Categories
Uncategorized

FEAR,OH FEAR

For longest time, I thought that the opposite of love was hate. But the deeper I dive into life and read more books, I have come to the realization that in true essence, the absent of love isn’t hate but fear. When love lacks, be it in ourselves as individuals or as a collective, fear takes residence in the void. Oh Fear. The greatest hindrance to humanity.  Fear has led many countries to war. Fear has destroyed marriages and good relationships. Fear has caused dreams to be abandoned and potential left untapped. Fear has caused many to withhold love and give themselves grace to be loved. Fear has increased arrogance, rose pride, lifted envy and jealousy and dehumanized the existence of life. What a small word that carries the magnitude of a tornado when we allow it to lead. Oh Fear.

So many of us are operating from a place of fear, whether we are consciously or unconsciously aware of it. Fear manifests in so many ways and take various forms that we often fail to detect it. For some, we experience fear in the form of procrastination. Some, it shows up in the form of doubt, others may have fear of being overpowered thus they take on jealousy, prideful nature and arrogance in order to feel empowered. Fear can be in a form of rejection, fear to love and commit, the fear of being. Whatever it is, Fear is not a spirit of God. It is not something we were born with. It is what we have come to learn and experience as an external force that often has found residence in our internal being. Let me be the one to say, Fear isn’t powerful than you, it only is when we allow it to be.

The fear of not being approved

How many of us truly embrace uniqueness? The act of being different.  By creation, we were tailored and fibered differently to show case the multi-dimensional beauty of our boundless God. We are made unique for his Glory yet so often we fight to fit in the crowds we come into contact with because we want to be approved and chosen. We often trade our authenticity for approval in hope that if we follow and act like the crowd maybe we won’t be shut out. We fear that maybe our different will be deemed as crazy and odd, so we often give up our true self for a diluted version that is more ‘acceptable’ and society -pleasing’. We want to be chosen by the very people who can’t still choose themselves. We are often told we are too much by the very people that can’t define what ‘Enough” even looks like. Being chosen and accepted has become our fuel to meet the expectation of the people we meet. We change our accents, take on lifestyles we can’t maintain, be at places we don’t like, do the things that don’t even spark joy in us, change our very being in hope we will be meet the ‘clique” criterion, be it at work, in our families, our relationships or whatever space we walk in.  But how beautiful are those that have come to embrace their difference and in knowing that, understand that’s what makes life beautiful. So, embrace that. Embrace you. Embrace your uniqueness. Embrace your difference. It is our differences that makes us special. There isn’t a replica of your DNA, there will never be and that’s your superpower. Harness that power. Hold it to the highest regard cause that’s what truly makes you YOU. If two of us are similar, then one of us is unnecessary. Be You. Truly and authentically.

The Fear of not being good enough

We doubt ourselves so many times. Gosh, I am so guilty of this. We often doubt our work. We doubt our abilities and capabilities. We doubt our strengths and potential. We continuously doubt who we are and called to be. Often, this doubt in ourselves is rooted in fear. The fear that we aren’t good enough or capable enough to carry out the works that we want to do. We often give ourselves the excuses that we aren’t well experienced, we are too young to make impact or the minority to do great work. We reason with our gender.  We tie our backgrounds to our abilities, use our lack of resources and the insufficiency of time as a reason of settling for mediocracy and stepping into our best work. Fear has a way of convincing us that we are not capable. Coupled with insecurity, we often end up believing we are not good enough. So, we keep running away from opportunities that have the ability to teach us our greatest life lessons. We sit at the back of our meetings, quiet and afraid to express our opinions because we feel we don’t have the level of expertise of those sitting at the table. We avoid attending functions because we don’t feel equipped enough to be there. We doubt ourselves even in rooms we have worked hard to be. We continue to self-sabotage. We fear releasing our works, our books, our arts, our songs out of fear that maybe it will be perceived not excellent on a societal stand. I ask, “Why do we have so little trust in ourselves”? i wish i could answer that too but I part of the doubting Thomas crew. In you resides excellent work, brilliant ideas and world-changing innovations. Release it. Understand that no man achieved mastery in one go. It takes work. Work to believe in yourself and to own your abilities. So, know that you are good enough even in the learning process, and you always have been. But until we take that statement for ourselves and make it our personal truth, we will continue living life on the verge of fear and waiting to be validated by others. Understand that criticism doesn’t connote your inability to achieve great work, if for anything, it creates room for growth. Embrace it. Another person’s inability to see how great of a person you are and what you believe in, doesn’t make your work or you any less, it is not a reflection of your value.  Not everyone will see the beauty of being you and that is okay.  For now, I dare you to hold duality of boldness and fear into your hands. Dare to dream and be bold enough to do it. Do it afraid. You were created indeed for a time as this.

