Monthly Archives: August 2018

Importance of Finding Our Truth

The Importance of Finding and Standing in Our Truth

Many of us have built our lives according to what we were taught and what we gleaned from a childhood spent in dysfunctional homes. We were asked to play a role that served our dysfunctional family system and not ourselves. We learned not to question the status quo, to follow unwritten rules, to live in denial and fantasy.

Growing up I thought my family was fine; everyone else was messed up. I thought everyone’s mother drank themselves into a stupor on a daily basis and everyone’s father had become a ghost. Neither of my parents was available for support or counsel.

I was no good, according to my father’s constant criticism, and would never amount to anything. I was a good football player and I would come off the field feeling I’d played a good game. That was until I reached my father and all he wanted to do was to talk about the block I missed or the tackle I didn’t make.

I don’t think that I lost myself; it’s more like I never had myself. I was just pieces of those around me. I had tried so hard to be who everyone wanted me to be that I left myself behind.

“…human beings universally abandon themselves for five major reasons: for someone’s love, for someone’s acceptance and approval, to keep the peace, to maintain balance, or to stay in the state of harmony. When we abandon ourselves for someone’s love, pretending to be other than who we are in order to get someone’s love, acceptance, or approval, it is a form of self-abandonment.”  Angeles Arrien Ph.D., The Four-Fold Way 

I had spent my life being who others wanted me to be—who I had to be to get by, to be safe, to fit in, to not make waves. I no longer knew who I was, who I wanted to be, what I liked, and what I believed. I had been a chameleon for so long and had shape-shifted so many times that I didn’t know who I was.

This never hit me as hard as when I was a new member of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic therapy group. One of the older members confronted me during our check-ins. He said, “I don’t care what your sponsor or father thinks or what anyone else thinks; I want to know what you think.”

In working with that statement I came to realise that I didn’t have many original thoughts or beliefs. That I had let other people and events decide who I was for me.

It is devastating when you realise that you are inauthentic. That in some ways who you are and what you present to the people and the world around you is a lie. On the other hand, this awareness is also a blessing, because without awareness there can be no change.

I realized that I would not be able to find my truth while being subjected to the influence of my family. That I had to spend time away from them to do the work needed. That doesn’t mean that I had nothing to do with them. I just kept my time with family members short and superficial.

I also began to spend time with myself contemplating and writing in my journal. I began to question my beliefs, understandings, and positions.

John Bradshaw talks about coming to realise that the thoughts we are thinking aren’t our own. That it is someone else’s voice in our head and we need to determine whose. For me, I came to realise that so much of the self-critical thoughts were actually criticisms my father had of me that I had chosen to own.

5 things to remember when living alone in Lagos for the first time

In recovery, we say that “everything that we know is up for revision, especially what we know to be true.” In my own search I was so confused and uncertain of my truth that I had to start with discarding what I knew was not true—the things my father had told me, for example. The things that I was unsure of, I had to try on and drive around the block for a while.

Today I am aware that my search for the truth is a spiritual endeavour, which includes prayer, meditation, and contemplation. My hope and prayers are that all who read this will strive to find and live in and from their truth.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

Spirituality and religiousity difference

On the difference between Spirituality and religiosity

I met someone very recently and we got talking. Somewhere during our conversation, he asked me, “Are you religious?” To this, I responded, “No, I am more spiritual than religious.”

He looked lost for a while and then, he said: “Well, if you say so. I am not really interested in those sorts of things.”

To me, his response seemed strange because he looked like he sincerely did not understand the difference between spirituality and religiosity and since he had shown me he had no interest, I did not bother explaining.

Spirituality can be complex, ultimately, it has to do with feeling connected to something larger than oneself, connection to a supreme being that makes you live and do better. On the other hand, being religious is rather simple, it is based on the importance one places on religion and religious attendance.

Do not ignore the Red Flags in any relationship, always keep your eyes open.

In my journey through life, I have gone through so many experiences that made me know that never should value be placed on religiosity above spirituality. Look around you, too many people practice who are religious are not connected to the supreme being, they are religious for personal reasons and their eye service is the greatest.

These religious folks who are not blameless themselves think they are the most perfect and then go ahead to judge those who they think are not as spiritual as themselves. This is very wrong.

Let’s practice self discipline. Choose spirituality over religiousity, get connected and quit the hypocrisy.

Written by Ayo Al for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Living in Lagos

5 things to remember when living alone in Lagos for the first time

Sometimes in life, the demands of work and the need for independence turns many of us into mini-flat dwellers and apartment settlers. Others times, we are forced to move to foreign lands for work or studies and find ourselves living alone.

The thought of living alone in a big metropolitan city like Lagos can be utterly daunting, especially if it is your first time. At first, you battle with such thoughts as “won’t it get really lonely?”, “will I cope?”  And the answer is sure, as with time you realise that are so many great things about living by yourself in Lagos.

Do not ignore the Red Flags in any relationship, always keep your eyes open.

While life alone in Lagos can be very rewarding, there are certain things you need to remember to ensure the days you spend turn out smoothly. If you are thinking about being on your own in Lagos for the first time, here are 5 things to remember:

The alarm clock is your best friend

The problem of traffic congestion in Lagos is no longer a secret nor something that can be ignored. The moment you have found a place to move into within the city, the first thing you need to buy is an alarm clock. Even if you are on a sabbatical and will stay indoors for the period you are in town, you still need an alarm clock to help you schedule the few movements you may need to make. That way you can remind yourself of rush hours and give yourself an early start to any destination.

A good relationship with your landlord saves you a lot of stress

Before you move into a new apartment in Lagos, ensure you have a clear deal with your landlord. Sign a contract that clearly states the amount you will be paying and when will you be doing so. Again try to  always fulfil your end of the contract, as that is the way to stay in your landlord’s good graces. No doubt some landlords that will just be terrible no matter what you do, however, while you do not have to make your landlord your best friend, keep your relationship positive, cheerful and fairly simple. Maintain this attitude is important as it becomes an incentive during times you need your landlord help to settle utility bills and other concerns.

Tipping your security guard is the best way to survive

The security guard often called ‘gateman’ or ‘maiguard’ plays an important role when it comes to living a good life if you are doing it solo in Lagos. They are very handy and the tip is usually an essential motivation for them. They can help you runs small errands like fetching water, buy fuel for you in times of fuel scarcity and even sort out problems in your apartment when you are not around. He also keeps you informed on what is going on in your environs. You however need to be careful, study the security guard and trust him before you start to rely on him.

Having a rigid budget and learning to improvise keeps you afloat

You need to have a firm budget. Put everything into consideration: from food to transportation and utility bills. Learn to cook rather than always buying food outside, it will help you cut costs. Also, learn to improvise rather than always purchasing new appliances. Again, try how to do things yourself rather than employing external help to get things done. YouTube has all the DIY instructions you need so use it instead. Ensure you remain strict with spending, otherwise you will severely cut into your budget, and cause bigger problems for yourself.

Secure windows and doors are essential

Before you move in, ensure the windows and doors are secure and possibly impenetrable. This is very important for your safety, especially if you are living in a notorious part of the city. While security guards are employed to make sure no suspicious individual enter without your permission, you need to be extra cautious as some unwelcome guests can be very innovative.

