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Don’t Doubt Yourself

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. Seems the older we get, the more busy life becomes. *sigh* where is my rich husband? Anyway, if you have been struggling with doubt, fear and anxiety, this post is for you.

If there is one feeling everyone with a goal has to deal with often, it is self-doubt. Self-doubt is what many people chew on the moment they wake up in the morning and they think of the goals they have set for themselves. Questions like ‘Can I achieve that?’ ‘will that even work?’ ‘will they really like me?’ ‘Can I truly get the required resources?’ etc. are some of the questions some people deal with the moment they wake up. Anxiety is often not left out of the equation. The anxiety that comes from self-doubt is one that I have personally experienced many times and I just want to use this post as a source of encouragement to someone out there who is struggling with self-doubt.

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I used to think a little doubt was a good thing; probably because many people in my childhood told me about how over-confident I was, and needed to tone it down. I started to introduce doubt into my thinking to make room for errors that my perfectionist self was unlikely to make. With time, doubt became a norm, and I became a big ball of anxiety. I even had withdrawal symptoms if I didn’t doubt myself for a considerable amount of time, and those symptoms led me to find reasons to doubt myself until one day, I looked back and realized how much I had missed out on because I paid more attention to the doubtful voice within me more than the encouraging confident voice. I learned three lessons from that introspection:

1.) Whatever you pay attention to will grow. Just like plants grow when they are given attention and nurture, anxiety, fear, and doubt also grow when you feed them by asking yourself questions that are aimed at crippling your spirit.

2.) Doubt, like worry, is negative faith; confidence is positive faith. I learned very quickly that people who are confident are not necessarily that way because they know more than others. They are that way because they believe they can convey information, ideas, visions and goals in a better way even when they don’t have the necessary tools available to them

3.) You are capable of more than you think (I learned this when I took up running and had to overcome mind obstacles). In many instances, it is a matter of your mind over your actual ability. If you can win the battle in your mind, everything else is level ground.

4.) You cannot achieve anything by your own ability only. You need the support of God and his word, else you will crash and burn trying to do everything on your own.

Doubt? Leave it outside where it belongs. Focus more on what you can do to get to where you want to be, rather than what can go wrong to impede your progress. Win the battle in your mind, and take each day at a time. Don’t stress about what will happen in five years. Let each day take care of itself and simply do your best.

It has been four years since I had that introspection and my life has gone through many ups and downs since then. However, one thing has remained constant – the belief that I can do much more than my ‘over-confident’ self gives me credit for, and the fact that God has my back any day any time. Even when my plans fail, he makes an alternative way and opens my eyes to see it.

XOXO

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When Can Women Beat Men?

I have to ask this question because it is necessary.

A woman was found beaten to death by her husband, who by the way locked her corpse in the house with her two kids, and hit the highway to hiding… and the first question people ask is “what did she do? He couldn’t have beaten her for no reason!”

Are you all trying to pull my legs? Am I getting punked here? Is there any justification to beat another human being, the mother of your children, and the wife you promised to love and protect to death or at all? Because it seems like there is. The first question many men AND women ask when they find out a woman is being physically abused by her husband is “what is she doing wrong?”Since that is the case, I have my own questions.

When can we women beat men?

Can we beat men when they cheat on us without remorse and even justify their infidelity by using flimsy excuses like “last week when I called you at work, you were too busy to answer so I had to cheat” Can we beat men when they lie? Because that seems to be in their genetic makeup. Can we beat them when they lie over and over again that the ladies’clothes in the closet belong to their long lost cousin when really they belong to the main chic we don’t know about? Can we beat men for deciding they can play with our emotions as they wish? Drag us along for a ride they are not willing to take and then at the last minute come up with a “baby it’s not you, it’s me”line? Can we beat men when they fail to acknowledge how their words hurt us and rob us of our worth or is that something only men are allowed to feel?

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Can we beat men when they tell their mistresses that their wives are distant relations who have accommodation problems? Can we beat men when they don’t return home at night and don’t call to tell us why? Can we beat men when they refuse to contribute to the upkeep of the home, yet gladly dole out cash to ladies young enough to be our children? Can we beat men when they secretly get married while we are still daydreaming of our happy endings with them? Can we beat men when they use us and discard us like napkins in the trash?

Most importantly, can we beat men when they beat us, or do we have to keep praying for them to stop? Can we beat men when we return home after a long day and they have not made a single attempt to get dinner started? Can we beat men when they smile at other women or speak to them? Can we beat men when they share their opinions? I really need to know when we can beat men.

I need all the men who believe a woman deserves to be beaten for wrongdoing to please explain to me when it is OK for us women to beat men. Tell me when it is OK for us to grab our leather belts and horse whips and correct that man child. If you cannot come up with one single scenario where women can beat men, understand that it was never OK and it will never ever be OK for men to beat women. XOXO

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Women were Created for the Pleasure of Men

“Women were created to please men”

This is the general thought many men walk around with even if they refuse to say it out loud (no thanks to female emancipation). This is the thought many women believe hence the urge they have to ensure their relationships work out at all cost. This is the thought society has thrived on – that women are lesser beings whose purpose are only found when they find a man. Just like the life of a Christian is useless if he’s not serving God, the life of a woman amounts to nothing if she has no man to serve. When she does have a man to serve, if she is not doing everything he wants to please him, she is missing the core of her existence- the real reason she was created, the exact calling on her life, the mandate of her destiny.

