APOLOGIES AND THE CONCEPT OF “FORGIVE AND FORGET”

Literally, to forgive and forget means to stop blaming someone for something the person has done to hurt you and to stop remembering what happened but, do we ever really forget? No, I don’t think so. The deed is done. The scar has formed. The memory has already been stored in the brain. You can’t just erase all that. I think that to forgive and forget means having to suppress and dismiss any urge to retaliate based on the misdeed of an individual towards you. It also means accepting to carry the burden of pain caused by what such a person has done to you alone, without blaming the person anymore, whether they feel guilty or not. It is a really difficult decision to make and one of the most noble things anyone can do.

An apology on the other hand, is just like someone considerably unburdening themselves of the guilt they feel about something they did to hurt you. By apologising, they can get the burden off themselves and leave you no choice but to bear it alone. Initially, you both shared the burden. You had the burden of pain as the victim and the other person had the burden of guilt as the perpetrator. A perpetrator has to feel guilt before thinking of tendering an apology. Apologising means that they recognise that they have hurt you and feel guilty about whatever they did to you.

Let’s not ignore the fact that not all apologies are genuine and most are made because the other party is obligated by religion or societal norms to forgive and forget. Some people even intentionally hurt you because they already know how it would play out in the end. In the rule book, the perpetrator apologises to the victim and the victim is obligated to forgive the perpetrator simply because they have apologised. I still do not understand the logic behind that, except for the sake of inner peace and world peace.

Honestly, there is nothing fair about apologising to the victim. The only fair play is that we have all been on either side at one point or another in our lives. Even God knew we could not forget totally. He created us as intelligent beings. That is why there is a passage in the Bible that says that we should allow Him to take vengeance on our behalf. Forgiveness is a calling, not an obligation. We have to choose to forgive and not feel obligated or forced to do so.

The next time you’re about to tell someone to forgive and forget, think about these: Will you be there to work the person through their pain? If you were in their shoes, will it be fair to you? I am not against forgiveness but I’ll say that we should learn to give people time to get over whatever we have done to hurt them and not just expect them to move on immediately we apologise. Also, if someone hurt you, strive towards forgiving them for the sake of your inner peace because you are really the one suffering, not them. You unconsciously give them power over you when you keep holding a grudge against them.

Let us learn to be empathetic towards those who are hurt and bold enough to reveal their pain to us. Some scars fade in months, some take years while others never fade away. Everyone is different and we all deal with life differently, more so, most of us never get to have the same experiences. The pain of reliving unpleasant memories is hard enough. Do not make people go through the pain of loneliness and rejection simply because it’s taking them so long to let go. We all have a responsibility to protect those we care about, not only physically but emotionally as well.

SEEKING COUNSEL & TAKING ADVICE

I know you’re thinking, “counsel and advice have similar meaning, so why use both in one title?” Well, there’s a reason why I used both in the title of this article. Keep reading to find out. 

I’ll define the act of seeking counsel as going out of your way and putting aside your ego to ask for guidance on an issue bothering you, especially one you haven’t been able to deal with on your own. On the other hand, taking advice, in the context of this article, does not necessarily involve you going to someone. 

There are two scenarios to taking advice, one is that someone might notice a dent or dangerous pattern in your life or way of life and walk up to you to hand you some advice on how to correct or go about such. The second scenario involves picking or learning from someone’s narration of their experience.

People often tend to unknowingly give advice after concluding the narration of an experience they’ve had. Most times, they don’t even know that the listener is currently going through what they’ve gone through. This is why I take my time to listen keenly to other people’s experiences in life to see if I can deduce any advice that could help me in my future endeavours.

Sometimes, it’s vice versa, I narrate my experience so that other people can pick one or two things that could help them on their journey of life. You never know to whom you could be of help, and I love to think I’m helping, at least, contributing my own quota to the world.

I don’t think a lot of people understand this, but while observing the pattern of my life over the years, I’ve discovered that when I come across scenarios in life that are similar to what someone has previously told me about, I tend to have a ready-made plan for such situation in my subconscious mind. This might sound funny but if you haven’t already, please start taking note of this. 

Whenever someone talks about an experience they’ve had, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would have handled the situation before you heard their story and then, how you think you’ll handle the situation now that you’ve heard their story and learnt from their mistakes.

Personally, I prefer this approach of taking advice because it’s usually more viable and relatable, especially when you’re giving advice, you don’t have to directly tell the person what to do, all you have to do is let them learn from your story or someone else’s. The advantage is that this sticks with the person more than you handing them direct advice. 

