Monday, May 23, 2022
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Barriers to Self-Love: Why can’t I love myself?

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Self-Love is simply Self-acceptance…

You’ve probably heard the words’ self-love so often that it has become cliched or unreal to you. People keep talking about self-love but somehow you just can’t relate to it. In some ways, it ends up making you even feel worse about yourself

What does it mean? Is it treating yourself with a bright and shiny new thing you’ve been coveting, or something as simple as embracing compassion?

Perhaps you had a childhood that was filled with verbal taunts, criticism, put-downs and never felt good enough or adequate. All of these have now contributed to our self-loathing. For some, it wouldn’t even be self-hate per se; to them, they just do not feel they are worthy of love both from themselves and from others. Their evaluation of self has diminished drastically and other traumas in their lives gradually contribute to the loss of self. All these can limit the credibility you give yourself.

Self-love walks hand in hand with self-acceptance, to have one is to have the other.

Before the end of this, I want you to take up a pen and a writing sheet split it into two sides. On one side, write out those flaws you hate about yourself, things that make you feel hate for your person, and why no one should love you. Then on the other size, write the things you minimally fancy about yourself and the things you are pretty good at. At the end of this, I am going to tell you what to do with this.

So, first off, let’s define self-love. In my recent social media question tag, I asked my followers what they believed Self-Love is and as always, I got varying responses. Below are some of them;

Self-love is being wholesomely aware of your being, knowing what hurts, what makes you happy, and how to work around all of that while you go on with life, (and its struggles.) -@Ashabi_ade

The best thing in the world If you don’t have that great love for yourself, you will never truly be happy… And it breeds high self-esteem, It amazing. -@timegontell

Self-love is being good, kind, considerate to oneself, having a healthy sense of value for oneself. Not necessarily putting yourself first all the time, but also not doing things that would have a long-lasting or permanent negative impact on oneself in a bid to help others  -@brisin_advocate

Being able to improve and learn for myself… being true to myself not trying to be anyone else. And doing everything to attract and dispense of positive and negative energy respectively. Lastly peace of mind, serenity within. -@emmy_uzor

Discipline… Making small promises to yourself and keeping them. Good Self-talk. Encouraging yourself in your inner self-dialogue. Forgiving yourself. Understanding that making mistakes is a part of the human experience. -@C_Savignon

On the other hand, I also got responses like;

Honestly? I don’t know. And I haven’t heard anything tangible to make me understand it. For now, self-love will always sound like selfishness to me -@sir_odymufc

Selflessness – but backwards. -@DsgnrLuke

First, from the point of Christ, which is how I see love, love is for others to feel from you not you to feel for yourself. The basic definition of love is intense feeling of care and affection for someone… so the concept of self-love sounds selfish to me. -@sir_odymufc

From the different responses, it is obvious that we all have varying understanding of Self-love. Some believe it is just selfishness under guise while some see it as the key to happiness and accepting yourself with your flaws.

And to an extent I can say those who see it as selfishness aren’t exactly wrong, nor are they entirely right. Humans are selfish by nature, so that inevitable. Self-Love requires a level of selfishness for it to be called so. It means looking after yourself, constantly loving yourself, and giving yourself attention, which may seem selfish to other people. But that doesn’t make it a bad thing, there are times when you just have to put yourself and your mental health first.

What then are the barriers hindering you from loving yourself?

  • Believing that love only comes from others: When you only believe that love only comes from others and not from you to yourself
  • Feeling guilty or selfish about self-love: Feeling like you are doing something wrong when you give yourself any form of self-appreciation
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others: Anytime you compare yourself to somebody else, you are setting yourself up for 2 things; ‘I am better than’ or ‘I am less than’. The age we currently live in doesn’t help much in curtailing this. Social media will have you wanting to do that constantly
  • Feelings of Unworthiness: That feeling that you are unworthy of anything good, often based on previous disappointment and unattained success, probably in relationships, career, etc. So, you begin to feel you are not worthy of being loved or of been appreciated.

A lack of self-love can be rooted in feeling that you don’t deserve “it”, and by it, I mean “everything”.Your dreams, a certain lifestyle, admiration, success, everything good this world has to offer.

