Monthly Archives: October 2018

Leaving Comfort Zone

Why You Should Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

 

Humans are creatures of comfort. Our comfort zone is our natural, neutral state — a place where stress and anxiety are minimal, where we know what’s coming next and can plan accordingly.

There’s nothing wrong with being in your comfort zone, unless you get too comfortable and start holding yourself back instead of challenging yourself to learn, grow and try new things.

Reasons to step out of your comfort zone:

Challenging yourself can help you perform at your peak.

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is an important, and almost universal, factor in personal growth. How can we expect to evolve in our lives and careers if we only stick to habit and routine? Reaching new heights involves the risk of attempting something we might not succeed at.

READ MORE: How do you cope when you stumble on Your boyfriend’s traditional marriage pictures on Instagram

Trying new things can make you more creative.

Creativity is innately risky — when we share creative work, we open ourselves up to vulnerability and possible rejection. At the same time, risking failure increases the possibility of great creative achievement.

Embracing new challenges can help you age better.

Our comfort zones tend to shrink as we get older — but if we can keep expanding them, we’ll open ourselves up to greater fulfilment and improved well-being as we age.

“When demands become too great for us to handle, when the pressure overwhelms us, too much to do with too little time or support, we enter the zone of bad stress,” author Daniel Goleman writes in Psychology Today. “Just beyond the optimal zone at the top or the performance arc, there is a tipping point where the brain secretes too many stress hormones, and they start to interfere with our ability to work well, to learn, to innovate, to listen, and to plan effectively.”

Source: Huffpost.com

My Boyfriend Married Another Lady

How do you cope when you stumble on Your boyfriend’s traditional marriage pictures on Instagram

My cousin called me few hours ago to share her ordeal with me and I felt I should share it as well.

Few days back, I had a dream about my cousin preparing for her wedding, there was so much joy in the atmosphere and it felt like an elaborate wedding. I shared the dream with my cousin the following day.

Few days later, she had a similar dream and she wondered why, then she thought about her boyfriend whom she hadn’t spoken to in the past few weeks and she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t been taking all her calls.

Before that, she was scheduled to travel to Germany for a vacation and her boyfriend while professing his love for her asked her to travel afterwards with him to Paris and they’d go to London from there. She quietly agreed in order not to look travel thirsty because she recently found out her boyfriend is wealthy and never wanted it to seem like she was after his money. After all, she was sponsoring herself to Germany. She went ahead with her trip to Germany.

Unknown to her, her boyfriend had been in a relationship with a lady he was to get married to and the trip to Paris was for their pre-wedding shoot!!!

My sister is so hurt as she stumbled on her boyfriend’s traditional marriage pictures on Instagram! Just imagine you’re scrolling through Instagram, entertaining yourself and then you find your boyfriend’s traditional wedding photos. So teey bellaNaija carry the news.  How do you even digest it?

I’m shot of words, I don’t get it. No fights, no quarrels, the guy just decided it was okay to keep her in the dark and get married right under her nose? He didn’t think it was sensible to break up with her first and tell her they can’t go on?

I just think this is sheer wickedness in its raw form. Undiluted. Unprocessed. God bless him o!

Her Boyfriend of 7 months got married to a lady he met 6 months ago. Shoot me.

Written by Alvie for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Dealing With Disappointment

How To Deal With Disappointment When Life Deals With You

For me, disappointment is one of life’s most uncomfortable feelings. It’s complex, containing a subset of other emotions like anger, hurt, sadness, and probably many others too subtle to identify.

Sometimes, those emotions by themselves are easier to deal with, but disappointment can leave me at a loose end.

I might not be sure whether I should feel angry, or just impatiently wish that I would hurry up and get over it. Disappointment can hover at the front of your mind and niggle at the back, bringing you a grey perspective on life, even if you’re trying to forget about it.

Here are 4 steps I’ve recently identified in my own process for genuinely getting past disappointment:

1. Let it out.

One of the hardest things to do in a world where everything is immediate—we are all under external pressure, and time is a scarce resource—is to just let yourself experience a feeling.

Even at the most difficulties times, such as grieving, on average we only allow ourselves 1 to 2 weeks off or work, and then we mostly expect to get back into normality again.

Human beings are not very good at allowing the experiencing of emotions in full without trying to speed up the process. The only time we have this ability in its purest sense is when we are young children who have yet to be told or taught what is socially acceptable.

Children will tantrum and cry and scream, or laugh until it runs out and they are genuinely ready to move on.

ALSO SEE: I know He Loves Me But How Do I Get Over His Looks

I’m not suggesting we lock ourselves away for weeks at a time whenever we have been disappointed, but to be aware of any sense of obligation to “just get over it.”

Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling without any agenda of speeding up the process. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Take some time to just sit with your emotion and experience it without moving to fix or change it.

Genuinely experiencing emotions, no matter how painful, is one of the beauties of life. Don’t shy away from these moments. Be present in them.

2. Get some perspective.

The wonderful thing about letting it out is that you have given yourself that time. You have said to yourself, “I care about you. I want to allow you to feel what you need to feel and I do not wish to push you or cajole you.”

You have treated yourself like a friend and allowed yourself the space you needed to experience your feelings of disappointment.

Once you’ve done that, it becomes much easier to get some perspective. After you give yourself space to feel, you’re able to give the situation or individuals involved more room to breathe.

Perhaps the person who you feel disappointed by doesn’t even realise they’ve done something to upset you. Maybe they’re stressed out and don’t have the emotional bandwidth to think about it because they aren’t allowing themselves time to experience their emotions.

Giving yourself space to be as you are prepares you to allow the same to other people.

Having a broader perspective than your own view on a particular situation is always helpful. The critical point here is that you have to mean it. Rushing onto gaining perspective before you’ve allowed yourself to be with how you feel will be artificial and will not last.

3. Know your own heart.

Disappointment can ripple through to the core of who you are. If you don’t know what your core values are, you may not have a framework to support you when you experience negative emotions.

For example, one of my core values is open-heartedness. I wish to keep an open heart and be ready to share love and kindness with others, irrespective of how they might behave.

I would like to always try to choose to act with love and kindness towards others, rather than with negativity.

When someone disappoints me and I feel like closing and withdrawing, I remember this core value, then pause and make a choice.

I wish to be an open-hearted person. These negative feelings are feelings, and they will pass. Do I choose to remain open-hearted, or do I choose to follow the easier instinct and close off?

More often than not, I choose to be in line with my values over the automatic response to the situation. It doesn’t happen every single time, but most.

Knowing your own heart and your values gives you the freedom of choice. You can choose to be driven by what happens to you, or you can choose to live in line with your principles.

The latter has helped me to overcome disappointments and negative situations in a healthy way. The challenge of disappointment allows me to practice living closer to my values, and stops me from being swallowed up by it.

4. Practice acceptance.

As human beings, even though we know that some things are bound to happen, we’re not always willing to accept them.

Every time I am disappointed, I feel overwhelmed by my emotions. I’m inclined to withdraw and blame others, wanting to wallow in my disappointment. Each time, I have to accept that I will feel these things again.