Women are lesser beings. We were created to get married, listen to the well-laid rules by men, try our possible best to abide by the rules, and then over-compensate when we fail.

I have heard the rules many times from men: “when I get married, my wife has to do my laundry by handwashing”, “When I get married, I expect my meals to be freshly prepared everyday, and the dishes done right after I am done eating”, “when I get married, I expect my wife to wake up every morning, clean the house, pack up my lunch, get the kids ready for school and make sure my shirt is ironed before I am done taking a shower”. Don’t rule out the fact that you may need to change his boxers when he’s too tired to do so himself, and might have to be waiting at the door, drink in hand, ready to greet him after a long day you’ve both had. He is the king of the castle, and you are not the princess he wooed, but the servant he employed. The rules are set; the mandate of the purpose is defined. Your cage is built and your individuality is non-existent

Any woman who dares to question these rules is asked the one question that will set her aback for a moment.

“If you cannot do these things, what are you contributing to the marriage?”

It is hilarious when this question comes up because it appears that the only contributions a woman can make to marriage are those of a domestic nature. If she’s not cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry by handwashing, packing his lunch, and treating him like her adopted grown son, what exactly is she bringing to the table?

You’ve probably realized the sad truth: many men still believe that women have nothing more to give except sex, childbearing and culinary skills. Women cannot contribute financially or intellectually; women are not expected to be successful. But even more shocking is the realization these thoughts have shown about men.

Men are unable to chuck their own clothes in the washing machine, or handwash their own delicates. Men are unable to eat food that has been refrigerated, and are unable to quickly whip something up on their own. It gets even weirder from here on. Men are unable to wash their own dishes after eating, iron their own shirts, or help get the kids ready for school. Men are unable to function on their own, so they get  married to a woman who will do all these things for them, while they continue to ride the false wave of masculinity society keeps feeding them with.

Of course there is nothing wrong with doing the dishes or cooking or any of the other mundane tasks that need to be done around the house. There is however a problem when these tasks are stated as obligations that must be fulfilled by ONLY one party, because the other party believes his partner has nothing else to contribute.

Are we getting married so I can do all your laundry? Or are we getting married because you need a companion you can speak to about issues, make decisions with, build a life with and partner with? Do you understand my brain is functional, and is capable of more than picking which cereal the family should have for breakfast?

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It is a false ideology that women were created to serve men, and if you are a man reading this, it is time to rid yourself of it completely. If you are choosing a spouse solely based on her ability to fulfill mundane tasks you can do yourself (if you’d just get off the couch), then you are setting your relationship up for failure. Not only will she lose her lustre for life because she has been reduced to your expectations, you will get bored for the same reason- she has been reduced to your expectations and there’s nothing exciting about them.

Expect more from your spouse. She was not created to serve you; she was created to partner with you. She is not there to fulfill your every expectation if they do not agree with her; she is there to find common ground with you. She is not there for a king-servant relationship; she is there for a king-queen connection. Your patriarchal expectations and entitlements? Chuck them in the bin. You don’t need them if you want a woman who will give a new zest for life, new courage, new idea, and new grounds to break. You won’t need them if you need a woman who will add value to you just like you add to hers. You won’t need them if you want a woman who knows she has a lot more to contribute to your life than laundry and dishwashing. XOXO. Before you leave, check out Ariel’s “share the load” video below

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Africans Are Not Raised for Marital Compatibility

This probably cuts across other cultures, but I’m African so I am writing from an African perspective. When it comes to lack of marital compatibility, Africans take the prize. I blame our parents, grandparents, and if our ancestors are lurking in corners anywhere, I blame them too.

On the average, male and female children in Africa are brought up with completely different models that now result in dysfunctional families and depressed parties.

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Male children in Africa often get excused for their mistakes. The phrase “He’s a boy, and boys will be boys” often transforms into “He’s a man, and a man will always be a man”. Most of the time, these phrases are used to excuse unbecoming behaviour, temper tantrums, and downright disrespect. They are offered as excuses to explain emotionally and psychologically abusive behaviour. I can say boldly that we are beginning to frown harder at physical abuse so that might be waning. Male children are brought up to understand it’s a man’s world and it is important that they show they are men in all their dealings. Male children are given the power of masculinity without the required sense of responsibility that comes with that power. There is nothing in an African male child’s training manual that explains the need to be empathetic, accountable, or respectful. Instead, the manual flourishes on the ideology that men own the world and everything in it, including women; hence they can do as they please.

