Author Archives: Dang

Insomnia Tips

I often dream of what my life could have been without insomnia

My uneasy relationship with sleep began when I was a little girl. One day when I was eight, I asked my father if we could rearrange the furniture in my room. He agreed to help, and we spent Saturday morning putting the dressers and cabinets in new corners and moving my bed to a new wall. I spent the rest of the day happily rearranging my plastic horse collection, Madame Alexander dolls, and miniature ceramic animals on the shelves above my dresser.

But that night, I lay in bed, focusing, in the dim light, on the scene before me: nothing was in its rightful place. My heart raced, and I tossed and turned in an attempt to find some comfort. An hour later, I walked downstairs to tell my parents, sobbing, that I couldn’t sleep. I pleaded with my father to move the furniture back, which he did, begrudgingly.

My sleep problems persisted. I remember slumber parties on damp basement floors, being surrounded by other small girls tucked in sleeping bags, everyone snoring softly as I lay completely awake staring into the dull grey scene around me. And I remember asking myself, “Why me? Why can’t I sleep like everyone else?”

When I couldn’t fall asleep at home, my mother would come into my room and softly pet my body over the covers, starting from my feet and working her way up to my head. “Now your feet are falling asleep,” she would say. Moving her hand to my knees, “And now your knees are falling asleep.” And then on up to my head. She was, in effect, helping me to relax.

It is decidedly my inability to relax that is the cause of my lifelong battle with insomnia. The cycle goes like this: I cannot fall asleep because I am thinking about whatever it is I did or didn’t do during the day. After some time has passed, I realize I have been lying there for hours thinking. My mind focuses on my inability to relax and fall into sleep. This obsession becomes the new thought cycle, which further prevents my ability to relax and fall asleep. Sensitivity to noise, light, and changes in my surroundings exacerbate my sleeplessness exponentially.

Death from lack of sleep sounds dramatic, but for those who experience sleepless nights and the exhausting days that follow, insomnia feels almost that grim. Most people have experienced at least once the effects of sleep deprivation: scattered brain, terrible thirst, shakiness, inability to focus, and increased heart rate. We insomniacs learn to deal with these symptoms, plodding through our workdays and social activities, masking the fact that our brains feel like they’re malfunctioning.


While losing a night of sleep here or there is harmless, the accumulated physical effects of not sleeping enough are significant. When I was in my early thirties, I spent months sleeping no more than five hours at a time. I began to experience some of the harsher effects of long-term sleep deprivation, such as memory problems, depression, and a weakened immune system. I eventually enlisted the help of a doctor and a psychotherapist to help me recover, and many of the changes I have made in my life to help me sleep better began at that time. Here are some of the strategies I’ve learned that increase my chances of falling asleep quickly at bedtime, sleeping through the night, or going back to sleep easily if I wake up:

  • I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning and never drink highly caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 14 hours.
  • I try to stay off social media and email for at least an hour before bed. Others recommend zero internet or email in the evening. Experts recommend at least a 15-minute transition period between technology and bedtime.
  • I drink plenty of water during the day and slow down after dinner so I am not suddenly thirsty and consuming large quantities of water in the evening, which can lead to frequent wakings through the night to go to the bathroom.
  • I limit my alcohol consumption to no more than a few drinks a week, and no more than one in an evening. While alcohol may help people fall asleep initially, it prevents deeper sleep and causes disrupted sleep.
  • I wear earplugs and an eye mask and use white noise at night to drown out sensory distractions.
  • I get vigorous exercise five days a week, including hour-long swims and trips to the spin studio.
  • I keep a regular sleep schedule and try, even on the weekends, to go to bed at approximately the same time each night and get up at the same time every morning.
  • One of the things that specialists recommend is using your bed only for sleep and for sex. Your bed should be associated only with comfort and relaxation, and not work, Internet, or any other potentially stressful distraction.

The bad news is that on some nights, nothing works. The good news is that most of the time, with some combination of countermeasures, I am relaxed at bedtime and can get enough sleep to get up, do my job well, exercise, socialize with friends, and be a good partner to my significant other. These days, I spend about one or two nights a week awake between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and experience most-of-the-night insomnia only about once every two months.

After almost 40 years of insomnia, I have learned if I do go a night without sleeping, it is not the end of the world. In fact, I’ve even accomplished great things on days following sleepless episodes. Once in my late twenties, I didn’t sleep for an entire night before a master’s swimming competition. That morning, I set a personal record and won two silver medals in my events. Recently, I didn’t sleep the night before I had to speak in front of 250 people. Not only did I get through the talk the next day, but I had also given my best public talk yet. That night I had the best night of sleep I’d had in years.


How To Stop Being Lazy

Why am I so lazy? And how do I stop being lazy?

I’m guessing that you’re a creative, intelligent sort of person. Are you a perfectionist? That seems likely. Oftentimes, people with those characteristics really get bogged down by the magnitude of the tasks in front of them. Doing something means risking failing at it. Sometimes that risk seems to loom so large, and the drive to perfectionism is so strong, that any sort of meaningful and productive task just seems like it’s not worth it. Why risk failing, when you can just do something else instead?

Of course, in the back of your mind you know that those choices are causing you to fail anyway. That’s why you’re miserable.

So you have to re-think things in a different way. First up, you have to give yourself permission to fail, permission to be less than perfect sometimes.Failing at something, making mistakes, opens up a great opportunity to learn something new.

Second, you have to recognize that laziness and procrastination are destructive to your word. When you take on a task you make a promise to somebody (perhaps just yourself, but somebody) that you will complete that task. Putting that off brings you out of integrity with your word in the matter. That’s not bad, or wrong, it just is what there is in the situation.

But integrity is the thing that makes life work. It is the structure that holds our interactions together. When integrity fails, the structure collapses. Honoring your word is the way to make sure that the integrity of the situation remains intact.

The best way to honor your word is to put it into some sort of reality. Start making and keeping a schedule, and a to-do list, if you don’t already. Start planning your actions, breaking them into smaller tasks that are more easily achievable. Those things serve as a very real reminder that you’ve made a promise that you need to keep. Your word has to be the thing that keeps you moving forward. Honoring that word has to become your primary motivation.

You also need to enlist others to keep you accountable. Get a friend to check up with you, and kick your ass. When you need motivating to take an action, somebody is there to hold you accountable for that action. This piece alone helped me finally finish up a college degree that had been awaiting completion for over 6 years. My friends found out, did all they could to help, and held me accountable to get it done.

But, most importantly, you have to recognize that honoring your word to yourself is absolutely critical. It’s easy to keep promises to others, we don’t like to disappoint. But it’s much harder to keep your word with yourself. You are every bit as deserving of that respect as anybody else who might be involved.

Change your perspective. It’ll change your life.”

Nicely put. Let’s break it down — to stop being lazy, start by:

  • Giving yourself permission to fail — remember, guilt is not a productive emotion.
  • Honoring your word — when you commit to doing something, follow through.
  • Start planning your actions and breaking them into manageable chunks.
  • Get others to keep you accountable — a friend or accountability partner that will call you out if you start backsliding.


Marital Rape Experience

For Years, My Husband Continually Drugged And Raped Me

My story starts like a lot of people’s stories. I had a whirlwind romance and married a man I put all my trust in. We had a happy marriage for a few years, and then we began to drift apart. Our lives were consumed by everyday events — children, school, work, sports — which meant we were a typical married couple working on raising a family and living a normal life.