I have to accept that I will continue to be disappointed—that it is a part of life, part of being human. I also have to accept that I will probably continue to struggle to accept this fact, at various points throughout the rest of my life!

This step is a lifelong challenge and fundamental to dealing with disappointment. I will be disappointed, I will disappoint, you will be disappointed, and you will disappoint. Life will be disappointing—but it will pass.

Practice acceptance and we may suffer less as it is happening and notice the good things in life more.

Disappointment is a part of life, but all parts of life can help us grow. We can be present and aware even in the midst of negative emotions and therefore live more fully.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

Losing My Baby

It Still Hurts But I Know God Took My One Day Old Son Away For A Reason

“O ti mu o!!!!!!!” my sister shouted from the room after she saw me suddenly go down on my knees almost immediately I got up to pick my cake mixer from the dinning table. “You can’t go to church o… Henrietta, take (wraps 10k in my hand), take Uber to the hospital and tell the doctor how you’re feeling. 

Prior to this Sunday, 8th of July… The day before was supposed to be my last antenatal session. At 39 weeks and 4 days, I was anxious to meet this little bundle of joy that had been growing and making me eat like a crazy person. I did makeup, wore a new dress with my favourite leggings – because nothing else fitted at the time and requested a ride to my hospital and feeling like the flyest yummy-mummy-to-be! So I got to the hospital, did my routine check ups and my doctor asked if I was ready to deliver.  I smiled and said “God will help me.”

We did another scan. Baby girl again for the 4th scan. I was so sure, so ready to meet my mini me. I said goodbye to the nurses.. “Hopefully this week” Doctor Kola said as I exited the hospital building… So the Sunday episode wasn’t expected. I baked on Saturday but to decorate on Sunday Na war.

I got to this hospital, amidst false contractions, me that had makeup on and dressed peng the day before…  I wore a pink bra top and a pregnancy gown that my friend Tessy had given me with a big sweater on top it. I wore my hair net and my bathroom slippers because honestly I was feeling like I was running mad. I held my belly -as if it will make the contractions stop- and went through that episode till the doctor came.

“Madam Labake…” he said.. “what happened? Weren’t you here yesterday?” He asked. “I don’t know how I’m feeling.” I said …I can’t sleep, I can’t do anything, I’m running temperature and my belly is rock hard but after minutes, it becomes normal.

“Hahaha” he chuckled. “Those are only false contractions. Madam, you have to go back home. I don’t want to do a vaginal examination to trigger anything. And your due date is still till July 11th. Today is 8th, so calm down.” He said to me.

Hey God, I started crying.. me that was forming baddest from day 1, the tears started trickling down my eyes. I convinced him to please check me and he agreed. He checked me and insisted I was not ready yet. With disappointment, I requested another Uber home. Still in the false contraction mood, I lay down to sleep, ate little and the contractions started all over again. I was supposed to do a photoshoot with a friend but I cancelled the shoot that day and slept.

 Monday morning and I couldn’t go to school because I felt so sick. Tried to eat but the smell put me off. I drank tea instead.. Minutes after I threw up on the rug and the contractions started again. I had called “Baba Habeebah” (my baby’s papa’s name is Habeeb so since we found out we were having a girl, we started calling her habeebah ) earlier that I felt really somehow and couldn’t eatand requested that he get me pineapples -as I had read that it induces labor very rapidly. He got home and brought the pineapple.  To induce labor, I took 2 pieces and stopped. The contractions got harder and we’re coming closer together.  It went like that till 3 in the afternoon. Around past 4, I called doctor Kola and this was our conversation. 

Dr k: Did u see blood?

Me: No

Dr k: Did u see the mucus plug?

Me: no

Dr k: Did u see water?

Me: No

“Then don’t come yet. Keep yourself hydrated and drink ORS suspension for dehydration.” He concluded.

 I was getting tired and cranky. The pains were closer. The screams were louder and my belly had dropped from the normal round and perky and was sitting on my thighs. Good thing!!!! My baby was coming down. My cousin called her mom and told her how I was feeling. She hurried over and said “give me dettol, water and cotton wool let me check what’s happening.

Finally that episode passed and I could lay down.  I placed my hand over my belly as another contraction was about to start. She went all in and screamed “Ori omo yii to wa nita o!!!” (the baby’s head is coming out o!!!) she said. “Ile Loma bimo yii si o” (she has to deliver this baby at home). My brother came in and said “No matter, please she has a hospital”.  I called Baba habeebah to come meet us at the hospital since he couldn’t get home in time to drive us there. The ride to the hospital was the longest. We passed the shortest route but the baby’s head kept descending more and more. I felt like they were ripping my legs apart from inside my stomach. Mama asked me to close my legs and NOT PUSH.

ALSO READ: My Marriage Took All From Me But Finally, I Found The Courage To Leave

Around past 5, we were in Ogba traffic. I was using my legs to push the passenger seat chair while screaming because the contractions got worse as she kept descending. I literally turned the chair to the break pad.. I would push it and stretch along as I pushed the chair with my legs closed. My body wasn’t mine again. I couldn’t even use pain killers if I wanted to. This pain was maddddddddd!!! I just kept drinking Eva water. My throat was dry also.

As we approached the hospital gate,The midwife and my brother held me on both hands.. They raised me to climb the small stairs leading to the reception. I got inside and the doctor said, “take her up immediately.” I got upstairs like a snail and then the original contractions started hooking me.This time around, I couldn’t even contain the pain anymore. I removed my Abaya and the bra top I was wearing.

Then doctor Kola came. “Let me check how many centimeters you’re on now. Please you people will have to excuse me.” He said to Baba Habeebah, my brother and others in the room.. Finally after 2 minutes, this storm calmed and I could let him examine me. “6 centimeters. “I’ll check you again once it’s 8pm.”

I was seeing silhouettes, not people anymore. People became black and white. I stopped seeing color and I kept checking the time till 8 o clock. Soon, I was asked to go to the prepared Labour room. I slowly and gently  got there. I was asked to lay down, given set of instructions for the procedure. “take plenty breaths. Breathe with your mouth if you feel breathless and push only when I say.” I heard him but those instructions weren’t registered in my brain.

“So push madam” He said.. I screamed!!!!!!!!!!! 

He tapped me back into reality, “Madam you’re just screaming, you’re not doing anything.”I screamed back at doctor Kola “Please I don’t know what I’m doing. Please teach me how to push.” Finally the midwife said, “Hold your legs and look at your abdomen. Close your mouth and give a long hard push.” There was no going back. I did exactly what she said. I made sure of that. After a long push, that I felt that I had finally gotten the hang of it, Doctor kola tapped me again. “Madam your baby will get tired with what you’re doing. Push madam.”

I opened my mouth and started crying. He said push again. Before i could push till the end I heard “klamklam” the sound of the surgical scissors. Jesu!!! Whatt!!!!!! Before I could understand, I just heard “klamklam” again and the pain went straight into my brains.

The pain management drip wasn’t working for me. The 2 shots of pain relief on my thighs were not working either.  I cried and with the last push, she came sliding out with her sac still intact. He clamped the cord and slowly removed her.  Omo my coloured vision returned instantly…  I saw plenty black lush curly hair! OMG I was so tired but very excited!! But she wasn’t crying so much and they wanted to hear the long cry so they kept tapping her. Oju MI o gba (my eyes no fit collect am) beating my BIG baby.