Source: Travel.Jumia.com

Living after divorce

How To Love Yourself Again, After Divorce

Divorce will often leave you feel like less than a whole person. Maybe we gave too much of ourselves to someone we loved deeply. Perhaps circumstances and our giving nature, eradicated parts of our identity, and we found ourselves as I did sitting is restaurant on a date, literally unable to answer this simple question “What do you like to do?” Simple right, how can anyone not now what they like to do? It is pretty simple, because we start pleasing our spouses and children to an unhealthy level. We allow, partners, work, family, friends and children to take so much from us we are left a virtual shell of the person we used to be.

Firstly, we should acknowledge and then forgive that some of the blame for this falls on ourselves, there is really nothing attractive in being a martyr, and we as adults should not allow our needs to be lost in the shuffle of life. We must accept that, we at some time we let ourselves compromise and give to the point of little self-love.

Do not ignore the Red Flags in any relationship, always keep your eyes open.

Next, we really need, to take a long hard look at the relationship we were in, what about us allowed us to be used, or give in for these often decades long marriages. You will often find takers, targeting givers, after all, it is hard for two takers to get along, non-less marry. This step can take weeks, months or years, of self-analysis, but it is essential for us to not repeat the pattern of these co-dependent relationships.

The phase that I enjoyed the most after my divorce was learning to rediscover myself, and along the way, start implementing self-love tactics.

5 tips to rediscover yourself:

1. Revisit all or any hobbies or pastimes you enjoyed pre-marriage:

Golf, boat, buy shoes, dress up, paint, write etc. If at one time you liked it give it another shot, you may find you still love it, or that you have moved on from it permanently, but either way it will be fun to do.

2. Live a healthy lifestyle:

Basic, I know, but we all feel better when we look and feel our best, exercise, eat well and you will see you feel better.

3. Try new things:

I love this one. What better time to try new things than divorce, new activities, new places, new foods, meet new people, you never know what you may like so try it ALL.

4. Date (not to find a relationship, but to find yourself):

The more people, views, cultures, opinions we are introduced to in a neutral setting, the more it tends to solidify exactly what it is we enjoy or don’t.

5. Travel:

There is nothing as beneficial to your psyche as getting away from it all. I found it very hard to think straight after my divorce in my house, at my work, but exploring unfamiliar places whether the next town over or an exotic vacation tends to reset your mind to see things clearer.

Your road to reconnecting with yourself will need huge doses of self-love along the way:

1. Positive self-talk and thoughts:

If you find yourself beating yourself up, not forgiving yourself or saying negative things about yourself, STOP. Replace these things with kind words, forgiving thoughts and daily affirmation of your worth.

2. Accept that, every single person out there is in fact dealing with something, with nagging self-doubt, insecurities, etc.:

We are no better or worse than anyone else, things look less dismal for our own selves, when we realize that we are all just humans and as such are enough as is.

3. Daily positive action, followed by praise of our movement forward:

Let us all celebrate our achievements big and small, as even baby steps get us places eventually.

4. Be kind to ourselves, treat our selves well:

Sleep eight hours, drink water, eat healthy food, punishing ourselves by using food alcohol, or any drugs etc. is a self-love destroyer.

5. Learn to say no, to anyone or anything that no longer serve you, or drains you of energy or happiness.

You and no one was put here to make everyone else happy.

Everyone’s journey and time frame is unique to them, do not compare yourself to anyone else. Make sure you are daily saying something positive, and doing something positive in your life to get to the end goal, of pure unconditional self-love. It is within us all to get there, and only when we are 100 percent happy, healthy and reconnected with our inner self, will we feel whole enough to get back out there, and give someone else a chance to love us wholly. It is the only way to a healthy relationship with both partners whole, happy and self-loving people alone, they can then enhance each other’s lives, not lose themselves, in the others life ? which never ends well.

Source: HuffingtonPost,com

Enemies as Friends

Do not ignore the Red Flags in any relationship, always keep your eyes open.

                                                        

So often the term ‘Red Flag’ is used when talking about a romantic relationship, but no one ever talks about the Red Flags in friendships. The same way you see the Red Flags before getting into any relationship is the same way you see it before getting deep into a friendship.

Its almost three months since we last spoke. I received a message from Anna via whatsapp asking what was going on between the both of us, that people have been asking questions. I was not invited to her engagement and that should have answered the questions that were looming in the minds of those curious about our relationship.

I called her a week after I found out she was engaged to say congratulations, but deep down I knew we would not really be friends anymore. Eleven years of friendship gone down the drain, how did this happen?

Hannah and I met when we were just girls in secondary school, we did not start talking till we were in our second year. We became close in our fifth and sixth year of school before we graduated. We talked about a lot of things and I felt comfortable enough to share my personal thoughts with her. We both came from similar backgrounds and had a lot of things in common, including our likes and dislikes.

In my mind she was one of the coolest people on the planet, a lot of our peers in school did not like her but I did not care, to me she was cool. She would tell me stories about her boyfriend at the time and it would fascinate me because I was still naïve about the opposite sex. Her stories made me feel like I was in another world, if there were any Red Flags during our six years in school, I did not see it, I was awe struck.

I did not see any of the Flags till we graduated from secondary school, we both did not get admission immediately and we became even closer. There was a boy in my neighborhood who I liked very much and I told her a lot about him. Twitter was very hot at the time, so while scrolling through twitter I noticed she wished him a happy birthday. I was surprised because there was no link whatsoever between them. It later dawned on me that because of the stories I told her about him, she went to my followers and found him and started talking to him. I was very unhappy about this, she acted like it was him that found her but I already knew the truth. He even talked to me about her so I did not buy into her pretence of innocence. It took Me a while to get over that but I finally did.

I did not have a lot of friends so I talked to her a lot and told her things about my family , I later discovered she told her brother these things and it got me really upset, I got over that too. She knew I liked writing and I decided to post some of my write ups on social media, she would post her boyfriend’s write ups almost simultaneously as if to say he was better. This was also very upsetting but I got over it too. An ex boyfriend who I liked very much while we were in the university liked her a little and wanted to date her, he told me about this but I did not like it.

I told him she had a boyfriend at the time and she actually did, he told me he opened up to her that we once dated and she had agreed to meet up with him later. I do not know if they actually met but he later told me they did not. The funny thing was that she did not tell me all this herself but rather she would constantly watch his snap chat posts and tell me how he was living large like she was trying to get me to regret breaking up with him. I also had another ex whom she had on her snap chat too and she would also watch his stories and tell me about how he was spending so much money and having fun. Matter of fact, she had three of my exes on her snap chat and she would tell me about their stories and the way they had so much money, it was like she wanted me to to feel bad or something, yet I still ignored it.

She once set me up with a guy she knew was a loser but did not tell me that until I was already emotionally invested in the relationship. People called us sisters a lot, we looked alike and we were always together. The truth is that I never really trusted her because I knew she gossiped a lot and I suspected she gossiped about me. In our final year in the University while clearing ourselves to leave school we had issues with money. I had helped her pay some fees but I paid it into the wrong account and I could not rectify the problem. So I had to pay again, including mine because I had also paid mine into the wrong account. She had acted funny during that time like I was being dishonest when all I was trying to do was solve the problem.

