Is There Hope For This Generation?

image

Everyday I see and hear people talk about embracing positive vibes and dropping people that exude negativity. I’d like to say that I belong to this school of optimism but that’s entirely not true.

I believe in reality and can’t fight it. From a realistic point of view, positivity is certainly not a bad thing. Realists pay heed to the words of Dalai Lama “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.”

Positivity helps keep one motivated to continue doing the things s/he needs to do instead of wallowing in self-pity, despair or negativity. However, dwelling on just the positives is a problem. Focusing on just the positives ALL the time can/will deter one from experiencing life in the present and assimilating the lessons embedded in these experiences.

I try to look at things from both sides; there are positive and negative aspects to most situations. In other words, everything that has an advantage has disadvantages and vice versa. It is left for one to weigh and study these consequences before taking action.

This approach helped me understand and process my emotions. And in the process, I became in charge of my life. I still make mistakes regardless – lots of them. Nothing is a given but hey, it is called being human.

Consequently, realism paves way for us to be liberal; willing to accept whatever life throws at us by accepting ourselves and allowing others to be themselves. So I implore you to be liberal about some shit I’m about to say because you may not like it. Excuse my french.

In the past one month, I’ve argued atleast on three different occasions why I am negative about my generation’s ability to change the course of this nation. Despite the overflow of educated, talented, smart, innovative and intelligent youths in Nigeria, I still believe that my generation will be a lot worse than our parents, who are believed to be the reason why our nation is deep in corruption.

I know it sounds harsh considering we are more educated and exposed than our parents but the fact remains there is no platform for the genuises among us to thrive so they scamper to leave the country for good. Meritocracy is abhored and mediocrity is celebrated; it is all about who you know.

Go to social media and complain how mediocre Naija music artistes sound and wait for the ensuing reply. I bet you someone will tell you how the artistes have enough money to feed you and your family. Money and titles are everything. No matter how you get them, just have them.

This is why many parents steal anything that looks like money they come in contact with just to make their children comfortable. Parents also try to sort their kids’ way through school – from primary to tertiary – thereby contributing to the depressing number of educated illiterates in our society. As a result, the kids become relaxed and a tad lazy. After all daddy & mummy will come to their rescue with money/connections and get them that job/contract etc.

A leopard cannot change its spots and a lion cannot give birth to a goat. It is the same blood that flows from the father to the son hence these kids will grow to continue this trend and do the same for their own children.

Our generation love to have fun – hang out, party, smoke weed and get drunk. Possibly, take after the Kardashians; ball all day and still rake in money. That’s how it is supposed to be, isn’t it? Living young, wild and free.

The worst of all, we compare ourselves – what we have or have achieved. With social media, comparison is easier. There’s pressure on many to have vacation in an exotic location with bae, own exotic cars, wear designer clothes, jewelleries and shoes so we can show off.

There’s also enormous pressure on the men to give their spouses the kind of wedding worthy to feature on Instagram & BellaNaija. All these encourage stealing because money is a prerequisite for these things. In the end, we become wannabes who are ready to do anything to fit into certain groups.

Those living abroad are not better; a lot will surprise you with their reasoning and mentality. They complain about Nigeria on social media and wish for things to get better. However, I have seen many in diaspora come back to loot more than the leaders they used to complain about.

Nevertheless I like surprises and I would love it if my generation could spring a surprise on me and prove me wrong.

Mental Health: A Need For Awareness

image

Mental health problems are on meteoric rise across the globe. I read an interesting article which identified mental health disorders as the fifth leading cause of death and disease worldwide. Interestingly, Nigeria, along with China, North Korea and Japan were the four countries mentioned to have low burden of death and disease from mental disorders.

This could be due to the fact that the average Nigerian mind races to madness (psychosis) probably inflicted on a person by haters from his or her village, when mental health is mentioned. Many fail to realise that alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, sleep issues, emotions such as anxiety and depression, levels of stress, self-harming and suicide are all linked to mental health.