When they were cleaning her body, I watched and I saw something black under her Bombom. “Ahan aunty nurse what’s that”? I asked.

“Aunty your baby is a boy o.”

“No o. She’s a girl o.”

“Aunty he’s a boy o.”

I was happy and confused at the same time. I just lay there lifeless and tired while they took my Bomboy to clean and dress him. I laid there grateful for the safe and speedy delivery and then the doctor came back “I have to leave you for a moment. He’s not crying well but he’s going to be fine ” Whattt ! Before I could utter a word, he had disappeared. So I had this remaining placenta in me and the clamped cord still dangling from underneath. I prayed and then he cried. I was relieved.

Later, Doctor k came in with sutures and said it was time for death part 2. the stitching. I just told my sister not to go. To hold my hand through everything. I felt everything. As if they were seeing clothes in my brain. I cried, I screamed, there was nothing I didn’t endure just to go back to see my baby boy. I asked who was with him so he won’t be lonely. I was told my younger sister and his father were playing with him. I felt relieved. I thought the doctor had finished o. Till he said “remaining the second side.”

I walked back to my room. Yes!! I had enough energy to walk back. I saw him briefly and my heart was doing Gish Gish Gish Gish..  I was hungry!  I was asked to shower, use a pad, eat, then come to see him. I quickly did everything.  I got to the room, lights were on him and the neonatal oxygen mask. I was wondering why then the doctor said his breathing became shallow and his lungs were collapsing. I was weak in the knees. The doctor said the baby was tired from all the pushing and needed time to bounce back. Okay o! “

My baby looked at me with one eye opened. OMG, his eyes were everything! He had his father’s skin (afin people), he had his nails, his hair, his nose Only thing he had that was mine was my lips.  I was ecstatic. I didn’t even take a picture. I looked and fell in love. I was lost for words and I just kept smiling like someone they’ve were toasting..

Next morning, the doctor came to check how I was bleeding. He said it was normal. I asked about the baby’s health and he said he was getting better and we might go home that day.  That morning passed. Afternoon came, my family members were becoming many in the hospital. Ahahn what’s happening. They said I’ve been discharged. Ehen where’s the baby? They said we’d pick him. We need to go first.  That’s when I started crying. “How can I go home without a baby?” I screamed at them. “Today, I’m not going anywhere!”

My brothers convinced me. They told me that he was fine and when he was stable, they’d allow me see him, cuddle and all. I believed them and so I went downstairs, collected my drugs from the pharmacy and went home. We got home and my landlord accosted me. He didn’t know they had tricked me home. He looked sad and said, “Adupe pe omi Lo danu.” (Thank God the water only poured, the clay is still intact) I was confused!

My Aunty quickly signalled to him and he cut the conversation there and disappeared.

I got upstairs and saw plenty people. Saw my father, his wife, my brothers, everyone! I started crying. It was true. They had tricked me home. They had buried him without letting me say goodbye. I was mad with rage but I was calm. “Aunty Ronke, he’s still in the ICU, let’s go.”I said to my aunt. she turned, looked at me and said, “There’s no baby anymore and there’s no ICU.”

I wanted to die! I had to sit down to process this news. There was no point. He had been buried. But the only thing was THEY took a pic before they put him to rest. That was all? 1 picture to make up for 9 months and my 1 day crazy madness over giving birth? I did not  understand. I needed more. I needed it to be a dream. Nightmare. To wake up to him next to me and everything I had had in pile up for this boy.  I wept day and night because I was shattered

Thank God for Grace. 2 weeks after, I wrote my final exam and guess who’s graduating! Me!!! When life gives you lemons, maximise the use and make more than lemonades.

It’s 3 months now. ‘God has been faithful and he still is! .

Today, I made my Baby proud! I passed my Exam!

Written by Labake for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Dealing With Regret

On the Topic of Regret: A Resolution That We All Have To Deal With

I was on a reporting trip and once it had come to a close, I decided to stick around for another week to explore the city of Berlin on my own. I was preparing to celebrate my 22nd birthday, and I was determined to get into Berghain — one of the world’s most famous nightclubs and, not surprisingly, one of the hardest to get into. So when I had made it up to the bouncer, after an hour of waiting in line, I didn’t take it personally when he shook his head and opened his arm toward the alley without even consulting the notorious Sven Marquardt — the club’s long-time bouncer who was standing in the corner, obsolete and uninterested.

I reluctantly left and began making my way back to the hostel I was staying at. I had looked up several other clubs earlier that day as a backup, should I fail to make it into Berghain, but it was getting late and I didn’t really want to stand in another line. I was walking to the nearest bus stop, and enjoying the quiet of the dark streets. I took two buses, before making it to the train station that would bring me back to Urbanstrasse.

I was sitting in the underground, waiting for the next train, when a man behind me started playing music. He was playing an instrument that I had never seen before, an instrument that I had never even heard of. I now know that it was a hang drum, but the name is of little importance compared to the sound that it made at the touch of a young man dressed in bohemian garb.

Everything stopped as the sounds echoed and reverberated off the walls of the underground tunnel. I sat there, not moving, just listening. I started to cry.

I cried because I didn’t ever want it to stop.

I don’t often believe in fate, but I believed in that moment, as I do now, that I was meant to be in that tunnel, listening to a stranger play an instrument that was entirely foreign to me. There was a reason I didn’t get into Berghain and a reason I walked into that subway station at that moment.

I was meant to hear him play.

I sat there listening, and everything else faded away. The rest of my day seemed unimportant, and I recalled having felt all day as though I had been waiting for something grand to happen. I had mistakenly thought that Berghain was what awaited me.

But that moment, to me, meant more than anything else that could have possibly happened — on my birthday, or any other day.

I eventually turned to look at the young musician who had captured my soul and all that I am with the simple rhythmic drumming from his hands and the tips of his fingers.

He looked like a gypsy, a traveller — his clothing was worn, with many holes and frayed edges. He must live in those clothes, I remember thinking.

His hands never stopped moving as he beat on the instrument in a series of pulsating taps. The instrument was little more than a piece of cutlery — a large metal bowl with dents in it. But the sounds that came from it stemmed from another world.

I could have listened to him forever. I could have stayed, happily caught in a musical trance. But eventually, his song ended. The metal instrument sat silently in his lap, and the train soon came.

It pulled up to the station and the doors slid open. I hesitated before standing up, my feet slowly carrying me forward. It was a shuffle more than a walk. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave the strange traveller and his beautiful instrument, who had made me feel so much.

I could feel something in me fighting back with every step I took. But I made it to the train and I stepped on. I turned my back to the opposite set of doors so I could still see the man and his upside-down metal bowl.

The buzzer sounded, signalling that the doors would soon close. My heart fluttered as I had the urge to run, to jump from the train and back onto the platform.

To do what, I don’t know. I just knew that I was meant to be there.

But I couldn’t move. Every cell in my body wanted to, but I just couldn’t.