Still single, still bold, still strong, still refusing to be someone’s challenge

Now, almost a year after graduation, our “friendship” has come to an end. The truth is I have my faults and made mistakes too. Your worst enemy is someone else’s best friend. There are some people we should not be in relationships with, not that they are bad people but the relationship itself is just wrong. Do not ignore the Red Flags in any relationship, always keep your eyes open.

Written by Leela for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

When You Feel Trapped by Circumstances

What to Do If You Feel Trapped by Your Circumstances

 

It’s our struggle with ‘what is’ that causes pain. The longer we try to resist the pain, the more it persists. Yet the worst has already happened; our circumstances are what they are.

On an emotional level perhaps you’ve sunk to the depths of despair, which sits in a pit of hopelessness. Understand that depression is healthier than despair, and anger and frustration are healthier still. So when you are feeling emotions like anger, you have begun to take back your power, to acknowledge your right to have your freedom of choice, and you are going in the right direction.

Do everything you feel inspired to do from a practical perspective to move in the direction you want to go. It’s also a good idea to sense check this with someone who can be objective about your situation and perhaps even offer other suggestions.

The key here, though, is inspiration. If something you are doing, or others suggest, feels like a lead weight around your heart, that is your intuition shouting “other way.” In that case, keep to the bare minimum of what you feel duty bound to in this moment.

I can remember back to trying to conceive and, after four failed pregnancies (my children are pregnancies five and six), there were a number of years when I couldn’t even get pregnant again. The well meaning advice was always “forget about it and it will just happen.”

That kind of advice infuriated me. I’d think, “How am I supposed to forget something that dispatches a monthly reminder?” My partner and I did everything we could think of that felt right and, in the end, had to leave it to fate. It was at that point I became pregnant with our first child.

Still single, still bold, still strong, still refusing to be someone’s challenge

Once you have done everything you feel inspired to do, let it go.

While we ultimately all want to experience joy and love, as that is our natural state, ease and neutrality are a good goal at this point.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

Men And Successful Women

Still single, still bold, still strong, still refusing to be someone’s challenge

Here’s what I’ve noticed. I am:

1. Smart

2. Funny and love to laugh

3. Business minded

4. Schooled on etiquette and can still go hood real quick and then back to posh.

5. I know exactly what I want.

6. Emotionally stable/intelligent.

7. A critical thinker

8. Romantic

On paper, men like the idea of me. In real life, most of them want to break me to be able to stay committed to me. Why can’t we live and let live though? This is quite pitiful….for them. Not me.

One time I met a very intelligent man and who had his life on a steady path to success, I liked that, I liked him too. He would tell everyone, “have you met Ife? Mhen she’s amazing”. Then we hung out with his friends and we talked like we’ve known one another forever and also covered a variety of topics including football, Donald Trump, the stock market, cryptocurrency and travel.

RIP Monday, You Will Always Be A Big Part Of My Childhood
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On our way home, uncle looked uncomfortable, so I asked him “What’s wrong?”. “I don’t like your rapport with my friends, when we marry now, is that how you’ll be sitting in the living room with us gisting?” He looked straight ahead.

“Would that be a really terrible thing?” Sigh… ALEXA, PLAY “I’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE” by BRING ME THE HORIZON.

. “Yes. If we’re going to date, let’s just clarify things” He was actually serious.
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Of course, it didn’t end there. I started getting weird questions via text: “I know you’re a strong woman but do you think it’s okay to be stronger than your husband?”

“What if you come back from work late and I insist you cook?”

“If I asked you to stop working, would you?”
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He once told me when my answers weren’t favourable to him:” I don’t mind that you’re strong, intelligent and all of that, I just want you to know where to chuck it when it comes to our interactions.” He liked to be able to brag about me in public but he would rather all those qualities were for bragging sake but never practised. And the mocking too was not left out “You think you’re so smart huh?”
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It’s tiring sometimes I must confess, seeing that I’m not really asking for much but I’m being requested to do the impossible. I’ll wait though, for the man who’ll support me and watch me with a smile on his face while I gist with his friends and I’ll know just by the look in his eyes, that he’s proud of me. I will wait for the man who won’t want to dismantle me piece by piece and remodel me into what seems ‘’appropriate’’. That man is waiting too and being myself will make him the luckiest man on earth.
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For now, still single, still bold, still strong, still refusing to be someone’s challenge.

My childhood boyfriend

RIP Monday, You Will Always Be A Big Part Of My Childhood

I have just been told that Monday, my childhood boyfriend passed on in South Africa earlier this month. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know I’ve often written about him. Here’s how I’ll always remember Monday.

My Husband Was My Rebound Guy. I Am Still In Love With My Ex

We had just moved to Shogunle, and fortunately, the public tap had just been constructed. Right by the public tap was Salisu, the Mallam who retailed candy, biscuits and some provisions. Salisu had strategically placed himself in the middle of the T-Junction of our street.

There was no way he would be missed. That day, I was standing by Salisu‘s stall, picking “baba Dudu” (local candy) from the thread Salisu had knotted them in. As I stood there undecided as to where to cut the candy from: top or bottom, two lanky boys appeared behind me.

One of them snatched the whole thread of baba dudu from where it hung and dipped his hand in his pocket to pay Salisu. I was flabbergasted! How rude! Who did this boy think he was?! I turned around, snatched the thread of baba Dudu from him and stared him down. “I got here first.”

I said. I couldn’t meet his eye, he was quite tall so I stretched my neck and tried as much as possible not to back down. “Salisu who be this?” His partner in crime said. I wanted to see who that was but my neck had begun to ache, I was standing on my toes, those had begun to hurt too. I stood my ground even as I saw his confused expression settle into a smile. “Who’s laughing with this one?” I thought to myself. Then he did the most annoying thing, placed both of his hands on my shoulder and pressed down, forcing me to back down and stand properly On my feet.

“We can share now. I’m not fighting with you”. He said. I still didn’t trust him until he paid for the whole thread of baba Dudu then he said to me, “Oya cut for me and take your own”. I remember I counted four, cut the candy off the thread and handed over the remaining to him. He bounced off with his friend while I made the short walk home in wonder. My house was a building with four flats.

All flats never locked their doors to the kids. Except Mama Tutu’s flat, they were the richest in the compound, so we had to knock before entering their house. It was too much of an inconvenience so us kids rarely visited Tutu and her brothers. They weren’t allowed to go out too much as well. I digress… As soon as I got to my compound, I walked straight into Baba Ngozi’s flat and found my friend Onyinye. I handed over two pops of baba Dudu to her and immediately asked her “I just met a boy who looks like Kanu Nwankwo. He’s so…” “Monday.” Onyinye interjected, “He’s tall now. Was he wearing white canvas?” She asked.