On the other hand, female children are brought up with restrictions. Close your legs when you sit; learn how to cook and look after a man; you should be able to manage your finances; you should be forgiving; you should be able to do ALL the housework; you must respect the authority of a man (In this case, there are no distinctions as to which men to respect, all men deserve respect); you shouldn’t be too educated because you will end up in a man’s kitchen at the end of it all; when a man cheats, you must learn to understand; And to cure his infidelity? Give him a child! He’s running wild because you haven’t given him kids (Like a person can push a button and birth kids…seriously); when he lies, he’s being a man; you must get married to be respected; you must keep the home together…. I can write a whole list but hey you get the point. African female children are brought up with the idea that they have no identity as women. So great is the model of self-sacrifice, that it starts to birth low self-esteem issues. And where there is a lack of defined achievements (which are often tied to a man), a feeling of failure might set in.

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 African females are brought up with an understanding of immense self-control, sacrifice, and respect, while the male children are brought up with the ideology that they are not accountable to anyone, and can do as they please for the only valid reason society can think of – they are men.

No wonder our marriages fail, and abuse is rife in our homes. We have raised women to give, and keep giving even if they don’t receive, and raised men to take and keep taking even when they are not giving anything. We have designed a marital system where one party’s emotional bank is constantly emptied by the other who does not feel the need to replenish.

This is why many men treat their wives like property and why the wives accept it as a norm. You cannot study further if you want us to get married; you cannot tell me what decisions to take; you cannot get pissed when I cheat on you, I’m a man; you cannot raise your voice when you are angry with me; you cannot expect me to share the bulk of the housework with you; if I watch pornography, you cannot expect me to be bothered about how insecure that makes you feel. I am a man, and my word is final. No wonder some men find it odd when a woman does not subscribe to the school of thought where they take from her and give nothing in return. No wonder they lash out. No wonder they feel the need to ‘insult’ her for being too strong, and feel she needs to be taken down a peg or two. To keep a marriage afloat, huge sacrifices are required and most of them fall on the shoulders of women.

What kind of hell have we created? Where did we come up with the notion that men can take and not give, but women MUST keep giving? The wife of an infidel is often encouraged to forgive him over and over. So deeply rooted are our cultural beliefs in our religious practices, that such women are often made to remember the bible verse that says “a wise woman builds her home”. Why have we put so much pressure on women, and none on men?

It is a woman’s job to keep strange women away from her husband; it is her duty to fast and pray for the marriage to survive; it is up to her to ensure arguments don’t get out of hand; it is up to her to suppress her feelings and apologise when she’s not wrong. Only the woman gets asked how she balances work and family? Are we saying men are not accountable for the wellbeing of their families? Why so much pressure on women? What are the men responsible for?

When marriages fall apart, fingers often point to the woman whether she is the culprit or not. She is blamed for not being understanding enough, not being patient enough, not being prayerful enough, not being anything good enough…. Enough! I can’t take it anymore.

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The burden on women is too much. Marriage is where women go to lose their identities and kill their dreams. It is where men get fatter because they are well cared for, and women get fatter because they are stressed and depressed. Marriage is where women go to submit to men who do not love them (Ooh… I have another post coming on this crazy new wave of submission. It’s one word that really just creams my corn). Marriage is where women go to break their backs with house chores, and kids’ schedules, and husband’s schedules, and all sorts… and yet may be faced with the infidelity and disrespect that men have been told comes with masculinity. Marriage is where men believe their life’s vision is more important than that of their wife’s so she must aim to support them at her own detriment. Marriage is where many men think their wives are not people; they are acquired objects.

We have raised women to be strong, accountable, and self-sufficient, and raised men with a model of leadership that has no accountability. Surely, we must know that leadership without accountability inevitably leads to abuse. No wonder many men lose it when women do not cater to their fragile egos, yet will not hesitate to tear a woman down with venomous words.

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It is time to raise our children differently. We cannot raise men and women so differently, yet expect to birth healthy functional families within the society. It’s not working. We cannot have men who do not understand what masculinity is really about. We cannot raise one half to be fully responsible while the other half is raised to believe he can run as wild as he wishes. We cannot raise men who believe women are under them, hence must be subdued and abused. We cannot raise men who think it is OK to cheat simply because they are men. No… We cannot continue like this.

I have observed different relationships, and I have honestly admired the feeling of responsibility and respect some cultures instill in men. I have admired men from other cultures for their indepth understanding of the sanctity of relationships, and the empathy they express for their wives. I have seen men do the bulk of the housework without feeling their dicks might disappear; I’ve watched men tie up loose ends when their wives are just too tired; and I’ve seen men show up with ice cream and pizza for dinner just so she doesn’t have to stand over the stove after a long hard day at work. I’ve seen men cheering their wives on, and women who understand the need to receive this kind of amazing love. Are you saying it’s romantic? It’s what dutiful husbands do. They cater to their wives with love and respect. They support her dreams without reservation, or the fear that it might shrink their penis. I can hear you saying some African men are like that. Of course! Not all of them are terrible husbands; however, it is the prevalent African ideology that women must give, and men must take – this is what we need to change.

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If we want marital compatibility, we must aim for a marital model where both identities are respected; a model where the dreams of both parties are valid . We need a model where women are loved like they should be and are not emotionally abused to satisfy the fragile ego of a flawed definition of masculinity. Let’s redefine masculinity to mean responsibility and accountability. Let’s raise sons who will ruin lipsticks and not mascaras and eyeliners.