The fear of rejection

We have all experienced rejection in one way or another. It is inevitable because we won’t always be the ‘selected ones’ (but you are still God’s perfect selection though).  Maybe a proposal refusal from the girl/ guy you really liked, an opportunity that you really wanted and prayed for, rejection from family or even friends. On the basis of humanity, we fear being rejected because it is painful. It diminishes our confidence and self-esteem.  It makes us question ourselves. However, when we tie our identities to the events we experience in life, in time, we run the possibility of defining the nature of who we think we are based on them. A lie that can hinder us truly. For some that have been abandoned by parents, were not picked to suit a specific group, we get so caught in the rejection that we define ourselves and self worth off it. We become afraid to try, to believe and hope again and so often we play it safe, covering the fear under the guise of “protecting ourselves”. The fear of rejection inhibits our ability to go after new opportunities, to take the risk, to give it another shot and to see that yesterday isn’t like today. Rejection stops us from embracing the fact that a new day comes with new possibilities. The possibility of finding love, of walking into your dreams and whatever you desire to have and be. Rejection is just an event, is not who we are. How we perceive it, is all that matters. Rejection can be a redirection.  Rejection can be protection. Sometimes it is just wrong timing. Sometimes it’s God’s way of saying there is more than what you want to settle for now. Embrace it. Take it as a necessary developmental tool and a catalyst for greatness. Process the pain it comes with and when your perspectives are on clear again, dust yourself up and try again. One good day, the doors will surely open. A blessing you can’t ever fathom. Keep trying, keep hoping and keep believing. You got this.  

Understand that even the greatest artists you know, the people with greater experience do get nervous. No one is immune to fear. And for as long as you are growing, in whatever space that is, you will meet fear. Growth means you will enter new unfamiliar territories and with everything new, we are bound to get nervous. The only difference between those that chase their dreams, even with the presence of fear lingering in close proximity, they don’t let it be the driving force. You can be afraid and still do mighty work. Never forget that. The more you challenge fear and move in its direction as opposed to running from it, the more we understand that we can overcome it. You are braver and more courageous than you know. DO IT AFRAID, IF IT BE SO.

Categories
Uncategorized

ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOUR HEALING AWAITS

We all have been hurt (and some are hurting right now), and the fact that we are human, inevitably we will hurt others too (and still hurting others now). There are events and experiences that we are going through, that we will encounter and have encountered in our own personal journeys that have impacted our holistic view of life.

Some people have seen their parents physically (emotionally and verbally) fight and that became the foundation of what a relationship should look like. They grow up to go in exactly the same abusive companionships because that is what their earliest example of a relationship has taught them. They have become adults who have built protective walls around themselves and shield off anyone and anything that demonstrates love to them; because in true honesty they don’t even know what genuine love looks like. Others, were roofed under a single parent headed household ( and even in a household with both parents) and have seen their parents go through the pits to keep everything going and in their guardians’ attempt to teach them independency and strength, they however made them believe that the world will always be tough on them thus they fight all day every day, afraid of being consumed by life; fearful to ask for help and be humble enough to receive support because no one owes them anything, they have been told.