As a result, very few Nigerians pay attention to their mental health. Judging with what is happening right now, one can predict that mental health issues of Nigerians, especially the youths will skyrocket in the next five to ten years. And this should be seen as a major public health concern.

Before you start critiquing this; I am yet to research on this so I have no raw data to back my claims hence this is just an opinion, observation or assertion.

Nigerian youths are faced with numerous problems in our country today. From joblessness (unemployment) through relationship/marriage problems to alcohol and drug abuse etc. And these can do serious damage to one’s mental health.

image

First, parents put a lot of pressure on their kids to study and become a doctor, engineer or lawyer. Many may lack the abilities and capabilities required to reach the educational goals set by the parents and in the end, become stressed, anxious and depressed or may resort to drug abuse/alcoholism to take the pain away.

Then, if one scales through these hurdles and graduates, one enthusiastically applies for numerous jobs as many believe their job defines them and earns them respect. If unsuccessful after a long search, one may lose confidence and self-esteem.

Unemployment can take a huge toll on a fresh graduate’s pysche. The stages of unemployment are initial shock, depression and finally adjustment. Depression may cause them to isolate themselves from friends and family.

Next, the never-ending pressure on a young Nigerian lady, from family and society, to marry and have a family. Although many claim unfazed, being single may increase the risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood.

Nevertheless, ending a relationship/marriage through separation, divorce or death may also cause an increased risk of mental health disorders. Relationships are hard-work and often drains one’s emotional energy. People may be happier whilst married or in relationship but the effects on mental health once separated by death or divorce may be far worse than being single.

image

image

It is never easy when a relationship/marriage ends. The breakup can trigger negative emotions, such as sadness, hate, disappointment and depression, which one may never recover from. The more break-ups one has, the more his/her mental health  progressively deteriorates.

Emergence of social media hasn’t helped either; it has increased comparison, cyber-bullying, restlessness, glamorization of sex, drugs and alcohol use and crowd mentality amongst the youths to appear cool. People put more pressure on themselves when they see achievements of others thereby elevating their stress levels, anxiety and depression. If they feel they are falling behind, they may make matters worse by turning to drugs or alcohol.

Mental health issues can prevent one from living his/her dream, starting a family or becoming useful to his nation. And this should be treated as a serious health scare. Mental health awareness should be made to safeguard emotional wellbeing of Nigerian youths.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

The Friendship/Gossip Triangle by Chukwukadibia Ude

The friendship/gossip triangle represents a geometric series of conversations between three persons who know each other.

This piece explains how these conversations engage many others who revolve inside the triangle thereby instituting positive or negative attributes depending on the nature of these conversations.

A triangle has only three points representing three persons as explained in this piece. (Any shape can be used for this analysis but what matters is the understanding derived from it)

The lines that bind the three points are assumed in this piece to be bound with two things: THE TONGUE AND THE EAR.

Simply put the tongues and the ears of those at the three points of the triangle.

(For emphasis, THE HANDS could represent the lines when you consider the social media or instant message applications that we operate nowadays. In any case, the hands only type what would have been said if it were possible to talk).

THIS ARTICLE WAS BORN WITH A REFLECTION ON THE USE OF THE TONGUE

(The ear is only considered because the next person who speaks, speaks only what is heard or speaks a different interpretation of what is heard)

HOW THE THINGS WE SAY PUT US IN SITUATIONS WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE

Why do we give deaf ears to the Philosopher Socrates’ advice? He said: “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?” As easy as it sounds, almost everyone disobeys this principle.

Why do we always involve people where they have no responsibilities at all? Joyce Meyer even clarified this stating pro actively that “anywhere you do not have responsibility, do not bother to have an opinion”. With this, even when the speaker has made the mistake to speak what you see as irrelevant to you, you could help stop the flow if you pay attention to Joyce’s advice. The baseline is that when one starts a conversation, the receiver/listener could help shorten it if what is to be said is neither true, good nor useful or as well following Meyer’s statement. This will teach the speaker a lot about what is actually necessary to be said.