I nodded. “Punk?” She placed her palm a little high above her head to describe the punk hair cut. I nodded again. “Tell me everything”. We sat by the dining and I told her everything. I also told her I wanted to see him again. Onyinye suggested we knock over a bucket of water at the backyard so we would be asked to go fetch another at the public tap. I agreed with her that sense would not be her undoing in life. Onyinye stepped out, knocked over a bucket of water and I screamed “Onyinye you no dey look road? Ehn?!”

As predicted, Mama Ngozi screamed at her daughter “before I open my eyes and close it, if you don’t go and fetch that water back, Onyinye! Onyinye! Onyinye!…” Mama Ngozi pulled her right ear, “How many times did I call you?” Before Mama Ngozi dropped her hand from her ear, Onyinye and I had picked up two paint buckets and took off to the public tap. Of course,that wasn’t our destination. We dropped our buckets with Salisu and headed straight to Monday’s house Monday’s house had a very low fence with a big compound behind it. I saw him and some other boys sitting on the fence, his long legs hanging over it. He looked so handsome and he immediately smiled at me when he saw me.

I knew in my heart then we were already dating and in a relationship. He jumped from the fence and walked quickly towards us. “Onyinye you sabi this girl?” Onyinye nodded, smiling at both of us. “What’s your name?” Monday asked me. “Ife”, I responded. And that was the beginning. Monday also helped us carry our bucket of water to our house with the help of his friend, Wale. Until my family moved, we spoke everyday and hung out under the stairs in his house.

Monday was generous, he brought me little things like ripe almond fruits. And when I hawked garri and sugar, he would sometimes force his sister’s friends to buy from me. When I caused trouble at the public tap, Monday would come with his friends to support me. And the day we were both caught writing love letters to each other, Monday told me “It’s okay, don’t cry”. He was so fearless that day, it was as though he didn’t care to have been caught. We were young but I knew for sure Monday was a gentleman. As he turned out to be.

The last time I checked up on him, his Facebook posts were filled with comments of his generosity. RIP MONDAY. You’ll always remain a big part of my childhood.

 

Depression Signs

Recognising Depression and Getting the Help You Need

Depression is a common and debilitating mood disorder. More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

My Husband Was My Rebound Guy. I Am Still In Love With My Ex

While some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom, others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic. Men in particular can feel angry and restless. No matter how you experience depression, left untreated it can become a serious health condition. But it’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression—not the reality of your situation. There are plenty of powerful self-help steps you can take to lift your mood, overcome depression, and regain your joy of life.

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.

10 common symptoms of depression:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  5. Anger or irritability.  Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy.  Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Source: HelpGuide.Org

In Love With My Ex

My Husband Was My Rebound Guy. I Am Still In Love With My Ex

Precisely 16 years ago when I was 18 and in the University, I met my first true love during a short break at home.

He sat down behind me in church and gave me his card and that was the start of our short time together. He wanted us to get married asap,I was in part 3 and I just could not.  He wasn’t patient as he was 10 years older and was ready to settle down but I was not ready.

Abruptly after a weekend of coming to see him, he cut off the relationship – no good bye, no tangible reason. I was broken  and I failed woefully that semester.

A Mindfulness Practice for Letting Go of Jealousy

Fast forward to 6 months after a friend brought an invite for a wedding she wanted me to attend with her and it was my darling getting married to someone he met in 6 months.

I was broken when I realised this. I called him and insulted him so bad. After he got married, we would meet up someplace but my anger would well up and we would cut it off again but still, that guy had my mumu button.

16 years after we moved into a new house and I find out that we are neighbors, Imagine Northern Foreshore & Bourdillon court on Chevron Drive. We bump into each other every moment,fuel station, Ebeano all the common areas.

We rekindled our affair and the sex is everything and more,we both have kids.

I can’t let him go because he’s my true love and though, has been married for 13 years and I 11 years, I still love him.

Don’t judge me but that guy was my true love and my husband is just a rebound to my true love.

Written by Anonymous for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

hitting rock bottom

It’s Okay to ‘Fail’ on Your Way to Finding What You Want to Do

I would say it’s a safe assumption that most people aren’t quite sure what they’re doing. What do I mean? I mean that most individuals—whether they look polished and presentable or haphazardly have their life thrown together—are generally playing a game called “life.” And they’re trying the best they can.

In other words, we’re all capable and have all experienced the highs and lows of what life has to offer. Unfortunately, that’s just part of the human experience. To try to ride the highs while avoiding the lows is counterproductive and, quite frankly, impossible.

But it’s also easy to feel like you’re falling down a dark rabbit hole when times are tougher. And one of those feelings revolves around our desire to make an impact on this world, finding what really drives us.

Great! Now, where to start?

And that’s the problem. Most of us, including myself, have fallen victim to not knowing what to do with our lives, both professionally and even personally.

And I offer you this: that is perfectly okay. And it is perfectly okay to fail on your way to finding out what to do with your life.

Failing Whether You Want To or Not
Life isn’t about an end goal or a destination. Life is about enjoying the ride and trying different things. Things you will succeed at and things you won’t succeed at.

I personally have failed at many things in my life in its two most common forms: action and inaction.

One of my biggest “failures” of inaction was sticking with a career that I didn’t enjoy on any level for far too long. It got so bad, I would begin to dread Saturdays because I knew the next day was Sunday, which meant the day before the workweek began. And when that week started, I counted the days down until the weekend.

And the cycle would repeat. Yet I kept this uncomfortable routine for years, lying to myself and saying that it was okay because I had a stable job, a good income, and it could be worse.

I was too scared to take a step or make a move. And years flew by before I realized it was time to take one.

I also didn’t move when I had the opportunity to. I didn’t take a trip because it might have required a bit more financing than I thought. I didn’t volunteer because life got busy and I shelved the idea.

The lack of moving forward, or taking a step, results in a failed effort to grow as a person. We begin to regret that we didn’t do X, Y, or Z. And unfortunately, living with regret is the fastest way to bury yourself into a hole.

But failure can also occur as you go about sticking your neck out and trying different things.

And unfortunately, this is the one that scares most people. Why? Because there is nothing worse than actually taking a leap of faith, only to have it blow up in our face. We may learn valuable life lessons from it, yet it doesn’t exactly help our arch-nemesis, the ego.

But as Wayne Gretzky once said: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

So if the last relationship you got into didn’t work out, it’ll be okay. If the job you switched to didn’t turn out in your favor, not a problem. And if telling someone your true feelings got you on the wrong side of the equation, so be it.

Now you know. And you never would have known if you didn’t take that step. Rest easy knowing that you made the effort.

I remember at very specific points telling myself that sooner than later I’d figure out what I wanted to do with my life, but I needed to keep my job in the meantime.

Life doesn’t work like that.

After awhile, I began to take steps to try different things that struck my fancy. Things like writing, taking an art class, volunteering, reading, researching different industries and careers, and many more. If it stuck out to me, I was willing to give it a shot.

In simpler terms, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

Looking back, all of the small things I tried were baby steps, but very important ones. It was these tiny little movements, so to speak, that enabled me to start moving in a direction that gave me greater joy and led to more fulfilment.

What Do I Do When My Sister Wants Me To Care For Her Kids And Not Work

If I were to tell you with 110 percent certainty and conviction that life has an amazing ride in store for you if you were to take baby steps toward finding yourself, would you do it? If I were to then tell you that no matter what steps you take, you will ultimately fail at some point, would you still do it?