Seven years into our marriage, I started having memory and fatigue issues. Strange things would happen to me and I couldn’t remember how. One night, I woke up with a dissolving pill in my mouth. I had no recollection of taking a pill and was very confused. Another night I woke up with my clothes off. That was strange, since I wear clothes when I sleep and could not remember taking them off. I began to worry that I was sleepwalking.

I was also experiencing a weird taste when I slept. It was very bitter, like that lingering awfulness in your mouth when you don’t get an aspirin down in the first swallow. After a while, I started tasting the same thing in my drinks. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me.

One night, I woke up to my husband standing over me with something strange in one hand and a flashlight, shining in my face, with the other. As he scurried away he tried to hide something under the mattress. After a physical confrontation, I was able to retrieve what was hidden. Under the mattress was a vial with a cloudy liquid inside. I asked what it was and what was he doing with it. He admitted that he had been dissolving Xanax and/or Ambien and administering it to me while I slept. Of course I asked why and he told me he thought I needed the drugs so I could get more sleep. Confused, I begged him to stop. He agreed to stop and I trusted that he would.

Over the next few years, I caught him multiple times administering the same white cloudy liquid to me. I confronted him over and over again, pleading for him to stop. He always had a way to make me believe that he would stop, that he was just looking out for my best interest.

One day, my husband left his phone at home. I had had suspicions that maybe he was involved in something shady so I decided to investigate. I found something on that phone that would change my life forever: video taken by my husband of him having sex with me while I was passed out cold. There were three videos in total and in each one I looked like I was dead. I panicked.

How did I not know this was happening to me? How did I not wake up when this was going on? I couldn’t wake up! I had been drugged with the white cloudy liquid that my husband administered to me countless times before. He would give me such a large amount of the drug that I would pass out and not wake up, for any reason. I was in a deep, drug-induced sleep. How many times had this happened? I had no idea. I was so disgusted, confused and afraid. I had always known that something wasn’t right, but I never had any proof until now.

I kept a copy of the videos and confronted my husband. He acted like he had done nothing wrong and then he somehow manipulated me into believing that no one would believe me, even with the video. Very soon we were divorced. He moved out and away from me. Even though I could move on with my life, I always felt like I should do something, tell someone, let the world know that this extremely messed-up thing happened to me. I tried to shake those feelings off and concentrate on moving on. I would read self-help books, go to support groups and see a counsellor regularly.

One day, my son and daughter were supposed to go with their father for their weekend visit. My son would be gone most of the visit on a school trip and my daughter would have been left by herself with her father. All of a sudden, I felt like my brain opened up and I finally realized that what my husband did to me was 100% wrong. If he could do something that horrific and horrible to his own wife, then he could do it to anyone, including my daughter. It was then I knew that I needed to turn him in to the police for what he had done. He needed to be exposed for the monster that he was.

I turned the copy of the video I had into the police and told them my story. For the next three years, I fought this man who I once trusted with my life. I had to fight him in the criminal court for his disgusting acts toward me and also in civil court over my children.

Finally in the spring of last year, the jury trial came to an end: my husband was convicted of six Class B felonies, including rape and criminal deviant conduct.

I was finally free — free of his lies, his manipulation and his dark cloud. I could finally move on knowing that I would be safe. This man could not hurt me or my children.

Or so I thought.

Two weeks later was his sentencing hearing — and we received the biggest shock of the trial. Although he was convicted of those six felonies, he would not spend any time in jail. He would be put under house arrest, essentially free and able to live on without going to prison.

How could that be? How could someone be convicted of such violent crimes and not serve any time in prison?

And while the judge was giving the gift of no prison time to my ex, he told me that my ex may have been a crappy husband, but he was a good father and that I should “forgive him.”


Excuse me, sir. This man raped me multiple times over many years. Rape doesn’t make him a crappy husband — it makes him a criminal.

I was devastated. I could not believe that one judge could destroy all the hope that I had that justice would be served. I went into a deep depression and tried to hold on to the hope that I would be able to move on and live my life unafraid. No such luck.

Two months later, my ex violated his house arrest. He was finally sent to prison, this time with a five-year sentence — and was let out a few months ago.

I have come forward to tell my story to highlight the issue of marital rape. My case brought up lots of conversation about the law, and whether or not marital rape is illegal. It is, in all 50 states. Some people, like Donald Trump’s lawyer, seem disbelieving. Some people wonder, understandably, how can a man rape his wife. My story tells you how. Regardless of your marital status with regard to your rapist, if there is no consent, it is rape. When a person is convicted of rape, they should receive a sentence that fits that crime. Unfortunately, in my state, rapists’ sentences are handed down by judges who can decide how harsh — or not harsh at all — they will be.


Today, I am still trying to overcome the depression that comes with the shame and disgust that I feel when those videos pop into my head. I try every day to stay positive and to achieve something toward my goal of changing the way people view rape, and especially marital rape. I need to make sure that this story is heard by other women in similar situations. Maybe they will find the courage like I did to come forward, and to make sure their attacker is held accountable for their actions.

If I can continue to bring the issue of marital rape to the forefront of conversation, then maybe I can help make changes in sentencing laws for convicted rapists. If my story helps one person, it is a story worth telling.


Narcissistic Behaviour Signs


As a single lady, it’s easy for me to feel all alone even in a crowded room. But I’m determined not to let it get the better of me.

There’s more to life than men, and by focusing on other things, I’m maximizing my life as a single woman. Here are my suggestions for living that life.


One of my favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17: “He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  When we get a picture of just how precious we are to God, we can’t help but enjoy life. Life is worth living because He is worth living for.

When we get to the “I should be married by now stage,” it’s easy to compare ourselves to others. But God created each of us uniquely and He has given each person specific gifts in order to touch other people’s lives.

Don’t wait for God to bring a man into your life to “complete” you. You are already complete if you are a child of God.

You are single today because He wants you to be. There are some things in life that you can only accomplish in this particular season of life.


“No man (or woman) is an island.” I never realized how much I needed good, supportive friends until my recent breakup with my boyfriend. God has brought some wonderful people into my life, all of whom play different roles.

I have an accountability friend who keeps me on track by asking me the hard questions, I have a ministry friend who plays a role similar to mine in her church, and I have many friends with whom I can just have fun and be myself. I also have a couple of close guy friends. Our relationships are so secure that we know there will never be anything more to our friendship; they are “safe” guys. I have found it helpful to understand a male’s perspective on many things I may be dealing with in my life.


This year on Valentine’s Day, my roommates and I decided we would have a girls’ night at our place for all our single friends. We had a lot of fun making the invitations (so much fun that I’ve found a new hobby of making cards!) and planning the menu, decorating and so on.

Of course, everyone still has “down” days and you have to allow yourself to go through them. But don’t stay there. Watching sappy love movies or reading romance novels doesn’t help, so stay away from those.

Here are some things you could do instead:

  • Have a girls’ night
  • Enjoy a regular “pamper yourself” day
  • Find a hobby
  • Aim to meet one new person every week
  • Travel
  • Attend a women’s conference
  • Get some exercise

Why Intoxication Did Not Make My Problems Go Away

Look for opportunities to serve people and while serving, have a good attitude to life. In the meantime, if God happens to bring you a guy who seems to be running at the same pace and direction as you, that’s awesome! But if not, keep serving anyway.