You believe there is something about you that can’t and won’t get what you desire

How do you overcome these barriers?

  1. Accept yourself; Understand that you are far from perfect and you cannot change who you are, no matter how much you try hard to. You need to accept that and channel that energy into something that makes you feel good about yourself.
  2. Push yourself; You need to push yourself and push hard. Make a conscious effort to turn things around for yourself to exceed your goals and your expectations.
  3. Congratulate yourself. You need self-approval and validation from yourself, just as much as you think you need it from others. Congratulate yourself for the little things and the big things.
  4. Improve yourself; Find something you care about besides yourself, and invest your time in it. It could be a skill; develop it, or a bucket list; tick them off. Do things that will improve your life.
  5. Challenge yourself. Express yourself. Educate yourself. Maybe just take baby steps and open this with ‘tolerate yourself’, since for people feeling low it really can be the first step.

On a final note; if you are having relationship challenges due to your self-loathe, you need to understand for you to be able to truly love another person, you must first love yourself by respecting yourself and knowing YOU. Loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited, egocentric, or narcissistic, it is just self-acceptance.

In the third paragraph, I told you to write those flaws you hate about yourself and the things you minimally fancy about yourself and the things you are pretty good at, I believe you did that. I want you to look at the first one; these are your flaws, your imperfections, your weaknesses. I am going to let you in on a secret here *you are not the only one that feels these things on this sheet, every single human on this planet has them, they have those things they hate about themselves*

I want you to accept them as a part of you like that crooked toenail or that particular strand of hair growing in that weird spot. Accept it, embrace it as a part of your and what makes you who you are.

Now look at the second list; these are your strengths, your capabilities and I want you to remember every time you face failure or depression or when life knocks you on your feet; that there is something good about you; a bright side to you and rise again to get that WIN!

Remember, Life is about balance, your weaknesses and strengths must coexist.

Do I want an Open Relationship?

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Do I want an Open Relationship?
6 Questions To Decide If A Polyamorous Relationship Is Right For You

Your partner says “I want an Open Relationship. Let’s start seeing other people”, What do you do?

In the current society we live in, people have begun shying away from being held responsible for their actions, so much that they prefer to lose out on experiences as long as it means no responsibility or accountability whatsoever. And this is very evident in the modern-day relationship world. Relationships require a high level of responsibility and accountability; it is no wonder people are suddenly vying towards open relationships.

On the other hand, Exclusive Relationships can be tough to deal with especially with the high rate of cheating and dishonesty in relationships these days. Which is why, most people prefer to rather be in open relationships to save themselves from the stress and anxiety that exclusivity comes with. But does it really work?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the differences between Open Relationships, being Mutually exclusive, and the pros/cons of an Open Relationship, I will first define what each term is, so you can get an idea of the subject matter.

What Is an Open Relationship?

An open relationship is a relationship where parties aren’t exclusively dating each other. In other words, both people are openly allowed to have other sexual and/or romantic partners. Although often misplaced as Polyamory, (Polyamory is open enough for feelings to be formed while Open relationships are based on sexual relations) they are two different concepts. Some types of Open relationships can be classified into Swinging, Monogamic, Hybrid, relationship anarchy etc.

What is a Mutually Exclusive Relationship?

This is when both parties are exclusively dating each other. There is a mutual agreement between them that neither of them would be romantically or sexually involved with other people.

Just so you know; Relationship ambiguity can be really stressful on the mind, so It helps if you have a clear intention about your life and dating style and also what your partner wants. If they want to strictly be seeing you or otherwise. All that needs to be explicitly communicated.

Also being exclusive doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a relationship. It could be friends with benefits relationship and both of you choose to be exclusive.

So yes, your partner says “I want an Open Relationship. Let’s start seeing other people”, What do you do?