It should give you comfort to know that the steps you take won’t be perfect by any means. And knowing they’re not perfect should take the pressure off on trying to create immaculate scenarios every single time.

I know one thing: I’m much closer to finding my life’s purpose than I was before. And it’s because I’ve taken steps to try different things and see what sticks and what doesn’t.

Ultimately, there are many steps in life ahead of you that will be the right choice, and a few that will be the wrong choice. But either way, you’re winning by taking action.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

Living With My Sister

What Do I Do When My Sister Wants Me To Care For Her Kids And Not Work

 

Last year, after leaving the university, I came to stay with my elder sister because she was heavily pregnant and was almost due to give birth. I decided to stay with her because she had no one staying with her except her husband and she also had a little baby. Since I had not gotten a job or been mobilised for service, I opted to help her out.

But now, I think it was a bad decision because for every day that passes, I greatly regret my decision.

Please don’t get me wrong. Here is the thing. She has given birth, yes, and since middle of last year till now, I have been staying with them. She works, and the husband is into business. Since she resumed work last October, I have been the one taking care of the kids, and practically doing all chores which really  isn’t a problem for me.

I mean it’s not bad helping a sister out but my problem is that I have pleaded with her to get a nanny as I need to go out and get a job or find something to do for myself. Presently, I can’t boast of a thousand naira to my name. I’m not making any money moves and anytime I raise the issue, she gets angry and asks me I need a job for. Mind you, I am in my late twenties.

I feel used and useless sometimes. My daily routine is from bed to kitchen, kitchen to laundry, laundry to anything that looks like attending to the kids, eat, sleep and then back to the kitchen for dinner till the day ends. And the routine continues till the next day. Thankfully, the first baby is on holidays so at least I get to rest from waking up few minutes to 5 am.

And this has been how it has been for me since last year till now. Has it been terrible for me.. Yes it has. Do I feel frustrated and sometimes weak and worn out.. Yes I do and it’s becoming too unbearable for me. Crying sometimes is my best consolation. I go out only when I want to go to market or when they are going out. And any day I say I am not going out with them, she gets angry asking me:  “how will I take care of the kids if you ain’t going”..

Since I came here, there is no house chores that I don’t do. The only one I told her I won’t do is dressing her husband’s room and washing the toilet.

Two days ago I couldn’t hold it again. She told me to pack few things for the kids, that her husband was going to drop us off at his sister’s place.  I turned to go pack their bags and she said,” pack yours too because you will be going with them.”

I told her I am not going. If you want your kids to spend some days at your sister in-laws place, that’s fine but telling me that I will go with them is something I won’t do. If it’s a visit which we would return that same day, that’s OK but spending days at your sister in-laws place with your kids is what I won’t do.

She got angry again and she said so many things that I don’t even want to start saying here. But they were heart drenching. I only told her to please get a nanny and that I can only endure to stay with she and her family from now till December.

I don’t have friends, not a man, not a woman. My stay here in Lagos is that of a boring and lonely life. Since last week till now, she is still fuming and is not responding to my greetings.I know there is no job waiting for me out there but on the other hand I won’t stay at home and wait for an opportunity to come and visit me. I have tried to explain this but the conversation is what she does not want to hear.

‘I Felt I Was not a Good Mom’ – Serena Williams Details Post-partum Struggles

I don’t know, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am being too mean. Maybe I am wicked, inconsiderate, and unappreciative like she claims. I want someone to tell me I am not making any mistakes by asking for a time for myself.  Is there a way, a different way for me to go through this? I really need someone to talk to because what I have in mind is to pack my bag and leave. But God knows, my only reason of not wanting to leave, right now, is the kids.

What can i do?

Written by Jennifer for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Learning Identity

I Wished Someone Had Asked Me – “Who Really Are You?”

I wish someone, anybody, had told me and guided me on living with intent but the persons in the position to do that didn’t know about that either, I guess.

I wish all the advice I got while growing up and as an adult weren’t filled with what to do and what not to do. But hey, it’s not their fault. Most of them never had half the opportunity I enjoyed even in my supposedly deprived state.

I wish someone had really sat me down and had a real heart to heart talk with practical examples and steps in living according to who I truly am.

I wish someone had asked me,

‘Adeola, who are you?’

‘Daughter of The King’

‘How would the daughter of The King live?’

‘With vision and consciously walking in that vision daily.’

‘What’s the vision?’

‘To be the best,living above limitations while impacting lives positively.’

‘How do you intend going about that, daughter of The King?’

‘Write…’

That is how every meaningful conversation should go.

That is how every piece of life advice should be.

That is how to bring awareness to self by living purposefully and being conscious of one’s self worth.

That is how every mother should converse with her daughter.

That is how every father should advise his son.

That is how every mentor should guide his/her mentee.

When you sit a person down and dish out rules without making him or her aware of the purpose behind these laid down rules, you abuse the true purpose of communication birthed by nature herself.

Let me tell you a bit about nature.

Nature hates laws that lack positive purpose.

Nature just wants to live freely.

Nature wants to sleep, have fun all night and cuddle with anyone available.

Nature can get desperate and cling to the slightest bit of attention.

Nature is more concerned about what people say instead of what God says.

Nature hears ‘Do not’ then proceeds to drop the ‘not’!

Human nature tends to wander off towards the  negative lane 90% of the time.

Want to test nature? Post a video of a ghastly accident and a birthday celebration. See which one goes viral.

However, when you have a conversation that makes a person think for himself and provoke him/her to want to suppress nature’s fallibility, you make such person want to do the seemingly unattainable.

With conversations like this, you stir up the giant in people and not give ‘rules’ on how to tame the giant.

‘I Felt I Was not a Good Mom’ – Serena Williams Details Post-partum Struggles

You make that person want to go all out and prove that they are who they’ve recognized themselves to be.

You stir up something massive and enormous in him/her.

Such people starts to see differently as the scales fall off their eyes and behave accordingly.

Why?

Because you’ve succeeded in showing and not merely telling him/her what a person of vision looks like and how such should tackle life.

I really do wish I had that.

I wouldn’t be here ranting over something that should never have seen the light of day.

I wouldn’t be here worried to death wondering if a legal bond that took less than five minutes to cement wouldn’t mar the things to come.

I wouldn’t be here, looking back and shaking my head in bewilderment, asking, ‘How the hell did I even get in this mess?!’

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

But I’m here, alive and breathing.

So, here’s another chance to have that conversation someone should have had with me a long time ago.

Here I am, extremely blessed to ask:

‘Adeola, who are you? ‘

‘I am the Daughter of The King.’

Now, over to you.

WHO ARE YOU?

Source: Thenakedconvos.com

Anxiety Tips

There really is no need to be too anxious

You’re probably wondering why we’re talking about anxiety today, I mean it’s never that serious right? Oh, but it is. Being anxious starts from getting overly worried about the little things like what skirts or pants you should wear to work, or how you’re going to get through the week without blowing it. At some point, things get very overwhelming and they begin to take their toll on us.

