I have often found myself wishing someone had shared with me very early on the principles and instructions for life that I now share with my young friends who are just now having a go at life.
I had no father figure growing up. Though mum did her best in raising me and sending me to school, we never really talked much about preparing for life. Except, that I should be wary of 3 things: money, women, and food.
Having being raised alone by a single mum who had to spend a lot of time working to make ends meet, there was no particular mentor present in my life. Even my teachers weren’t that much interested in the little timid boy that I was growing up. I guess it was only Mr. Ogala, my primary school tutor, who cared, somewhat enthusiastically, about my prospects in the arts. Ironically, I didn’t like the fine arts that much.
A very wise woman once expressed a universal truth in the simplest use of words: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Quite eloquent, yes, but that’s something deeply profound to say about our preconceptions. In fact, I think it is so deep in meaning and implications that I find it scary and deserving of our full attention.
I bet it was a critical observation of life that led Anaïs Nin to such a conclusive truth. And if we were to follow suit, I am sure we will see the link between our constant transformation and how we view the world around us.
As an example, I once found being gay irritating and a design from the pit of hell. Now my views are hugely reversed. I am now accepting and respectful of my fellow human beings who are gay, even though I still grapple with matters of same-sex copulation.
“This is what is hardest: to close the open hand because one loves.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I have a rather extreme suggestion to make on how to respond to a cheating partner who seeks forgiveness. I believe my proposal ideal for romantic commitments in which exclusivity is understood and agreed upon. But since our relationships are different from one another just as we are different, applicability may differ.
But before I state my seemingly outrageous recommendation, I would like you to know up front that my source of inspiration is actually Love, not a sense of retribution, although the love I speak of here is of a less favored aspect and hue.
So, let’s begin.
Contrary to the assumed belief that love is particularly emotional and mushy and can be nothing else, there is a side of love that is resolute and principled. It is, I believe, what some folks mean when they use the term “tough love”.
Though largely used in the context of parenting, I believe this facet of love should be well extended to relationships between grown-ups devoted to building a meaningful connection. This is important because we often let our feelings run wild, in a way that we spoil one another and make allowances that potentially harm rather than make stronger our relationships.
I have been battered by a series of adverse conditions.
Part of the reason is that I live in a city with a chronically broken system situated in a country with an even more impressive cauldron of mangled governance and institutions.
Among an array of difficulties, my greatest bane was the power supply which was normally erratic, unstable and sometimes none existent on certain special days of the month.
My fellow mainland-Lagosians would know what am talking about, but if you are domiciled elsewhere on the planet, please don’t be alarmed. For us, it’s been like this from the beginning of time – a way of life, so to speak.
And since my business depended heavily on electricity I was increasingly frustrated as duly expected. Buying fuel to power the generator was costing me a lot thereby increasing my cost of production, which in turn ended up affecting my profit margin in the most excruciating way.
The comparison game is a deep hole that can trap us forever. We must avoid it and be courageous enough to be ourselves even if we appear starkly different and unpopular.
So in place of comparing ourselves with others and feeling inadequate, let’s pour out our hearts into unearthing better versions of who we are. For the truth is, there’s something incredibly special about YOU.