Many people have gone in search of what they had previously lacked in their childhood, be it the love and warmth of a parent, the acceptance from peers and perhaps even faith from a teacher and have tailored their entire lives to achieving their childhood needs at whatever cost. They still battle the fact that they had been compared to other kids and siblings so much, that they have learned to become detrimentally competitive with others, in a quest of proving everyone wrong. The fear of being perceived as stupid, incapable or unworthy has become the driving force in their adulthood, so much that no matter how much they achieve or how further up the ladder they reach, they still feel that they are not good enough; still have a burning desire for their parents to affirm that they are proud of them. Growing up, some have been called “Ugly” because their exterior was not found to be appealing to people who judged them and spent most of their times as adults masking their beauty and resenting the reflections from the mirror, all based on the words that have been spoken upon their lives many years ago. Because of their distorted view on beauty, they refuse to accept genuine compliments on their beauty without feeling people are being sarcastic. Others, our pains are not linked to our childhoods but tied up in the unexpected chaos of our adulthood, be it in the devastating actions of our cheating partners we once fully trusted, the disappointment of a dream that seemed so close yet so far-fetched, or the division of our loving family we once knew at the hands of divorce.

Truthfully speaking, people often show up the way they do because their hurting self and inner child that once felt unloved, incapable, inadequate, insecure is still in them; still longing for loved, to be told that she/he is still worthy, to be accepted and validated and still waiting for appraisal.  That inner child still roams in our homes as adult, at our work places, in our everyday life, searching for healing. That hurt and pain that we have internalized, still exists inside of us no matter how much we try to cover it up with temporary comforts. We can run for the longest time and fill the void in us with all the money, all the women/men, with all the degrees and all the designer clothing Paris fashion week could ever show-cast, but until we pay attention to the silent screams of our hurting selves, we will never know the definition of true freedom.

Society teaches us not to be the most vulnerable because it is deemed as a sign of weakness. We have become nothing but a society that takes pride and boast in our inability to show our emotions. A society that mocks those who are in tune with themselves and sensitive to their pain. A society that applauds those that act the toughest, the strongest, the “Miss-Attitude” and the “Miss-I-Need-Nobody”. We have become detached from our own feelings, the very basis of what makes us human. Let me be the one to tell you that even the strongest people we know, get knocked out by life sometimes. The very people that laugh when another man becomes real with their emotions in public, do also shed tears in private. We are not immune to pain and we will never be. Pain is inevitable, it is universal and it demands to be felt. We can use all that is available to our disposal as comfort and temporal escape to suppress what we feel, but until we become a society that is not afraid to touch the depth our wounds, until we become a society that looks pain in the eyes and embrace it, we will never find true healing. What we don’t heal from, gets modelled and transferred, and all we truly expect is brokenness overlapping from generation to generation, coupled with intergenerational trauma because we weren’t brave enough to go after our own healing.

Your hurt is valid. Your pain is valid. That disappointment really crashed the being out of you and yes, your anger is justifiable. I will never know what you are holding onto and the depth of your burdens, but what I do know, there is freedom, absolute freedom in allowing certain things go and believing God, who works out all things for our good to transform and give you a new thing. Real Freedom begins in our ability to observe the world without allowing our personal past to impose itself on what we encounter now and going forth. I place emphasize on getting healing because our pain has a great influence on our decisions, the way we see ourselves and how we show up for ourselves and for others. Sometimes we do that unconsciously.  It can affect and rob us the innocence of our untapped tomorrow.