P.S: The new ariel ad on dads sharing the load might add a little more perspective. XOXO.

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Nigerians, Boundaries, and Hypocrisy… It Just Never Ends

Where do I start this post which is clearly directed at my fellow Nigerians? My dear Naija people who I’ve grown to love and despise at the same time? I have spent days pondering how to compose this post, and many times, I left it unwritten with the biggest open-ended question on my mind as I lay my head to sleep – why don’t Nigerians understand boundaries? Especially when it comes to women.

So a young lady, say age 23 graduates from university with an undergraduate degree and decides to purse a postgrad degree; my naija people will be there showing their unwarranted concern for her future.

“Are you sure you want to pursue a postgraduate degree now?”

“Won’t it be in your better interest to find a husband first and build a home? School will always be there, but men are hard to find if you are too educated.”

At this point, the lady in question is faced with two choices – to subscribe to the Nigerian model of success and find a husband quick! or to be labelled a rebel and face the unending whispers behind her back. No matter what choice she makes from this point on, she will be torn. If she manages to find the man and drag him to the altar in due time to assure the concerned pokenosers that she has the ability to get and keep a man, she will always wonder if she should have followed her dreams. If she goes on to choose her postgraduate degree, she will always wonder if love would have found her if she wasn’t buried in books all the time. Perhaps she can choose to do both. She can prove to be a superwoman and bag a man and a place in a postgraduate study classroom. It will not make things any easier for her.

“So when are you going to have kids? You know if you don’t start popping them soon, he will go to another woman.”

And so the battle begins to have children at all costs; not to please herself but to prevent the prophecies of ‘boundary-less’ pokenosers from coming true. The pokenosers who do not understand the pressure she’s under, the desire she has to be child-free or perhaps the reproductive battles she’s facing with her husband. They want her to start popping the children asap to prove she’s not a disgrace to her family. Failure to comply will obviously get the rumour mill going –

“She must have aborted so many pregnancies as a teenager, her womb is damaged”

“You know I figured she was barren. In fact the spirit ministered it to me. We have to keep praying for her.”

Let’s say she has a child- a male or a female child, and decides to let her nether regions rest from the torture she face during labour? They show up again at her doorstep.

“A woman with one child is like a woman with one eye. If that eye is blinded, she has nothing to fall back on. You need to intensify your efforts to make another baby, preferably of the opposite sex from your first, so your family can be balanced.”

Oh yes… it never ends. After the children arrive, they will ask when she and her husband intend to buy their own house. They will have an opinion on which schools the children should go to, and how long they should stay at school. They will throw shade at her life’s choices and expect her to silently accept their criticism and intrusion. If she tries to defend her choices, they are quick to attribute her defensiveness to any failures they can find in her life.

“We are advising you and you’re getting pissed? This is why your husband has been winking at the bread seller down the street.”

It will not help her case if she is unmarried, childless, a high career achiever, and defensive of her life’s choices.

“Aww. Sit down there o. Men will keep passing you by with this attitude of yours. Be acting like your career will keep you warm at night.”

Even if she is not defensive, she’s not exempt from questions that will make her question her ‘loveability’, her attractiveness, or make her wonder if she under a spiritual spell that causes men to pass her by.

“You are 27? Why are you not married?”

“I know a pastor who has delivered many women from spirit husbands (yes that’s a thing in Nigeria). Those women are happily married today o. If you are ready, I can take you there.”

If she starts talking about standards?

“You need to lower your standards, and stop aiming too high. When I married my husband, he wasn’t even educated and look at where we are today.”

“At your age, I already had two children!”

“Hope you know your biological clock is ticking? Consider any man that approaches you. Afterall, man na man!”

It even gets worse for an unmarried Nigerian woman who is seen to be possessed by the demons of westernization.

“Why would you buy such a fancy car? Which man will approach you now?”

“If you enjoy the money you make too much, men will avoid you like a plague.”

“So what if he cheated? You want to leave so another woman can be the madam of the house? I pity you!”

To say I am baffled at the lack of respect for people’s personal choices, vision, and life is sincerely an understatement. I don’t understand how people think it is OK to approach an individual they barely know and start to give unsought advice on issues that are clearly very personal! In fact, they even tell you whether or not you should simply relocate and give up on everything you’ve built in a foreign country.

“If I were you, I’ll move back to Nigeria to find a job” – this is coming from a fellow Nigerian who is sitting comfortably in an office in the United States, and constantly testifying to anyone who would listen that the grace of God delivered him from the unpredictable hustle and bustle of naija.

The same Nigerians who will tell you to marry an uneducated shop keeper in spite of your collection of advanced degrees will be nowhere to be found when the insecure shop keeper starts to pummel you into a pulp due to his heartfelt inadequacies and insecurities.

The same Nigerians who tell you to endure the community penis you married will be the same people saying “she was too stupid” at your funeral when you die of HIV.