I stood there, frozen, as the doors came to a close. The train jolted forward and my heart sank. The silent tears that had been sliding down my face, one at a time, were now spilling in a continuous stream as an immediate feeling of regret took hold.

My regret was more than the simple act of not jumping off that train — my every regret was present in that moment. I envied the hang drummer, who seemed so content in his music. I only wished that I, too, could become my craft as he had. To abandon all else for my passion, even when the stresses of the real world begin to close in. The worries of debt, bureaucracy and an overall lack of time, lost and forgotten.

I was stricken with fear, a fear of the unknown maybe?

ALSO SEE: My Marriage Took All From Me But Finally, I Found The Courage To Leave

That moment seemed to sum up my greatest struggle in less than ten minutes — it was the worst instance to date of my inability to act, to move forward and do what I want to do, simply because I want to do it.

I have thought about that night so many times since — each time playing it over in my head, the regret growing deeper and imprinting itself into my mind.

I think about it now more than ever as I close in on the one-year mark since my trip. It’s a sign, and one I must follow. A sign that something must change. A sign to go after what I want.

So from here on out, I will jump off that train. I will jump off that train every day, for as many times as it takes to make up for the one time I failed to do so. I will listen to fate, and let instinct be my guide. Even for something as simple as a metal bowl with dents in it, transformed into a beautiful instrument at the hands of a young bohemian musician.

Written by Alyssa Gray for Possibilitychange.com

How I Lost Myself In Marriage

My Marriage Took All From Me But Finally, I Found The Courage To Leave

I am 28 years old and have been separated from my husband for almost a year now. Between, we were married for 3 years.

I realised there was absolutely nothing my husband was offering in the marriage and I’m not even talking about monetary now. This was a man who couldn’t fix the easiest technical issue in the house. Yes, I fix the bulb when they go bad, if there’s an issue with electrical cords or electrical appliances, I fix them too. Not forgetting that I put on the generator too even when he’s home. Please what thirty-something year old man cannot put on the generator?

Coupled with the fact that I do all the house chores including cooking 3 times or more daily and washing his clothes. And then, this type of man would still cheat on me with reckless abandon. I had to treat infection a couple of times.

I practically forgot I had my own life to live. For 3 years I was living for him, taking care of him, mending him, tolerating him and loosing myself in the process. My dream and aspirations were on hold because he felt threatened.  I couldn’t work because according to him if I’m out there I’ll see men who would probably snatch me from him,. He also discouraged me from continuing with my business that I was doing before marrying him all because of his insecurities. I decided it was over because I couldn’t cope any longer as my health was beginning to get affected. Having High blood pressure at 28?

ALSO SEE: I think that if I had married someone closer to me in age, my home would be happier

And yes I didn’t know he was that kind of person because we had a supposed Christian dating where we didn’t even get to spend quality time together.  We met most times in church and some religious outings until the wedding. I trusted him because I thought he was a church boy but I was wrong.

Anyway, after I moved out, I was able to get a job and I am also doing my business by the side. A lot of good things are happening to me and yes, this is the life i deserve. I do not have any regrets whatsoever. And No, I’m never going back there.

Written by anonymous for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

My toxic relationship story

Can living separately be the solution to crisis in a home?

At the end of 2013, my wife and I had reached a breaking point. Divorce appeared inevitable. Then, out of desperation, the idea of living apart together was raised. For nearly two years we managed to conduct a relationship in which I returned home at weekends and for holidays.

At first, we thought we had found the holy grail. Our relationship improved. The number of arguments fell, if only because we were spending considerably less time together. For the first few months, it was even quite romantic. However, to me, it never felt like a solution. Rather than a bold experiment in a new way of living, it felt neither here nor there. There was always a question at the back of my mind – how is this going to end?

And ending it would have been fairly easy. Having in effect half moved out, and established a separate base, it made the denouement relatively straightforward. You just had to say the word – all the practicalities were already in place.

As it happened, we both felt that there was enough hope left to try again as full-time cohabitees. The return – which for me was joyful, at least in the short term – lasted little more than a year before we finally split for good. Moving out had not helped to address any of the underlying issues that led to our separation: none of the problems that had been lurking, it turned out, had been dissipated by distance.

Having said that, it doesn’t feel like a decision that should be regretted. Apart from anything else, it bought us three more years as an intact family, in which our children could avoid the pain of having separated parents. We had some good times and some good holidays during those years, and there were quite a few moments when I really believed it was going to work out.

ALSO READ: When You Feel Like You’re Going Nowhere and Life Has No Point

Although this didn’t prove to be the case, I think anyone whose relationship is struggling – certainly when children are involved – needs to give everything they can to engineering a possible solution. This may include counselling, therapy, meditation, or living apart together – whatever it takes. We tried them all – and they were all worth trying.

I do not think that living apart together as a more permanent arrangement will work for many. However, if you can afford it, I can’t doubt that it is worthwhile. But it is not a magic pill to cure an ailing marriage – more like a temporary painkiller that sooner or later is bound to wear off.

Source: @timlottwriter.wordpress.com

How to Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Strength

I know He Loves Me But How Do I Get Over His Looks

I have known this man and we have been friends for years. I can be myself around him and he’s completely in love with all of me (mind included), I know this over time because I have done everything to push him away (right from when he lived abroad) till now that we are in the same state in Naija.

I know he is a good man and means well for me, I knew about his past relationship, we stopped talking for almost a year because he felt he needed space to fix them, I didn’t mind coz I wasn’t after him, then she left him and he came running back.

We’ve been through some tough times together, I refused to do the long distance relationship thing, now he’s here, living and working close by. We’re both doing great in our careers, he loves me, I feel something very strong for him (I’m afraid to give it a name), but I fight it day and night.  We all want beautiful babies and I don’t know if my genes will be strong enough to over come his. I’m also afraid of what my family and friends will say  (they’re many ?).

ALSO READ: I think that if I had married someone closer to me in age, my home would be happier

I only took my bestie out with him and she whispered “Hell no” to me. What do I do? Our interests are aligned, he adores me, we have the same values, we are almost magic together, but his looks. Another thing is that,  he has also been in jail (not in Nigeria though), he was held liable for a fraud his subordinate committed in his family company, (he claimed responsibility and went to jail instead of his aged father). Deep down, I am not okay with all this. I know looks is not everything, but I’m also scared of the impact the time he served may have on us. What if my friends and family find out? I have told no one. Should I forget people and be with him? How do I get over/see beyond his looks? I’m confused.

Written by anonymous for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Dealing with a Hardhearted Husband

I think that if I had married someone closer to me in age, my home would be happier

The thing is I’ve been married for almost four years now and in this time if I put together the times I’ve been genuinely happy, I don’t think its even 3 months.

My husband is really responsible to be honest, he does his best to make his family comfortable and he’s a faithful man as far as I know, but he’s too strong-headed and I think he was raised with the ‘boys can get away with whatever’ mentality. When we have fights, I almost always initiate the process of reconciliation and after having a lengthy conversation in most cases, I have to literally beg him to say he’s sorry.

He was raised with the believe that when he offends a person, it doesn’t matter how upset they are, if he doesn’t feel like he was wrong then he never apologises. But me I know that saying sorry makes things better and you should say it to pacify a person who feels offended, or at least that’s what I was taught.