We can never go back in time to undo or unsay what has been done or said, but we can find peace in our past and move hopeful into our future, knowing that we are free to turn over a new leaf, without being outweighed by the past. Hear me, there will be days you will never get an apology for the damage done on you, yet you hold the power to forgive. There are people that will never celebrate you nor speak the words you long to hear from them, yet there will always be room to celebrate yourself. There are events that you won’t ever be able to undo nor memories that you will ever erase, yet you can create new experiences. So, understand that you are deserving and hold the power to create new beginnings, free of what holds you back and what you cling on because it is what you are familiar with. Our experiences and all we have encountered will try to imprint itself on us, they will try to form the foundation of our belief systems, but as bad as they might be, they truly do not define what the future looks or should look like for us.

Healing, is being able to sit in the discomfort of the words spoken, the experiences lived and know that it no longer holds us back. Healing is a continuous, heartbreaking and   uncomfortable undertaking of unlearning, that over time results in the ability to experience abundant peace, love and to ride along pain and not get swallowed in it. Healing is often painful because we are grieving; grieving our old selves and the pain we knew for long. Healing begins at the place of surrender and when we admit the magnitude of our hurt.  Healing is a place of vulnerability, knowing that we don’t have to be strong or even pretend to be. It is a place of acknowledgment; acknowledging that we are hurting and have been hurt, and the willingness to really be able to recognize the foundation of the problem and solution to it. Allow yourself to mourn your hurting self as you separate ways is your new beginning. I say this in the gentlest way possible: the pain might not have been your fault, and even when it is, know that you are fully accountable and responsible for your own healing.

If nobody ever gets to give you the apology, if you never get to apologize to yourself, let me the first to say this to you

I am sorry that the world was too brutal to your kind and gentle heart. I am sorry that the world wasn’t brave enough to see through your tender heart. I am sorry that you gave your all to everybody, yet you lost yourself in the process. I am sorry that you got robbed of being a child and geared into adult responsibility without being matured enough to handle the role. I am sorry that you made a decision that you thought was good enough in the moment, for it to just crumble down later before your own eyes. I am sorry that you lost a loved one in the very season that you needed them the most and, in an attempt, to celebrate who they have been to you; their absence turned your world upside down. I am sorry that you had to witness the abuse and maybe abused by the very people that you thought would protect you. I am sorry that you never felt loved, that you went looking for love in things, places and people that couldn’t cater for your love needs. I am sorry that insecurity took hold of you and you began doubting and self-sabotaging every opportunity presented to you. I am sorry that you had dreams; big dreams that you chased relentlessly and all you met was one disappointment after another and you began to be afraid to dream again .I am sorry  that the people that promised to always have your back, didn’t get to hold up to their promise end that you became afraid to make meaningful connections because you fear that you will be abandoned again . I am sorry that you gave your heart to those you trusted and all they did was break your trust, time and time again so much so that you picked up trust issues along the way and denied yourself chance to be fully loved and appreciated. I am sorry your boundaries were not respected even when you communicated the best way you knew how. I am sorry that you were made to believe that you do not belong, that you aren’t capable enough, smart or good enough to amount to something great. I am sorry that you didn’t have a good example of a happy home or good marriage, that you wandered around believing that good things don’t exist. I am sorry that your caretakers /guardians couldn’t raise you in the best way possible because they were dealing with their own brokenness and in the process, they broke you too. I am sorry that you anchored yourself to what you thought was worthy and when the whirlwind of life blew, your anchors couldn’t hold you down. I am sorry that you had to hide in the fancy word of “Short-temperedness” because you didn’t know why or how to channel the pain that you internalized and bottled in, that it became bitterness, resentment and unexplained anger. I am sorry you didn’t hear the words of love, encouragement and celebration from the people you wanted to hear them from and that you kept pushing yourself to higher limits just so you could be validated. I am so sorry for your pain. I am so sorry just because … oh I wrap you in the arms of your father who created you. I release that hurt you have held on for long into his hands: for there isn’t a hurting heart or damaged pieces of yourselves that he cannot mend.