Nigerians have no boundaries and they dwell in hypocrisy every single day. I have given up on trying to defend my life’s choices to them, or explain why I am still single at 26. I simply plaster a smile on my face that says “carry on” while I think of what to cook for dinner. Yes, I don’t listen. The pressure from their probing masked as concern does not get to me. I eat pressure for breakfast on a daily basis and snack on it during the weekends. I have enough pressure; there’s no room for more unnecessary ones. I smile at the ones that suggest I go and find a job in Nigeria so I can meet eligible bachelors to marry, same way I smile at the ones who remind me to lay my standards by the riverside and consider every proposition.

My naija people, biko, e jo, Don Allah, stop probing! Mind 👏 your👏 own👏 business👏. We young women will be just fine. If we need someone to talk to, we will call you. If we need advice we will ask you. If an issue lays heavy on our hearts and we feel you are the right person to broach it with, we will bring it up. Stop trying to direct where and how people’s lives should go. You have yours; face it squarely. Stop telling us how to breathe. If you are worth emulating as examples, we will emulate you. Thank you for all the advice o but God is the director of everyone’s life. Nagode; daalu; a dupe o.

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Can We Just Go Back To the Good Old Days?

I’m in my twenties and already I miss the good old days. If I am feeling so much nostalgia for how things were done back then, I wonder how people in their forties feel.

It has really been a long time since I watched a man woo a woman with so much dedication, her heart skipped for joy whenever she heard his name. It has been a really long time since I’ve seen genuine affection between two people rather than the grudgingly offered acts of service, or displays of affection staged to fool everyone on social networks. Sometimes I find myself wondering what on earth happened to all those days when guys stood outside and held boom boxes in the air, or threw pebbles at windows just to say goodnight on their way home from work.

Perhaps that is why we were all so endeared to Edward Cullen in Twilight. His eyes were not just compelling, irresistible, captivating, charming, appealing… (Yes, I can describe those eyes in a hundred and one adjectives), his attitude towards Bella melted my heart. Before he wooed her, he protected her, while he was wooing her, he looked out for her. He defended her when the need arose, and he treated her like the dainty flower she was. Why can’t we have Edward Cullens anymore? Have all the chivalrous men been converted to vampires? Because if that’s the case, we may need to start considering our conversion options as women.

These days all I hear is “you are not submissive; submit! Submit! Submit!!! To who, and for what? What exactly has this person done to melt my heart to the point where I want to submit myself to him body and soul? Has he protected me? Has he defended me? Has he looked out for my interest? Has he respected my body? Has he treated me like the delicate flower I am? Has he respected my heart? Has he loved me so much, I feel like my heart will stop beating if he ever mentions leaving to a different place?

These days all I hear is “Go with the flow.” What flow exactly? Oh yea! That flow…

Boy meets girl; boy thinks girl is hot; boy flirts with girl and girl flirts back; boy wants to have sex so he impresses girl with a couple of dates and buys girl Brazilian hair. Given that many chivalrous men are hiding in caves somewhere (and really, I think we should go on the ultimate search to discover their hiding place), girl is impressed by a couple of dates and a pack of Brazilian hair. Boy makes move, girl acts unsure; boy throws indirect shade at girl for being a prude, girl gives in. Boy sees girl a few more times, has sex a few more times, and finally turns girl to a booty call, until girl realizes she’s not the only one who got Brazilian hair and a couple of dates. Girl puts herself back on the market, and vows never to go down that road of stupidity ever again. Unfortunately, the same cycle repeats itself with two or more boys until girl eventually finds someone who’s somewhat committed to having a decent relationship.

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This person comes in all serious, discussing marriage and spewing all the right kind of jargon girl has been dying to hear. So girl jumps in, ready to make this work. But there’s a problem: He sees no reason to go on dates, give gifts, or even defend girl. At least he’s talking marriage, so girl tells herself all those things her heart yearns for are unnecessary. And yes, he will never stop telling girl to submit; and she does… until she realizes she’s lost herself to someone who did nothing to win her heart, yet expects her heart to be dedicated to him. Divorce bells ring; girl wants out. Yea… that flow leads nowhere eventually.

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Can we go back to the days when men and women exchanged letters to declare their love? Those days when men wrote first, and women giggled and blushed for days from the poetic flow of their words? Can we go back to the days when men picked women up for dates rather than tell them to meet them at the restaurant? Can we go back to those days when men did not ask for submission but they got it because they earned it? Can we go back to the days when men asked for the permission of fathers before they took their daughters on dates? Those days when men knew sex was not on the table yet they wanted to be with this gorgeous, delicate yet strong flower just to know her thoughts on quantum physics (haha! Gotcha!). But really, can we go back to the days when men called just to speak for hours? Not these days when they send smileys, WhatsApp messages, and the occasional text message. Urrgh… how I hate modern technology! Can we go back to the good old days when sex was actually a big deal, and men did not go around broadcasting their conquests to their friends in a bid to slut shame the woman for engaging in the exact same deed? Those days when sex meant something special to BOTH the man and the woman? Can we go back to the days when men were dedicated to genuinely winning a woman’s heart, they put a lot of effort into it, hence found it hard to toy with such a woman after sweeping her off her feet?

