DEFINING RELATIONSHIPS: NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS 2

In the blog post from last week, we started the section of negative relationships under the general series about defining relationships. We talked about how to identify bad relationships. We mentioned the fact that the things discussed here help you to identify “what is what”, not “who is who”. This is so because of the complexity and unpredictability of the human nature. This week, we will talk about how to handle negative relationships. I mentioned a quote by Dr. David Oyedepo in the first article. He said that, “Everything you do either takes from you or adds to you”. This quote was the basis of our classification of relationships. With respect to the subject matter of negative relationships, this implies that you will keep on reducing in value, health and so many other things as long as you are remain in it. Now, saying you can save the other person in the relationship is not an overstatement but I don’t believe in trying too much, especially if the demands of the relationship was overwhelming and the person “isn’t worth it”.

So, because of this, I have put together a list of things to do when you want to get out of a bad relationship.

i. Set boundaries.

One of the things that separate our friends from every other person except probably family is the amount of distance they are allowed to get close to us. This can be measured by the weight of information you reveal to this person out of your own free will or via little persuasion, amount of time spent together, etc. The first thing to do when getting out a bad relationship is set boundaries between you two. Be sure the person doesn’t get any closer to you again than your professor in school or the cafeteria staff you see every day. This on its own transmits signals to the person that you are pulling away. Sometimes people want to talk about it, sometimes they don’t, but either way, a message is passed. The message is simple, “I am not interested in spending time ergo I don’t want to be your friend”.

ii. Spend less time together.

As briefly mentioned in the first point, you need to gradually reduce, then completely eradicate the time you get to spend with the person voluntarily. Someone you see in your place of work or maybe in your religious setting every week cannot be avoided totally. I mean you cannot change church or resign just because you want to avoid one person, like come on, that’s just plain stupid. However, times like when you watch football matches together and every other form of voluntary time you spend together have to go. The less time you spend away from something, the lesser the effect on you, so reduce time, reduce effect.

iii. Find new friends.

As I have said a number of times before in this series, we are humans. We are social beings and cannot survive without any form of social relationship. Finding new friends can be challenging but with the guidelines given in the first article under these series, you should be able to identify good relationships, build and sustain them. Is your former friend noticing you and new friend? Don’t worry, jealousy happens to us all, the person will get over it. You will be fine.

As we come to the end of this series, I will like to share something with you, a quote from a former vice-president of the United States of America, Hubert H. Humphrey. He said, “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it”. Cherish any good relationship you find yourself in and don’t let it go. I have tried it and it’s working for me. Thanks for going through this series with me. Please leave your comment about anything below in the comment section.

Thanks.

Oluwasola M.J

Please follow me on Instagram: @mokoore_joshua_official

Advertisements

DEFINING RELATIONSHIPS: NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS 1

For the past two weeks, we have been talking about relationships. We determined that all relationships can be divided into two classes; positive relationships and negative relationships. In the first week, we discussed how to identify good relationships and the subsequent week, we talked about sustaining and improving existing positive relationships. This week, we will start talking about negative relationships. We will be talking about identifying negative relationships.

First off, we need to understand that relationships’ status, either positive or negative, is judged in respect to a party and does not necessarily apply to all parties involved in a relationship. The fact that one of the people in a relationship considers it a negative relationship does not necessarily mean that it is a negative relationship for other parties. This will be discussed in future articles.

Like I said in the first article on this series about relationships, you can never be too sure about people’s intentions or about their attitudes. So I will like to mention that these tips are supposed to help you to a large extent in identifying “what is what”, not, “who is who”. Some tips to identify a negative relationships.

i. When other parties are concerned only about what they want.

Don’t get me wrong, you must have something you want from the other person if you want to be in a relationship with someone. But if the other party or you are concerned about only the thing you need from each other and nothing else, it is not a healthy relationship. An illustration is the mutual relationship between some animals, they take from each other to grow and survive, if during this process, a predator is near, they escape together and not as individuals showing that they are also concerned about each other’s security. You and other parties need to care about each other and not just what you want.

ii. Takes advantage of you.