Well, the choice on what to do is really up to you and how whatever decision you make will affect you. But I will give you some pointers to help you determine which of the options best suits you by pointing out the pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at some reasons people go into Open relationships;

  1. The need for a challenge: Some people do not enjoy relationships or get easily bored unless they are being challenged. Open relationships create an avenue for jealousy, attachment, or possessiveness, and these are challenges for a relationship to work through. These emotions can also lead to greater self-awareness which may be seen as satisfying to those in open relationships.
  1. The lack of deep emotional commitment: Commitment is very scary for a lot of people, because they are constantly scared of being hurt. Hence, they shy away from relationships that would require them being totally committed.
  1. For the Sex: For some, it’s just about the sex. The way having multiple sexual partners makes them feel and the drive to please them all, they find pleasurable. And for those with high sexual drives but their partners are unable to satisfy them.
  1. The belief that humans were not created to be with one partner: There is the belief that humans are polygamous in nature and that monogamy/exclusivity no longer makes sense.

And the list goes on.

Pros of being in an open relationship

  • Freedom: The freedom to explore different aspects of yourself without the hindrance exclusive relationships come with.
  • No pressure for commitment from your partner and you do not have to fulfill all of your partner’s emotional and sexual needs or interests.
  • You get to experience new and exciting sexual interests with different people whenever you please. You might find a new partner who is into something you had never considered before.
  • It can help couples with different sex drives. If your partner perhaps has very low interest in sex, and you are quite the opposite, an open relationship maybe the answer for you. It takes the pressure off your partner to try and meet up to you drive.

But what are the cons in Open relationships?

  • Jealousy: When you truly love someone, the jealousy will always be there. Because you will always want them to yourself. There is no way you will be cool knowing someone else is handling someone you deem precious to you. If there is no jealousy then there is definitely no real love in that relationship.
  • Reduced Honesty: There will be little or no honesty in your primary relationship. You start to doubt if they still have feelings for you and then you also start hiding details of your other conquests from them. All trust becomes lost.
  • Controlling emotions: You will always have to struggle with keeping your emotions in check to avoid ruining it. Often times, you will go through emotional pain and you end up giving up on a real relationship ever happening
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Let’s not forget the sexual danger you might be putting you and your partner in. Diseases can be easily transmitted when you have multiple partners at one.

Can it really work?

Ultimately, Open relationships often fail due to a lack of honesty. The issue isn’t so much the honesty between the two people in the relationship. The issue is the lack of honesty these individuals have with themselves. Often, the person who wants an open relationship either no longer wants to be with their partner or are just looking for easier ways to cheat without the emotional guilt.

In a recent poll I conducted, asking men if they could be comfortable in an open relationship, 47.7% of the answers were negative with even a hint of vehemence from 33.9% at the mere suggestion. Only 18.3% were open to the idea. This made me realize, Men may love the idea of an open relationship. The idea of sleeping with multiple women while still being in a loving relationship and this ticks all the boxes of a good life for them.

However, there is one downside for men to an open relationship which they absolutely do not like one bit: If a man is sleeping with multiple women, then their partner is just as likely to be sleeping with multiple men. Which means they will have to consider the fact that their woman will also engage in sexual engagements with other men.

There is something called “The hero instinct” in relationships It means that men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel essential, and to provide for the women they care about. The hero instinct speaks to the built-in desire men possess for something in life that goes beyond sex and even love.

Simply put, men need a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, especially from their relationships. So, the thought of another man’s hands on what is theirs’ to protect is purely inconceivable to them. Which let’s be honest is quite selfish

Although for women, it was a whole different ball game, 35.1% didn’t seem to mind their partners having other partners while 34.2% blatantly said they couldn’t and 30.7% vehemently rejected the idea. From this statistic, it would seem that women are even more open to the idea than men. I will like to tie this to the fact that a lot of women are warming up to the idea of sexual liberation and are embracing having multiple partners. Meanwhile, a study says women are believed to use open relationships as a foolproof way to preserve or rekindle relationships, given how jealous men get when they see their partners with other people. Women being sexually open and adventurous only as an attempt to keep a man would just be plain manipulative of course.

So, from my findings and polls, turns out, a lot of people that say they want open relationships actually mean; “open for me, closed for you” because they hate to share.

In the end, someone always gets hurt. Someone lies. Someone breaks the rules.

All in all, whatever relationship you chose, all good relationships are based on communication. You need to communicate with your partner about your feelings and be honest upfront. And do not forget to create boundaries!!