Imagine if we went back to the days when men truly loved women like they loved their own body, where men protected women, defended their honour, respected their values, and gave flowers just because… Imagine if we went back to the days when women shunned disrespectful men, and held themselves in such high esteem, cheap words and an expensive bottle of wine were not sufficient to cause a classic panty-dropping dance?

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Oh! I miss the good old days; I miss phone calls; I miss love letters; I miss days when men made women blush because they were downright sincere. I’m so nostalgic right now, I might start weeping for our generation and generations to come.

I have decided I want Edward Cullen; I want that protection, that respect, that value, the desire, the understanding of my genuine brand of sophisticated madness.  No, I don’t want surprise visits by the window in the dead of the night. Heart attacks are real, and there’s a chance you will get shot by security guards, so let’s keep things legit.  I want to be wooed properly. Deep down every woman wants to be wooed properly, to be delicate yet strong; to be pampered; to be genuinely loved.

Can all the Edward Cullens in hiding step out in the open please?

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50 Lessons 2015 Taught Me About Life

2015 has been a major roller-coaster! I cannot count the number of times I wanted to pull out my hair or walk out of my skin.

During the course of the year, I went through emotions I never thought I could feel, and they opened my eyes to lessons I never knew were there. It occurred to me one day during meditation that I needed to write these lessons down. Heaven forbid I forget them and have to take the mind-boggling, nerve cracking life classes again! Of course some of them were pleasant lessons; I mean the year hasn’t been entirely terrible, and some I learnt from the stories of others.

I decided to share them with you as the year draws to an end not only to give you an insight into how my life has played out this year, but to also give you life lessons you can apply now and perhaps in future. You know what they say…. life’s too short to learn ALL your lessons from your mistakes. Learn from others too. Here goes:

#1 Don’t spend your life looking for love. Be love.

#2 Action is character. People are what they act like, not what they say they are.

#3 People will judge themselves by their intentions, but judge others by their actions. Judge others with the same scale you judge yourself.

#4 Emotional intelligence is key; in all you do, strive to improve your EQ.

#5 Address emotional issues (hurt, pain, anger etc) as soon as they arise. Procrastination should not apply to emotions.

#6 Be kind to yourself. Love begins from you.

#7 Don’t compromise on qualities you cannot tolerate in friends or even a spouse; it is better to be alone than to spend your life questioning your decision.

#8 Don’t keep quiet when a person hurts you. Pressure builds in silence. You’ll burst at the seams if you don’t let out the steam.

#9 Never ever agree to abandon your dreams to be half of someone else. You’ll never fit in because you were created to be whole on your own.

#10 Listen when people talk about the successes and failures of others; it’s a preview of what you’ll get from them when you succeed or if you fail.

#11 Confront your fears; latent as they may seem, they affect how your life plays out.

#12 Be aware of yourself, your words and your actions – this is a strategy that keeps you from being a pawn in someone else’s game.

#13 Go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner not because you have a date, but just because you can. You deserve special treats as often as possible.

#14 Make it a mission to look better than you feel. Dark days pass, but bad impressions last long.

#15 Don’t fake it till you make it, you’ll probably fail. Faith it till you make it. Faith requires dedication and hardwork. Faking it requires pretending you know it all when really you know nothing.

#16 Be careful of who you trust. Some people would go to a knife fight with a shotgun.

#17 When days are dark, friends are very few, but know that God is always with you.

#18 Hope deferred makes the heart sick but never stop hoping. As improbable as it may seem, hope can bring light to a season of darkness

#19 Sometimes you’ll have to stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself you’re awesome even though you don’t feel like it.

#20 You don’t have to accept or even consider every love proposition you receive. Sometimes, the best decision is to remain without attachments.

#21 Let love lead. Fall in love, give love, but more importantly, receive love.

#22 Starting at the bottom is subjective. You don’t have to aim for the ‘worst bottom’ of all.

#23 Don’t get weary waiting for love; don’t compromise reasonable standards for a temporary high.

#24 Choose your battles wisely. You don’t have to accept every battle invitation. Besides, no battle is worth fighting if you’re not sure of victory.

#25 Never grumble about your work. Grumbling takes the joy out of everything and results in anxiety.

#26 If you’re not the first choice, become ‘no choice’ else you’ll spend your life wondering if your spouse is content with the decision he/she made.

#27 Let the child in you come out to play every now and then. To be child-like is to be carefree, and sometimes that’s all you need to enjoy your day.

#28 Cry! There’s no strength in not crying. Tears are how we renew our strength. After crying, our inner vision is clearer.

#29 Defensive people have a lot of insecurities brewing underneath their skin, and always seek to blame others. Don’t get caught in their web.

#30 Do everything in moderation. Going overboard can spoil a perfectly good thing.

#31 You are not infallible.  Apologize for your mistakes and move on.