This article was first published on

Recovering from business failure

5 Leadership Lessons From Nigerian CEO of General Electric, Lazarus Angbazo’s Speech at Purdue University

Nigerian CEO of General Electric, Lazarus Angbazo’s in his Speech at Purdue University shared some leadership lessons everyone can learn a thing or two from.

We have highlighted some below:

1. Pursue learning and educational opportunities 

“I left Nigeria with the promise of a prestigious scholarship from the Federal Government of Nigeria. However, shortly after my arrival in the United States, there was a change in government in a military coup. One of the first things they did was to cancel my scholarship and that of many others because of a very severe economic crisis in the country.

What kept me going was the knowledge that education and the opportunity for learning were my ticket to a life of opportunities. Fortunately, at that most crucial time, The University of Iowa came through unexpectedly with a very generous financial-aid package that allowed me to continue my American dream journey.

By the way every accomplished person I have studied has gone through a phase of uncertainty and feeling like they are groping in the dark. I certainly felt that way many times over the years. In fact, I still feel that way sometimes to be candid with you.”

Stop lying to your doctors hoping for a miracle. You are at risk of being misdiagnosed. Please help your doctor to help you. #DANGDoctor Monisola Adanijo

2. Never underestimate the role of mentors

“As it was with my educational journey, my initial career path was also driven more by opportunity than by some conscious planning. To be candid with you, academia was the furthest career path on my mind despite having pursued a PhD. Timing was not great as the US was going through a recession and quite frankly I also didn’t have the green card as foreign student. I simply couldn’t get a job on wall street after hundreds of resumes and dozens of interviews.

Neither was I able to get beyond the initial rounds of candidate selections at the Young Professionals Program and Young Economists Programs of the World Bank and IMF respectively. But with the support and encouragement of mentors I changed focus. Like I said in my introduction, I found myself here at Purdue. I was hired as an assistant professor at this great campus and it felt like this would be home forever.

“Also, as I indicated, most of my early career path sprang out of unexpected opportunities mostly from mentors. Let me add with emphasis the need to be prepared for the opportunity when it comes.  You also must not feel like you are out of luck if you don’t know the right people (although who you know is also very important). But More important than knowing the right people is the need to be outstanding so those people would recommend you for the opportunities.”

3. Build capacity to take on big challenges

“One of the most important skills you must develop now to prepare for those complex situations that will push you beyond your known abilities is the Capacity to Learn and the Capacity to execute and deliver. This requires a willing attitude, which in turn starts with humility. It requires vertical and horizontal learning… from superiors and subordinates and from peers. Another skill you must develop is Courage which we spoke about already, but I want to emphasize. You must get out of your comfort zone and not be afraid to venture out.

“On my first day at GE, my manager shared with me his secret for success – it was – to never shy away from the difficult assignments, because the paths less trodden are usually the paths with the most opportunities for growth. It would mean that you must be willing to deploy your best self and to go the extra mile. This comes with a certain kind of hunger that you must have no matter the career path you choose and no matter the scale of the business environment you operate in, — whether it’s big or small, — local enterprise or a global multinational.”

4. Be intentional about getting your goals

“At GE, I intentionally sought out the opportunity to participate at the International level. In my first day at GE I looked for the head of GE International Operations and convinced him of my interests and specific connections to the African continent. Beyond this, I volunteered my support to anybody in GE that wanted to know anything about Africa. When the opportunity came to support active projects in Africa I did so voluntary as a second job. I continued offering these support on an ad-hoc basis for almost 5 years before the opportunity came up for me to move to Africa on a full-time basis.”

5. Nothing else matters but delivery, so deliver 

“For us in GE, success is when the customer is truly happy. Make this your watchword. I would like to suggest a simple template you should remember when you think of executing for success. Without trying to be corny, I call them the 4Ds, and they have worked for me: a. Develop yourself (Continuous learning) b. Differentiate yourself(UniqueValue-add/ExtraMile)
c. Deliver on commitment (Say/Do Ratio) d. Demand more responsibility (Raise your hand/ Leadership Growth)“

Lazarus Angbazo is the President and CEO of General Electric in Nigeria.




Yesterday I had the opportunity, alongside many others to ask Chimamanda questions and watch her absolutely be open, become teary and honest. Chimamanda grew up recognising the inequality of treatments between men and men. She was aware from her early age that the expectations from both genders were different. So, she began to ask questions, and speak passionately against it, asking for everyone to have equal opportunities to live their best lives. I didn’t grow up noticing these things. I grew up thinking I could do what I wanted and be whomever I wanted to be.

From my home, I saw my mum as a strong woman, she did all she could to make sure we all got educated and never lacked the things we NEEDED. She also never stopped affirming to my siblings and me, that we would do great. With this background, I lived how I wanted. I didn’t see any roadblocks, females were leading in my class, we had a head boy and head girl in secondary school. In my set, there was only one head of prefects and she was female. I knew I could be president if I wanted. What is inequality? The word never appeared in my dictionary.

ALSO READ: Why Intoxication Did Not Make My Problems Go Away

Then the bubble burst, I began to see the craziness in expectations as I graduated from university. I was told to tone down my ambitions, asked if I wanted to marry with the way I was going on with my life, to stop working so hard like a man. That I hadn’t achieved anything if I had all I worked for but still didn’t have “Ade Ori” (A crown which means a husband). I became angry and idealistic. Pushed harder, worked smarter and shut down men who tried to tell me what to do and how to live. I was so angry, I forgot to laugh. But, life is messy. I soon realised how ideology doesn’t neatly match real life.

That there’s a need for me to listen and learn, to watch, observe and speak from a place of knowledge rather than from a place of anger and rebellion. I learnt to speak gently if I wanted to change a heart of stone,that in my softness and humour, I could still fight the good fight and make people listen. That truly, my passion does not have to translate to aggressiveness. And in places where I need to shout to be heard, I will, because that too, is okay. And most importantly, that to be a feminist is MORE in my actions THAN in my words.

The difference between Chimamanda and I is that, she recognised quickly what she had to do, I didn’t. I lived in a bubble until it popped and I fell painfully on my ass.

Why Intoxication Didn't help

Why Intoxication Did Not Make My Problems Go Away

To understand my story you need to understand me – I am almost 22. I’ve grown up in a family that has seen its fair share of good and not so good days. I am mostly quiet because I over-think way too much.

I believe love comes in different shapes and sizes. I believe in making real connections yet fear the pain that comes with it. I’ve met a countless broken-souls and heard their stories. I believe, ‘It takes one to know one’, and strive to live by it every day.

I have a lot of people who care very deeply about me, yet, at times I can’t help but feel a sharp sudden pain in my heart.

Now that you know me a little better it will make things a little easier for you to understand.

I began drinking when my school was about to end. The first time I drank I was 17. I was at a friend’s place and I drank most of it neat. It was whiskey.

I cried way too much that night. Believe it or not, it felt great. Primarily because I was so emotionally constipated. I needed an outlet.

The second time I drank was with my sister. I should have taken a couple of notes about my tolerance because that night I puked and passed out in my washroom. And if you’re wondering, yes, I cried again when I was all alone and my sister had passed out.

I don’t remember the third or the fourth.

After approximately the seventh time I graduated into an occasional drinker.

And that was that.

When I got admitted to one of the better colleges in the country that is when alcohol started having a more profound effect on my life. I drank when I was stressed, happy, anxious or sad. I attached intoxication to the happening or non-happening of a certain event.