The whole point of being in a relationship is to enjoy yourself and your partner in whatever context works for you. If you both feel like your relationship would do better if you open it up, go for it and if not, stick to your values and decline.

ARE YOU A FEMINIST?

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“Life is not a competition between women and men. It is a collaboration of Women and Men against gender-based oppression”

Feminism, hmm, i never really sat to consider what it entailed until a fateful day, i was out eating with friends, and the topic came up, suddenly, the lady by my side started lambasting men and i could see the veins on her face stand out and throbing like they would bust with the vehemence in which she shouted “I am a feminist! Feminism is whatever I say it is” All the while her face screaming hatred for men and how they “treated” women.

As i sat and listened, i realized she wasn’t trying to defend Feminism or what the movement stood for but rather to attack the masculine gender. And i thought to myself, “this isn’t what Feminism should be about”.

There are so many misconceptions about this movement. A lot of people do not really understand the concept of Feminism. Most views on this subject are rooted deeply in personal and direct experiences with the opposite gender, rather than on any data, research or science surrounding the issues associated with inequality/injustice against women. (That is to say, if we’ve personally faced discrimination, we know beyond doubt that it exists. But if we haven’t faced it ourselves, we might doubt that it really happens.)

WHAT IT ISN’T

• Feminism isn’t hatred towards men. (Misandry).

• Feminism isn’t wanting superiority over the male gender.

• Another predominant misconception is that a feminist can neither be a home maker nor does she believe in marriage.

• Feminism isn’t lesbianism (some guys think that’s what you mean when you say you are a feminist. Lol).

• Here is another: that men cannot be feminists (support the cause) i.e it’s for women only, (because feminine =feminism) i think this is the funniest one.

Now, there are so much more ways feminism has been misconstrued over the years by pseudo-feminists that most people have really forgotten the purpose and what the movement strives to achieve.

Pseudo Feminists say they want to eradicate Patriarchy and gender-based inequality, but somehow, they also want to retain the privilege that it brings (you wanna have your cake and still eat it). You want a man to only exhibit Patriarchal traits when it suits your whim but not ready to be held accountable or take responsibility for your actions. You want to be respected but you are not willing to reciprocate same. Forgetting that the fundamental essence of the Cause is equality of both genders.

For example, I see comments like ‘All men are dogs is just a joke. But never call a woman, a bitch!” or when a man breaks up with a woman “Men are evil and scum” but if a woman does “she had her reasons, she was probably not being treated right in the relationship”. Lol

These pseudo feminists look for defects in everything men do, searching for ways to make men look bad for no cause, and depicting them as suspects. Worse yet, if nothing works for them or according to how they want it, they play the victim card.

There have been several cases of men committing suicide after being falsely accused of rape by women who claim to be feminists, assassinating men’s character in a bid to propagate their said cause.

A case study is that of a young man, Izu Madubueze who was falsely accused of sexual harassment and despite his stand and provision of proof that he was innocent, he wasn’t given a fair chance to explain and tell his side of the story until he ended up committing suicide due to the allegations levelled against him by women who masqueraded themselves as “feminists”.

So, when we speak about rising violence and injustice against women, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that men are still subject to the same brutalities.

Not every man out there is a rapist, killer or stalking and planning to attack a woman out there.”

SO, WHAT IS FEMINISM?

A FEMINIST is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of men and women” – GLORIA STEINEM

My definition of feminism is that it is a thought process, a mindset that creates opportunities in an environment that does not see any gender as an issue or as being superior or lesser, in every aspect of society. There isn’t any superiority, and there shouldn’t be. True Feminists do not have to wear a badge or attach it to their bios. It is evident in your actions and the way you express your thoughts and feelings.

Here are some facts and definitions of feminism:

• The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality between both sexes. -Oxford Dictionary.

• A movement advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men -Dictionary.com

• A range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.

• All in all, it is equal opportunity for women to be intellectual equals to men.

• Feminism is for everyone not just women. Men can be feminists too.

Feminism is all about fighting for equality for women, in the office, in society, in politics and the likes. The society needs to understand women also have intellectual capabilities equal to men and should be given opportunities to explore that. Women shouldn’t be repressed because they of their gender.