Here comes the analysis:

Three persons A, B and C are friends who know each other and represent the points in a triangle while their tongues and ears join these triangle points and as well bring about many companions who are not in any case necessary to the personal friendship of A or B or C or even their group relationships.

Questions to ponder:

Why would any of A, B or C tell their problems with anyone of the other two to the third?

Why won’t the two resolve their problems?

Why explain your personal affairs to the other two? Are they God?

Why mention what someone did to you and even his/her name to the other two? Do they have any responsibility in your problem with him/her? Why can’t he/she approach who offended him/her?

Why would the other two also spread the issue to many others?

Why can’t A tell B what he/she doesn’t like about him/her? Why rushing to complain to C? Why rushing to communicate your issues with another person to someone who isn’t involved? Have you thought of the dangers of involving him/her?

Why would A, B or C act as a friend but actually works as a spy? Are you in party politics or are you practising in the field of detectives?

Why would A destroy the friendship of B and C (or B that of A and C as well as C that of A and B)? Why involving D to Z in your friendship with A, B, C, A & B, B & C, A & C and even affecting the friendship of A, B and C with D to Z?

Even if what A says is true about B or C or B and C to D to Z, how good or useful is it to them?

If you understand this well, you will observe that only the tongue has engaged so many companions.

Oh, the power of the tongue. This power is seen to hold life and death as recorded in Proverbs 18:21 and the advice thereof is that he/she who loves it will eat its fruit.

The ear of the receiver has also helped to transfer the information by hearing and the tongue of the receiver then keeps making it a geometric build up until the triangle makes one’s life almost ruined.

D to Z in the analysis represents many people we involve in what does not really concern them. We multiply our companions by the things we speak out. Remember, Proverbs 18:24 warns that a man of many companions may come to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Find that friend and still follow Socrates and Meyer’s advices on such a friend.

Not taming the tongue can be likened to a bad attitude and a bad attitude is seen by some great men as a flat tire which means you cannot go anywhere without changing it.

Most times, the way we see life could make taming the tongue almost impossible. We may want others to be like us. We live by the law and expect everyone to do to us the same we do for them forgetting that everyone sees life differently. Using our ‘do me, I do you’ perspective, we hardly trust, we complain a lot, we give up on people easily, we involve many things and many people even when the situation has not got the extent we think about. The way we think about life has been a contribution to our use of the tongue.  When we see life as a law, there is a low understanding of love and where there is no love, there is dishonesty and all these lead to the way we apply our tongues to irrelevancies. Even the holy book confirms that love is the fulfillment of the law and not the other way round. When we love, we could help shape our lives. Do not forget that mercy triumphs over judgment as noted in James 2:13.

Comparison is another big threat to friendship. The more we compare, the more we take sides. The more we take sides, the more we hardly know the truth. The more we know less of the truth, the more biased we become. The more biased we become, the more we never see something good in people. This in turn blocks the knowledge of the truth. The funniest thing is that we know the truth just that our negativity buries it. The final point is that it leads to hatred and envy.  With this, all we do is TALK, TALK, and TALK. Guess who we talk to: people that have no business in the subject matter. The tongue sells the product of our comparison to markets where there are no customers at all to buy it rather than mere advertisements. No one buys the dummies, they are just samples. Please, let us reduce the extent we sample many people. Why have more dummies in your shop than real products?

If you feel disturbed about someone, please call the person and have a face time conversation. Life is a test; we only pass it when we stick to approaches that promote value. Without the right values, nothing is sustainable.

Someone advised that a right word at the right time to the right person at the right time can’t be a coincidence but orchestrated by God. We all make mistakes but we are also aware of the new mercy of God we have every day so let us always filter our words before speaking.

The way we see life, how we think about others, how we react to what others do to us, the way manner in which we rush to explain things to people who act as if they care, etc. should be our next line of action when it comes to change.

