towards the scene of the accidents. The screaming rider was promptly pulled out from under the bus and I could see the crushed leg had been torn apart; his knee was only connected to the rest of his leg by a silver of flesh. I gulped and looked away towards the other man hit by a bus and wondered if he would survive the head crash as my bus pulled away from the spot. I stared until It was too dark to see anything but shadows of people milling around the scene.

As I sat shivering from what I had just seen, all thought of my previous lethargy forgotten, all I wanted to know was if the man who hit his head on the road made it or not and how the cycler would probably never ride again.

I knew I would be having nightmares in the next weeks to come from what I had just witnessed.

The Lagos Commuter.

DON’T SHUT OUT YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS!

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“The key to happiness – or that even more desired thing, calmness – lies not in always thinking happy thoughts. No. That is impossible.The key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don’t become them.Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

Today, there was this intense loathing I felt for myself. So intense, I began questioning who I was, where I was in life and felt my life was as pitiful as it gets. Streams of negative thoughts flowed and flooded my mind and I was feeling enveloped by it.

As someone that doesn’t tear up easily, crying wasn’t an option to let out the pent-up emotions, so I took a deep breath, detaching my feelings from my thoughts and started raveling at the seams, trying to find out why I felt such way. And then I realized something; I had been stressed lately and had repressed my negative thoughts and emotions so much so that at the slightest mental vulnerability, I almost crumbled. Which led to what I will writing on today. We will take a deep dive into negative emotions and how to process, manage and embrace them.

Negative thoughts are natural, they are a part of human existence; an inbuilt defense system for our brains, if you please. Negative thoughts are negative and random in nature in reference to one’s self.

Thoughts like “I am not good enough”, “I can’t do it”, “I am a failure”, “no one cares about me”, “I am so stupid”, “I hate myself”, “who would love a person like me”. These are examples of negative thoughts that can actually consume you if not properly managed. Negative thinking is something we all engage in from time to time, although, constant negativity can destroy your mental health, leaving you depressed and anxious.

Constantly shutting off negative thinking and trying to stick to positive thinking isn’t inherently helpful and to be honest full of crap. Ever wondered why overly optimistic people annoy you? The reason is that, deep down, positive thinking feels fake and disingenuous to us.

Take a look at people that always try to give off positive vibes, whenever they encounter any external form of negativity, they become passive aggressive. When in truth, they are scared of what will happen if they lose hold of the façade of happiness, they have fashioned for themselves.

Constantly thinking positively is like taking analgesics just to get temporary relief until your pain comes roaring back worse than before. So, it is best to find the cause of your negative thoughts and try to process them before it progresses to constant sadness and self-hate.

Having negative thoughts doesn’t mean you are a negative person – you are only human after all

According to Norman Vincent Peale, in his “The power of positive thinking”, he was of the view that thinking constant happy/positive thoughts is the pathway to achieving success -which I do not support as this isn’t the best way to cope with our stress especially for people that are prone to anxiety spells. But we will stick to his insight on what can cause negative thoughts:

  • Shame about the past: You see, we have all done something in the past that we are not proud of or that we think may come back to bite us in the rear. We all do or say somethings that when we think of, we are filled with embarrassment and perhaps shame, but of course your negative thinking will decide to blow it out of proportion and make it seem like it is the worst thing to happen on the face of the earth. It is not. You need to accept that You can’t rewrite the past and accept the event as a learning curve and consider how not to make such errors again.
  • Anxiety about the present: Many of us worry about this day and night, we worry about how people perceive us or how we perform at our jobs or how the society sees us. In the process of these thoughts, your negative thinking slips in and you begin to imagine that people hate you, or that you are we just a sham parading as person of self-worth; or worried that your colleagues think you are a crappy employee or that your partner will leave you when they realize you are not an epitome of perfection. Relax, no one is perfect, we all have these self-doubts once in a while, you are not alone in this.
  • Fear of the future: Ah, the unknown. The most constant fear of all. We fear the future because it is unknown and we do not know what it might bring or if we will ever achieve the success, we strive day and night for. This sort of negative thinking often leads to “catastrophizing,” or self-sabotaging which means constantly predicting failure and disaster in the future. I hate to break it to you, worrying about the future is a waste of time and energy and mental strength. But the advantage of such thoughts is; the time you spend thinking and worry can be better utilized by committing to taking actions in the present. You are scared you will not be the outstanding lawyer that you want to be? Accept the worst outcome, then take those courses, read those books, build that connection in the law forum etc. That is a step toward ensuring that your future stands a chance at success.