See, as I look back, the reason becomes clear. My ego and pride had taken a huge hit when I cut corners to ensure my admission and I just wasn’t ready to deal with it. Hence, I turned to alcohol because I didn’t really have friends then.

College began and I met a hundred different people. I made it a point to go ahead and introduce myself to everyone in my sight.

Most of them thought I was pretty weird but I wanted to ensure college began on a different note. I was going to make some real connections in this new city.

And I did.

You see I believe that when things happen they happen all at once or not at all. Here I was making some real connections or trying to and then my family broke apart and it broke me instead. That is when things took a turn for the worse.

I am not at liberty to say more because it’s not really my story to share but yeah things at home weren’t as well as I would want them to be.

When I Stopped Competing, I Set Myself Free

I was emotionally traumatised and things were still crumbling all over the place. I didn’t like college all that much and there was this constant emptiness within me.

Now understand something. I am not justifying anything. I am just trying to make you understand how it got worse. Also, I am in no way blaming anyone for my mistakes. It was all me and it is forever going to be. But maybe you’ll forgive me like I’ve forgiven myself.

So, I drove head-fast into alcohol. One or two pegs turned into a small-bottle a day. A year later it turned into a litre.

And then I knew I Had to stop.

I drink once a week now. Mostly on weekends. I am much much better now and as I look back I get it. Here is what I know now –

  1. Intoxication will not make your pain go away. If you’re intoxicating yourself to forget, you’re delaying the inevitable. Trust me. It will come back to bite you.
  2. I know I should have dealt with things head-on. Even though it’s easier said than done but you’ll have to deal with it someday anyway.
  3. I plagued by this constant emptiness inside me. I felt so utterly lonely – it’s difficult to explain. But, I did have a lot of people who actually cared. I was just not ready to even give them a chance. Try and reach out. You’ll be surprised by how many will give their best to make you better.
  4. Share. Talk to people. Tell them what’s bothering you. You’ll be surprised by how many would understand or actually try to. If you’re going through a rough phase reach out. You are bigger than your ego or your pride.
  5. If you choose to see an expert tell them the truth. I hid many things from most of the people I saw and that made the whole thing worse.

Just remember. Intoxication is just your way of distracting yourself from the truth. Don’t let it take over your life.


I’ve Stopped Hiding My Struggles

Why I’ve Stopped Hiding My Struggles

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself… that is the moment you might be starting to get it right.” ~Neil Gaiman

The road seemed to go on forever.

Although it was only about 8:30 am, the summer sun was already blazing in the sky, shining down with such intensity I felt like an ant under a merciless magnifying glass.

Seven miles into an eight-mile run and growing more and more tired with each step, I faced the final stretch, along a tarmac path bustling with fellow runners, dog walkers, cyclists, and the occasional rollerblader.

“Not… far… to… go,” I repeated to myself, as I trudged along with all the grace of a baby elephant. As faster and leaner runners passed me, I noticed my mind was slipping into self-comparison-mode, but then I pulled myself back to the present moment.

As I became more present, I observed.

I observed the slight twinge in my left shin and the sound of birdsong from nearby bushes. To my surprise, I observed another more interesting phenomenon, an old pattern I thought I had beaten.

As I passed other people walking, running, cycling, and blading in the opposite direction, I noticed my demeanour changed. I went from running like a baby elephant to galloping like a gazelle, from looking like the newbie runner I am to pretending to be a seasoned professional athlete.

In the brief moments my path crossed with strangers, I hid my struggle.

My posture improved and the grimace on my face turned into a confident smile.

But why?

Why did I feel the need to hide my struggle and present a more I-have-it-all-together version of myself?

I pondered this question for a few days after this intriguing observation. Why do any of us feel the need to appear more together than we are?

The answer I came up with is this…

We hide our struggles because we’ve learned that showing signs of struggle or weakness is a bad thing.

I believe, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In early life, we were more than willing to show signs of struggle. When we were tired, upset, or frustrated, we communicated exactly how we felt (through cries and tantrums). A little bit older, when confused in the classroom, we were more likely to put our hands up and ask for help.

We knew at a young age that struggling was a part of life, and a sign we were soon going to learn something new.

Sadly, as we became older, it became more and more unacceptable to struggle and fail. Teachers and parents became less sympathetic and patient as their expectations increased. We began striving for perfection, which, of course, is unattainable.

To wash away the false idea that showing signs of struggle is a bad thing, we need to remember these three important truths.

1. Struggling is normal.

It seems so darn obvious, but when I’m hiding my struggles, I’m denying the truth that struggling is normal. I’m buying into stories like “I should know better,” “I shouldn’t feel like this,” and “I should look like I have it all together.”

The bottom line is, we’re human, meaning we’re all imperfect and we all struggle. No one has it all together. No one has a perfect life. And no one feels happy, confident, and positive all the time.

Rather than feel ashamed and hide our struggles, we need to recognize that struggles are human and appreciate ourselves for doing our best in any given moment.

2. Unless we show we’re struggling, we’re unable to receive help.

Whenever I pretend I’m not struggling, the door to receive help is closed.

In my early twenties, I went through a hard time. Facing financial struggles, daily anxiety, and dwindling confidence, I felt like I’d fallen down a deep, dark hole. I’d wake each day feeling helpless. But for almost two years, I lived a lie, in complete denial about my life situation. To the outside world, all was well.

Eventually, it got too much and I had to get real. It started with a simple phone conversation with a lady from a debt-agency. In two minutes, I felt like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. This was the start of admitting I was struggling and getting some help.

No matter what our struggles are, right now there are people who can (and want to) help. No one could help me unless I helped myself first, and it started with getting real.

3. Showing we’re struggling gives others permission to show they’re struggling too.

The moment we take off the masks and make ourselves vulnerable, we give others permission to do the same.

After tackling my financial struggles, I began to open up about my anxiety. I remember being sat in a pub with a close friend of mine when I decided to share with him how I’d been struggling with an anxious mind.

His response shocked me: “That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling.” For years, we’d both been struggling with the same thing but had never once spoken about how we’d felt. How sad.

Why do some Nigerian Men Treat Women The Way They Do?

When we share our struggles with those around us, we give them permission to voice theirs, if they wish to share. We may never know just how life-changing that permission may be to someone. They may feel alone, overwhelmed, or even at the end of their rope, and we could change it all by giving them an opportunity to receive our understanding and support.

Now when I lace up my running shoes, I leave the mask at home. And if I’m struggling at work, in my relationships, or in any other area of my life, I let other people in.

I no longer pretend to be fine when I’m not because when I’ve been honest in the past, only good has happened.


Stop competing

When I Stopped Competing, I Set Myself Free

“With nothing to compare yourself to, aren’t you perfect?” ~Byron Katie

I have never liked competition. Every time I compete, I feel pressured and disconnected from others. I love harmony, peace, collaboration, and win-win situations, kind of like “me happy, you happy.” I don’t need to watch another person lose the game to feel good about myself. I don’t need to dominate or put someone else down in order to feel superior and worthy.

In some cultures, competing is perceived as a sign of ambition, power, and strength. Most of us grew up hearing constant comparisons, which turned into a habit during our adult lives:

“Do I look better than her? I want to be slimmer.”

“How much is he earning? I want more.”

“Where does she live? I want a house at least that size.”