I remember the update someone used on social media; it says “Your thoughts, Your life, Your choice”.

If you have said what is not meant to be said, this is the time to have a re-think. You could be causing a lot of injuries. When you speak what is neither true nor good nor useful, you cause a lot of harm. Like Benjamin Franklin highlighted, the tongue offends and the ear takes the cuffing. He also advised that it is better to take many injuries than to give one. He, whom you have given so many injuries, will be pitied but you who cause the injury will be hated. Be wise. Do not speak off the cuff, otherwise you will feel so injured within yourself as well. For those who listen, when it is your turn to speak, don’t speak off the cuff as well.

If you have been wronged by what someone said about you, do not worry. Rumours do not define you. Even if what is said is true, count it as a something that requires you to grow. Remember, it is only at the tree loaded with fruits that people throw stones. You are so fruitful, that’s why most people are interested in you. Keep shinning. The problem is not the problem but your attitude about the problem.

In all you do, discipline the tongue so well. No plan will survive first contact with the enemy as stressed by Van Molke. Often times, we reveal our plans to people with our tongues.

One thing could help make the tongue always so clean. It is not tooth brush and paste. It is the ability to keep the mind clear and bright. Someone stated that the mind is the window through which we see the world. Most times, the tongue says what the mind feels or the interpretation given to what is seen or heard which revolves around the masterpiece called the human mind.

Despite Uncle Remus quote stated thus, “you cannot run away from trouble, there ain’t no place that far”, I believe that we could still reduce our troubles by minding what we say and listen to.

If you desire the inner zone of the triangle to be filled with peace and true friendship, mind what you say or listen to or discuss. If you desire the inner zone to be filled with gossips, worry and injuries, then keep talking the way you want. Its either you create a friendship triangle or a gossip triangle.

Do not gossip. Do not allow gossips or it gets into you. It destroys the mind. The pain of the mind is more than the pain of the body.

Within us, we have so many troubles. Do not go criticizing others. D.L. Moody even emphasized “right now I am having so much trouble with myself that I do not have time to criticize my friends”.

Settle your issues with who is concerned. Do not make it a debate for others. The others you tell have no business. Such debates make no good history.

Make your friendship triangle peaceful. Find friends who try as much as they can to make theirs peaceful. Embrace them.

Be watchful as it is the only way. If you are just careful, you could still make a lot of mistakes. Being careful is not enough. If you don’t want it to be heard, tell no one at all. Use your discretion to filter words that you want to release; words could uplift or destroy you.

Whatever mistakes you have made, see them as lessons learnt and forge ahead. Malcolm Forbes defined failure as success if we learn from it. The worst is repeating the mistakes; the triangle will grow as a gossip triangle to a gossip decagon and become unbearable. It is always better to have a peaceful network in a friendship triangle even if the triangle is so small. Mind your thoughts, mind your tongue and mind your ears. When you do not know what to reply over what you heard, do not start explaining; just smile. A wise man made a wonderful comment that no matter the language you speak, a smile will never need a translator.

The tongue weighs practically nothing but only a few can hold it. I need to learn, you need to learn, we need to learn.
We can make our relationships sustainable. Let us be truthful. Let us be lovely and lovable. Let us be faithful. Let us forgive. Let us encourage greater values. Let us know. Let us learn. Let us grow. Let us live. Let us be alive. Let us be peaceful.

Watch your tongue, hold it, keep it clean, and discipline it.

Filter what your say and what you hear.

Clean your ears, not with cotton buds, but with listening filter.

Keep your minds clean and bright.

In relationships with people, engage your mind only on what is true, good and useful about people.

Manage your stakeholders; engage who is responsible or accountable, consult who is experienced, objective and unbiased when necessary and inform only who is to be informed when necessary.

Encourage value and you see your relationships become highly sustainable.

AN APPROACH TO LIFE; LET US WATCH IT!!!