As someone who analyzes my thoughts, and reasons I feel a particular way, it can be challenging to differentiate negative thinking from the regular worries that everyone has. It can be the same for you too, so I try to think positive thoughts to counter them, but positive thinking isn’t magic. You can’t just will negative thoughts into positive ones. You have to accept them as part of being human.

When you get these negative thoughts, let them in. For those who find better expression in crying, let it out and for people with more analytic minds, pick your emotions apart and try to see what may have caused this, play through all the various scenarios that can take place and prepare yourself for the worst that can happen. See once you can understand that this is just your mind trying to defend itself from the unknown; you have managed and embraced the situation.

Now, when you think self-depreciation thoughts; maybe during a huge project, or from taking on a lot of stress, find a way to process them, manage them and embrace them. See them as temporary fluctuations of your energy

My own approach is to look on positive and negative thinking as a continuum, where both thought processes are at opposite ends and you being a constant without getting to the edge of both elements. Think of it as “defensive pessimism”, see your negative thoughts as you being realistic about your worst-case scenario, this will automatically sap the past, the present and the future of the anxiety producing power they have over you.

SELF-AWARENESS – A KEY TO SELF-MASTERY

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A Little Reminder for People on the Path Toward Self Mastery – Self Mastery  Lab

As a human, a lot of things can be said to be out of your control; nature, life, other people’s feelings and reactions to your action. But there is one thing you will always have control over in any given situation – YOURSELF.

Having control over oneself is recognizing, understanding and making the most of your mind, spirit, soul and body. Your life is largely determined by your thoughts, feelings, actions, habits etc. These make up who you are. Now imagine being able to master all these? It means attaining a heightened level of rational thinking and your decision making is based on logic rather than emotions.

But the mastery of self can only be achieved through the awareness of oneself.

What then is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is the awareness of your individuality. You recognize that you are separate from other people. Your memories are proof that you have a unified self through time.

René Descartes posited the centrality of thought processes and his notion of mind and self, and how the doubt of self creates the awareness of the self “cogito ergo sum” – (I think; therefore, I exist).

Antoine Léonard furthered this by expanding on it; “dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” – (I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am). Hence, the doubt of self is the awareness of self and the proof of the existence of the self and our sense of self is created by physical processes in the brain. 

But let’s not dive too deep into philosophy here. In essence, when you are highly self-aware, objectively you can evaluate yourself, manage your thought processes and how they translate into actions.

For you to attain success of any form, you must first understand that your routine behavior creates impact on your future opportunities. The more you understand yourself, the more control you have over your life.

What is Self-Mastery

Self-Mastery is the ability to acknowledge, analyze and control one’s desires or impulses. It is the ability to respond to a situation through intention and awareness as opposed to reacting without reason.

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
― 
Leonardo da Vinci

Self-mastery isn’t about controlling yourself or dominating those fearful, aggressive, and nasty parts within us. It’s about getting to know these parts, but then transcending them.

Learning to master the self is also learning to discipline the self. At this point you are not controlled by your body, urges or feelings.

Self-Mastery requires the utmost patience and diligence to achieve and even at that, full self-actualization is realistically unachievable. It is the process of becoming and an endless commitment to constant improvement of the Self.

Process of Self-Mastery

People are not born completely self-aware. We only have a vague sense of self until we acutely focus. Our individuality only hangs on the periphery of our vision and is often neglected by a lot of people because they are unable to become the focus of themselves, while some choose oblivion so as not to question their existence.

Like everything else, there is a process to mastery, it is not instant or immediate; you must follow the sequences before you achieve that which you want. There are stages you need to follow before you can attain the mastery that you seek, and these are;

Knowledge -> Awareness -> Development -> Mastery

With the accumulation of knowledge of Self, you become more aware and better identify what you know of yourself. With awareness, you can deduce where your strengths lie and begin to develop on them and accept the parts or you that maybe flawed by seeing beyond them to the potential you truly hold. Once you can develop your awareness, you begin to develop habits, beliefs and attitudes that lead to fulfillment and self-induced happiness.

You become more disciplined, persistent and focused on your goals. Self-Mastery is a constant and never-ending process. It is a transformation of self slowly, steadily, and daily, that requires deep conviction that greatness can be achieved.

