Self-love and Acceptance

Ever wondered why it is so hard to accept and love ourselves? For some of us, we can choose to see beyond the flaws of other people and accept them for who they are, but it is a struggle to do the same for ourselves.

For some of us, it is even hard to accept compliments. Someone tells you how beautiful you are, and your reply is something like this “I am really not that fine though..see, see how weird my dentition is” (this right here, is me). We like to point out all the weird things we think is wrong with us, but the other person is not even seeing what we are complaining about. At times, what you are complaining about, is what someone likes about you.

I struggled with self-acceptance and self-love. I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror for more than one minute. When I looked at the mirror, I saw everything wrong with me, I hardly saw the things that were right and beautiful. I remember finding it hard to smile because I felt my dentition was terrible. One day, during my internship, someone walked up to me and said, “you have a beautiful smile”. Of course, I was shocked. The next morning, I spent some time looking at my smile and realized that it was actually a beautiful smile (no pride here, I promise you), from then, I started spending more than with the mirror. I started facing my fears, literally. I had to accept who I was. The things I felt were wrong with me, I had to accept them. It was until I did, that I moved forward.

When people look at us, they look at the features that are visible. They look at the characteristics we portray when we are with them, and with that, they love and accept us. But, when we look at ourselves, we look at the pains we have gone through, the hurt, the rejection; and in the end, finding it hard to accept and love ourselves fully.

Will you still have bad memories of yourself?, of the terrible things you did? Of the way people treated you, even family? Very possible. But should it stop you from accepting and loving who you are now? No. should it stop you from striving to be a better person? Not at all.

You are BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME

You are SMART

You are STRONG

You are CAPABLE

You are UNIQUE

Acceptance starts from within. Don’t wait for the world to accept you. Love and accept yourself and with time, you will realize that you don’t need their verdict (the truth is, you never did). Is this a one-day change? Nope. But if you keep at it, you will make it.

It is time to Love and Accept yourself. Make that decision today!

You are not alone and You don’t have to do it alone either!

There is usually a big link between self esteem and depression. They keep bouncing off each other with you in the middle and sometimes, it Is hard to leave the circle. An event happens which you are struggling with; You begin to doubt yourself and say things like “I knew I was not going to be good at anything”, “I sometimes wonder why I bother to try”. The more negative thoughts fill your mind, the more you go back into this dark place you have created in your life. It’s like a hotel you always go to – the receptionist calls you by your first name, the chef knows exactly what you want for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the housekeeper knows exactly how you like your bed made.

It’s not like you like the way this dark place makes you feel though, but you feel a little bit comfortable and that is good for you. You have mastered the corners and have built a comfy space. It is familiar and you probably think “the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know”. Any discussion deeper than that, you do not want to discuss because it defeats the whole purpose of “experiencing familiar”. It is glaring that this is not helping you, but you don’t think leaving is a good option; so, you stay.

You know deep within that you want to get out. You are not a coward for being depressed, neither are you delusional for wanting to come out of depression. The former is very understanding; the latter however can be confusing. Allow me to explain. When you try to come out of depression, you have forces holding you back. It is usually hard to let yourself free from their hold. These forces are – you, yourself and you. They have known you all your life – the struggles you faced while growing up, what it has made you become. They feel it is common sense to stay in this familiar space because you will only be hurting yourself if you step out. Stepping out is a delusional plan to them.

The truth is,

1. You are not alone.

2. Being depressed is not a sign of weakness or a sign of ingratitude. It is being human. You have these emotions because you are human. Stop beating yourself over that.

3. You can come out of it. You are stronger than these forces than you think.

4. Depression, most times is not a one-time issue. Sometimes, it comes back, and it’s fine. It just means there is another opportunity for you to overcome it.

I do not hold any professional certificate in these issues, but I know talking about it helps…a lot. Sometimes, it’s not about someone giving you advise, it is about bringing those thoughts to life. Speaking to someone who listens to you helps in releasing the burden you have placed in your heart. I have discovered that talking to someone who does not know you helps a lot too. This is because since they do not know you, there is a low expectation of judgement on their part. That is why talking to a counselor/therapist is usually effective. It is never easy, but it Is possible.

It feels strangely “better” to work things out on our own, not disturb anybody because they have their issues, hide ourselves because our weaknesses are greater than everyone’s and it will be better for them not to think lower of us than they already do. Though, it might feel better, we know it is not good for us. So, don’t do this alone, share with someone.

If you have someone to talk to, please do. Give yourself the opportunity to breathe. In my own little way, I want to help – to lend an attentive ear, share my stories and share what helped me during those times (God was and is still a huge factor). If you are going through this and need someone to talk to, you can always send a message to my Instagram account – @onyi_light.