Compare Me Not

“Oh, there you go, comparing me,
to every little model on the tv screen”

That’s a hook from Destiny Child’s song “Through with love”

Comparing people is as bad as it gets. Nobody likes to be compared to another person. It creates envy, jealousy and enmity.

If you doubt me, hype and praise your boyfriend/girlfriend’s friend in his or her presence, he or she “must” search for something bad about the person to tell you.

Parents are the emperors of the comparison kingdom, they compare their kids to the kids of their friends and other family members. I’m pretty sure no kid likes to be compared with the sibling or a family friend’s child.

Parents fail to understand that even brothers/twins from the same womb have different destinies. The gift Obi is endowed with is totally different from what Emeka is blessed with so why compare them?

Although parents believe the comparison ought to spur the child to work harder and reach the acme of his endeavours, it can make the child to believe he’s never good enough or he’s not accepted by the parents.

In 2000 Blockbuster, The Gladiator, Emperor Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris) caused an enmity between him, his son and heir to the throne, Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and General Maximus Decimus Meridius (played by Russell Crowe) when he made known his intention to grant temporary leadership to Maximus before dying.

Commodus already bitter that his father favours Maximus over him, murders his father in a fit of rage and claims the throne before ordering the execution of Maximus, his wife and son.

Comparisons with others who are better off or superior on an upward comparison can lower self-regard whereas downward comparisons can elevate self-regard.

A good example of upward social comparison relates to women and their perceptions of the self and others. For example, a woman looks at images of idealized others, and feels as though she is not equal to what she sees.

Some women have reported making upward comparisons in a positive manner for the purposes of self-motivation, but the majority of upward comparisons are made when the individual is feeling lesser and therefore evoke a negative connotation.

Comparing people rarely ends well, let’s push it under the carpet.

Love

 

Valentine’s Day (Lovers’ day) is a day set aside all over the world to celebrate the gift of love.

For me, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar. You don’t have to wait till it’s valentine to show love. This brings me to the question, what is love? Love is the feeling of tender & passionate affection for another person.

From infancy to adulthood, we have had strong but transient romantic attraction for the opposite sex starting from our teachers to our fellow classmates. We often refer to these individuals as mere crush & that is what I feel love is. People have labelled me a love critic because I often say love is overrated. Don’t get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing but these are my reasons for saying love is overrated:

We as Christians are implored everyday to love our neighbours as ourselves, yet most of us are self centred & care less about others. I believe if you don’t care about your neighbours, you can’t fall in love.

Love is patient & kind: Most people nowadays are impatient & I don’t blame them. Recently, there’s this girl I was so patient with, took all her bullshit, in the end, I was “lovelorn”. People always feel superior to you when you stoop so low to take their bullshit rather they brag in front of their folks saying “that guy/girl is head over heels for me”.

Love is not jealous, boastful or proud: Our people normally say “otu onye anaghi alu nwanyi” which means a woman is married by many not just one man alone. Jealousy/over protection is one of the reasons why people break up, a friend once accused me of trying to snatch his girlfriend from him. The guy is so jealous that any chat with his girl means you are trying to woo her. That you are dating a guy/girl doesn’t mean you are supposed to be monitoring his/her every move or glued to each other. In the end, you will get tired of each other & the rest is history.

Love does not demand on its own way: Demand is another inglorious chapter of a relationship. Nobody wants a demanding/nagging fellow as a partner. In the book of proverbs of the Holy Bible, a verse says “A leech has two daughters, both named give me.” Girls are of the idea that once they are dating, it is the responsibility of the guy to take care of her needs. Don’t get me wrong, you can do anything for the one you love but the person mustn’t demand or nag for it. I know a student who gives his nagging girlfriend a monthly allowance of 5,000 from his own monthly allowance of 15,000 & he tells me, its love. “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a nagging/quarrelsome wife”

Love is not irritable & it keeps no record of when it has been wronged: Misunderstandings are acid tests of a relationship, they are inevitable. They help build a “covalent” bond between couples. People often claim to be in love but when a problem ensues, you often see the guy/girl saying all sorts of ‘unbelievable’ things about their boo & this makes me irascible. When the going was good & smooth, you didn’t see all these faults but because the end is lurking, you’d tell your story to every ear that is willing to listen. The truth is that we all have flaws & it is our ability to stay together despite our respective flaws that makes us say we are in love.

