I am a fan of these little affirmations. They make me feel better. They keep me going. They calm me when I fail by reminding me that what matters is that I tried. But you know what? Reading these affirmations won’t get you what you want.
It’s your hard work, determination, relentlessnes, discipline, commitment and finally, trust, hope and utter faith in God that will get you where you want to be.
You can’t expect change by doing nothing, you get change by waking up from your slumber land, getting out of your comfort zone and doing everything it takes.
Yester-night, I listened to my little 19 year old brother finding it hard to accept that the people who he thought would always come through for him disappoint him.
A little background information: we were raised by a single mother who loved us fiercely, provided for us in every way, put our needs before hers, protected us fiercely and who sadly died last year after a short illness. I had just turned 22 and in my final semester in varsity, my little brother was 2 months shy off 18 and in his final year in high school. Her death left us hurt, alone and confused but despite all that, he passed his final exam, secured a place in a good university (he studies Bsc Computer Security and Forensics) and I graduated with a B.A Degree in Economics and Sociology.
My little bro arrived home this week for a 4 months holiday and being smart as he is, he has secured an internship in a Tech Company at the capital. He needs a place to stay during the internship so logically, he started making calls to people he knows there. As you can probably guess, he got either negative feedbacks or no answers or no call backs and text backs. This is excruciating and difficult for his young mind to accept and that is probably why he kept reassuring himself that they will come through for him. This of course means I am caught between the rock and hard place of whether to tell him the truth about how most people are or letting him learn it himself and praying that he has the strength to handle whatever he learns.
It has been a year and seven months since we lost our mother and in the ambiguously short and long time, I have matured a lot, learned a ton and wisened up a few years. I have learned that some people are very big-mouthed at making promises and tight-fisted when it comes to delivering them while others don’t make them but surprise you when you least expect them. I have learned to just smile beautifully when someone makes a promise and how not to take it at heart as that leads to disappointments. I have also learned to shut my mouth when I am about to make a promise and only surprise that person when I can as un-kept promises lead to pain and resentment.
I have learned that as much as no man is an island, we don’t need people to succeed. Who we need is God; to fully trust and hope in Him. What we need is to know that people are not reliable. That we can’t depend on them and if we do, we get hurt which might lead to hatred. That is not heathy now, is it? That the only person on this earth we can really depend on is ourselves. That constant self-improvement and resilience are the top recipes for success.
I have learned that everybody is busy living their lives and jumping over and stumbling on their own hurdles. That is probably why they are unreliable. Therefore we can’t hold it against them. Hypothetically, if this person is your grandfather or a very close relative, you have to cut ties with them to save your precious little big heart from their toxicity *wink wink.
I have learned to be my own strength, my own hero, to be my knight in shining armor, to stand up for myself, to be my own happiness and to be my absolute BEST SELF.
Above all, I have learned to treasure those who go hard for me cause that’s a rare beautiful thing.
Keeping all these in mind is freeing, peaceful and opens greater paths to success.
*I originally published this on Medium using my real name but made some few changes here.
If you know me, you probably think I don’t care what people think. A lie I have managed to sell for a long time. You see, I do care, more than I would want to, especially when I want that person to like me. My latest circumspection has been over my dressing.
I would describe my dressing as neither conservative nor provocative. It is simply dressing. I like style. I like looking good. And if that means donning that gorgeous black dress that is a little above the knee or that fancy top that shows a little bit of my back, then so be it.
Recently, I made some conservative friends. The kind that put on only long skirts and dresses. Since I wanted them to like me, I started worrying about the length of my dresses and skirts. I was worried that they think I am not conservative and decent enough. As a result, I made a habit of seeing them only and only when I was dressed ‘conservative enough’. On top of that, I made a couple of purchases of dresses that are past the knee long.
The tango between the desire to change my mode of dressing, which in my mind equaled being liked by my conservative friends and the desire to maintain my normal dressing, which equals being myself, started taking a toll on me. I would wake up, choose something to wear and change about 4 times because so and so would not approve of it. And if it happened that I was in my normal outfits, I would do absolutely everything to avoid them. This has been going on for a while.