Being Vulnerable

It’s a hard thing to do. One of the hardest I must say. You open your heart to someone whom you have judged worthy, just by the life he/she has shown you. You expect your said and unsaid secrets to be safe with them. But you are scared it might not be. But then, it is needed for your relationship to grow.

Unfortunately, your judgement was not perfect, because they screwed up. Apparently, your well-guarded life is now on show. But you cannot do anything because it was a door you opened yourself. So you are mad at yourself and decide things will change.

You move to the next person, but you are careful not to move closely. The relationship is not booming as you expect. You know what is missing, But your past experience still plays like a horror movie in your head. But what is the need of the relationship if you are not there. So you make a choice – Be prepared

You open up, but you are in control. You have played every scenario in your head. If things go south, you wouldn’t be hurt. Because mentally, you have fallen, injured and gotten back up even before the fall. So you are ready.

They think you are being vulnerable, but you know you are still in control. To them, they know you, To you, they know the things they can’t hurt you with, And you keep the things they can hurt you with because history should not repeat itself. But that is not real vulnerability is it? We will let our broken heart decide.

Give us Grace in these trying times Lord

Lord, in these trying times, we pray for peace -the peace that passes all human understanding. We know it is a difficult time to accept Your peace, because everything is happening right before our eyes. But help us to accept; Your peace that says You are in control.

There are so many things we do not understand- why people are dying everyday, why you are not stopping the sickness and deaths. The truth is, we may never understand it, but remind us of Your love and faithfulness.

We remember the ten plagues. We read it like a Bible story and watched it as the prince of Egypt, but now we are experiencing a part of the plagues and it’s terrifying. The Israelites suffered slavery for so many years before the plagues. These were Your children, but they went through lots of pain. But You delivered them, You came to their rescue. You are a God that never leaves His own behind.

We remember David. David was called the servant of God, but he went through a lot. We may never experience all the things he went through. The hurt, pain, feeling of betrayal, constant thoughts of people being after him; he felt all these and constantly ran for his life. He cried to you, asked why You deserted him. Sometimes he felt You were not with him. But every time at the end of the psalm, he encourages His soul to trust in You. He remembered how You saved him from the bear, from Goliath, from Saul, from his enemies. He chose not to fix his heart on his pains, but Your faithfulness – delivering him at every time.

I know it’s hard now, but help us not to fix our eyes on the hurt and pain but the fact that You are God and You are faithful. You have delivered us and You will do it again.

Help us to know that You are sovereign. So many things we may never understand, but let Your love for us not be one thing we doubt.Even though what we see feels more real, help us to know that Your love is the real thing.

We are afraid of what will happen after the pandemic, help us to know You are a God of restoration and You will not leave us hanging. Help us to stop trying to understand why bad thing are happening but focus on Your love and faithfulness.

Give us Your grace Lord. Amen.

Lessons learnt in 2019

1. Even when I can’t see it or feel it, God is still working. All that is needed is to stay on track and believe in Him.

2. One step at a time, One day at a time. Everything will work out well. But of course you need to play your part. I remember everyone telling me I needed to go out and mix with people. That got me down and made me feel like I was a sad loner. I decided to take things slow and I ended the year with great people by my side.

3. God places people in our lives for different reasons. When we are at the giving end, we should give and when we are at the receiving end, we should learn to receive.

4. People will never remain the same, stop judging them based on what they did in the past. People change within the smallest amount of time.

5. People love you (do not be shocked) and will compliment you. Don’t refuse it, accept it.

6. Learn to talk to God about everything, no matter how insignificant you think it is or you think you are. You should go ahead and talk because He is listening. He always does and that’s because You are His beloved.

7. Overthinking and Assuming is not healthy!!!

8. Remember how I said people are important..yep, do not let go of friends easily especially when you go somewhere new. It’s healthy to have something or someone familiar around.

9. It’s fine to be afraid but don’t let it consume you. Take the step with the fear and you will feel the fear drowning.

10. Celebrate little wins..no matter how little.

11. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn whatever lesson you need to and move on.

12. You are way stronger than you think. But you won’t know this if you do not take up the challenges.

13. Find what makes you happy and use it (it has to be pure and healthy sha).

14. Learn to manage your anger. Taking a walk can help.

15. If you an introvert, go out a little bit more. There is so much on the outside and things you will discover about yourself.

16. Always be thankful to God. When you feel you could have done more, thank God for the one you did (truth be told, you couldn’t have done it by yourself, He saw you through and made it happen, so He deserves the gratitude) and push to be better. Do not stay on the complaint line..move on to gratitude (most times, that line is shorter😉)

17. Be nice to people. Appreciate the people in your life. Tell them how much they mean to you. You can go ahead and be creative. I use text messages and little gifts 😊..and no, I am not mushy.

