Stop Avoiding Hurt by Chukwukadibia Ude


Everyone is a builder but what people build differentiates them. Relationships prove that every human being builds either a prison, wall or bridge.
A lot of people open their minds to the hurt stories around them and as such refuse to give themselves the gift of experience. I hear people in this category say things like: ‘men are horrible’, ‘women are dangerous’, ‘all men are the same’, ‘all women are the same’. These people build prisons for themselves. From the prison, they look out and assume a lot. Most times, they have a tunnel view about life and all they think about is what people will do for them. Such people are blame masters and can be referred to as ‘closed’ people.
The second category is made up of men and women who have come out of their shells or prisons but are still living in the world of too much expectation. Relating with this people is okay but once you make a mistake that hurt them, you may end up losing them for life because little hurts to them mark the end of the relationship. Immediately, they build walls to shield themselves from you. These people regret being open and return to closeness. They are referred to as ‘open to those that like me’ people.

The last category has a few men and women who give themselves to the practice of forgiveness. They open their hearts and build bridges . They have tasted both closeness and openness. They choose to know how to become better after being hurt rather than building walls. People hurt them, but they remember that they hurt others too.Their openness show them how weak they are and their closeness remind them of the need to open their doors for people to come in. Their take is not to build prisons for themselves because that would be like starting all over again. Their resolve is not to build walls for some certain people and see them at some point from afar. They choose the bridge because that’s the only way to show that the heart accepts other hearts. To them, openness is an exercise. They are referred to as ‘open’ people

There are varieties of people that share a mix of these three categories but the point is on how they understand the hurts in the world. Avoiding hurts should not be your aim. You will judge people forever.

Learn to be the one who aims to give the best love and you will grow through the mistakes you never dreamed you could make. Remember, when you say ‘people are deceitful or horrible or dangerous’, you may have counted yourself in the number.

Closeness and openness are tools available for you, don’t see them as destinations. Openness is what gives you experience. Closeness helps you think of better ways to improve.

When you are open, you open doors for yourself. Instead of saying that openness is bad, think of better ways to become open. Do the same with Closeness.

Hurts are big heaters. They give you pains that release your weaknesses. This also applies when you hurt people. Asking for forgiveness helps you release the pains of pride.

Relate with people and throw away your pains. All you need is the guidance of Intelligent Love that does not err.

Into me, into you.

Chukwukadibia Ude.

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Tags and Labels: A Social BarrierĀ 

“Labels are for fillings. Labels are for clothings. Labels are not for people.” – Martina Navratilova 

Back in 1990s/early 2000s Nigeria, every parent wanted his/her child to go to a Unity School as they were the leading secondary educational institutions in the country. The name ‘Unity Schools’ was coined by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and comprised of a number of colleges spread across the nation, which were used to promote national unity via the admission of “intelligent” students from all parts of the country and all ethnic groups. Little wonder the motto of these schools is Pro Unitate.

I was opportune to attend a Unity School, Federal Government College Enugu (in Fedi lol), to be precise. It was an eye-opening experience. You have people from all walks of life, background, ethnicity, religion, culture all mixed up in one place. 

Ironically, this was the first place I learnt about labels and tags, and the effects they could have on both “the tagger” and “the tagged.” It was a typical high school, with so many people forming cliques, which differentiated the cool from the uncool, the smart (nerds) from the dullards, the boarders (gnashites) from the day students (day goats), ‘guy men’ from the ‘Jew men’, the rich from the poor etc.

The first place I witnessed the effects of tags and labels

Last year, I met some folks I went to secondary school with and they all addressed me as a “bookworm.” One even told me, “I’m surprised you drink.”

I couldn’t help but laugh as that’s the worst way to describe me. Although I did well in school, I can’t remember ever sitting in front of the class nor count the number of times I was disciplined by the teacher because I was a perpetual noise maker. I seldom paid attention but I get it, I did well so the bookworm tag fits perfectly.

Similarly, we place tags and labels on others in our minds the moment we meet them, based on different parameters, and most times, we are wrong. To be fair, labels and tags are all around. We are all labelled and tagged by either sex, race, ethnicity, religion, anatomy/physique, sexuality, socio-economic status, music we listen to, sports we play/sports team we support, clothes we wear or the job we have. Sometimes we don’t mean to label and tag others but we can’t help it; it just happens.

I wonder if labelling will ever stop. It has been used as a means of discrimination for thousands of years. It is like clothing people with what you want them to be whilst covering their real identities. However, human beings are complex and multi-dimensional.


I was taken aback when some folks asked if I was gay and gothic because they heard me play and sing rock hits and songs made by openly gay music artistes like Frank Ocean and Sam Smith. Even though, research has shown that music tells you a lot about someone’s personality, it is disputable. So I’m really curious, why can’t a straight man gladly enjoy good music made by gay musicians? Does being gay suddenly make their good music bad? I listen to and enjoy different genres of music, as far as it is good music. And for the record, Ocean’s Lost remains one of my best songs ever.

The problem with labelling others is that it limits the perceptions of the “the tagger” and “the tagged” about life creating a tunnel vision of some sort. When we tag and label others, we are overtaken by unintentional and unconcealed prejudice hence losing our ability to think objectively. It leads to segregation and as a result, we miss out on a lot of good things in life. We miss out on friendships, interesting conversations, business deals, good music, marriage/relationships, food, travel experience, family (via adoption), life-changing experiences etc.

Naturally, people cling to things and people that they are used to but I find that boring. Is it possible to change your perception about life if you stick so religiously to what you are used to? During my masters degree in the UK, there was a huge divide between the British and foreign students – it was as obvious as the midnight stars. And it did affect the budding understanding, friendship and relationship between both groups. 

Labelling is a lifetime trigger. Once we have an encounter with another person, we tend to hold on to that memory for so many years until proven otherwise. As a consequence, a bad experience with someone can make us hate an entire race, religion, tribe or sex hence forgetting that we can also have similar experience with people from our own comfort zone.

There is no problem in using your past experiences to shield yourself from future hurt. No problem at all. However, it becomes a problem when you use your personal experience/standards to ill-advise and judge others. I mean your personal standards could be mere opinions or blatant assertions, not facts.

This is evident in our relationships and marriages. I had thought that what really matters is finding someone who is good for you, in every meaning of the word, regardless of his/her religion, race or ethnicity. Oh boy! How wrong was I?

Inter-racial, inter-ethnic, intra-ethnic and/or inter-religious relationships/marriages are still a “taboo” to many people across the globe. To even make matters worse, amongst Christians in Nigeria, there is still animosity towards members who marry Christians from other denominations. And most of the time, this segregation is heavily influenced by the church, parents/family and/or friends.

A person’s race, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status, calories, sex, tribe, nationality or intelligence does not define him/her. That black people like dancing does not mean all black people know how to dance (I mean, I don’t!). That white people can’t pronounce black names does not mean there is no white person who can. 

Let go of tags and labels, and see people for who they really are. People are not their hairs, skins or your expectations. They are souls that live within. 

What do you think of tags and labels? And how have they limited your views about others? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.