On the journey towards Self-Mastery, there are chances that we might subconsciously self-sabotage our development because in as much we fear failure, we also fear the unknown nature of success and what it brings. We are conditioned to be comfortable in a state called Homeostasis “a state of balance that is known to us and that we are comfortable in”. So, any attempt at change either positive or negative, will psychologically met a rebuff and your brain will try to return to the state of homeostasis that it is used to.

Knowing this will help you accept and be kind to yourself when there is a backslide on your journey because the path to Self-Mastery is always difficult sometimes and moving into the unknown can be difficult. You just have to trust your process.

Chronicles Of A Lagos Commuter

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At 5:10am, the heat was already permeating my skin and sticking my clothes to my body, but I was oblivious to it, as I dragged my forearm across my forehead to wipe off the sweat that had coated, I walked briskly to cross the road amidst the honking cars filled with sleeping passengers and glassy eyed drivers.

I had woken up 20 minutes late today and knew getting a vehicle would be tougher than usual, except I got lucky.

40 minutes later, my legs had started to cramp up and I was tired of shuffling from foot to foot, my arm muscles had tensed up from flagging down vehicles to no avail.

I stared at the congestion of cars on the road and the passengers asleep in them, and felt a tinge of envy. At that point, all I wanted was to get into a vehicle to rest my aching legs and throbbing feet.

The sky had since turned a light blue with telltale signs that the sun would rise early today.

As I stood, my back hunched a little from resting on my hinds, I heard a call from a vehicle going in my direction. Everyone around me rushed forward towards the call. Wrapping my arms firmly around my bag, my legs pranced forward towards the entrance of the vehicle; all aches forgotten. As we all shuffled to get in, I could feel an elbow digging painfully into my ribs. My tiny frame was being shoved from the side and obscenities yelled into my ears. I was determined to get in and nothing was going to stop me, I stumped on a foot and heard someone yelp, I felt a twinge of pity but pressed forward and finally secured a seat. While rubbing my aching ribs, I smiled in satisfaction. Just another day in Lagos.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Today I am trying to keep my eyes open; it had been a long day of writing proposals and attending meetings and now sitting in the usual 9 pm traffic jam, all I wanted was to sleep without worrying I would be driven past my stop. My droopy eyes slid across the faces of every other passenger in the vehicle. I felt like a voyeur, a part yet apart, stealing glances at each occupant, as the man next to me scratched his beard while trying to keep his eyes open and failing just like his neighbor, whose head rested on his shoulders.

My eyes begin to slide shut again, shutting out my thoughts; hoping to catch some winks before I got to my stop.

As we drove towards the E1 axis, a commotion could be heard ahead, snapping me out of my sleepy state. Cars were honking and trying to press forward amid the traffic. My curiosity peaked at what could be the cause, then I noticed the two men approaching a blue Toyota Corolla with a dented fender. They barely looked a day over 20 years with their jaunty walk and dreaded heads. One of them, pulling up his sagging blue carrot jeans, with “Guchi” boldly labelled on the sides, walked up to the driver’s side and began whispering inaudibly to him, gesturing for him to put down his window. The other in a similarly dressed manner, walked up to the other side of the front seat and with the butt of the gun he whipped out of his pants, smashed the side window of the car, then reached into the vehicle and grabbed the driver’s phone and wallet before pulling his head back out. The driver realizing what happened too late, tried to swerve and escape but alas, the deed had been done. In fear I pushed my phone underneath the chair and wedged my bag behind me. My co-occupants also frantically began seeking out spots to hide their coveted properties.

Both culprits walked unhurriedly towards us, as cars began scrambling left and right in bit to avoid facing a similar fate as the driver of the robbed vehicle. The vehicle I was in moved closer, and a front light flashed in their faces; I saw the smug looks they wore. They looked very pleased with themselves and the fear they instilled in people. Tucking the stolen phone and gun back into the band of his pants, the thief vaulted the demarcation on the road on to the other lane and his accomplice followed suit.

My heart began beating in a more relaxed manner, all thought of sleep gone from my eyes, but I still didn’t make an attempt to pull out my phone or bag. In same vein, my fellow occupants started recanting experiences they had had on the same road and how it had become a common occurrence there. But all I could think of were their faces as they strolled off and I knew I wouldn’t be forgetting those faces any time soon.

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