I can always be your friend and pretend to care about what else happens to you, all towards my own goals and without really having you in mind. I am not your friend. There are cases that you enter into a relationship and the other party is held in slight or much higher referral compared to you. Still, this does not mean you should turn a blind eye towards being used. This is not applicable every time as it is not every time that you are being used. Sometimes, these activities are part of sacrifices you make to sustain and brood a relationship. I have a discipler who advices me on issues and helps me to grow all-rounder. When I go to stay with him, I assist him with a few things because he is a busy man. In this case, I am not being used in any way. I am clearly improving my bond and fulfilling my responsibilities in the relationship. Still you need to be sure of what is what.

iii. Pressuring you to do wrong things.

Personally, I believe that truth and evil is determined by what we believe in. I have met a lot of people who have clear conscience about doing certain things that in my own definition are wrong. This is a very sensitive issue as you have to be sure of the things you are being asked to do. Having a friend who is constantly pushing you towards success is good but having a friend pressuring you to bad decisions is bad. Your definitions of right and wrong might not be the same but helping to see right is not bad. Peer pressure can be dangerous so please be careful.

A lot of situations occur in the subject of relationships but as we grow, we learn more about it. Next week, we will be discussing how to handle bad relationships. Thanks.

Oluwasola M.J

DEFINING RELATIONSHIPS: POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS 2

Last week, we starting discussing about relationships. We got to talk about the kinds of relationships. We started with good relationships and discussed how to identify good relationships. This week we are going to be talking about how to sustain and improve a good relationship. First we are going to discuss how to sustain a good relationship;

i. Be honest.

One of the most important values in life is honesty. The viability is only questioned by undisciplined and lazy individuals. When you lie to someone and tell yourself it is because you are protecting them from a harsh truth, you are only protecting yourself from witnessing the reaction. You need to be completely honest in any relationship you are in, romantic or not. Nobody wants a friend that lies to them no matter the reason.

ii. Repair Conflicts.

Conflicts are important and inescapable in relationships. What to do? Settle it. In the interview I used to celebrate the Oluwasola’s 20th wedding anniversary, Dn. Oluwasola mentioned the point of compromise or finding a solution in conflicts. Even the closest of persons cannot do without conflict because that is an avenue to understand the other person’s (people’s) nature the more. When you have conflicts in a relationship, talk about it and figure out a solution. If a solution does not pop up, a compromise can be reached by all affected parties that suits them. Don’t get petty, fix it up quickly.

iii. Show appreciation.

Favours will come out of goodwill in relationships. Favours will also come out of expectation of a favour in return. In all of these situations, show appreciation. It is necessary to let the other party (ies) know what effect an action of theirs towards you has. This not only shows your appreciation but also improves your chances of another favour.

Sustaining a good relationship is very important but as every good thing, it should grow, not just be stagnant. Fortunately, just like other good things, with time and intentional effort, good relationships will grow. You have to figure out the things you need to improve and do what it takes to get them done.

Oluwasola M.J.

DEFINING RELATIONSHIPS: POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS 1

The man is a social being and needs to co-exist or live off of other men directly or indirectly to survive. At a point in time in our lives, old or young, we had a thought of being alone and not having friends or anyone to be responsible for. Bottom line is that, it is impossible. I mentioned this in an earlier article titled, “2017+1: How to better yourself in 2018”. Relationships, according to google dictionary is the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other. Our relationships are part of the core determinants of how successful or unsuccessful our lives are. Bishop David Oyedepo once said, “Everything you do either takes from you or adds to you”. Same goes for relationships. Friendships, romantic relationships alike, all have effects on our lives. You can be in a relationship that builds or breaks you. This statement also helped me in dividing relationships into two types basically; positive relationships and negative relationships. In coming weeks, we will be talking about these two types of relationships. We will see how to identify them and deal with them. In this article, I will be talking about defining good relationships. In the next one, we will talk about how to sustain them. I will be talking mostly about personal relationships.