Love never gives up & endures every circumstance: People love due to so many reasons such as beauty, affluence, talent, intelligence, voice, height, size, dressing as the case may be but the one million pound question remains “would you still love him/her if all these change?” Abraham Lincoln once said “Everything is in a process of change, nothing endures, and we do not seek permanence.”  Let me paint a picture, assuming you are dating your dream girl/guy & one day he or she has an accident & loses a limb or any part of his/her body, would you still love him/her? If your answer is yes, then you are in love but if you answered no, you are definitely not in love.

Love is faithful: King Solomon said it all in Proverbs 20 verse 6 “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”  Wise words from a decent man.

Love grows: Loving the opposite sex is like loving a song; the more you hear the song, the faster you learn the lyrics & fall in love with the song. The more we stay with each other, the more we cultivate love towards ourselves. For instance, from primary school to tertiary institution, I’ve found out that there must be somebody in my class that makes me trip…This is because I see & stay with the person everyday but this ‘love’ usually fades away once I move to the next class. During the time of our fathers, most of our parents didn’t know each other from Adam yet they are living in peace & harmony.

Love signs: The butterfly thingy, touching of hair & other things that have been attributed to love are all fallacy. If you doubt me, check this out…They often say butterflies in the stomach is normal when you are thinking or speaking to the “one” but this feeling is normal because we do get cold feet once in a while. I don’t believe anybody is the one and this feeling occurs almost every day when we’re nervous or eagerly anticipating something or somebody.

Love is the advanced form of infatuation: Infatuation is the act of being foolishly or irrationally in love. The above statement is so true because people do stupid & foolish things when they are in love…If you have never been foolish before, then you know not what love is.

Love doesn’t pretend: Pretence is an act of giving appearance of truth or reality to that which is false or imaginary. People especially girls get in on the act…Ah!!! Who dey broda?!!! They show false “good girl” behaviour at the conception of the relationship but when the chips are down, they show their true colours. Guys also pretend to be rich, gentle and nice, anything for the cookie. My advice, never judge a book by its cover because looks can be deceptive.

Love doesn’t listen to gossips: A line from the song “so what” by Field Mob featuring Ciara keeps going through my head. “They said that I’m this, they said that I’m that…” We often listen to our friends when they tell us things about our partners. Some of these friends of ours may have ulterior motives behind their ‘kind’ gesture. A girl’s worst enemy is her friend. A wise man once told me a story of how the best friend of his fiancée lied to him, the friend had told him that his fiancée had epilepsy so he ended his relationship with the girl and married the friend instead only for him to find out years later that the girl lied.

Love doesn’t compare: my female folks are the culprits here. Here is a dialogue between two friends:

Lisa: What did Mark buy for you on Valentine’s Day?

Jane: Mark, my knight in shining armour, bought me a new phone (Blackberry bold 5), took me to Marina Resort where we rode the speed bike and speedboat after which we retired to a romantic dinner for two at our hotel. It was so romantic. You nko, how your own dey?

Lisa: Emeka that stingy fellow, he just bought me a card, flower and a necklace…Jane your own better oh!

Girls/women often compare their boyfriends/husbands and this makes me laugh all the time. They forget that all fingers are not equal and even brothers from the same womb have different destinies. Andy Murray of Scotland said after losing to Roger Federer in the Australian tennis (grand slam) open final, “I can cry like Roger, it’s a shame I can’t play like him“. If you really love your man, quit comparing and be contented with what you have alright?

Love is a bird; she needs to fly so enjoy it while it lasts.