By Doyinsola Aluko
Yes, finally! I felt on top of the world. Little , young me having an epiphany that big. Who would have ever thought? I started walking around like a champion with newly found muscles but that feeling of victory quickly vanished when I discovered that there was more to confronting problems than I thought. Of course, I had started being conscious of not attributing the problems to the identities of those involved but I started feeling too lazy to continue the process all of a sudden. It was like that feeling you get when you agree to take on a responsibility and you either don’t know how to do it well or just where to start from. For instance, baby-sitting your mischievous little nephews on a Saturday night when you absolutely don’t like kids (I instantly melt at the sight of little children; how ironic is this example?). I mean, you love them and all. I mean, blood is thicker than water but where do you start from? They are running all over the place. You don’t like chasing people. They are turning your house into a circus and one of them has just pulled out the written proposal you’re planning to give to your boss on Monday for an idea you’ve been thinking of sharing all week. He is about to tear it. You don’t believe in spanking and his mum told you he has seizures when he is yelled at. This was where I was at. A deep feeling of weakness instantly fell upon my entire body. I suddenly became too lazy to do anything. It was so bad that I even started rethinking dealing with the problems and actually just letting them go. I mean, what would I achieve by tackling them right? It wasn’t like I was going to win a prize or get my name put in the Guinness book of records for being the fastest solution finder. Then I thought to myself, “Doyin, you have to do this not only for the you now but the you later. You have to cultivate the habit of being less of a coward. You need to stand up to your insecurities and greatest fears. You need to look them in their eyes and tell them you have God on your side. You just have to do this.”
Like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my brain can go from “0 to 100 real quick”. While this works in my favor when I’m trying to exit a problematic situation, it works against me when I’m planning to spend a night or two in one. I had to go back to when I tried to teach my little niece (really my cousin’s daughter) how to read. I taught her to break down individual words separately before trying to read the whole sentence in a hurry. Whenever she got frustrated and felt like she couldn’t do it anymore, I talked to her about patience. Whenever she would want to cry I would say “Tola, patience” and she would smile and hug me. After she got a hang of “patience”, I tried to instill use of tactfulness in the way she complained about the difficulty she was facing because it wasn’t only about learning how to write to me. I believed the way she learned how to write would be the way she learned how to deal with things in life. Just like I preached, I had to practice. So I started working on my “patience” and tactfulness.
I started learning how to back-track and thoroughly interrogate myself; not making any moves until I had answered and proven beyond reasonable doubt that I wasn’t over-exaggerating how I felt and compounding the problems I was I facing. What happened first? Was I having a bad day before my friend said those words to me? Was I not letting go of the fact that he didn’t call me back that one night because I planned to tell him something funny and him not calling back killed the joke? Was I upset with my test scores before I had even taken the test because I was hungry and I had read somewhere that your brain doesn’t work as effectively and efficiently when your tummy is empty? It is unfair to judge a situation without cross-examining all possibly options.
It’s better to wait out the feeling. Write it down and if you don’t like writing , record yourself talking the situation through. Another option is to find a voice of reasoning. Someone you have respect for and trust. Someone who isn’t biased. Narrate the story behind your fiery or sadness. Try not to tell the story in your favor.
It is damaging to react based on impulse and not on logic. Also, acting based on your intuition is more promising than acting based on your impulse. Impulse has nothing backing it up but a rush to just act. Intuition, however, can be a message from God. It can be a warning sign sent to help you escape a potentially harmful situation but it can only come to you when you’re centered and calm; when you’re at peace with the world around you. My motto has now become “no action until proven stable”; I have to be in a calm state before I can make any decisions.
It’s good to do all these things because everyone is innocent (including yourself ; I’ll explain this later) until proven guilty. I had to learn this the hard way.