How then can we at least limit our anxiety?

1) Challenge Your Negative Thoughts: I saw this somewhere; “negative thoughts leads to negative emotions which then leads to negative behaviours” and I couldn’t agree more. For you to get rid of that creeping anxiety over how you’re going to get this and that done, or when things will eventually start looking good for you, you need to start thinking positively about your life. Take a breather and tell yourself it’s okay, as long as God keeps you, you’re one step closer to your purpose.

Think You’re Not Good Enough? How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

2) Discpline Your Mind When Using Social Media: Social media is like one of the worst anxiety triggers and it happens to the best of us. Oh, you’re just randomly going through your timeline and you see that your friend who just got engaged or the one who just got her car, or the one who constantly put her time at work on instastory and you’re like why are things not turning out for me this way? Too specific? Maybe! You need to learn how to discipline your mind not to get carried away with all these jamboree and focus on your own pace of growth, otherwise I see them panic attacks coming very soon!

3) Exercise: A lot of experts are of the opinion that even 10 minutes of exercise will help with anxiety problems, it will help to clear your head and boost your energy as well as your confidence level. Who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves? I suggest that you better hip on that train but do it right so that you don’t end up like me who couldn’t walk well for days.

4) Socialise More: While I’m not saying you become the life of the party (totally your choice though!), you need to try and interact with people even if you don’t want to. When you see that it’s not all a bed of roses with other people, it might help you relax a bit. You may even get positive vibes from people that will lift your spirit and you’d also learn something new.

Personally, I ALWAYS overthink it when I have to go out or hang out with people, I just dont want to and this is due to the fact that I’ve never loved going out even right from childhood, but I challenged myself that whatever opportunity of networking and socializing I have, Imma take it! Truth be told, most times I’m always glad when I get to meet new people and we just chat and chill.

5) Break Away From A Monotonous Lifetsyle: A monotonous way of life can mess with your head big time! I know because I’ve been there and I’m just gradually breaking away. Once in a while, throw in something new to your routine. Switch up your coffee for tea, Take up a new course or class, etc. It will help your state of mind and help you relax more.

6) Go to Bed Early: Experts are also of the opinion that sleep deprivation can cause anxiety disorder, I mean don’t you see how getting just 3-4 hours of sleep can cause you to begin to get cranky and overwhelmed? While writing this, I made a mental note to myself to do better in this aspect, because I sleep late, and I know it’s not too good especially when you have to get up early! God will help us.

Source: Portableisthenewhot.blogspot.com

Letting Go of Jealousy

A Mindfulness Practice for Letting Go of Jealousy

Ah, where would great literature be without jealousy? Many of Shakespeare’s plays turn on jealous motives, and library-loads of novels mine the hearts of jealous lovers and envious climbers.

In the mind of jealousy, we are caught up in comparing, and in one sense we loom large and others fade into the background. Yet, in another sense, we see ourselves as small and what others have as big. We push and we pull.

Feelings of jealousy can be mixed up with love (the clingy part), and anger, the feeling of wanting to push another away, to hurt them or lessen them. At first glance, there would seem to be nothing of value within jealousy and envy. It just seems like a big bundle of I…me…mine.

But curiously, if we can let go of the self-involved part—the dark side—on the bright side of jealous feelings can be a quality of admiration that could lead to sympathetic joy (feeling good at others good fortune and well-being) and emulation (wanting to cultivate the same good qualities of another or follow in their footsteps).

Jealousy and envy stripped of their aggressiveness can become a drive to go beyond oneself. The sense of inadequacy becomes simply a phase to pass through. All the energy we put into comparing and contrasting, finding the other better and ourselves wanting, can be channelled into reaching beyond ourselves.

Think You’re Not Good Enough? How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

Practice: Letting Go

A way to practice with jealousy and envy (and also greed, which is closely related) is to do a reflective meditation on a highly desirable object that you will nevertheless never possess.

Find something beautiful and desirable—in a store, a store window, or in a museum.

Sit or stand and admire the object for five minutes or more. Let the feelings of desire increase. Feel the longing to grasp and possess it.

Now, simply let those feelings go. Abruptly let go!

Embrace the object for what it is, brilliant, without needing to be possessed or protected by you.

Source: Mindful.org

Serena Williams Post-partum Struggles

‘I Felt I Was not a Good Mom’ – Serena Williams Details Post-partum Struggles

23-time grand slam singles champion Serena Wlliams has explained her recent struggles after child birth in a revealing post on social media.

According to her: “Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. “I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby.”

Think You’re Not Good Enough? How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

“I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be,” she wrote. “However, that means although I have been with [my daughter] every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!!”

Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

In February she described the complications she faced when she gave birth. She said: “I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia,” she wrote in an article for CNN. Williams said the pregnancy had gone smoothly before she encountered problems: “First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from travelling to my lungs.”

Source: HowAfrica.com

Think You’re Not Good Enough? How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

Growing up in a culture where physical beauty determines how successful you are in finding a job, a suitable husband, and a promising career, and most importantly, bringing honor to your family reputation, I was a disappointment to my family, especially to my mother.

She was the definition of a perfect beauty—5’6?, slim, big eyes, high-bridged nose, perfect skin, and gifted with charisma. I was the opposite.

As I got older, my mother’s negative words got louder and louder. They were a constant reminder that I wasn’t good enough; I was useless and ugly, and nobody would love me because of the way I looked. I was excluded from all of our family trips and left alone in the house for days with my grandmother. Because of how I was treated, I started to believe that I would be a loser for life.

At twenty-nine I thought I was healed, until one phone call changed everything and forced me to re-evaluate what I believed about myself.

I got a job offer to oversee one of the biggest commercial real estate investors in North America. The job consisted of creating twenty-two financial budget packages in three months, while convincing the client to sign a two-year deal with the company and restructuring the entire accounting department.

I was convinced that I could not do this job, despite all the encouragement I received from my husband and best friend. I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to advance in my career, but I wanted to turn it down because I believed wasn’t smart enough and thought there were better candidates out there.

We all grow up with both positive and negative memory banks, with one being larger than the other, thanks to our parents and the environment we were raised in. As we get older we add to our memories through our life experiences. Every time we encounter situations we’re not prepared for, we refer to our memories to support our decision making.

Mine was full of “You cannot do well in this position,” “You don’t have enough knowledge,” “Other candidates are smarter than you,” “You cannot wear these clothes since you don’t have the body for it,” “You need to wear more make-up,” and the list goes on. So it was hard for me to seriously consider seizing this opportunity.

After much consideration, I decided to sleep on it. The next day, I looked back at everything I’d done so far in my life and realized that if I kept holding myself back, I’d never get to where I wanted to be. Happiness would never become a reality for me. I knew I didn’t want to live a life of “what if.”

I decided to accept the job, and three months later, I submitted twenty-two financial budgets on time, got that two-year agreement signed, and completed the restructuring three months after.

Here’s what I learned along the way. If you’re holding yourself back, like I formerly did, this may help.

1. Change your attitude to reflect what you want to become.

Your attitude will either move you forward or backward. It’s greatly affected by what you believe, since what you believe determines the decisions you make. Your beliefs largely stem from your past—what people said and did to you and what you concluded those experiences meant about you.