The problem with giving direct advice is that you usually do not know the person in totality and without this, you cannot efficiently give advice. What would work for person A might not work for person B, not because the method isn’t right, but because person A and person B are totally different individuals who have different life patterns, process life differently and act in different manner. 

The fact is, when you walk up to someone to seek their counsel, it’s mostly because you aspire to be somewhat like them or see them as a mentor of some sort and you want to know how they were able to be who they are. You see, it still boils down to the psychology behind taking advice. 

While most people go to friends and friendlies to seek counsel, taking advice doesn’t necessarily have to be from a friend or mentor. You can take advice from a foe or unfriendly person by merely listening to their experience, learning from their mistakes and holding on to that concluding advice that usually ends the narration of their experience. 

Finally, I’ll leave you with this. Life is too complex to learn from friends alone. If you really want to make it easy for yourself, start learning from everyone. Everyone has something to teach, but they hardly know it. It’s your duty to find it and use it to your advantage in life. 

THE STRANGER AT THE AIRPORT

Some years back, I was stuck at the airport for about three hours waiting for my parents to pick me up. After checking out my luggage, I moved on to the arrival hall to wait for my parents, and after settling down on the bench, a man walked up to me and asked if he could sit next to me. He seemed harmless and we were in a public area so, why not? I obliged him and we exchanged pleasantries.

After about five minutes of silence he spoke to me again. He asked if I was a student being that I had so much luggage and looked really young. I told him I was and we started chatting about random things going on at the airport. We then moved on to talking about the country and recent events.

Suddenly, he switched the conversation to himself. It seemed like he was really anxious to talk. He started telling me about his life and family. He talked about some of his dark secrets, no holds barred. At this point I was baffled. I mean, this is a stranger I started an innocent chat with and the conversation is turning out to be nothing like one I’d normally have with a stranger.

He narrated several events that had happened in his life and I just couldn’t help but listen. First of all, because I was stuck at the airport at 5:00 am in the morning with nowhere to go and secondly, I felt that he really needed someone to listen to him. Someone who knew nothing about him and would not judge him. I wanted to be that person. I had to be.

I understood him. There were times I had wished I could talk to a neutral person who cared to give me a listening ear, about some things bothering my mind, and wouldn’t be able to connect any dots from past conversations we’ve had. Someone who is just there to listen and give objective counsel, if need be.

But what was really different about the conversation was the fact that everything he talked about dated several years back. This made me more attentive, and as the conversation went on, I was able to deduce that he really had no one to talk to about those things. I was scared for him, but also happy for him. 

I was scared because I couldn’t believe he had bottled up those emotions inside him for that long and still seemed so normal on the outside. I wondered how he had been coping and how those emotions would have affected some decisions he had made in life. They actually did, based on his story, but I was happy for him because he finally got to talk to someone, me. At least, he was finally able to summon the courage.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder why he chose me. It kept popping up in my head while he was talking. “Why me?” I kept asking myself. I then figured that I seemed like the most approachable person around. He had had it to his neck. He had slipped into depression. He just wanted to talk to someone at that moment. I guess I was the most available and suitable person at the moment.

I was able to give him some counsel. I was only 21 at the time, but I had gotten to see life a lot more differently than an average 21 year old. I think he was thrilled by how I handled it. I must tell you, those secrets were dark. I was glad I could help him, for the time being. At least, I listened and he felt better. I could see it, the relief.

Notwithstanding, I learned a lot from my encounter with him. I learnt that carrying your emotional burden alone would do you no good, more so bottling them up for too long. Those things have a way of haunting you. Also, I learned to stop judging people when they open up to me. I feel like that’s exactly what held him back from talking to anyone he knew. Not even one person qualified, not one.

Finally, I hope I was actually able to touch his life positively, I hope that every time he remembers that day, he can hold out hope for a little bit more, I hope that everyone who reads this would find someone who has the patience to listen to you and also deem it fit to lend someone a listening ear, hopefully, their secrets are not as dark as those of the stranger at the airport.