Being a Feminist entails championing for the rights of women and trying to make the world a better place for women not trying to be superior to a man or hating a man.

Have you ever stopped to actually think that perhaps, hating men and trying to suppress them so you can be the superior sex isn’t going to help improve or propagate the cause? Worse it makes men believe that the cause is a joke and as usual tantrums thrown by women to seek attention. Spreading hatred and discord meaninglessly in the name of Feminism would only destroy all the good that was done before in the name of that idea.

Countless men and women in the public eye are proud feminists. Actors, actresses, musicians, writers, political leaders are very involved with this movement. Just as should be.

Feminism is for men and women. Pseudo feminists like my co-diner have made this Cause into what it isn’t by thinking “staying woke” means being a feminist. Feminism is a chance for women to make choices by and for themselves. Since that incident, i realized being complacent and letting “supposed feminists” like her champion the cause and what it stands for doesn’t help in anyway.

Today we fight not against men not against women but against inequality, against segregation, against mutilation of the girl-child, against oppression and injustice, against racism, classism, ablism, ageism, patriarchy and everyone can support feminism, regardless of race, gender, class, religion or ability.

And whether you choose to join in or not, Feminism is changing the world.

“A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

Healing is Introspective…

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Where is my courage? Where is my self worth? Why do i feel like a failure? Why am i constantly sad? Why do i feel like i am not good enough?

There is some thing i like to do; sometimes i randomly ask my closest friends questions about me and my behavior towards them (which they think is weird by the way) and i get responses that i probably had no prior knowledge about, or subconsciously ignored. Then i take these responses and begin to analyze them in my head, why i did something a certain way, what triggered it, how i have grown since then, and how i should perhaps have handled somethings.

So where am i going with my story? being introspective is examining yourself, your thoughts processes, understanding your emotions and the ability to ask why you feel these emotions.

Asking your self questions on why you feel a certain emotion, why you feel you are worthless or why you feel you are not good enough to be loved or to get that job, or achieve that goal; is what will lead you to what causes these emotions and once you can pinpoint it, the next step is doing something to change it

Self awareness is the key to introspection and introspection is the key to healing

We have all being hurt by one experience or another, either in our intimate relationships or platonic ones with friends, family and acquaintances. and most of us hold in this pain and hurt and subsequently blame everything that happens in our lives on these experiences.

But if we chose to actually take a deeper look at these experiences and study them, we would find out that the major cause of whatever dark emotions and pain we are holding on to is centered on avoiding responsibilities for our problems.

Introspection is hard. It is looking inwards into your very soul and holding yourself accountable. It is like ripping out your innards and laying them bare, then picking at them one by one.

This is the only way you can deal with the hurt and pain that you feel. You can never find healing from without. Yes, some people/situations may help you through the process (like my friends) but they cannot heal whatever you are going through.

Self introspection is necessary for gaining awareness of ones self; who you are, how you see yourself, and ultimately, how you accept and love yourself.

But just as one of my favorite writers, Philip K. Dick once said; “the problem with introspection is that it has no end”.

The problem with introspection is that it has no end – Philip K. Dick

Self evaluation and self awareness is a constant. For you to maintain a form of inner peace, you need to look inwards. You need to find out what exactly is hurting you, why you are letting it hurt you and why it is keeping you from being at peace with yourself and people around you.

The moment you can figure out the root cause, you are well on your way to your healing. It might take months or years to finally let go and get some inner peace, but don’t forget, ” the most introspective ones are often the ones that have been hurt the most”. So have no fear about been able to heal through introspection.

You can do it!

Letter to Her…

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Kayak expedition journal with a cup of tea on a rustic picnic table- handwriting and drawing in pencil. Travel log from paddling trip across north eastern Poland written by me, photographer, in August 1974.

Dear temitope,

We have spent the past 25years together

But still i don’t know you that well

And that’s why i want you to be happy from now on

From this moment

I plan to get to know you more

I know you are doing your best

And i am sorry for days i didn’t value you enough

I am sorry for the times i mistreated you

The times i made you feel small

The tears you wanted to shed. But couldn’t

Thanks for staying strong against the odds

Now we unravel possibilities and explore the knowledge hidden in sacred places

Cheers to the beginning of a new you

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