 At the end of the day, I hope you hold on to this- IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY. I hope you will give your best in your healing journey and when the process becomes difficult, when the walls feel like they closing in on you, when it seems the water is trying to take you to deeper levels and your pain is trying to suffocate you, JUST BREATHE. BREATHE BABY AND TAKE IT A STEP AT A TIME.  I hope you will begin to be hopeful. I hope you will dare to dream again. I hope you will be patient with yourself and as you learn patience, you will become compassionate and gentle with yourself and others. I hope you get to see the light in your situation.

want to go for therapy? Do it

Want to scream it all out? Go to the mountain top and Do it

Want to write it all out? Knock yourself out.

Want to narrate your story for the first time?  Do it

Want to worship and just be in the presence of your heavenly father? Do it

Do whatever you have to do but whatever you decide, know that HEALING BELONGS TO YOU. MAKE ROOM FOR IT.

And when all is shut, and you sit in the silence and stillness of your home or wherever you will find yourself, and all you hear is the rumbling of your hurting heart, I dedicate this song to you. I hope it does something in you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpSgrn5hFiA   

Categories
Uncategorized

RETURNING HOME TO YOURSELF

Nobody really teaches us how to love ourselves. Sometimes, our deepest hurt and pain becomes our greatest teacher that we deserve better love. Other times, seeing others being kind to themselves can be inspirational enough to make us want to draw the same love towards ourselves. But whatever it is, I have come to learn that there is no absolute nor a one size fits all formula on how to learn to be at home with yourself.

It took me 6 years of being in an amazing relationship with an awesome gentleman to realize that I didn’t know myself. I bet you are confused, so let me break it down for you. The last 6 years, I have spent it with someone that valued me at the core of my being; a respectful and a loving guy, a textbook definition of the perfect guy. For the longest time, however, I held on tightly to the idea that I needed to always have someone around to make me feel loved. The thought of having someone validate me and constantly remind me of how much loved I am, gave me comfort but the honest truth, I sought deeper levels of love from others out of fear that if I ever lose them, I will lose myself. I was afraid of being alone. Outside of my loving relationship, I was just a girl scared of her own company.   One morning, while having a one on one pep talk with myself in the mirror, as per usual ( BTW: Am I the only one that talks to themselves every morning?), unprovoked, I asked myself these triggering questions: “WHO AM I”? “Who am I outside my relationship”? Pierced by my own conscious, I broke down.  To be quite frank, I didn’t have an answer. I probably didn’t want to know too. Months and months of contemplating with myself, I finally made a conscious decision to go find myself…Alone.

It is easier to feel loved when we are surrounded by a loving environment; easier to feel confident when we are often validated in our being, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having all that. Hear me. But what happens when we reach the end of our ditches, when we sit in places of pure silence and stillness, where the only words we hear and the feelings we feel are those that echoes from within and back?

 I thought I knew how to love myself until the love I was used to no longer existed. Weeks of being on this brave journey of self -discovery and self -love, I soon realized the journey was not as exciting as I had anticipated. Suddenly, fear clouded me. “I messed up”. “I messed up big time for leaving”, I thought to myself. Before I knew it, I was back at square one in another relationship, doing the very same thing that I needed to change. Still WAITING on to be LOVED. When my last relationship finally ended, with a broken heart, I knew I needed to work on myself. FAST.. And so I did. For the first time in my 13 years of dating (I definitely qualify for a relationship veteran package ha-ha), I stopped searching for HOME within others and elevated the foundation of home within myself.  

Often, we give others the tedious job of loving us. We await others to show love to us. We seek what love looks like based on the narrative of those we love yet we can’t define love for ourselves. We want others to compliment us. We long to hear them continuously utter the words and prove their action of love to us, yet we often struggle to show love to ourselves. We are harsh on ourselves with our words, our thoughts, our decisions and actions towards our being. We are our biggest critics and tear our being down, yet act so surprise when others revert back the energy we so often give to ourselves.  We often seek external validation and use it as a measure of our worth. We enter a place where we want to be accepted, to be validated and reassured that we are worthy of love. Well, God is love;love that is perfect and in abundance and because he resides in us, we are all capable of loving, including ourselves.