To develop as a human being, you need to be involved in positive relationships. My definition of a good relationship is “a mutual relationship where all parties dispense and gain knowledge, grow simultaneously and share in individual benefits of all parties”. It might not be so in all its entirety but I believe it covers it all. How do I know this? I have been in one for close to a decade with two special people. People can hide in a disguise of friendship and you could feel that they are true friends. You just have to be careful about who you call your “friend”. Recognizing a positive relationship could be tricky but here are three ways to do it;

i. You grow together

The first and most obvious proof of a positive friendship is that you grow together. Being successful or not successful can be lonely if you get to live it alone. If you are in a relationship and one is successful and the other is not, it’s a bad relationship for one of them. I have two friends that are close to me more than any other person, Emmanuel and Noah. By December 2016, I was an investor and Noah was a web designer. Emmanuel was involved in small businesses but still wanted to do something he loved. In a year, I am a writer, Noah is a web designer and model and Emmanuel is a graphic designer. Emmanuel is my graphic designer and Noah is my web engineer. My dreams and future plans are all evolving around this friendship. We grow as a unit. I do tell them that “the goal is to be successful together” or there is no point to the friendship. Growing together in friendships can be difficult because industries are different and there might be difference in status but the question is in a year is one stuck and the other moving?

ii. You have more intelligent conversations than fun conversations

I am a big football fan and I love to argue football facts. Unfortunately, none of my close friends is a football fan, in fact one of us is not sport inclined at all. However it is one of the things that keep the conversations intellectual. Having fun conversations are good because they help you relax. However if after four hours of communication, you talk fun for three, you are not in the right kind of relationship.

iii. You must be in a relationship with someone you admire or are challenged by

I told my friend, Noah like a year ago that I was jealous of him when he graduated as our valedictorian when we left the secondary school. I said it was not bad jealousy as I was happy for him. Then I told him how much I admired his work ethic and hunger for success. Emmanuel is a man of truth and honesty and I admire that about him a lot. Although I don’t tell them a lot, they are role models to me and in the areas in which they challenge me, I strife to become like them. Be in a relationship with someone that you are proud to say, “I am in a relationship with him”. You must find something in that person that you want, that very thing you want to acquire.

Like I said earlier, not everyone can be trusted and people disguise to be your friends. Still, I believe if you have these three things in a relationship, you can be sure you are in the right kind of relationship. Next week, I will be talking about sustaining positive relationships. Thanks.

Oluwasola M.J.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Over the years, the importance of time management has been stressed by a lot of people. Every great man asked about their secrets of success have mentioned the issue of time management. Several writers have written books on them and even in the religious sectors, it is being discussed at length. Two of my favourite all time writers are Napoleon Hill and Brian Tracy. In Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow rich”, he stressed at length about the issue. Brian Tracy in his own book, “The Power Of Self Discipline”, discussed at length. Both have similar opinions but I prefer Brian Tracy’s opinion.
He said, “…Peter Drucker said, “You cannot manage time; you can only manage yourself. Time management is really life management, personal management, management of yourself rather than of time or circumstances.
Time is perishable; it cannot be saved. Time is irreplaceable; nothing else will do. Time is irretrievable; once it is gone or wasted, you can never get it back. Finally, time is indispensable, especially for accomplishments of any kind. All achievement, all results, all success requires times.”
I am going to explain five of his tips on the subject of life management.

i. Access the true value of everything you do.

In a previous article titled “2017+1: How to better yourself in the year 2018”, I talked a bit about putting your regular activities on a scale of preference. Accessing the value of the things you do is to help you to determine the things to save your energy for and the things you can do without. We do a lot of things that are not relevant to your life. Dr. David Oyedepo, a famous preacher of the Christian faith said, “Everything that you do either takes from you or adds to you, never neither.” Determine the tasks to do by measuring the level of value it adds to you.
ii. Think before you act.

Every act has consequences. The consequence being considered here is time. Every task has an amount of time required to accomplish it, you need to think and evaluate the time it will take to perform a task and run it against every other factor like importance or urgency. Estimating the result of a particular act is more profitable than rushing in without thinking.

iii. Priorities vs Posteriorities.

“Setting priorities requires setting posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and sooner, whereas a posteriority is something you do less of or later. You are probably overwhelmed with too much to do and too little tome. Because of this, for you to embark on a new task, you must discontinue an old task. Getting into something new requires getting out of another activity. Before you commit to a new undertaking, ask yourself, “What am I going to stop doing so that I have enough time to work on this new task?””
iv. Identify the consequences.