ALSO READ: We discovered we were both AS but I was already Pregnant

Another thing is my husband is super petty. If I do something to offend him knowingly or not, he almost always serves it right back, and when I tell him that his pettiness really puts me off, he just gets defensive and says what makes me think I’m allowed to do certain things because I’m a woman and he’s not. Another issue i have is that  he’s not expressive like that and that really annoys me, I can be doing chores for four straight hours, passing by his side the whole time and I don’t get a word of appreciation, he says I love you most of the time only after I’ve said it.

He hardly ever sends nice messages but would only reply mine. He’s just not romantic. I’ve complained and complained to the point where I started to sound like a broken record and all he says is when we get rich, we’ll travel the world and do fun stuff but I always point it out to him that in as much as we both hustling and hope that things get better, they never might and you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to be romantic, there are inexpensive ways to spice things up.

When I was pregnant with both my kids, I hated him. He never really helped me with any chores even with all the morning sickness I endured. He would just say when I complain that I should just let things be and relax. So my house should now be dirty because I’m pregnant. I just think he’s too old school for my liking. He’s almost 9 years older than I am though but I never thought that would be a problem, but now I just think that if I had married someone closer to me in age, things would be different.

Bottom line is I’m just fed up. Deep down I don’t doubt that I love this man and I don’t doubt that he loves me right back, but his attitude is seriously bridging a dangerous gap between us and sometimes I just want to leave the marriage because I’ve realised that I’m not happy being here but then I think about the fact that I won’t get any support from my family because they believe in the concept of for better for worse and would only make an exception in the case of domestic violence, and also about the fact that I might not be able to support myself and my kids if I leave. I have suggested we see a marriage counsellor several times but he’s not on board with the idea because he doesn’t want us to take our issues to a third party.

Written by anonymous for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

How You Can Find Yourself

I Knew I Had To Find Myself By First Losing Myself

Growing up in a small town in Western Canada, I was known as the kid who accomplished things.

I was the well-mannered and conscientious child who skipped grade two, was at the top of her class, played three musical instruments, took ballet lessons, French lessons, swimming lessons, and any other lesson in which I expressed an interest.

While this might sound like the calendar of an over-scheduled kid, it actually never felt that way. I had a real love of learning, and appreciated the opportunity to be exposed to so many things.

While I was grateful for all the privileges afforded to me by my parents, the unintended side effect of being the kid who accomplished a lot was that it set a very high bar in terms of others’ expectations of me.  

I knew my classmates and teachers expected that I would go on to great things, and so, I continued to achieve. I was educated at some pretty prestigious schools and got a Masters’ degree, and then a PhD. I embarked on a career as a corporate psychologist in which I consulted to high-powered senior leaders, lived a jet-setting lifestyle, and made a healthy income.

And, if I’m being perfectly honest, it wasn’t just others’ expectations that drove me—I savored the response I got from people when they wrongly sized me up based on my appearance, and then found out about what I did. I enjoyed getting upgraded on air planes and having access to V.I.P. areas of hotels.

Being an achiever was an integral part of my identity. Yet, after a while, it started to become confining.

As you can see from my childhood experiences, I am the sort of person who has varied interests, and a lot of them are creative. So, as you might expect, there eventually came a point in my career in which the artistic-dreamer aspects of my personality felt like they were being trampled by the pragmatic, results-driven, goal-oriented parts of me. I knew I needed to make a change.

I talked with friends about my dilemma and got advice akin to some of the backlash many others who have been lucky enough to have some degree of privilege receive. People unsympathetically dismissed the stirrings of my soul as being in the realm of self-indulgent “first world problems.”

“Do you know how many people would want your job with the money you’re making? You can’t mess that up!” a well-meaning friend said.

“Are you kidding me?” chimed in another, “You sound like one of those spoiled self-absorbed celebrity types who has lost touch with how things really are and don’t realise how good they have it.”

So, what did I do? Nothing. I put my nose to the grindstone, continued business-as-usual, and tried to revel in the identity that looked like gleaming gold to others, but was beginning to look painfully tarnished from the inside.

Then, in 2013, my husband and I had a son. Each night, as I rocked him to sleep, I did what so many parents do: I shared my hopes with him regarding how he would live his life.

I whispered to him that he could do anything he desired. I encouraged him to go after his dreams and live out his passions. I told him he was uniquely talented, and that he needed to use his gifts to the best of his ability. In other words, I told him to do everything I wasn’t doing.

As someone with a newborn, I was a rush of emotions, novel experiences, and sleep-deprivation. I had quite a bit of time in the wee hours of the morning to introspect and contemplate the meaning of life. And when I reflected on it, I knew that the reason why I wasn’t practising what I preached was because I was scared.

Maybe I would get expressions of disappointment from certain friends as I fell from the pedestal on which they had placed me (against my will). And, it certainly wasn’t inconceivable that I might be on the receiving end of some gleeful schadenfreude from others behind my back.

Plus, there was that pesky issue of my identity. I liked being known in my circles as the one who could be counted on to achieve. Who would I be without that identity?

ALSO SEE: When a man has made money, he should make a noble use of it

After numerous quiet meditations during 3:00AM feedings, I realised that who I would be was someone who was a whole lot happier.

So, to honor my creative side, I finished a book I had started writing a few years prior. I dealt with the feelings of uncertainty and nakedness that I felt in response to putting something about which I was truly passionate outside of my reach for others to judge.

I have approached my work differently, drawing on my penchant for asking life’s deep questions and a desire to help others have professional lives that provide them with a sense of purpose.

I have allowed myself to delight in the journey, without worrying too much about how others might perceive whether or not I am living my life in the way they think I should.

And, the invisible weight that I have been carrying around has disappeared. I can just be myself—whoever that happens to be at the time.

Written by Patricia Thompson for TinyBuddha.com

Worldly Riches

When a man has made money, he should make a noble use of it

Recently an old man, over eighty years of age, lay on his death-bed. He could no longer
keep possession of the wealth he had accumulated. In a few hours, he must leave it to
the world from which he had taken it and kept it so many years. He had not been a
generous man. He had loved money. He loved to get it and loved to keep it, and if he
could have carried his wealth with him, going with that unknown guide, Death, there
is no doubt but that he would have done so.

He had given nothing to the world while he lived, and he would not have given
anything when he died, only that he was obliged to do so. This is the only charity of a
great many people.

When death comes, then the hand of avarice must open. Nothing can be carried
through the grave. So, the old man must at last release his hold upon his gains. He
must leave his beloved dollars to somebody.

He had gathered them for himself, not for others. He had thought only of himself when
he gathered them, and now, when he was to part with them, he did not know what
disposition to make of them. The lawyer was present at his bedside; the minister was
also with him. The will had been drawn. He had bequeathed certain sums to public
charities and remembered the church. Life was almost gone. He hesitated yet to give
up the control of his money to others. The pen was placed in his dying fingers for him
to affix his name to the will. But he had waited too long. He died with the name
unwritten, the pen unused in his dead hand.