I frequently ask myself, “what is Self-Love”? Personally, I have come to learn that Self- Love is an act of forgiveness. Forgiveness that you give to yourself for the way you that you showed up because you didn’t know better and sometimes, even when you knew better, you didn’t do better. Self- love is about finding wholeness in your individuality and authentic-self and being aware of who you are. The beliefs about yourself, the thought around your Identity and the deeds you do to yourself and permit others to do onto you. The act of loving yourself, is no child’s playground but once you get a glimpse of what it means and run with it, it can change the trajectory of your entire life

The definition of self-love is subjective. Choosing to love yourself looks different to different people. It differs from season to season, even within the same person. We are ever evolving beings. To those in toxic relationships and friendships, self-love could be the courage to finally step out of the toxicity. To those overworked and tired from their jobs, self-love could be a day off to unplug and rest. To some, self-love is about buying that item you always wished for. To others it may be a disconnection to a memory, a thought, a traumatic event, a place or even a person. To those in spaces that don’t hold room for them to speak, self-love could be finding your voice again in areas that try to shut it.  To others it could be celebrating yourself for whatever “small” or big wins you have achieved in your life. Sometimes, self-love could be going back to the gym after a pattern of unhealthy eating habits and other times, it could be seeking help, going to rehabilitation center or to finally look yourself in the mirror and not resent the reflection of your being.  Self-love could simply means setting out boundaries to maintain your peace and all that flows through you. Other times, it means chasing your dreams even with doubt and fear lingering in your mind.  Some days, loving yourself means breaking down the walls you have built around yourself because of past hurt and letting people permeate their genuine love on you..    Self-love can be tangible efforts, a feeling or decision but the greatest act of loving oneself is the work that you do on the inside that makes you to fully know and understand your true being.

 Returning home to yourself means you need to unclench your fist and let go. To let go of what used to be, to let go of the hurt, the pain, the doubt, the fear and of everything that hinders you from truly tapping into who God initially had in mind when he created you. Redefine what selflove means to you in the season that you are in.

Being at home with yourself doesn’t mean all days are glamorous, nor does it connote that you will always feel on top of your games. Some days you will feel that you still doubt, shrink and question your being. It is perfectly okay to not feel the love for yourself every time but do not overstay being in there. Some days you will run back to the same mistake that you vowed and thought you were strong and smart enough to ever go back to. Understand that the act of loving yourself is not a destination. It is not a place you work towards to and arrive. It is a continual journey of intentional self-discovery, on an intimate level and being deliberate about it. It is a process that fluctuates and differs with the seasons of your lives. Hold room and space for such days. Do not be hard on yourself

Self-love is not based on the act of self-centeredness; A deliberate act of feeling more powerful and dominant than others. Loving yourself is not about consciously hurting others and making them feel inferior about themselves. HELL NO! Loving yourself is about accepting the Love of God that flows from a place of joy, peace and good deeds. A love that binds and does not tear. A love that builds and not destroy. Self-love is about being whole in your individuality and that when people decide to leave or an event doesn’t go as planned, you are still able to process the emotions and not allow yourself to be defined nor reduced by the events of your life. It’s about finding fulfillment in who you are. As you learn to love yourself, it is imperative to understand that you don’t need to take love from yourself. Fill your love tank as much as you can, and then the overflow of that love is what you give to others. You are your NUMBER ONE priority.

Self- love begins at the place of self-awareness. Awareness is a derivative of knowledge; knowing who you are.  Kofi Ann once said “Knowledge is power”. I say, “knowledge of your True self, is where your power begins”. Go out there and create a HOME for yourself first. A safe home that allows you to be the real you, where your vulnerability, fears and all that we hide from society is welcomed. You Deserve a good HOME