20 BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD

We cannot deny the fact that life is filled with ups and downs but there are so many events in life that can make one feel genuinely happy and here are some of them:

  1. Being in bed with a full stomach, sleepy eyes, an empty bladder, cool weather and a duvet: I know this sounds like a whole combination of possibilities, but nothing beats this feeling when it all comes together. You just feel like you have the best life with no worries at all and a sound sleep usually comes right after.
  2. Winning a medal you’ve always looked forward to: Especially one you’ve been working so hard for or that you’ve made several previous attempts to get, all to no avail. The feeling you get in this moment just encapsulates all your efforts and fears and you might just cry. Tears of joy, of course.
  3. Relaxing under a tree while reading an interesting book: The freshly released oxygen you breathe in, the sound of the gentle breeze as it brushes the leaves, the scent of the leaves, what’s not to love? Besides, the therapeutic effects of relaxation and brain stimulation cannot be overemphasised.
  4. Having your loved one back home after a long trip: You missed this person the whole time they were gone and all you want to do now is fill in the lost time between you two. Need I say more?
  5. Achieving a goal you’ve worked all your life for: This I think, is the highest level of fulfilment in the life of an individual.
  6. Winning a court case: Especially when you couldn’t afford the best council to represent you or when the case has been on for a long time, winning feels like you hit the jackpot, more so when it comes with a settlement that totally favours you.
  7. Getting complimented by someone you thought never noticed you: This usually comes as a shock. The compliment could be on your appearance or your work especially when you’ve been feeling like you aren’t doing enough. It could also turn out to be a source of motivation and encouragement for you because a compliment from someone like that, more so someone you look up to, will mean so much to you.
  8. Being with someone who totally understands you: The feeling that comes with being able to effectively communicate with someone without words and not having to explain every step you take is precious. Most people don’t get that. It’s just this special bond between you and a particular person that cannot be explained. If you have such a person around, cherish them and never take them for granted.
  9. Winning a competition: Humans are generally competitive in nature. Therefore, the triumphant feeling that comes with winning a competition is an evidence of being whole as a human being.
  10. Having all your debts paid off/ written off: Whether you achieve this through rigorous planning and prudent spending or by sheer luck, it comes with the same feeling of absolute relief. The feeling of “I owe no man”.
  11. Having no dirty laundry: This makes you feel like the neatest person on earth or maybe the purest soul in the world. Well, until you realise that the clothes you currently have on are already dirty laundry.
  12. Having no chores to do on a weekend: This is unbelievable. Most people have a list of chores to do or errands to run on weekends but in the event of none, you get to feel like royalty the whole weekend.
  13. Looking into the eyes of your newborn: I think this is the purest form of love. This little human just came out of you and you just can’t believe it. The feeling is indescribable.
  14. Getting paid after being broke for a while: Have you noticed that you get to have more needs to attend to when you’re broke? This usually leads to panic and sometimes aggression, for people who do not have the capacity to handle stress. When you get paid after being in such situation for a while, you can finally relieve yourself of the pressure and anxiety.
  15. Breakfast in bed with the love of your life and nothing to do all day: There’s nothing more satisfying than getting to spend some time quality time with someone you deeply care about.
  16. Eating your favourite food: If just eating food makes you happy, then you know how you feel when having your favourite meal.
  17. Finally owning a house: Whether you achieved this by saving up to purchase out rightly or paying off your mortgage, the thought of never having save up for rent can be a huge relief.
  18. Landing your dream job: A lot of people never get this opportunity in life. The feeling that comes with landing your dream job is that of fulfilment.
  19. Getting promoted: The overwhelming joy you feel when you get elevated from your previous position before realising the additional responsibilities and expectations attached to promotion.
  20. Being able to help someone who had nobody: Besides getting to be someone’s hero, you get to experience the most rewarding feeling ever.

I hope you had a good read. If there is any more you can think of, let me know in the comment section.

 

HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT YOU?

Not everyone will like you. Learn to be okay with that. Whenever I find myself in a new environment, my first instinct is to look out for those who don’t like me at all, those who feel indifferent about me, and those who seem to like me, respectively.

When you’re going to be around a place for a while, you cannot immediately tell if someone likes you just by having an awesome first contact or conversation with them. Someone treating you well on the first day doesn’t necessarily mean they like you. They could just be doing their job or just following a script in their head that says “First impressions last long. Be nice.” You have no idea what is going on in their mind, especially if you are one who isn’t good at reading body language. Also, you have to understand that some people’s attitude towards you may change as they get to know you.

Regardless of their words, body language is the best way to judge whether someone dislikes, likes or is indifferent about you. No matter how hard a person tries to hide their true feelings, they still give away signals about what’s actually on their mind through their body language. It might just be a mild signal no one would notice but if you look close enough, you’ll see it. The mind controls the body.