Become aware of what people told you when you were a child and ask yourself if those statements were actually true. Study your accomplishments and your environment, go over what you have done so far and see if they align with the accused statements.

Here’s what I discovered when I did this exercise:

Untrue fact number one: I was ugly. And yet people outside my family have complimented me on my looks. At first it was hard for me to believe the compliments were genuine. However, as I observed and listened to the actions and words that followed, I realized that I am not ugly, as my mother led me to believe. We’re all beautiful in our own way, and the beauty on the inside is more valuable than what’s on the outside.

Untrue fact number two: I was stupid and not good enough, unlike my siblings. And yet I graduated with a business degree from a reputable school, went on to get an accounting designation, and now work as a Manager of Business Solutions for one of the biggest commercial real estate companies in North America.

Untrue fact number three: I was useless. And yet every two years, I would travel back to my home country and help the elderly, who were abandoned by their families, with the essentials they need to survive. I also donated money to rebuild old temples so monks and nuns can continue their studies and have a safe haven away from home—all with my own money.

These are just some of my personal experiences. Write yours down and use them to shed any negative beliefs that don’t fit into your present situation. You don’t necessarily need to get rid of every belief right away, but start with something, no matter how small it may seem, so you can start letting go of your past traumas.

2. You know more than you think.

Stop selling yourself short by saying, “I don’t know” and instead say, “I will figure it out,” and ask yourself “How can I do this better?”

You have the ability to ask for help and connect yourself to the right resources as part of your self-development journey so you can become more, know more, and prepare for the challenges ahead.

The moment I decided to accept the job, I knew that I didn’t know everything, but I also knew I had the ability to reach out and get all the tools I needed to complete the project.

3. Let people in.

I started to believe in myself when I decided to surround myself with the right friends and mentors, both from work and at home. I opened up to them about how I felt, what I wanted to improve, and how I wanted to move forward from there.

I believe that having the right people behind you is one of the most critical parts of forming self-belief. That may seem counter-intuitive, since self-belief comes from inside, but it’s easier to develop confidence when we have people in our lives who believe in us and motivate us to go after the things that will make us happy.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to those you feel comfortable with and let them in on what you’re going through. When you believe in yourself enough to reach out to others, trusting that you’re worthy of their support, you will become a magnet for opportunities that you never thought were possible for you. Take a chance, be honest, and life will surprise you.

4. See obstacles as opportunities.

Life will never stop throwing obstacles at you, no matter how much you try to avoid them. Instead of running from them, learn to see them as opportunities to make what you currently have better.

I used to throw in the towel the moment there was a problem or a glitch in my life and my job. These days, I ask myself, “What are these problems going to teach me? What is life trying to tell me? What are the lessons I’m about to discover?”

Obstacles are there to show you new lessons. The message behind them will only be revealed to those who work hard to overcome them.

What I have learned after successfully completing the project for my new job is that I can do practically anything if I give myself a chance and time to learn and grow. By giving myself a chance in this job, I learned how to approach people better and how to get things done faster, more effectively, and more efficiently.

5. Do not allow defeat to win over triumph.

Remember in the beginning when I said we all have a memory bank? There are two kinds of memory banks. One is “Defeat” and the other is “Triumph.” In the first you store all your memories of things you believe you haven’t done well; in the second, memories of times when you’ve succeeded.

Everything you’ve ever experienced lives in one of these memory banks, which you will withdraw from in the future to inform your decisions. Your choice will inform your habits and behavior, which ultimately dictate your success and happiness.

Be mindful and guard your mind carefully so you don’t allow yourself to withdraw from your “defeat bank account.” I didn’t, and that was what saved me at the end.

6. Embrace mistakes as teachers.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Mistakes are part of life. I have learned to love them. Though I don’t look to make mistakes often, they are my teachers in growth and self-improvement.

During my first job after graduation, I was friendly with a few people. We would have lunch together and share our thoughts on the company and our jobs.

Later on, they used the information I shared against me later. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my job, but it definitely hurt my chances for future promotions within the company.

Looking back, I’m glad I went through that early in my career, as it set a strong foundation for how I now interact with colleagues, which helps with my professional achievement7. Don’t give up just because things get hard.

If you really want something, you have to be prepared to seize opportunities, work hard for it, and never give up.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

hitting rock bottom

The Year I Hit Rock Bottom And How I Overcame

It was the year everything changed. I gained over 30 pounds of fat. Crashed my first car. Got kicked out of college.

Growing up, I was always athletic. Losing weight was never a problem. That changed my first year of college. You’ve heard of the freshmen 15? Many college freshmen gain 15 pounds with less exercise, more junk food, more stress. I doubled that. I put on over 30 pounds and it was NOT muscle.

How did a kid who was tall and skinny his whole life suddenly have a pot belly? I stopped playing any sports. I ate pizza, subs, wings. I drank too much beer and pop. Up until then I never had to worry about gaining weight. The challenge I had was being too skinny. I just burned off anything I ate with plenty of sports and activity.

I Hit Rock Bottom

Not only did I put on over 30 pounds, I crashed my first car (an old 87 Chevy that was a gift from my Grandfather) and got kicked out of college. Quite the first year of college I had! Something had to change or else I was going to end up dead before I got close to graduating college.

Time for Changes

My dad was angry and disappointed, as you can expect. I promised him that I would do whatever it takes to get my life back on track. He agreed to help me get another car. I enrolled in community college and joined my first gym. Dad showed me some basics at the gym. I didn’t know what I was doing. There were no internet programs back then (hard to believe, I know). All I tried to do was show up three days a week, do some running and weight training.

It was far from perfect, but it was a start. Those 30 pounds started to burn off. I was feeling more optimistic about my future. I still had some bad habits to clean up. Smoking. Drinking. Staying out too late. Not sleeping enough. But it was a start. I had a long way to go before I would transform myself into the man I was capable of becoming. We all have to start somewhere. I didn’t know at the time, but this was a huge turning point in my life.

Learning Valuable Lessons

My freshmen year of college taught me valuable lessons:

  • I had to work much harder. In high school, I coasted by without doing much work. I could pass easily and get B’s with a little effort. This wouldn’t work in college or the “real world”.
  • If I drank too many beers I would sleep on a couch, instead of driving home. The risk was not worth it.
  • The body needs regular exercise and solid nutrition (I was still working on the diet part).

Like I said, I wasn’t perfect but I was improving. It would be a few more years until I quit smoking. I still drank too much. Sleep wasn’t a priority (I was young and thought I could get away with it). During this time I got my grades up, lost most of that freshmen 30+ and I proved to be more responsible. Here are what I consider to be the keys to my life-change:

Confessions Of An Ex- Serial Dater

  • The car crash I survived was a wake-up call. I walked away with only a concussion and staples in my head. I was grateful and learned my lesson.
  • I didn’t like the way I looked. There was a photo of me shirtless on vacation. I was surprised to see how much my belly stuck out.
  • The influence of my dad. His disappointment was a big factor in my desire to change. I wanted to prove that I could change and make him proud.