And so on…

In my home country, Romania, like in many other places, the schooling system was a fierce competition to get the best grades and be the first in the class. As a child, I remember spending an average of ten hours a day studying and doing homework during weekdays. I hardly had any time to play and relax.

Teachers were always making comparisons between students, parents would compare their children to their friends’ or neighbors’ kids, and no one truly encouraged individual talents.

As a result of this conditioning, I ended up struggling with serious self-esteem issues for many years. As a young woman, I didn’t see myself as good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, or successful enough, and I desperately tried to be perfect.

When I wasn’t competing with other people, I was competing with myself. I was always striving to be the best friend I could be, the best daughter, or the best employee at work. Pleasing others was addictive because I felt validated whenever I heard “well done!” And then I wanted to do even better.

I am not here to blame. I am not a victim. My parents did the best they could at the time, and society did the best it knew, so I am not blaming but instead looking for hidden and limiting beliefs that have worked against me. Here’s what I have realised I need to do:

1. Stop competing with other people.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” ~Iyanla Vanzant

Our society often encourages competition. There are some circumstances when we have no choice but to compete—when applying for a new position at work or attending job interviews, for example. However, there are situations when we make the rules, and the choice is entirely up to us. We can live our own lives and mind our own journey, or we can choose to compete with others over who’s more attractive, wealthier, happier, or more successful.

During my single years, I often compared myself to other women. Most of them seemed settled; they were married and had the house, the men, the kids, and the dog. I used to feel like a failure, as if something were wrong with me. I met my husband when I was thirty-six. We were two Romanians working in Asia, for the same company. Small world, indeed. We’ve been happily married for four years now.

So here what I’ve learned: Everyone is on their own path, and we all do what’s right for us, in our own time. I believe we live in a supportive Universe where everything unfolds perfectly—at the right time, in the right place. Comparing ourselves with others is an infinite source of stress and frustration, and it doesn’t serve us well.

2. Stop competing against myself.

“Doing your best is more important than being the best.” ~Zig Ziglar

Perfection is nothing but pure fiction, an illusion created by our minds. It’s also a learned practice. Most of us were raised to constantly strive to become better people—to focus on our flaws and perceived limitations—and we either take our strengths for granted or aren’t even aware of them.

While we are all learning from our experiences and mistakes, we also need to be aware of our gifts and talents. We need to celebrate our uniqueness and detach ourselves from the toxic habit of comparing ourselves to others.

Yet here I am, in my forties, still reading about infinite ways to become a better human. With so much focus on the need for improvement, particularly in the personal development industry, I wonder when I am ever supposed to turn into the best version of myself and find peace.

So I’ve stopped competing with myself. I refuse to fight against myself so that I can reach the end of the tunnel, and I am no longer waiting for the magical day when I will become perfect and faultless.

Why turn my life into a never-ending competition? True friendship is not about competing against each other. It’s about support and collaboration. Why act as my competitor when I can be my own best friend?

As the Chinese proverb says, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

If I am to spend my precious time waiting to grow into the best of myself, there will always be something to change, add, fix, or transform so that I can finally feel whole and complete.

Life doesn’t have to be such a daily struggle. I don’t have to fix myself because I am not broken.

I embrace the entire repertoire of my humanity with self-love and compassion. I choose not to be a “work in progress.” My desire for growth is about taking each day as an opportunity to learn more about life and myself.

That’s how I discover who I really am and what brings me genuine happiness and fulfillment. By releasing old patterns and limiting beliefs that don’t serve me well, I get closer to my real human essence. My life is all about experiencing things as they come. It is a journey of self-discovery, not self-improvement.

Since I changed my perspective, I’ve stopped beating myself up. I now talk to myself kindly. I treat myself with dignity and respect. I know I am worthy of the best things life has to offer, and it is my birthright to be happy. My happiness is nothing to compete or fight for.

I also choose to see myself as perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect. I celebrate my mistakes as much-needed opportunities for growth. I celebrate both success and failure because this is what makes me wiser. I treat every life experience as an opportunity to learn new things about myself and other people.

Why do some Nigerian Men Treat Women The Way They Do?

Furthermore, I’ve learned to forgive myself for my mistakes in the same way I forgive others, knowing I am also human. As a student at the school of life, I will sometimes rise and sometimes fall, and that is okay. I no longer strive to become the best version of myself. Instead, I always do the best I can. When I know I’ve done the best I could, there’s no room for regrets. Whenever I know better, I do better.

I am enough and worthy, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. Not even to myself. Newborns and babies do not compete against each other. They love and approve of themselves as they are. In our competition-oriented society, we need to remind ourselves more of our true nature, which is balanced, loving, and peaceful.

I believe the world needs fewer fighters and competitors. The world needs more givers, peacemakers, and soul nurturers, and it also needs more compassion.

The day I stopped competing against myself and others, I set myself free. And you can do it too.


Nigerian Women CS

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

Most times when women are told they will have a C section, I hear a lot of “I reject it in Jesus name, it’s not my portion, awuzubillahi.” I thought I knew better until I was in those shoes and still struggled with the scary thought of not having a vaginal birth.

When I went into labour with my first child, after many contractions, being monitored by the doctors and 18 hours of being in labour with strong contractions, I never dilated beyond 2cm, I was told “Doc you are going to have a CS because you ain’t dilating and the baby is going into distress.”

Stop lying to your doctors hoping for a miracle. You are at risk of being misdiagnosed. Please help your doctor to help you. #DANGDoctor Monisola Adanijo

Yours truly began to pray, speak in tongues and reject it at the same time. The next thing I saw on the monitor was my baby’s heart rate going up. It was then I knew there was fetal distress. I immediately called my hubby saying, “Oya let them do it oh,now now.”

At the end, I had a strong Healthy boy, who came out with a serious tangling of the cord round his neck, meaning if I had delivered normally he would have been a fresh still birth. Wow!!! Women please CS is not a death sentence.

The most important thing is to have both mother and baby in good health. The most painful one is when those who ran away, refusing to have CS come back for the CS but by then, the baby is dead but they still have to have the CS to bring out a dead baby.

I remember when I registered my son in school. I wasn’t asked if he was delivered through vaginal birth or CS.

Let’s let go of this mindset. Please help a woman not to loose her child and not increase maternal mortality.

Written by DANGdoctor Adeleye- Oshunpidan Wumi


Dealing with disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment in Life

There are things you can do to relieve yourself of disappointment from a past event, and prepare yourself for any disappointments that are likely to come in the future. How can you move out of disappointment and into more peace and happiness?

  1. Accept that disappointment happens to everyone – and it happened to you. It can be helpful to start by normalising the situation. No one gets through this life without disappointment; some are bigger than others, but everyone experiences it. Know that you are in good company and accept your state as perfectly normal.
  2. Instead of sitting in your state indefinitely, once you have allowed yourself to acknowledge that you are in good company, start the process of re-framing. Re-framing means taking any situation and putting a more objective “frame” around it. It can be helpful at this step to actually write your disappointment down, like journal notes. Record what happened but capture it like a journalist. Be clinical. Trying to separate the emotions from what happened is helpful to getting some personal power back.
  3. Change your self-talk. Instead of talking to yourself as if this was the worst thing that could happen to you, shift your language to something more powerful (yet still true) – “It happened and now I need to figure out my next steps.” Or “Disappointment happens to everyone but it doesn’t have to stop me from moving on.” Or “I’m disappointed, but who dictates that I have to wallow in it? I can do something differently right now if I choose.” Any time you hear yourself say to yourself, “It’s the end of the world” or “I can’t go on” or “I’m a terrible person with bad luck”, allow these phrases to be a trigger to shift the talk to something more positive.
  4. Make a plan. Having a way to move forward when you’ve been thwarted and feel stuck is important. Don’t make grand plans – “I’m going to move to Costa Rica and start another life” – unless you have the will and the means to do so. Instead, start small; set a goal of something you can accomplish and move confidently in the direction of it. Experiencing some form of accomplishment can send the message to your mind and your emotions that you can do it, so go ahead and do it!