Involuntarily did he part with a cent of his fortune. His millions will now be divided
by the law. Is there, in the bare possession of money, the happiness that men desire? that men
dream of, that men want? Is money the highest goal of human effort? the crown of
human endeavour? Is this money, the insignia of fortune, the true sign of good fortune?
We believe not.

The man who works for this (money) and nothing else, is the slave of
avarice; as hard, as cruel and as merciless as a tyrant as ever cursed the earth.
Let every man strive for independence. Let man be rewarded well for his labor. Let
every hand keep busy, but let there be a desire higher than money, a dream nobler
than of gain, a want above the possession of riches.

There is a better charity than that unwilling gift which death compels us to make; it is
to help the world while we live. There are two ways of doing this: by giving back a
part of what we take, — that is one way and a good way – secondly, by taking less from
others, that is another way and a better way.

Thousands are poor that one may be rich. Thousands toil that one may live in idleness.
Thousands are in want that one may live in luxury. Thousands have not a dollar that
one may have millions. This is not right, not fair, not just. Men must take less while
they go through life.

It is not enough that a man on his deathbed give a college a million, a public library a
million, a public park a million. He should have no millions to give. He should live a
more just life and help others by trying to get less for himself. The public bequest is
the popular atonement for large fortunes, but such atonement does not efface the
sufferings of poverty and want they entail.

We say to the rich, do not wait until you die before you try to help your fellow-men.
Help them while you are living. When a man has made money, he should make a noble
use of it, or he wrongs himself and the world.

Submitted by Nneka Jibeobi for Diary of a Naija Girl

Nigerians Misuse of Drugs

Dear Nigerians, medication is not food. Stop the misuse of drugs. #DANGDoctor Oluwatosin Osikoya

I was in a store which had both a pharmacy and a mart. The store is owned by a pharmacist.

I was waiting behind someone who was being attended to when this man came in and began to talk to an attendant.

“Madam, I want drugs for newborn”, he said.

My ears perked up and I thought I didn’t hear right. Drugs for a newborn?

I moved in closer to hear better.

The attendant asked, “they did not give you prescription?”

“They did not o!”

To my horror, she went round the store and picked up a bottle of Ampiclox, Paracetamol and Abidec. I was shocked. For a start, paracetamol should NOT be given to babies less than 2 months and antibiotics without signs of infection leads to antibiotic resistance. I wanted to speak up so bad but you know how we are on matters like these. If I had said anything, I would have heard mutterings of  me trying to spoil their business and so I had to contain myself.

When he went out, I followed him to his car. He got into the driver’s side and I noticed a woman, whom I presumed to be his wife at the passenger side and an older woman carrying a baby, I assumed she was the grandmother.

I introduced myself and told them that as far as the child was healthy, she just needed breast milk and love. They thanked me and I walked away. I hope they listened. If the child was given those medications, he/she was looking at the possibility of organ damage in the future.

Nigerian have this attitude towards medication. If they consult a doctor and they are not prescribed any medication, they begin to think “this doctor no know anything,”  I have observed this in my nearly 20 years of practice.

Nigerians use medication because the medicine seller on the bus says it’s a cure for all ailments, they use it because the chemist says it is the best drug in the market, it is used because the packaging convinces them of the quick relief they will get.  it is used because a friend, mother or relative swears by its efficacy! These are not good reasons to use medication and it could be dangerous.

ALSO SEE: Even as a doctor, I prayed against CS and it almost cost me. #DANGdoctor Adeleye- Oshunpidan Wumi

For one, medication is not candy to be popped in and chewed. They are chemicals and always have side-effects. Before a doctor prescribes a medication, he/she has diagnosed your condition and knows that the advantages of using the medication for that condition, far outweighs the risks or disadvantages of not using it.

In the early days of my career, working as a new doctor for a multinational firm that provided free healthcare to its staff, I also noticed that members of staff came to the clinic on Saturdays with their well-dressed children and a list. The list would contain up to 10 drugs they wanted to collect. I was amazed that they expected me to just write it for them without a diagnosis and I refused to do so. So you see, this mentality has been with us for years, decades even.

Examples of wrong usage:

  • Paracetamol to a newborn.
  • Cough syrup to children less than 6 years
  • Antibiotics for cold and cough
  • Flagyll because you are having diarrhoea
  • Alabukun because you had a stressful day.
  • Antimalarial drugs because you feel feverish.

You might ask, are vitamins, supplements and traditional medicine in this category? Yes, they are. They are not approved for use under strict condition; the dosage, frequency standards and even potency of the active ingredients are not scientifically proven. Let’s not even begin to talk of side effects.

Dear Nigerians, medication is not food. That you find it easily available, does not mean you should self-medicate. Consult a healthcare professional and if you don’t trust his/her opinion, seek another.

Do not let a hundred naira or less  bring you problems that would cost you millions in the future!

Written by DANG Doctor Oluwatosin Osikoya

Genotype in relationships

We discovered we were both AS but I was already Pregnant

Anna met Dele…

I feel like that could be the beginning and the end of my story.

Anna met Dele.

Have you ever met someone who singularly divides your life into two? The time before and the time after him.

I met Dele. It was not a dramatic moment, it wasn’t romantic. We shared a cab from the airport. I arrived Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Abuja late one evening from Calabar. It was my first time in Abuja. I tried bargaining with the cabs I saw, they were ready to charge me a head and a foot to Gwarimpa, that was when he showed up, he was going in my direction and suggested we share a cab.

We were silent through out the ride. We got to my destination before his. He spoke for the first time,”Can i have your number? I would like to keep in touch”.

ALSO READ: Even as a doctor, I prayed against CS and it almost cost me. #DANGdoctor Adeleye- Oshunpidan Wumi

That was it! Everything happened so fast after that. We were so in love. It was like finding a missing part of you and never wanting to let go.
I returned to Calabar but he kept in touch. Despite the distance, we would see every other week, I would meet him in Abuja or he would come to Calabar. Everyone around us knew we were in love. It seemed like fate supported our union, i got a job at a foreign embassy in Abuja. He got promoted at work and started getting several contracts. We moved in together despite warning from my mother to slow down.

Why slow down when everything was going so great? Why stand in the way of fate?

Our fairy tale romance continued. We were ecstatic when we discovered i was pregnant. We hurriedly started our wedding preparations.
Dele accompanied me for my first ante natal visit. We were asked to conduct a comprehensive screening since none of us was certain of our medical history.

It was that day we discovered we had the same genotype. We were both AS. I took this as a slight glitch, a little bump on the road till i turned to look at Dele. His face was ashen, the pain and confusion i assume he was feeling was visible on his face. It was the next words out of his mouth that ended my fairytale.

“Doctor, how far gone is she? Is it too late for a termination?”

I was weakened by his words. This was someone who was so excited at home imagining he and his son with their Manchester United jerseys. He was so sure i was going to have a boy. The Dele in the doctor’s office was a stranger to me. I began to weep profusely. He held my hand and led me out of the office.

“Anna, we need to talk”.

The talk that changed my life began. He told me how sorry he was but we could not have this baby, actually we should not be together. He had lost two of his siblings to Sickle Cell Anemia crises and he could not go through it with his own children. He said he had watched their suffering and the strain it put on his parents’ marriage. He was so sorry, we should not have the child and we should not be together that it was best to end the relationship now. I cried, i pleaded, i went spiritual on him how God would help us, how we could be lucky. I cried, i begged.