A consequence is the resulting effects of a former act taken by an individual. Every task performed has consequences. For Example; exercising has a consequence of better health, hitting your head on a wall has a consequence of a headache. For every activity the consequences are from various factors partaking in an event. When you hit your head, you risk a bleeding head. The time used to get yourself back to normal, the fee you pay in a hospital, the transport fee from where you are to your place of treatment. All of these are consequences based on, health, finance, time, etc.
v. Keep yourself focused.

All of the former four tips will not work without self-discipline. Focus your strength on finishing the most important tasks. Don’t forget that your value in life is measured by the knowledge you have of your field of study and other main things in life. The goal of the four steps is to add value to your life but none will work without the ability to place focus where focus is due.
I hope this helps you in your life this year. Thank you.
Ref: The Power of Self-discipline by Brian Tracy.
Oluwasola M.J

EVEN NOW

Sasha could not stop smiling. She just finished reading the letter Jamal dropped in her bag earlier in school. She had made sure to do all her chores before going back to bed. She cooked for the house because her mother was still selling in the market. She swept the floor and washed the family bathroom. She put her younger brothers to bed and washed all the plates. Only her mother’s food was left. She was as happy as she could be. She put off the lantern and slept.
The next morning was a routine. She fetched water for the whole family, put breakfast on fire and went to have her bath. She packed everyone’s food and took her brothers to their school. She then headed off to school. Sasha was a beautiful girl who got attention no matter what she was wearing or where she was. So, it was understandable when boys started calling her name once she entered the school compound. She saw Jamal from afar and started smiling. Their eyes met and once she was near him, they started walking together.

“Hey Beautiful, thought you were going to be late today”, Jamal said. Sasha Chuckled.

“No way. I got up earlier than usual. Wanted to look as beautiful as possible for you today.”

“You still remain the most beautiful girl in the world.”

They both smiled and walked towards their class.

Sasha and Jamal were the most popular couple in school. They were in the same class and you could see them together every other place in the school. Jamal was not the most handsome of boys but was surely the most charming. Their physical attributes though, was second in the order of what their admiration was gotten from. They were the top two students in the class.
The bell rung for lunch and the couple walked into the cafeteria. As they settled down to eat their lunch, Kevin entered. Kevin was the big bully of the school and the non-secret admirer of Sasha’s beauty. He moved towards them.

“Hey Sasha, how you doing?”

“I’m fine.”

“You still with this douchebag. Come on Sasha, you know you can do better than this loser.”

“Let me guess, you are the better option.”

“You know this. Sasha, you are still going to come crawling to me one day.”

Sasha started laughing sarcastically. “Kevin, I have told you numerous times, there’s no way anything is going to happen between us.”
Kevin was furious. He liked her but wasn’t going to take anyone laughing at him. He threw his fist at her. Jamal had been quiet since the beginning because he wanted to avoid any kind of trouble. What he was not going to stand however, was his girlfriend being beaten. He held Kevin’s hand and punched him in the face. Kevin returned the gesture with a punch of his own and a fight started. It went on for another five minutes before they were separated by the principal. They were both put into detention and their parents were informed. Jamal walked Sasha to her home before calling his driver to come and pick him.
When Jamal arrived home, he was surprised. He saw packing boxes in front of the house being loaded into trucks. He rushed into the house and met his mother in the living room.

“Mum, what’s happening?”

“We are moving Jamal. Your dad got a job in Britain. It was an immediate order. He left earlier this afternoon. We are going to meet him there. We leave in an hour.”

Jamal looked distraught. He was lost. The first thing that came to his mind was to go to Sasha’s house to tell her but his mother could not allow him as she didn’t want any delay. Jamal thought for a moment and an idea came to him. He got a piece of paper and wrote a letter to Sasha. He boxed it up with a phone and gave it to his driver to deliver it to her. He drove off quickly and met Sasha in front of her house doing her homework. He delivered the box and left immediately. Sasha was booming.

“Jamal couldn’t wait for a moment. Didn’t he just leave a couple minutes?”
She opened the box and saw the letter and phone. She opened the letter and read it out loud.