Life is definitely going to test you and possibly even throw you more disappointment as you move away from the most recent one, so continue to hone your skills and practice these steps. Remember that this is for life’s small and big disappointments, not significant tragedy. If you are experiencing PTSD or some other more severe reaction to a life experience, seek professional attention for support.


Men who think women are inferior

Why do some Nigerian Men Treat Women The Way They Do?

I never say this because I’ve met many gentlemen in Nigeria. Well brought up and without negative bias towards women but this morning, what happened to me makes me wonder why Naija men do some of the things they do.

On my way to work this morning, I saw my neighbour’s car parked on the road side, right behind her car was a land rover truck and surrounding her were three men all talking at the same time at her. I pulled to the side and alighted from my car. When I got to their circle, I asked.

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

Chi (neighbour) “are you okay? What’s going on?” She looked distressed. She told me she hit the Land Rover from behind and badly dented the bumper. I said “Okay, so what are we going to do? What’s the plan?” “I’ve told them I’ll repair it. But they want me to follow them to their panel beater now now now. I’ll be late for my appointment with my doctor. I’ve explained that I’m doing IVF and I can’t be late for my appointment. I gave them my card and house address but they’re insisting it has to be now” Her voice was shaking, her eyes had pooled with tears.

I turned to the men and focused on the one holding the car key. “We’re so sorry sir. Please I can also take you to my office and you can come for me if she doesn’t show up at yours in the evening. Please let her make her doctor’s appointment. Let me give you my card as well…”

“You must think we’re fools. Ehn. She must follow us now to repair this car. I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you. Get out of my face please,” he steps aside to look at Chi “Don’t make me rough handle you o. Get in your car, my brother will follow you…” The man

Holding the key had raised his voice. I asked Chi if she had called her husband, she said “He’s almost here. Abeg stay with me”. In another 5 minutes, her husband arrived. Shook hands with the men, they spoke for 5 minutes, he gave them his card and I could her one of them say, “Why didn’t you come before she went to call another woman to defend her. That one was now talking to me with authority. Woman come here dey tell me what to do. From where na? I was angry ehn…” My heart sunk. This is crazy! I wondered how the man himself didn’t sound crazy.


How To Change Bad Habits

This Is The Way To Change Your Bad Habits

We all know the feeling of setting goals for ourselves only to watch our commitment fade as time passes.

Why is this? For one, change scares people more than death. To drive that point home, 90% of people who undergo coronary bypass surgery do not change their lifestyle , despite having just received the scare of their lives.

If people who face a life and death situation are resistant to change, it’s no wonder that we struggle with even minor habit changes.

Don’t Fight Your Biology

Habitual behavior is created by thought patterns, which create neural pathways and memories, which eventually become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or a decision.

Our brains desperately seek pleasure over pain. The effort to abstain from bad habits compels you to do them more because abstention feels bad. Ergo, you will fight to feel good.

To effect change requires new ways of thinking, to trigger new neural pathways, which will in time reward you the same way you were neurologically rewarded by the bad habit.

Easier said than done.

This process initially creates significant psychological discomfort, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Choose Gain Over Loss

As humans, we are loss-averse: it hurts us more to lose something than to gain something (e.g., it’s more painful to lose fifty dollars than it is to gain fifty dollars).

When you focus on stopping a habit, you fight your natural, human urge to gain over lose.

We will therefore white-knuckle our terrible habits when they are framed as things we need to lose or stop.

The Bottom Line and What to Do About It:  To avoid the white-knuckling, re-frame the challenge into something you gain and learn, versus stop.

We are well-practiced in the art of learning from the minute we are born. We learn, we don’t stop.

Rather than say, “I need to stop spending money,” frame the change as “I want to learn how to have financial flexibility and gain financial freedom.”

It might seem small, but the reframe packs a punch.

Think in Steps

Large, daunting steps will be harder to accomplish and have the potential to thwart your ultimate goal of creating a new desirable habit. Similarly, so will small, too easily accomplishable steps.

According to social psychologist, Emily Balcetis, our body gets excited – showing a rise in systolic blood pressure – when anticipating an achievable goal, even more so with a slightly harder but still achievable goal.

If, however, the goal is too large and daunting, it throws it into the “impossible” drawer.

The Bottom Line and What to Do About It:

First, create an action plan. Break your new habits into small, attainable goals. Tap into your physiological and psychological tendencies to make the change stick.

Second, establish different cues that will help you meet your goal. Cues are often centered around location, time, emotional states, other people, or something that precedes an action; cues help solidify habits.

For example, if you typically find yourself noshing on junk at your desk every afternoon at 3PM, identify a different 3PM cue to help you learn the new habit (e.g., at 3PM go for a 10-minute walk or hold your daily team meeting).

See the Finish Line

Balcetis discovered something else in her research about attaining goals: keeping your eye on the prize makes the prize in question appear closer than if you let yourself get distracted.

In the study, one group was told to focus on the finish line in the distance, and the other was told to take in the surroundings as they walked toward the finish line.

The researchers found, “People who kept their eyes on the prize saw the finish line as 30% closer than people who looked around as they naturally would.”

The Bottom Line and What to Do About It: Perception is everything. Visualise the finish line as closer than it is to make the process feel easier. The more distraction you allow, the further your goal will appear.


Stop Lying About Meetings

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

Nigerians need to start respecting themselves with this “I’m in a meeting” phrase. What meeting? Some of you are on your bed going through Instagram, in your office playing candy crush or somewhere lounging with friends. Just as I found out today.

I have been calling a particular man all week because he bought a product from me and has refused to pay for a long time. This is a supposedly big man who has a little over a hundred staff and goes to Dubai for the weekend when he’s stressed out.

Today, I decided to call him again to remind him of my payment. He eventually picked up the second time and whispered dramatically, “I’m in a meeting please let me call you back”. Liar! I’ve heard that before. I know a fake whisper when I hear one.

ALSO READ: #TBT To That Time Odemwinge Declared His Love For me…How did I Respond?

“No problem I’m on my way to your office I’ll see you soon”. I cut off the call without giving him a chance to respond. Seconds later, a text message came in “I’m not in the office. At Abuja in NNPC”.

Okay…So maybe he was not lying after all. I fixed another lunch with a colleague at a seaside hotel because I was already dressed and needed not to waste make-up and outfit.

The seaside of the hotel can be seen at the reception. So, as I got into the hotel, the first person I saw through the glass doors was Mr Debtor drinking beer, lounging amongst a group of men.

“Hol’ up! Am I in Abuja?” I wondered to myself. I took a deep breath and walked in a straight line towards him and his group. Simultaneously, I got on the phone telling my colleague I had arrived, she asked me to look to my left and I’d see her. I looked to the left, waved at her, told her I’ll be with her shortly and continued to head towards the lounge, what did I see?