#32 God’s answers to our prayers are not dependent on how long or intensely we pray, but on His timing which is perfect

#33 Whatever your hands find to do, find joy in it. It is better to be busy than to be the devil’s workshop

#34 If you have to watch what you say around your friends, you’re in the wrong circle. Find new friends

#35 It’s OK to let people apologise first when they are wrong. Humility is not equivalent to stupidity.

#36 Never react to people’s actions; that puts them in control of you and your emotions. Always take deep breaths and respond to the situation at hand instead. This is a secret that will earn you respect.

#37 Know when to walk away; there’s no dignity in forcing emotions, relationships, friendships and anything else to work. Keep your dignity intact.

#38 Guard your thoughts always! Your mind is a battlefield.

#39 Have some empathy. Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.

#40 You have a right to anger, so don’t let your anger lead to guilt. Rather let it lead to a resolution.

#41 Take a leap of faith and do what scares you the most. It might not work out but you will be an improved version of yourself when it’s over.

#42 Own your flaws, failures, shortcomings and problems. That way no one can use them as a weapon against you.

#43 Surround yourself with those who are willing to lift you up, forgive you, and remind you of your awesomeness.

#44 You are amazing just the way you are.

#45 When God starts putting everything together, it first appears as though everything is falling apart.

#46 Listen to your instincts even on the most trivial things.

#47 Embrace what makes you unique and happy. Don’t make others comfortable at your own detriment.

#48 Beware of those around you who are more concerned with outshining you than shining with you.

#49 Be brave enough to admit what you’re feeling – hopelessness, despair, despondence, a crush, love, anger, bitterness…. whatever it is, be brave enough to own it, live through it, and get past it.

#50 Surround yourself with people (friends, family, spouse) who genuinely love you. True love sticks around when you’re being unlovable. Good friends are the stars that shine when days are dark.

I am grateful for these lessons, and even more grateful for those who pushed me into the difficult situations that taught me these lessons. Above all, I am grateful for the friends who were bright stars in my dark sky; and I am grateful to you all for checking in on motivation springs regularly. Thank you all for making 2015 amazing! You are the real MVPs.

Tomorrow is the start of a new year; a blank book with no words. It is up to you to decide now what you intend to make that book about. It is up to you to change your script and write a more daring and courageous story. Make it your best story yet!

Keep an eye out for the motivation devotional launching 1st Jan 2016 under the motivation devotional tab. If you haven’t, please like the facebook page by clicking here. 2015 may not have turned out to be what you hoped, but believe that 2016 is going to blow you away in a good way! Happy new year! Sending lots of love your way! XOXO

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2015 in review

Thank you all for visiting motivation springs this year! Here are the stats you made happen!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Five Things You Should Do Before You Say “I Do”

Marriage can be a whole lot of fun, but for some people, it can be full of surprises. They get married and wonder if they even know the person they are married to. They complain about the sudden change in their spouses, and the overwhelming sadness that clouds their marriage.

Truly, it is impossible to know a person completely, and people do change as they grow older, but there are traits about your partner you should know as they would affect the everyday dynamics of your relationship. I was having an interesting discussion with a few friends, and somehow came up with a list of things to do before you decide to tie the knot.

#1 Go on a road trip: If you think you know your partner well enough, try going on a road trip. I am not referring to a road trip to the next city, or the next state or province. Try something that involves rest stops, long hours of driving, and exchanging responsibilities. Road trips are fun, but they can also test your patience. How does your partner shape up when things get sticky, cramped up and uncomfortable? A road trip could be an eye opener.

#2 Play devil’s advocate: I mean deliberately disagree with your partner on something that is vividly clear. Assess how he or she handles the debate? Does it lead to anger? Do you feel forced to accept his/her opinion? Does he or she catch on that you’re playing devil’s advocate, laugh about it, and move on? Or does it end in sulking? This is an insight into how your spouse will handle your arguments.

#3 Build something together: It doesn’t matter what it is; a bicycle, a tractor, a bookshelf, anything you fancy. In healthy relationships, couples relish working well together to achieve their set goals. Building something together can help you see what your partner is really like when there’s a goal at hand. Does or he take absolute control of the process without paying any attention to your input? Or is the task approached with constant grumbling? Or does your partner simply fold his or her arms while you take on the bulk of the work? This is a preview of how you will both achieve your goals.

#4 Play Thirty Seconds or Pictionary: The first time I played thirty seconds, I laughed so hard, I cried. Literally! There are no other games that test the communication skills of individuals as well as these two. Couples need to be able to communicate without spelling everything completely. Sometimes, as much as one partner wants to spell things out, it’s just difficult to do so. These games teach the art of communication where every single detail is not spelled out. You might be surprised to find how bad you both are at communicating abstract stuff.

#5 Go to a couples’ retreat: Couples counseling sessions are fun and all, but sometimes, it involves a pastor who gives advice and two people who nod along because they cannot dare to argue with the pastor. An unconventional way to discover and address loopholes in your relationship is a couples retreat with other couples you hardly know. Why? You will not feel the need to impress anyone, or simply nod along. You can speak up, talk about what bothers you, and awaken your intimacy if it’s sizzling out. To do this successfully, you need to open-minded, so it is honestly not for everyone.