“I’m sorry that I could not say goodbye before leaving. It came as a surprise to me too. Dad got transferred to Britain and mom and I have to leave immediately. I wrote this as fast as I could. Sasha, I met you three years ago and nothing has been the same in my life. You have helped me change the way I think and feel about myself. Don’t forget the promises we made to each other. The future we planned, the things we said. I will never forget you. I will come back as soon as I have it all together. I will come for you and fulfill my promise to spend the rest of my life with you. Just do one thing for me, wait. If you want to, send a text message to my mum’s phone, I’m with it. I’m waiting. I love you.”
Sasha was not sure about how she felt. She was sad she won’t get to see Jamal every day. On the other hand she was happy about the letter and the promise. She had a huge decision. This was Jamal. The one person she had always loved. She took a deep breath and she was convinced. She picked up the phone and sent a message to him. “I’ll wait.”
Sasha was happy about her decision. She finished up her homework and started walking to her brothers’ school to pick them up. She was humming a song and was hopping a bit. Suddenly someone on a bike went past her and grabbed the phone from her. She screamed, “Thief, thief, help, help…” No one was around and the bike sped off. She was devastated. After getting her brothers back home, she went into her room and started crying. That was the only way she could keep in touch with Jamal. After about two months, she stopped crying. She could only hold on to the promise Jamal made her.
Ten years passed and Sasha was done with high school and community college. Only problem was that she couldn’t get a job. One afternoon, Sasha was in the bank to get a loan. She was carrying her baby. She had been on the queue for about an hour. She was about to go into the office to see the person in charge when she heard someone call her name.

“Sasha”. She looked and she couldn’t believe her eyes. It was Jamal Blackman in flesh and blood. She could not hide her surprise. She moved towards him slowly and they hugged. She started crying. When the hug loosened, she cleaned her face.

“How have you been, Jamal?”

“I’ve been wonderful. How have you been?”

“I can tell just by your look. I’ve been okay. What are you doing here?”

“I was looking for you. I got into the country yesterday night. I went to your house this morning and they told me you moved. I got to your apartment and your roommate said you were here. Hey let me get you a drink.”
They moved to a restaurant nearby and got a table. Jamal chose not to talk about the baby because they were still outside. They sat down and Jamal started smiling.

“You haven’t aged a bit. You are still as beautiful as ever.” Sasha’s face started changing. She started crying. She was beating Jamal on the chest.

“Why, why Jamal? Why didn’t you come earlier? I have been lonely, why were you not here to help me. I know you chose not to ask about the child. Why? You don’t want to know about him or you need me to tell you without asking. I needed you dearly. Why Jamal?”
By this time, Jamal was moody and his eyes were filled with tears. “Who is the father?”

“Kevin”. Jamal was startled.

“After I finished college, I couldn’t get a job. I met him at one of the interviews I went for. He was the one in charge of hiring. We caught up after the interview. He told me later that day that the only was he was going to give me the job was if I slept with him. I had a sick brother, a barely healthy family and I needed the money. I didn’t have a choice. After he slept with me, he told me that he could not get me the job. He was not sorry though as he was merely interested in fulfilling a high school promise he made to himself to sleep with me. I got pregnant and then I had him.”
Jamal was dumbfounded. He could not believe his ears. He had waited ten years to see Sasha. He has dreamt of it happening a million different ways but not once did he dream of this.

“What’s his name?”

“Jamal Jnr.”
Jamal hugged and lapped him. He looked up at her. He cleaned his face.

“Give me a second. Wait here, I won’t be long.”
He went into his car and drove off. After about thirty minutes, he came back into the restaurant. As he entered, Sasha could only imagine the worst. As Jamal got close to Sasha, he went down on one knee.