He left.

I had my baby, he was wrong. She is the most beautiful child i have ever seen. He was wrong again, her genotype is AS. He is wrong, he knows he is wrong but he would not come back.
I look at my baby and i am reminded that half my world is gone.

Written by Amanda Etuk for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

 

Airport Chronicles

Airport Chronicles: Flight attendant gets introduced to Nigerian religion. It seems to me, she may still be shook!

My Travel Diary

My Travel Diary: The Crayfish That Almost Got Me In Trouble

Shopping in Lagos: My Encounter With Hulk Hogan

#ThrowbackThursday: Shopping in Lagos, My Encounter With Hulk Hogan

Shopping in Lagos: My Encounter With Hulk Hogan

Yesterday at the grocery store car park, there was an incident, and yours truly was a participant.

You know how you drive around the Ebeano car park on a busy day hoping to get a free space and you find someone who’s about driving out so you lurk behind them to take their space as soon as they drive out? That’s what I was doing. Waiting patiently for a lady and her kids to settle themselves in the car and do the needful.

I was typing on the phone so when I looked up, I was a little taken aback to see another car lurking on the other side waiting for the family to drive out. C’mon…why are Lagosians like this? You obviously saw me waiting. Why would you rather fight for space with me instead of going to look for parking elsewhere?

I put my phone down, rolled down my window, waved at the huge man behind the wheel and shouted, “Hi I’m trying to park here. I got here first”. He ignored me. So, when the lady moved her car, I inched in a little closer to the space, and I continued to do so until she completely backed out. The huge man in the G-wagon obviously had the same plan so both of our fenders almost collided at the parking space. This way, someone had to back out so the other could take the space.

ALSO READ: #TBT: Dear Lagosians, “I’m in a meeting”, is The Greatest Lie Ever Told. Here’s How I Found Out.

Who would it be? Definitely not me because I got there first.

“Don’t bash my car woman. Don’t bash my car. This is not your father’s land so you can’t claim space in a public parking lot” shouted Hulk Hogan.

I decided it was my turn to ignore him so I accelerated a little closer, slightly touching his fender while I tried to secure my space.

Hulk Hogan alighted from his car, I immediately imagined steam coming out of his nose and his bald head. I quickly made sure my car was locked and I stayed put. He checked for a scratch, saw none and went back behind the wheels, waiting for me to budge.

At this time, we had attracted the attention of the security. I became livid when the security guy addressed me first, trying to convince me into backing out of the space. Why me? Why not Hulk Hogan? I got there first and he’s trying to bully me.

I decided I was going to go do my shopping anyway if the security was bent on addressing just me. As I proceeded into the supermarket, Hulk immediately planted himself on my path. “Move your car” he said. “Gosh, he’s tall,” I thought to myself.

While security was still trying to cajole me into moving my car, two women with their trolleys full of groceries came to do supporters’ club for me. One of them said, “Oga why can’t you be the bigger person and move your car? Besides, she said she got here first”.

Hulk Hogan ignored them, folded his arms over his chest, rested his back on his car and maintained a chilled position.

My back ached from cramps, the sun was scorching, the heat was real and I didn’t use my sunscreen. I started crying:  silent, stubborn tears. I wasn’t going to move my car but I was frustrated. The women saw my tears and got really upset. “Don’t cry. Why are you crying? Stop it right now. You will not be bullied.” said one of them assertively.

“No I’m not backing down.” I shook my head vehemently, tears still rolling,  “I’m just frustrated.”

One of the women dug into her large purse, brought out a writing pad and a pen and pushed both at me. “Here, write your list for me. I’ll go and do your shopping for you. Do you have cash or you can transfer money to me?”

I told her I had cash and a shopping list. I brought out my shopping list and gave it to her. She turned around and marched straight into the store. Her friend moved their trolleys closer and stood by me. I could see Hulk was not happy. My one-man supporter’s club stuck out her tongue at him, I thought that was cool so I did the same thing…

This triggered Hulk. In my head, I saw fumes gushing out through his nostrils.

“You’re very silly. You’re very rude. I don’t have time for this. I’m moving my car because I’m busy, not because of your silly acts. I have things to do with my time.” He shouted as he got back in his car and zoomed off in reverse.

Amidst my tears, I couldn’t help but laugh. My one-man supporter’s club gave me a high 5!

This post was initially written on the 11th of November 2017.

Entrepreneurial Skills Important

12 Effective Ways to Build Entrepreneurial Skills That Matter

Becoming your own boss and an entrepreneur is the new coveted career choice of the 21st century. People are fed up with working jobs that leave them underpaid and unfulfilled.

Although some entrepreneurs say they were born to build a company, it’s never been easier for anyone to learn entrepreneur skills that can propel them into building a successful business.

Here is a list of 12 effective ways to build entrepreneurial skills that matter:

1. Take a different path.

“Creativity is the root of entrepreneurship.” — Karndee Leopairote, Thammasat University.

Creativity is the ability to see things differently and to provide solutions where there are gaps. To build your creativity skills, intentionally try something new. Do something that others won’t do. Read unusual books. Watch a movie in a different language. Travel to an unexpected spot. Talk to people that are out of your circle of comfort.

“The Big Short” is a movie that depicts how several opportunist entrepreneurs and investors managed to profit from the 2008 financial crisis by going against popular opinion.

2. Start a business.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” — Richard Branson.

There is nothing like real-world experience. Whether you run a business on the side or full-time, you get the opportunity to grow your skills such as business planning, negotiation, sales and marketing.

I started my first business when I was 16 years old, and learned more through making mistakes than I could through reading any business book. My mobile car detailing business was successful only because I was able to learn and make changes quickly.

3. Stick with challenges.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein.

Every successful entrepreneur has learned to develop their perseverance and tenacity muscles. The life of an entrepreneur is never smooth sailing, and it takes guts to keep going when people doubt your abilities.

Related: 5 Skills That Are the Foundation of Entrepreneurial Success

To build perseverance, create a goal or challenge that is meaningful and don’t give yourself the to quit. Alternatively, give yourself a deadline to aim towards. For example, if you want to create a better blog, make a commitment to write 1,000 words every day for a year.

4. Delay gratification.

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Solar City and SpaceX set himself a challenge to live on only $1 a day to see if he had what it took to lead life as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs have to get used to countless failures and almost zero rewards until they finally hit the jackpot. To train yourself to be able to delay gratification, start small. Say “no” to the extra donut. Keep your old car instead of going into debt to buy a new one. Wake up at 5 a.m. on the weekends to work on your business idea instead of staying in bed.

5. Manage your own finances.

Understanding basic finance is essential in running your own company. You don’t have to be an accountant, but you should at least be able to understand the basics around cash flow, assets, and profit and loss.

Start by learning how to do your own taxes and manage your own budget and investments.

6. Volunteer to lead.

The ability to lead a team and stay organised is important when you become an entrepreneur. You can start by looking for volunteer and leadership opportunities around you. Volunteer to lead a Meetup group, start a fundraising project for your favourite non-profit organisation or get involved with your local community board. Alternatively, coach a local children’s sports team or just plan your mother’s birthday party.