No way! I didn’t care about my heels, I picked up the pace. As I pushed the glass door open, I looked left and to my right, I saw that Mr Debtor had not gone too far. So I shouted his name, “[Mr debtor] is this the new NNPC? He stopped in his tracks, walked back to me and said, “Don’t make a scene. Respect yourself”

‘I should respect myself’, Issokay. I laughed really hard as I gently grabbed his arm, walked back to where he was seated and sat with him and his friends. So I said to him to the hearing of everyone, “Oya o, transfer my money now or write me a cheque please, just know if the cheque bounces my bank is obligated to report it to EFCC. Also, let’s not make me ‘disrespect myself'”.

Mr Debtor sent for his chequebook, wrote me a cheque furiously. I thanked him and bid his friends farewell. Behind me, I could hear him talking furiously in Hausa.

Who cares, I also had a “meeting” to attend.

Written by DANG

This post was initially Published on: 23 Jun 2017

Being a father chased fear

In 4 Months, I Erased 33 Years of Fear and Anxiety

I went all of my life wondering if I would have what it takes to be a father. My childhood was spent without one. One after another, self-proclaimed fathers had left my life and just as quickly as they entered.

The thought of being a father sent shivers down my spine and crippled my thoughts with fear.

I often wondered if my thoughts stemmed from my never knowing my biological father. My life was filled with questions about him, questions that would never be answered. Where did he go? Why did he leave? Who was he?

His absence led me to question my own life.

  • Could I be better than him?
  • Would I follow in his footsteps?
  • Would I use him leaving my family as fuel to be the best father I could?


As I aged financial implications entered the equation. Could my wife and I afford it? How can we afford it? Would I want to afford it? In an effort to clear my thoughts, I sat back and scrutinized our budget for weeks.

  • If I gave this up, then I could allocate a little more towards a baby.
  • If I made more money, things would be a lot easier.

From a selfish standpoint, I didn’t want the emotional, mental, and physical tie-down that a child brings. I was accustomed to a certain way of living and I didn’t want to give it up. In short, sacrifices would have to be made.

That was a hard pill to swallow. I spent years crafting the perfect life. I had married the most amazing woman, adopted and fostered more dogs than most would ever know, traveled to multiple cities and countries, and had begun to lay the foundation of a successful investing career.

Why would I want to give it up?

I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. My life was mine and not meant to be sacrificed for someone else. This reasoning caused stress, grief, and frustration and even began playing with my reality.


The night before we were set to leave for Jamaica, the pregnancy test turned pink and in that moment, my wife and I knew that our lives had just changed. This trip would be very different than what we were accustomed to.

As days turned into months, my anxiety grew. I still didn’t have an answer to any of the questions I was asking. Would I? Could I? Should I?

I reassessed the budget, our living situation, and everything that I could. Anything to allow my anxiety to catch its breath. I didn’t realise it at the time but nothing I was doing could change the inevitable. The moment that I told my wife I was “ready” was the moment I committed to jumping.


In September 2015 my anxiety subsided with the most amazing noise on Earth. As my son entered the world, he reached out and grabbed my finger. I think he was trying to tell me that it was going to be ok. Without even thinking about it, I reached into my pocket, grabbed my phone and took a picture of that moment. I knew that this was a moment that I wanted to remember forever. And I do.

His arrival signified change.

I remember looking at the clock at 3 in the morning of our first night thinking to myself, “What have I done?”

As any parents know, the restless nights seem anything but temporary. Lucky for me, I have the most amazing wife. Because I was still working, she refused to wake me up every time that he woke. 1, 2, and 3 o’clock in the morning, it didn’t matter. If he was up, so was she.

Her eyes told a picture that he mouth wouldn’t dare tell. She was tired.

120 days

Those first four months were difficult. My son, the man I helped bring into this world, wanted nothing to do with me. You can’t prepare for that.

I made as many attempts as I could to soothe him, to comfort him, and to bring ease to whatever was bothering him but nothing worked as well as her voice, her touch, and her calm.

I wanted to help her on a level that didn’t include diapers and bath time but he didn’t want that. She was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I was just a spectator. I went to bed each night assuring myself that one day this would change.

At approximately four months old, something happened. Suddenly, he realized that I was more than just another body in his house. I was his Dad and he wanted to be with me.

More importantly, after 33 years, I instantly knew what all the fuss was about. I was proud to be a father.

My time

As he approached 9 months, it was my turn. For the next three months, he was mine and I his. My wife went back to work and I took three months off. During these three months that our bond solidified. We became closer than we had ever been.

I knew that I had to make the most of my time. I had three months to teach him whatever I could without the watchful eye of my wife.

The question was, “Where do I begin?”

I opted to teach him something that would prove valuable for the entirety of his life; the “high five”. After a very quick 20 minutes of work, he finally repeated my action. Almost as though I needed reassurance, I asked him for 30 more.

And now?

Now entering his 18th month, he is the best part of my existence. The anxiety and fear that controlled my thoughts have been replaced with happiness and joy.

How to Toughen Up and Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Strength

In hindsight, it is pretty easy to see that life always works out for those who allow it to. As if it were magic, everything I was worried about disappeared. The travelling, investing, and everything that I selfishly didn’t want to give up have become a bigger part of my life. Now as I look to do them, I do them with conviction.

My thoughts have changed from, how does this benefit me to how does this benefit him. If I learned anything over the last 27 months, it is to embrace life for what it is… beautiful.


How to Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Strength

How to Toughen Up and Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Strength

“You’re too sensitive,” my boyfriend said last week.

“I know, isn’t it great?” I responded proudly, fully meaning it.

I’ve only recently begun to recognise the sheer strength of my sensitivity. Having been told to “toughen up” my entire life, I used to feel as though there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was somehow born flawed and cursed. While everyone else walked around with thick, impenetrable skin, mine was thin and absorbent. Almost everything affected me deeply, from an unkind word to a neglected animal to a war raging in a far off country.

If you relate to any of the above and cringe every time you hear the words, “toughen up,” here are three steps to turn the most common and dreaded advice you receive into something positive.

1) Consider the source and intention

For the most part, non highly sensitive people have good intentions when dishing out those two words from hell. To them, allowing yourself to feel deeply is a weakness because it causes you to get hurt easily, so it’s only logical that you toughen up, stop feeling deeply and you won’t get hurt. Pain avoidance is not only logical, it’s societally encouraged. But for highly sensitive people, logic is often overruled by the heart. We are led by our hearts rather than our heads, so to “toughen up” from a heart standpoint means to deny the very thing that makes you YOU. Telling a highly sensitive person to toughen up is like telling sugar not to be sweet. For those who don’t understand the deeply rooted inherent trait of sensitivity, “toughen up” is considered a piece of helpful advice to adjust a mere personality quirk, not an entire identity overhaul, which is how many of us highly sensitives take it.

2) Use your natural empathy to understand the deeper motive

My boyfriend and I have a saying — he’s the head, I’m the heart. We balance each other out. Being the rational, logical mind in the relationship, he recognises the importance of our balance and knows there’s only room for one dominant head in the relationship, not two. But even still, there are times when I’m hurt and he tells me to toughen up. Gifted with the emphatic ability to sense other people’s emotions and underlying intentions, I not only sense his masculine need to protect me from hurt, I feel his pain and helplessness of not being able to protect me from emotional hurt. He can physically shield me from a knife coming at my chest, but he can’t shield me from a knife cutting my heart from the inside. It’s ironic that his words directed at me could easily be turned back against him. Underneath his motive to save me from getting hurt lies a deeper desire to help me toughen up so he doesn’t have to feel the pain of seeing me in pain, and worse, not being able to stop it.