“Sasha Hart, will you marry me?”
Sasha froze. This wasn’t real. She just told him the worst possible thing she could after ten years apart and his decision was to marry her. But wait, this is Jamal. She was overwhelmed. She started crying again. She stood up and walked towards him.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes…”
Jamal smiled and put the ring on her finger. They hugged for about a minute then Sasha looked at the ring. On it was engraved, “Even Now”. The message was clear. Even when they have been separated for over a decade, even after she had made a horrible mistake, after it all, he loved her. He has accepted her mistakes and the consequences and as much as it hurts, he would share them with her. Even Now, he loved her.
Oluwasola M.J

HOW I MET YOUR FATHER

“H&M was a popular firm in Lagos. A firm renowned for ruthlessly dispatching opposing firms in court, even the ones with strong cases. They were the top firm in the country and one of the most expensive in Africa. They had a success rate of 100 percent for 5 years running. All of these incredible achievements were majorly based on the achievements of one man, Stephen Chibueke.”
“Stephen was a top lawyer in the country. He had offers from various firms who offered him better deals but he stayed put. He was the jewel of H&M and everyone knew it. Everyone in the country knew him as the “best lawyer in the country”. What a lot didn’t know was that he was a whore of a man. Only people in the firm and law industry knew about it. He was a 5” 7, fair, 29 year old, handsome man. He was often referred to amongst his friends as the king of the one night stands”.
“On an early Tuesday morning, Stephen walked into the office. He exchanged pleasantries with almost everyone as he walked in. “Good Morning, Steve”, Janet said. “Morning, Janet. In my office please”. Janet was Stephen’s secretary. She walked slowly inside his office. “You know, one of these days you will have to reckon with the fact that I’m your boss.” Janet laughed. “You make that difficult”. “Well, any messages”. “Yes, a Deborah came to look for you. Something about why you didn’t call her after the other night.” Janet said using air quotes for “other night”. “Any other message”. “Well, Mr. Howard called to congratulate you on the case you closed yesterday. Your sister called, said she’s coming to the city to visit, she will stay at your mom’s and would like to see you. That’s all. “Alright, thanks Janet”. It was another typical day in the office. Stephen was done by 5 pm and he headed for his mom’s house.”
“His mother’s house was a simple bungalow but with gorgeous inner design. Stephen walked in and saw his sister running towards him. She jumped and hugged him. “Hey big brother, how ya doing?” “I’m good. How are you doing?.” “I’m good”. “Mom’s asleep. Hey, there’s someone I want you to meet”. They walked into the living room and there sat his sister’s friend. “Stephen, this is my friend Susan”. Susan was a tall, fair, beautiful lady. Stephen could not talk for about 5 seconds. “Hi, nice to meet you”. “Hi, nice to meet you too. My sister talks a lot about you”, Stephen said. His sister saw the way he looked at her and pulled him into the kitchen. “Don’t even think about it Stephen. I saw the way you looked at her and I know what that look means. Don’t try anything stupid that will ruin my friendship with her”.”
“Stephen could not do anything throughout the night and it was killing him. Finally, his sister slept off while they were watching a movie. Finally he could make his move. “So Susan, my sister told me you guys are best friends. How are you coping?” They both laughed. “She could be trouble sometimes but she is a really good friend. She occasionally comes to my place of work and that’s the one thing we are still arguing about”. “Yeah, she’s kinda stubborn. Hey, I know we just met and you might be put aback a little but would you like to go to dinner sometime.” “Huh, I’m flattered, but no. Good night.” Susan stood up immediately and left for the room. Stephen was stunned. For five minutes he couldn’t talk. This was his first time being rejected and it was a knockout. “Wow. Did that just happen? She turned me…that bitch turned me down.” He was in thought for like another 30 minutes before going to sleep. His sister left the city the next morning. Susan exchanged contacts with Stephen and everyone went back home.”
“For days, Stephen didn’t go to work. He was still being troubled by what happened with his sister’s friend. He called her again but she insisted. For months, he was pestering her, and finally after, three months, she agreed to have dinner but she said, “it was not a date”. Stephen took her to a very good restaurant. They talked and after, he dropped her off at her home. He walked her to the door and they stopped. “Thanks for the dinner. I had a good time.” “Hey, thanks for coming. I’m glad you had a good time.” Susan turned and wanted to close her door. “Hey, won’t you invite me in.” Susan smiled, “I’m sorry, but no. I know you get this a lot on first dates. Your sister has told me all about your adventures.” “Come on, nothing has to happen, I just wanna talk. Please”.”
“Susan’s house was beautiful, it was well furnished and well decorated. It was clear that she was doing okay. “Would you like a cup of coffee or something?” “No, water is fine”. Susan brought out water from the fridge and gave it to him. They talked a bit more about life and during a brief moment of silence, Stephen made a move to kiss Susan. She stopped him. Stephen was shocked. Susan adjusted herself. “What made you think I was going to kiss you?”. “I don’t know, my good looks?”. Stephen chuckled. “Let me ask you a question Stephen. Are you a valued lawyer in your firm?”. “Yes”. “What makes you think you are?”. “Easy, there’s no one like me, and besides, I have been there all my life”. “So why exactly do you sleep with any woman you like?”. “Because, a nigga got to flex.” “Hmm, have you ever been loved by someone else apart from your family?”. “Yeah sure, my secretary, my firm workers.” “Ok. Have you loved any of the women you slept with?”. “No, God no. I just see a sexy chick and I gotta hit that”. “So, do those women value you?”. “Don’t think so. What’s that got to do with anything going on here”. “Stephen, you just confirmed that you are treasured by everyone around you except the people you sleep around with. You find true happiness in everything you have ever done except in your relationships. You are valued in your firm because you devote yourself to its purposes when and where it requires it. You are treasured in your family because you are one of a kind. You owe any woman you are going to spend the rest of your life with your virginity. I hope you now understand why I can’t sleep with you. It’s your choice”.”
“By this time, Stephen was deep in thought. It was all true. He had just realized what he had really been doing all his life. He was actually sad. His colleagues have been settling down and creating a family. He was busy fooling around and deceiving himself that he was “enjoying life”. He remained friends with her for a long time. She got married two years later and she invited him. He attended the wedding. It was when he was greeting the couple that our eyes met from afar off. We talked for a while, and we danced. And that kids, is how I met your father.”
Oluwasola M.J