By getting involved in bigger roles, even if unpaid, you get to practice your time management, organisation, leadership and teamwork skills.

7. Practice communication skills.

The best entrepreneurs have learned how to communicate their passion and dreams in an engaging way, both online and offline. To learn how to speak publicly, join a Toastmasters group, offer to speak at workplace parties, or even emcee at your friend’s wedding.

Related: The 17 Skills Required to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

To improve your online communication skills, stay active on your social media accounts, blog, set up an online Facebook group or create a newsletter on your favorite hobby or topic.

The more often you put yourself out there, the faster your communication skills will grow.

8. Learn from a mentor.

The value of a mentor is priceless when it comes to building your entrepreneurial skills. Rather than make all the mistakes yourself, why not learn from someone else who has already made them?

Mentors are not only great sounding boards for your ideas but they also can be fantastic cheerleaders when the going gets tough. If you are lucky, you may find a mentor wiling to train you for free because they believe in you and want to give back. Some mentors will be happy to teach you in exchange for you helping them out in their own business. Others offer a paid service.

If you are young enough or at the start of your career, try to apply for internships as those are great opportunities to wet your feet in the real business world.

9. Work in sales.

“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business.” — Harvey Mackay.

In every business, sales play a vital role in the survival, sustainability and success of a business. You can have the best product in the world but if you don’t know how to sell it, it is worthless.

One of the easiest ways to learn how to sell is to get a sales role. It doesn’t matter if you are selling Tupperware at parties or selling complicated technology solutions, you will pick up valuable skills, such as learning how to ask questions of your prospect and researching your target market.

10. Get involved with other entrepreneurs.

Whether it’s attending entrepreneurial events, conferences, seminars or meetups; spending time with other entrepreneurs will help you grow in your own entrepreneurial skills.

If you have the time and guts, you can compete in an entrepreneur competition like where any gaps in your entrepreneurial skills will be revealed very quickly. However such a demanding experience will also multiply your learning speed.

11. Help others with their businesses.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar.

Being an entrepreneur is about solving problems with the resources that you have. The more you help others solve problems with their own businesses, the more your own skills will grow.

Related: New At Your Job? Here Are Some Tips To Get You Through The First Week

For example, you can create an accountability group for entrepreneurs where you each help each other out. In this way, you learn and grow together.

12. Keep learning.

“I am still learning.” — Michaelangelo.

Keep your own learning and personal development active. There are so many courses online, both free and paid, that teach a variety of entrepreneurial skills.

With such easy access to knowledge and resources, there really is no excuse that you can’t build skills to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Selfishness Signs

Selfishness Signs You Should Look Out For In A Relationship

We are often advised to practice self-care and take our own needs into account, but this can be hard when you’re in a relationship. How do you get the balance of self and another person right? The first question to ask yourself honestly is – ‘am I too selfish in this relationship?’ No one really wants to think of themselves as selfish, but in repressing it you could actually be making it worse.

Here are the signs and how to fix them:

You steer conversation from them to you

When you discuss your day, are you genuinely interested in their day, what went well and what didn’t? Do you want to support them by discussing anything that’s important to them? Or are you waiting for them to finish their daily run down so that you can tell them about yours?

If you’re more focused on your airtime than having a genuine discussion, consider why you do this? Common reasons are so that they will appreciate you, sympathise with you or be impressed with how amazing you are. These are all forms of external validation, which are normal but unhealthy in extremes. If you are aware you do this, perhaps switch it around to them. Overtly congratulate them on successes, appreciate their wins, and provide empathy and understanding when required. This switch will bring more balance and you may just find that you get back what you put out.

You keep a ‘bank balance’ of your partner’s wrongdoings so that you can use them in the future

This is a major relationship destroyer and is sadly common. Instead, be sure to raise issues with your partner when they occur, it’s best to address small things as you go rather than build up to something big. If they have apologised and you have accepted their apology, be disciplined enough to draw a line under the event at that point.

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You spend time and effort considering how to get things to go your way

Relationships are hard mainly because two people will never agree on anything, so working out how to decorate, where to live and what to do with your money is always a compromise. A common pattern is that people then spend a significant amount of effort and time trying to work out how to manipulate their partner by dropping hints, leveraging things you know they care about, like ‘do it for the children’ and controlling information so that they agree with you. This might work in the short term but will ultimately lead to a bed of resentment.

Instead, work together to learn the art of proper compromising: both of you state what you really want (without taking account of the other). Take a step back and identify the key conflicting issues (try and be objective and unemotional at this point). Discuss what’s more important to who, and what each is willing to do or give up to achieve this. Keep discussing until you find a solution you are both alright with.

You always want to win an argument

If winning is important to you, be mindful this doesn’t destroy your relationship. If you are having an argument then generally you’re a bit right and a bit wrong. Once you’ve both got it off your chest, instead of digging your heels in and waiting for them to give in, take a step back and consider what you could both do to resolve this. The art of healthy conflict is easier said than done. Sometimes couples need a relationship coach or counsellor to support them, or simply put yourself in a resolution mindset rather than win mindset to make a difference.

You criticise your partner to friends, family and even your own children

Having a moan now and then is different than a pattern of putting your partner down to people you know. The reasons behind this behaviour are complex but often boil down to making you look good by making someone else look bad. This comparative is dangerous in a relationship and only makes you look mean and spiteful to other people. There are no upsides to this pattern except a small, in the moment, smugness you feel when expressing what they did wrong ‘again’.

If you want to change this, start by only referring to them in a factual way with no judgement or assessment of their behaviour. For example, ‘Yes, Peter and I went to see that show.’ It’s hard to go from being negative about someone to singing their praises, so go neutral first, then introduce positive expressions.

You always choose restaurants, things for the house, holidays…

This one is simple and often habitual. If you’re the forward thinker or planner, this role often falls to you. But it doesn’t encourage you to consider other peoples’ wants and needs. It’s like this is your reward for being organised. You may still be in charge of the process of these decisions, but make time and space to get other views and consider them before making your preferred choice.

You’re more concerned with how you look than how they feel

Barbed comments, condescending talk or even the need to be seen at certain events can all point to an imbalance. Compromise is great, but if someone in a relationship is doing something or experiencing something that makes them feel truly bad, you shouldn’t be making them do it. Get really in tune with your partner emotionally – do they like big gatherings or find them draining? Remember this is the most important person in your life so avoid things that make them feel bad.

You make sacrifices you don’t really care about because they will be ‘useful’ later

If you turn down the coffee you didn’t really want to go to anyway, to look after the kids so he can go to the gym, this is not something to be paid back later. Be explicit and honest about negotiation points rather than leaving it hanging. It will breed respect in your relationship and you may also find you actually get more of what you want by doing this than trying to manoeuvre them.

A lot of our selfish behaviour comes from within and we often don’t even realise we are doing it. It’s important to take a step back and establish where it originated. For some, it might even originate from the want to readdress an imbalance from earlier in your life. Whatever the reason, tackle it head-on in order to enjoy a fulfilling, happy relationship.

Source: Healthista.com