What Do I Do When My Husband Loves Me But Does Not Respect My Parents

Once I truly understood the psychological underpinnings behind the well-worn advice, I found compassion for those who told me to toughen up. Now, instead of cringing because I think they’re trying to change who I am, I can see it for what it truly is, an attempt at pain avoidance and a well-intentioned though misplaced piece of advice. Nothing more.

3) Re-frame the meaning of “toughen up” from a highly sensitive perspective

Being highly sensitive, your brain is hardwired to consider things from multiple angles. Use that to your advantage and consider the possibility that “toughen up” could mean strengthening your resolve to embrace and support your sensitivity. Instead of seeing it as a weakness, become curious about it and find ways in which it actually benefits you and those you love. Toughen up your wavering self-doubt and take a stand for your deep feelings. How many times have you felt such intense emotion and come out stronger on the other side? Do you know many others who wouldn’t be absolutely crushed with half the amount of pain you’ve felt, and probably feel on a daily basis? Instead of trying to toughen up your heart, toughen up your determination to see the resilience in it.

The next time someone tells you to toughen up and you feel that initial sting, you can thank them for reminding you of your sensitive strengths. You can immediately re frame their meaning of “toughen up” to your own heart-centred benefit and toughen up your commitment to loving yourself and your sensitivities, recognising how incredibly and quietly strong they make you.


Learning Diligence

Learning Diligence In the workplace and our lives as a whole

Diligence is the earnest, conscientious application of one’s energy to accomplish what have been undertaken; in other words, it is the exercise of investing one’s all energy to complete the assigned tasks. It is characterised by steady, earnest, and energetic applications and efforts. In simple term, it means that a diligent person continually works hard towards his or her goals, makes use of what resources and opportunities are available.

He or she is vigilant to avoid errors and to stay focused on the task at hand. He or she pays careful attention to details and is dedicated to achieving quality results. Diligence provides a basis for people trusting the person with jobs that are tricky or complicated. It is important to understand that diligence does not rely on talent, but employs commitment, industry, and perseverance to transform vision into reality.

“You Need to Show Yourself Worthy before Anyone Else can Invest in you” – Kemi “LaLa” Akindoju

The Concept of Diligence is engraved in certain basic principles. Diligence invests time, thought, and energy into a task with the hope that it will produce a healthy return. By investing a lot, diligent individuals expect to gain a lot. They realise that what they get out of something depends upon what they are willing to put into it. Diligence does not allow a task once undertaken to remain incomplete; it rather aims at finishing the task fully.

It counts the cost and sees things through to the bitter end. In fact, for the diligent persons, the satisfaction of finishing a task is often as meaningful as any praise or recognition they receive from others. Diligence also applies to both small and large tasks, significant or menial, easy or difficult. It applies the same efforts to whatever task is at hand, realising that anything worth doing is worth doing right.

How can one show diligence and perseverance? The answer is one should try hard no matter what the result is, because the greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time you fall. A champion is the one who gets up, even when he finds it tough to do so. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory.

Diligence demands three basic traits- patience, flexibility and gentleness. Tasks often involve time delays beyond one’s control. Diligence accepts these challenges patiently without unneeded worry and frustration. William Penn, English Quaker Leader [1644-1718] said, “Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains”. When accepting the responsibility for a job, it is important to stay flexible to honour the clients.

While a diligent person may work very hard and demonstrate tremendous self-discipline to stay on task, he must remain sensitive to the needs of others. He applies the necessary pressure to complete a job, but balances that drive with gentleness and a personal concern for other people. A diligent person is characterised with the following determinations: finish the task, do it right, follow instructions, concentrate on the work and not be lazy.

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“You Need to Show Yourself Worthy before Anyone Else can Invest in you” – Kemi “LaLa” Akindoju

My name is Kemi “Lala” Akindoju. I am an actor, producer and a casting director. I have also produced stage plays like Vagina monologue, London Life and Lagos Living.

Being a christian in the entertainment industry has never posed any challenge for me. First of all, I don’t separate areas of my life, being a christian is who I am. I go through the same struggle all other professionals go through but I do my best to do things I have peace about. Is it pure, lovely and of good report? Those things give me peace.

It is stereotypical to think that people in the entertainment industry are loose. There are loose people everywhere but you have to set your self aside and stick with your principles. When my ethics are tested, I do not budge. As a christian, some people think you have to do only Gospel films, I don’t believe in that because there are no gospel banks or gospel hospitals. We live in a secular world and what God requires of us is to shine our light, to show excellence and shine the light of Jesus every where that we find ourselves.

ALSO READ: “T01011233he rehearsals in the backstage will one day lead to a spot on the stage” – Debola Williams, CEO Of Red Media

My faith is tested more in areas of God coming through for me, getting jobs, sponsorship…trusting God for certain results. My faith has never been tested in the main entertainment work. I know who I am: I am grounded, strict, very disciplined, I take my job pretty seriously and I’m all about hard work. When people see that you work hard, you eventually get rewarded. You need to show yourself worthy before anyone else can invest in you. Faith is good but without work, it means nothing.

If you’re a Christian and feel you can’t break through into entertainment, believe me, it is all in your mind. If you are the salt of the earth, why would you stay back and hide your talent? Step out and go where everyone else is going. When you go for auditions, no one will ask you if you’re a christian, all they want to see are your skills and talents. The whole idea is that when people work with you, they’ll see who you are and treat you accordingly. Carrying your bible ahead of you, shouting “I’ AM A CHRISTIAN” does not make you special. Let your belief show in your character.

When I bear good fruit, people get attracted to the fruit, which makes them attracted to me. Then I can tell them who my saviour is, then they go, “ha ha that is why she is different.”

My Husband Does Not Respect My Parents

What Do I Do When My Husband Loves Me But Does Not Respect My Parents

I have been married for 2 years and my husband is wonderful. I mean no marriage is perfect but we try to make it work. He is really understanding and hardworking. Unfortunately I have been unable to work for the past year because of my health and pregnancy and he has been really supportive. My problem is that while he shows love to me, he doesn’t extend it to my family.

My family is very close knit and I have a problem with this. For example he has subtly insulted my mom on several occasions by not expressing concern or showing appreciation. His mom has also insulted my mom directly for things that she doesn’t know about. My husband steers away from handling this mother in-law issue. Never admits his mom is wrong and as such is allowing resentment to simmer, between the mothers, him and my mom & him and my siblings. Imagine his mom did my child’s naming ceremony without any of my family there because she didn’t think it was necessary (I was out of the country for the birth).

Maybe he was an abuser, maybe he just handled hurt the wrong way, I will never know for sure

My husband sees nothing wrong in this and won’t even hear anything against her.His attitude is a complete I don’t really give two towards my family. I wanted a very big close knit in-law family relationship and I don’t know what to do. My mom doesn’t visit us, my siblings are also wary of coming around. I feel like it’s ruining my relationship with my family. He was friendlier towards them before marriage. I’m really confused and don’t know what to do. It’s starting to affect my feelings towards him. I feel like he is isolating me, am I wrong?

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