I’ve been in situations where the people who disliked me initially ended up being the ones who cared the most about me and those that seemed to like me at first ended up drifting away. You definitely want people that like you and are positively interested in your life around you. Someone not liking you is better than them being indifferent about you. As always said, “there’s a thin line between like and dislike”. The slate of “dislike” can still be flipped to the other side of “like” but indifference mostly always grows into dislike.

Indifference is one of the most dangerous emotions in the world. It is a state whereby a person refuses to see the good or bad in someone or something. No matter what they do, either good or bad, it just goes unnoticed. Note that unlike dislike, indifference doesn’t always originate from envy or jealousy. It is mostly just a cold feeling towards someone or something or towards anything going on with them. A person can be friends with you and be indifferent about you or a person can wish you well but be indifferent about what goes on in your life.

As human beings, we are mostly wired to have a sense of community. You want to have people on your team, a clique, a tribe. You desire to be accepted by everyone you come across. I want you to know that you’ll eventually get exhausted and frustrated if you don’t train your mind to know that it’s okay to not be accepted by everyone. In fact, that should make you know that you’re doing something right. Not everyone will like you, not everyone will understand you, and not everyone will want to understand you.

Figure out those who like you and work your way up from there, but don’t be too fast to form any seriously close friendships. Take your time to study them while still being friendly with them. Find out what makes those who don’t like you feel that way about you. If they are things you can work on, do so but don’t feel pressured to become someone you’re not just so that you can win people’s hearts.

Focus on the good. Focus on those who like you. As for the others, those who will change their mind about you will and others will hold on to how they feel about you no matter how hard you try. They’re necessary evils in this life. The moment you accept this reality, then you’ll thrive.

8 THINGS TO DO WHEN LIFE THROWS STONES AT YOU

  1. Work through your Emotions: You need to allow yourself to feel. There is absolutely nothing wrong with crying yourself to sleep or having some alone time to be emotional. You actually end up feeling better and it sometimes comes with getting closure. Bottling up your emotions will only make you feel worse. It might seem like you’ve escaped the emotional outburst but you are only setting yourself up for an emotional disaster later, because your mind would still somehow lead you back to that which you’re avoiding.
  2. Listen to Music: Music has been proven to be therapeutic. Even though listening to songs that relate to an event or predicament allow you relive the moment, it eventually calms you. Find a song you can relate to and put it on repeat if that makes you feel better.
  3. Talk to Someone You Trust: Make sure the person is a good listener and someone who will not judge you. There are some people you talk to and even if they don’t give you any advice, you leave them feeling much better than before you talked to them. Those are the kind of people that can help you heal.
  4. Breathe: Try the deep breathing and meditation techniques of stress relief. They can work magic. I’ve tried these several times and they absolutely worked for me.
  5. Be Hopeful: If you make a projection of your life within the span of a year from now, you’ll discover that what you are feeling at the moment would not really matter then. Why waste your energy on draining yourself psychologically when you can choose to move on and feel good about yourself.
  6. Figure out your Mistakes: Try to be objective and sincere with yourself, then ask yourself questions like “What happened?”, “Where did I go wrong?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “What could I have done differently?”, “What can I do to make it right?”. Once you are able to answer these questions correctly, then you will be able to retrace your steps.
  7. Try Again: You should never stop trying. Never give up. When you get let down or disappointed in one thing, then you pick yourself up and try the same thing again. You could also choose to try something else if you’ve discovered you are not so good at that particular thing or you are more interested in something else. Your success lies in your interest. Don’t be afraid to start over.
  8. See a Therapist: If none of the above works for you, see a professional therapist as soon as possible. I’ve read a lot of people’s testimonies about how this helped them get through a particular turbulent situation or life in general. Don’t be too embarrassed to see a therapist. It doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with you. A lot of people you look up to do that as well. Stop caring about what everyone thinks of you and take good care of yourself. Do whatever it takes to get better. Remember, you’ve got your own life to live.

An Open Letter to my Grandmas

Dear Grandma,

I hope you’re fine where you are. I hope you’re looking down at me right now with a broad smile on your face. I hope you’re proud of whom I’ve become. As a child, whenever I asked about you, they’d tell me you’re up there in heaven. They say it’s a very beautiful place and I hope to be there someday.

Sometimes I’ll ask them to tell me about you. I was so eager to know you, to know what you were like. Grandma Cecilia, I saw a picture of you. My dad had it in his album and I’m glad he kept it. You were beautiful. My dad says I take after you but from what I saw in that picture, you seemed to be more beautiful than me. I can only imagine what you were really like in reality. Grandma Alaba, I never saw a picture of you but I heard a little about you. You thrived regardless of the unfriendly environment you found yourself. You are like the strong woman I hope to be.