How did I go about changing my habits? I took simple steps:

  • Paying for a gym membership/ scheduling 3 workouts per week.
  • Picking up a second job and taking on a new car loan- added responsibility.
  • Drinking less frequently- from almost-daily to 1-2 days per week.
  • No driving after having any drinks at all. Call for a ride, sleep on a couch.

From Dark Days to Hope

From the outside, you may have thought I was just a college kid having fun. It’s normal to screw around and not know what you want to do with your life. But honestly, I was not happy. I had no interest in college, all I wanted to do was party and I did not care about my health.

The combination of totaling my car, gaining over 30 pounds of fat, and getting booted out of school was the wake-up call that I needed. Something had to change. It started with taking a look in the mirror. I still didn’t know my life purpose, but I was taking steps to find out. I had a new car, new school, and new body. There was hope.

Even if there was no clear path, I felt like I was making changes for the better. Often, that’s all you can do. Make changes to improve yourself. Look in the mirror and realise you can be better. Make small changes that will add up over time. If you find yourself at rock bottom, remember you can change. Start with yourself. If you don’t like what you see, then you know it’s time to shift your course. Sometimes we need a smack to the head to realise we need to alter our habits. I sure did!

Source: Possibilitychange.com

Self Confidence Tips

You Always Were and Always Will Be Whole and Complete

“Always engage in the quest for life’s meaning, which is inner peace.” ~Longchenpa

When is a person complete? When have they finally “made it”?

Is it when they find love? Success? When they prove themselves?

I must have asked myself these questions a thousand times growing up. As soon as I recognized that you could be deemed successful or not, accepted or not, loved or not, I wondered where I fit in.

I questioned whether I was on the right path and when I would finally arrive. I wanted to be a total package. You know, the real deal. A real catch. In a word, complete.

Of course, at the beginning, I didn’t have much to go on. Just the minor dramas and bothers of middle-class suburbia, but I put those pieces together as best I could and set off to become complete.

During adolescence, being complete meant getting the good grades, wearing the right sized jeans, and being “nice” or “sweet” or “cute.”

Later it was awards, relationships, and status.

Then came the Ivies, the ring, the house, the kids.

I wanted to be successful, so I did what I was supposed to. I followed rules, checked boxes, and really applied myself.

I wanted to be happy, so I planned out everything with precision as if my lasting happiness lay in getting the details just right.

I wanted connection, so I tried to please everyone. I figured it was easier that way and a small price to pay for being universally loved.

When all was said and done, I was good, but I could have been kinder.

I did everything I said I would, but I could have done more.

I was a real powerhouse, but I didn’t feel confident.

And I still wondered when I would feel complete.

At least half of me felt unsuitable to be seen by the rest of the world.

I was painfully shy. I gave myself a pep talk every day just to make it out of my room. I cried without warning. I worked out too much and didn’t eat enough. I wore too much makeup.

By adulthood, I’d become hurried and hardened.

I denied myself the simple pleasures, and I didn’t even remember what listening to myself felt like. And as much as I longed to be known, I avoided being seen.

There was no room in my life for sweet contentment or stillness. Living was about getting to tomorrow, not being right where I was.

Somehow, I must have confused complete with perfect.

Complete meant existing within a narrow scope of our human experience. It meant having all of the light and none of the dark. Having flaws or struggles made me less than. (I held my attachment to my ego against myself, too.)

So, round and round I’d go.

The more I held on to these beliefs, the more they let me down. I didn’t feel successful, happy, or connected, and I sure wasn’t confident. None of my planning and plotting stopped me from being hurt or rejected. None of the hardness made me stronger.

How can anyone feel complete when they only ever accept a fraction of themselves?

There were plenty of times I considered letting it all go and making a big change, but I feared that my empty hands wouldn’t find something else to hold on to. We need a way to understand how the world works and where we fit into it. Once we’ve got it, we’ll hold on—even if it hurts.

All I ever wanted was to feel secure, connected, and fulfilled, and you don’t just let go of that. But, I also felt misled, and I was ready to uncover the truth.

I started by asking different questions, like what gives a person meaning, how do you define success, and what makes a person whole?

Whole. It was an interesting thought. Whereas complete felt like finding the missing pieces and becoming something, wholeness felt like being what you already are.

Slowly, softly, things shifted.

I started looking at the whole of me, not just the shiniest parts. This wasn’t easy. We all have that side of us we’d rather not see, and I’d pushed mine far, far away.

Even with this desire for something deeper and more authentic, I worried that maybe I’d missed my chance. Maybe I really was incomplete.

Oddly, that’s when it clicked.

Those parts of me, even the one struggling with this whole being whole thing, are all part of my wholeness. Being whole means seeing perfection and imperfection, hurting and healing, fear and courage as one in the same. It’s the shadows that give the light away.

Okay, I thought. What if wholeness included all of me?

Like being a painfully shy child?

Or the years of abusing my body?

Or crying in the car outside work?

What if it included the dysfunctional relationships I stayed in too long and the healthy ones I ran away from?

Or the ways I allowed myself to be changed and the times I resisted authentic expansion?

This shift has been richer than being kinder to myself, though I have learned to be my own best friend. And it’s deeper than having confidence, though I feel bigger and stronger than ever before.

This shift toward wholeness is about loving the whole of me fully and openly. Not in spite of the flaws but including the flaws. It’s those parts of you that you probably don’t want to see, the ones that are struggling to keep up, that need your love the most.

I’m not perfect about this by any means. Sometimes I forget and slip into old patterns, sometimes on autopilot, and sometimes with full awareness of what I’m doing. But perfect has nothing to do with it anymore.

There’s nothing to hide or change when you’re focused on wholeness. Being whole is simply a matter of being.

Whole is complete in itself, and it’s always enough.

Right now, whether you’re standing in the shadows or basking in the light, you are whole.

You’ve hoped and dreamed, doubted and feared.

You’ve surprised yourself (for better and for worse).

You’ve done exactly what you set out to do.

You’ve fallen flat.

You’ve succeeded and failed, fallen and risen, hurt and healed.

You’ve loved, lost, and lived to love again.

You’ve stood in the shadows and danced in the light.

You’ve sung and cried, whispered and yelled.

You’ve been winter, and you’ve been spring.

In your lifetime, you’ve learned to crawl, to walk, to run, to soar.

You’ve said just the right thing at the right time and the things you didn’t mean.

You’ve been right and wrong, hard and soft, fearless and afraid.

You’ve felt pride, shame, joy, sorrow, serenity, distress.

And you will again.

All the things you’ve done and the things you’ve seen, the people you’ve known, the heartbreaks you’ve stitched back together, the plans you’ve made, and the plans you’ve had to let go, the celebrations and growing pains are part of your wholeness.

Maybe you’re feeling like you’re really not okay. You’re still whole.

The key to making this shift is trusting in the process of working it out as you go and picking up the little gems along the way. No part of this needs to be perfect.

Confessions Of An Ex- Serial Dater

And learn to look at all of yourself from the most loving perspective. You are the exact right combination of experiences, insights, strengths, and imperfections that make a person whole.

You always were and always will be wholly beyond compare.

Source: Tinybuddha