Yesterday, I was reading an article (There is no formula to keep your family from sin-https://kindredgrace.com/no-formula-to-keep-from-sin/ ) on a Christian blog called Kindred Grace that completely opened my eyes. It dawned on me that what I was doing was idolatry because I was putting what I thought my conservative friends would think above my Savior Jesus Christ.
I learnt that Jesus is my identity. His dying on the cross set me free from death, sin and slavery (and I am counting being too concerned about what people think as slavery). Going back to what he set me free from is a disregard to the cross that set me free 2000 years ago.
In the light of this and the fact that salvation is not an outward sign but an inward personal relationship with my God, I decided I would not change on anyone’s account. I embrace my imperfections and acknowledge that I am a work in progress in the hands of the author and finisher of my faith; The great I AM!
I am a planner. Not just in the sense of planning for my next meal or break. I am literally a planner since I have been training as an Economic planner. As a planner, we do projections for up to the end of the century, plan for 1, 5, 10, 22 years from now. In short, we worry for everybody. We like getting ahead of time.
It is not surprising that I carry this same quality to my life by worrying a lot. I worry about what I will put on tomorrow at work, on Saturday when going out, on Sunday at church, what I will eat for dinner or breakfast tomorrow, what I will be doing 5 years from now. What about 30 years from now? I worry about everything and I tell you, it is exhausting. Both mentally and physically.
Today, while I was walking to work, I was worrying about the town service I will board or I think the amount of airtime I had on my phone, what I would tell so and so…..well it was about a lot of things. As usual, I was exhausting my brain even before getting to work. I started watching my steps, how I was putting one foot forward at a time. I challenged myself to just focus on my next step and nothing else. I did exactly that for the next two minutes. I felt the tension on my muscles subsiding, my shoulders relaxing, my mind freed, a smile on my face. I felt so good.
It is then that I made up my mind to adopt “crossing that bridge when I get there” type of mindset.
After all, Jesus asked His disciples in Mattew 6:27
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
I am not a big fan of the Swahili proverb “lisemwalo lipo, kama halipo laja” translated to “Whatever is being said is true and if it is not yet true it’s about to be true,” especially when it comes to rumors. But unfortunately, that makes me just one among the minority of the population. Even more so women.
A lady friend told me that someone bad mouthing a girl and spreading malicious rumors about her is either a man who can’t have her or a girl who can’t be her. Which I fully agree with.
What is even sadder is that no matter who started the rumors, whether it’s from the mouth of a boy who can’t have her or a girl who can’t be her, it’s always us girls who do the spreading. And we say it with so much conviction that anybody around us, even the victim herself might start believing it.
We rarely stop to think what if I was her? How would I feel if this was going around about me? What if she was my sister? What if she was my mother? What if she was my daughter? Would I want this to go around about her? How would I feel?
Words are powerful. It takes someone who has been a victim of malicious rumors to know just how powerful and destructive they are. And it takes a really strong person to rise above them. Therefore, the next time you open your mouth to bad mouth someone, stop and think!
Let us stop giving meaning to the common misconception that women are their own worst enemies!
Recently, I felt the urge to talk to a certain beggar I usually see on the main street of my home town. On a hot Saturday morning, after stepping out of the supermarket, I walked over to him and sat next to him. I had it all planned out in my head but once we exchanged greetings, I found myself speechless.
I started fidgeting with my bag before blurting out “why do you sit here?”
“Because I have to get food or because I am poor.” Something similar to that.
In my young mind, I thought asking him about his family was the appropriate next question. So I did exactly that. In a piteous voice, he told me all his family depended on him. I had nothing else to ask or say so I made my apologies for the intrusion, lots of them, deposited some money on his hand and left.
Even though deep down I knew it was no fault of his to be a beggar, I found myself quiet annoyed with him for feeling sorry for himself.
It hit me then that the couple of times I have used self-pity (lost mother card) to get what I want (discounts), I must have annoyed the salespersons . I made a mental note to never do it again.