 

XOXO

 

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Six Lessons Women Should Learn From Men

Growing up, I found it a lot easier to relate with boys than with girls. Boys were free, easy to handle, hardly got offended, and were just fun to be around. Of course, girls were fun too! I was lucky to be blessed with girlfriends I could easily get along with. Luckily for me,many of my female friends back then had similar character traits to my male friends. We were mischievous, care-free, and free of judgment. It was a very simple time that I miss dearly sometimes. If only I could go back to being 14 when all I really cared about was tormenting my tutor, and reading Shakespeare. These days, I have come to learn that female friendships, especially when formed after the early twenties phase come with a lot of surprises, questions, weird adjustments, and downright unnecessary arguments. This is why I believe women can take some lessons from men. As a matter of fact, it is imperative that we do!

Lesson #1: Two male strangers with the same shirt at a party become friends – I cannot say the same for my fellow women. It seems like there is a need to prove superiority over other women, and wardrobe is one of the sectors where we must prove ourselves. Seriously, it is the dumbest thing ever. You are aware that except you get Ralph Lauren to personally design your wardrobe, someone out there has exactly the same clothing item right? So what’s the big deal? Why can’t we shake hands like men would, hug each other and NOT compare prices or store quality? Just have a good time and take pictures. Life’s too short to hate on a stranger for wearing the same shirt as you.

Lesson #2: With men, there’s no gossip; gist is simply what it is- gist! With women, it’s a different plot and tale altogether. Have you ever noticed that men can sit and talk about their friends, laugh about it, leave, and none of them would sneak a call later in the day to say “Hey they were discussing you today”. Yeah! With women, there’s that one person that brings out the gossip in simple gist. Before you can roll your tongue twice, it becomes a battle of “she said, you said” Seems we are only safe around each other if we are discussing the weather and cooking recipes.

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Lesson #3: Men don’t watch what they say around each other. For real, they don’t. I still keep a good group of male friends, and I have noticed they speak freely. Yes, some egos might be bruised, but it’s often taken in the good faith that they all have good intentions towards one another, and before you know it, it is water off a duck’s back. With women, it’s like cow dung stuck on grass! There’s the fear of hitting a nerve or a sore spot even with the purest of intentions. This is because women for some reason assume other women have it out for them, hence they listen to every word, every breath, every sigh, and if possible, everything you did not say. Is it me or is that just a great recipe for migraines? #NoTime

Lesson #4: Men are loyal; they support each other even without proof. I cannot count the number of times I have heard my male friends say “X can’t do that; I just know he can’t”, even though they are not sure. With women, yes sometimes, there’s that “I don’t think she can do that”, but with the right persuasion, it becomes “Hey.. it’s possible who knows if she is telling the truth” Yeah, we are all guilty of this one. Seriously we need re-programming! This is why it is so easy to come between female friends than it is to come between male friends. More often than not, women are quick to put knives in each other’s backs, and hilariously enough, they are willing to do so to support men. Yeah.. that’s just messed up.

Lesson #5: After marriage, men stay friends – I am yet to meet a guy who cut off his male friends (single/married) after tying the knot. For most women, the sanitation begins as soon as they arrive from the honeymoon. Many single friends get axed for petty reasons or no reasons at all. Sometimes, it’s due to the delusion of grandeur of a married status; sometimes it is due to the insecurity and fear of becoming a classic victim of husband-snatching. Whatever the reason may be, it is idiotic please. Women need each other more after marriage! Sometimes your single friend is your most objective friend when you find yourself in a sticky situation. Men hardly ever cut off their friends out of insecurity, sense of achievement or fear, so why do we women do it? #QuestionForTheGods

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Lesson #6: Men hang out; and NO it’s not because they want others to see their new Prada boots, or get a whiff of their Thierry Mugler . Men hang out for the sake of hanging out; no ulterior motives whatsoever; no desire to prove superiority; in fact, men can hang out in their PJs, and have fun. Men don’t mind being cooped up in the house playing PlayStation games. Ah with women, hanging out can be difficult simply because everyone is wondering what will be said about them the following day. Women will actually refuse to hang out with their friends if they believe their friends are doing better in life. No I’m not kidding. I’ve met these people. It seems women find it burdensome to hang out together. They would rather rush home to be with men who end up leaving to hang out with their buddies. A top executive once told me this is the reason men succeed at work better than women. They go out, sign deals over beers or golf, and meet VIPs just by watching soccer at a local pub. Women? Not so much. We would rather sit alone at home watching Telemundo than sit with our friends to FREELY discuss whatever burdens we are carrying. It is hilarious that some women refuse to hang out with their friends so they can be considered as desirable wife material. Lord help us! #Can’tDeal

The truth is that many women would survive better in relationships, their careers, and life in general if they adopted some of these ‘male rules’ in their relations with other women. Women, my fellow women! Let us learn to love and support one another. Stop fishing for hurt where there isn’t any, and stop assuming every woman out there is out to get you. Yes, there are some crazies you must avoid, but there are also many sincere people you can connect with. Reach out to a fellow woman today. XOXO