One thing that eventually became clear to me as I grew up is that your children never really got to know you. You left before they could even describe your personalities and I don’t think anyone really took time to inform them about who you really were. That made me pray all the time never to go through what your children went through.

I want you to know that your children survived and succeeded. I’m sure you’re proud of them too. They raised a woman like me. A part of you survived and that’s why I’m here right now, writing this letter. They carried on your genes. I’m sure some of your traits too, even though they wouldn’t recognise them. How else would we explain why I look so much like you, Grandma Cecilia?

I remember those times I would wish you were alive so that someone could put my parents in check. I’ll listen to the kids in my class talk about how their grandmother stopped their dad or mum from scolding them. I used to wish I could have that. Funny, I once cried because I had no grandmother.

I wish I had you to pamper me. I wish you were there to listen to all my flimsy and funny stories and laugh at my not-so-funny jokes. I wish I had pictures of us together. I wish I had memories to reminisce. I wish you were there in person to witness my big day. I wish you never left before I came. I wish you were still around. Maybe things would have been different, maybe not. All the same, I think you being here would have worked better for me.

When I watched the film “Coco”, it reminded me of you. If the story in that film were true, I’m sure you visit us too because I still remember you. Rest on Grandma. I love you even though I never met you and I hope you’re proud of yourself for having me as your granddaughter. I hope to finally meet you when the days permanently go dark and the light never comes on again.

Your granddaughter,

Vwerosuoghene.

10 Tips for Winning at Life

  1. Keep your Private Life Private: The importance of this tip cannot be overemphasized. Not saying you shouldn’t post pictures on your social media or write motivational stories about yourself to encourage and uplift people, all I’m saying is that you keep private stuff like your love life/marriage, your next business plan to yourself and your close relatives/friends. There are actually selected people you can talk to about those things, either to get their opinion or to help finetune your ideas but don’t let it all out till you are ready to implement. Not everyone loves you. Not everyone you think loves you loves you. Not everyone thinks you deserve a better life. The pros of keeping your private life from the public eye totally outweigh the cons (if there’s even any).
  2. Do Research: Yes, we are in the information age, and a lot of people think information just automatically pops up in your face. That’s true, but guess what? The truly important information don’t just pop up in your face, you have to deliberately search for them. I’m talking of those information that would actually transform your life long term or those critical information pertaining to any field of endeavour. You have to actually carry out research to reach those kinds of information and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn or unlearn.
  3. Have a Best Friend: You need a best friend; someone you can share your hopes and dreams with without having them hate on you or be negative. You’ll need a shoulder to lean on when life throws those stones at you. Trust me, you need someone who believes in you. Your best friend could always be that. Just make sure you have the right person.
  4. Surround Yourself with Positivity: From positive thinking to keeping positive people around you, always surround yourself with an aura of positivity. A sound mental state is a very important part of achieving greatness in life.
  5. Enjoy the Little Things: Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to indulge often. Be grateful for your life and celebrate small wins. By doing so, you’ll be motivated to achieve more.
  6. Believe in Yourself: YOU should be your own number one fan. Practice self love and believe that you can be anything you set your mind to be. Never underrate the power of a positive and determined mind. Remember, you attract what you believe.
  7. Invest: You should be happy with where you are in your journey but never satisfied. Be proactive. Always think of what to do to make your life better. Invest your time and resources productively. It could be investing in a new business, academics, a relationship or project. Just make sure you invest wisely.
  8. Read Great Books: Reading helps to broaden your horizon and open up your mind. You get to see life through the eyes and minds of great and intelligent people and this in turn enhances your world view and influences how you handle the various issues of life.
  9. Always have a Plan B: Unfortunately, not all business ideas/plans flourish, not all projects get to be completed and not all intentions are Well executed. Those are some of the blows life deals once in a while but never give up. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Have a backup income stream(s), have a backup business plan, or a backup project proposal. No idea is useless. You never know which one would work for you. Keep hope alive and you’ll eventually prevail.
  10. Start Planning your Retirement Now: A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the best time to plan for their retirement is in their 40s or 50s. You should start planning your retirement the moment you become financially independent. That could be in your 20s or 30s, as the case may be. It is never too early to start planning for your retirement. A lot of things would come up in the course of your life that would require you to utilize your resources but if you already have a plan in place for your retirement, it would be easy to stick to it. Make hay while the sun shines.