FORGIVENESS: HOWARD’S MEMOIR 2

Granny cried on my shoulders all day. I was consoling her while also trying to keep myself together, ironic right. She could not forgive herself after this kind of revelation. I called home to inform my mom that I won’t be able to come back that night. I could not tell her what happened though. Granny slept off after crying out her eyes for about seven hours. I carried her to the master bedroom and laid her on the bed. I wrapped the remaining gifts then went back to sleep.
The next morning, granny came to wake me. “Merry Christmas, Howard”. “Merry Christmas, granny”. “Hey, about the situation of yesterday, don’t tell your mother. I think it’s best if I told her myself”. I sat up and held her hand. “Alright granny”. She kissed me on my forehead. She asked me to clean up, so she could take me home to dress up for the church service. I did as asked. We drove off to the house and my mother already left for church. I got ready as quick as I could and we left for church.
It was a brief a church service. A message of love was preached. The ministering pastor laid emphasis on the sacrifice that God made to signify how much he loves us his creation. A series of song ministrations and thanksgiving followed. It took some time before we could leave though as there were greetings going on everywhere and granny was involved a lot.
It was a quiet drive back home. I was in deep thought the whole time, imagining what could’ve been. We arrived at my granny’s place and everyone was waiting. It’s a tradition for the extended family to celebrate Christmas in my grandmother’s house. We opened the gate swiftly. We all got changed and the ladies got together in the kitchen to cook. The men were outside having talks, while the boys were having a FIFA tournament in the living room. I joined to try to get my mind off the case at hand. We had lunch together and everyone started to open the gifts. After a while, granny went to her room. About thirty minutes later, my mother wanted to ask her a question. She knocked the door for like a minute, then she entered. We heard a scream from the room. Everyone ran to the room, and my granny was there lying on the ground.
She was rushed to the hospital by my mother, uncles and aunts. We left at home were tense. Five hours later, my mother called me. She asked me to bring my granny’s purse in the bag she took to church. I took a taxi and I was there in 20 minutes. Mum told me that granny suffered a stroke, but that she was ok. She slept for about 4 hours and her purse was the first thing she asked for. She invited my mother and I into her hospital ward.
“Stephanie, I need to tell you something and it can’t wait. Yesterday, I told Howard what his father did when he was alive”. My mother gasped, then held me close. “The only problem is that we were wrong, well at least not totally correct”. My mother looked confused. At this time, tears already started to drip from my granny’s place. She asked me to bring out the phone. She played the message. For the next three minutes, the whole room was quiet. By then, my mother was drowned. She was crying profusely. “That’s….his voice. That’s….that’s….that’s…..my husband voice”. My mum was trying to mumble words that made sense. She sat on the ground. I held her and hugged her.
My granny was not any better. She was worse than yesterday. “Stephanie, please forgive me. I killed your husband. You asked that we give him a chance and I didn’t. Maybe the story could have turned out different. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself”. My mother stood up and hugged granny. “Shh..Shh, granny its ok. You made a mistake. We all did. Don’t beat yourself up. You can blame yourself for his death or for the damage to your own life but it won’t change what happened. Please, you have to forgive yourself”. My mother’s tears had reduced by this time. “Thank you Stephanie. Howard, come here.” I moved closer. “I’m sorry that you don’t have a father, I am. But always remember, anytime you are in need, your mother has and will always be there for you. Please learn from our mistakes. Don’t ever forget that”. She looked back at my mother. “Stephanie, thank you”. She looked at us both and held our hands. “I love you both”.
She was quiet for about a minute then closed her eyes. My mother felt her pulse, her face changed. It was a face of surprise and sadness. “She’s gone”. I busted out in tears. My mother consoled me. I was shivering. I couldn’t control my tears.
I learnt another important lesson about forgiveness that day. If you are forgiven about a deed and you don’t learn to forgive yourself, it costs you. My grandmother could’ve lost her happiness and died a dejected, sad person. But apart from the forgiveness she received, she was able to forgive herself to be able to be happy. You need to let go of the guilt and move on. Promise me something, reader. You will always move on from every success or failure you have in life. Don’t thrive on it, you will stumble.

Oluwasola M.J

FREEDOM: WHAT IT REALLY IS 

I was in Lagos early this year and I resided with my cousin. He is one of the people I have more insightful conversations with. We were having one of our discussions recently when I inquired about his perception towards the meaning of the term “Freedom”. He was initially excited about it but then he couldn’t answer the question.

Everyone has their notions and opinions about what the term means. I will like to share mine. “Freedom is a condition where you have options to make a decision in a situation with understandable consequences for every option”. I was talking with some of the 2017 graduands of Sharon Rose Schools and College. I asked them how they were feeling about leaving secondary school. As expected, all of them mentioned the case of having more freedom. My reply was thus: “Freedom is good. What you have to understand though is that when you have this freedom, you are in more danger than ever before. In secondary school, you are forced to listen in class and like it or not, you gained some things through that “force”. In tertiary institutions (exceptions of Covenant University, that’s a higher secondary school), you are not forced to do almost anything. You are instead, given responsibilities to fulfill in order to graduate from the institution.”

There is a general misconception about freedom being a state where you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s not totally wrong, it’s just incomplete. There are more dangers attached to freedom than benefits. How? In an exam, you have freedom to pick options in an objective. Out of four options, only one option adds mark, three takes it away. The thought of being free does not seem like a realistic situation to me and this brought me to an understandable conclusion. I asked myself, “Are we ever free? No, we are forever enslaved to the consequences of our choices”.

As we know, every day we make several decisions and that’s what makes or mar our day as individuals. We are subjected to the consequence(s) of making a choice. When we wake up, we have a choice to have our bath or not. Have your bath and you are guaranteed a day of fresh scent and comfort (the consequence of taking your bath). On the other hand, if you don’t have your bath, you are looking at a day of offensive odor and a day rid of comfort (the consequence of not taking your bath).

Correcting this incomplete notion about freedom is not difficult though. Here are a few ways on how to reshape your view:

i. Be conscious of critical decisions:

Make sure you are sure about making critical decisions. Evaluate the full effect of this decisions before you make them. You could spend 5 minutes to make a decision and pay for it with 5 years. Be careful.

ii. Be clear about your values:

You won’t have time to make a number of decisions. Harboring and practicing the right values help you to make decisions in these kind of times. For more on this, you can check out (5 ways to better yourself in 2018)

iii. Always remind yourself that you are responsible for whatever happens.
Freedom does not exist. You only get responsible for more choices overtime, don’t get carried away.
Oluwasola M.J

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