18. Be diligent in what you do and wherever you find yourself. It might not be your dream job, position or team, but be your best. You will be able to beat your chest and say “I did my best”

19. Learn not to keep a lot to yourselve. As an introvert and my kind of personality, it will be hard, but you have to let it out sometimes. It Is unhealthy to bottle things inside.

20. Be of help when you can, even when you know there is nothing in it for you.

The Lessons/Truth I wish I was taught.

As a little girl, I was told that once a guy touched me, I would be pregnant. After 2 decades of living in the world, i feel i should have been told the details of that and not leave me hanging in fear. But I wish I was told other things. Other things that were true. For example,
1. Don’t fight with your feelings; express them when you need to, if not you will build them up so much that you won’t know when it will burst open because you can’t hold them in anymore and unfortunately, it may be the wrong place, time or worse with the wrong person.
2. Asking for help isn’t weakness neither is doing it all alone strength. True strength lies in balance, in interdependence, in partnerships. We were created to symbiotic beings so don’t try doing it all on your own. The loner’s island isn’t the best place to be.
3. Mistakes hurt, and they are scary but you can turn that hurt person it made you to be to a healed and whole person once you learn from the mistake. So don’t kill yourself because of it.
4. No one is perfect. Not you, not the girl or guy of your dreams. You will have to accept them the way they come but work at not leaving them the same way.
5. This life is long and not as short as they say..see how long it took you to be 20+ old. Don’t try to do everything at once, enjoy your life, the reason for your existence was not to see one part but to explore as many parts as you can. That doesn’t mean you should keep dragging things though.
6. Depression doesn’t mean you don’t love God, at least I don’t think so. It’s a place that you can go out from as you constantly focus on God’s love for you and not your love for Him(that will make you more depressed, especially when you think of the wrong things you have done..lol), but it doesn’t mean you don’t love Him.
7. Don’t assume the other person assumes. “I just thought you will think that way”.really😏. Walk to the person, clear your grounds with them, try to see that you are on the same page. But be wise too.
8. Don’t run away from your fears, they will continue to hunt you. Face them..I know it’s 7hard, but give it a try.
9. Open up to people(of course you know I also mean you should be careful)the thought of “he/she probably has a lot on his/her mind right now” is not a good conclusion. Let them be the one to tell you they have a lot on their mind.
10. Do away with the thought of “No one understands what you are going through” I am an advocate of “you might not know how this makes me feel” but that doesn’t mean no one has an idea. They are not there to completely heal you or make you better. If you are going to them for that, you will probably come out more broken, because they can’t completley heal you or make you better..only God can. But they can help you a bit and you will become clear headed to know what to do.

It’s My Birthday!!!!

I looked for words to write, but I wasn’t just comfortable with what I had. I knew it was depicting what I really felt. But I got it finally.
The past year hasn’t been all that smooth
I cried(something I hardly do) , got depressed, had one reason and another to think low of myself, I forgot what it felt like to be truly happy, I was scared of being happy for too long, I lived each day with fear; some days, living my life like it wasn’t my own. I lived life as a routine and never got to feel life. I became more worried each day. My health all of a sudden became an issue (something that was never so), I almost lost my mind. I pushed people away and guarded my heart too tight that it became hard to breathe. I was sad. I was lonely. It was scary.
But I went to places with smiles, sometimes I sparked, but I didn’t allow the sparks create an inferno. I prayed, didn’t stop, but was sacred of going to the throne everyday. I viewed my life like a movie everyday but I didn’t allow myself to be found absent in the presence of my audience. I had to be strong, I couldn’t be weak. This is not the first time I felt this way, I still had the skills of “sweeping it under the carpet “, but it was bad this time around.
I convinced myself that nobody could understand, so there was no need spilling out.
But you were there… All along
You didn’t leave though I thought You did
You were in every of my breath, my move.
You held me, though I felt close to ground every day.
I was not alone, I just didn’t choose to recognize your presence.
You shielded me thought I felt I was vulnerable
You surrounded me with Your love, though it seemed like I lacked a lot.

Life practically became useless,
I never felt this way before, I am sure You understand
But I am grateful Lord
For everything, I am.
Still in the process but I am grateful.
Thank You for a +1
Thank You for Life.
Thank You for Love.

GO TO GOD!!

Fear is not something we should overlook. And it is definitely not something we should allow to take over us.

I remember when I just finished driving school. I started catering school almost immediately. My mum advised me to be driving to the school since it wasn’t far and it would help my confidence. The second day, I was about to go out, I felt kind of strange, like something bad was going to happen, but at the same time, I felt I still needed to go. (There are sometimes we might not know what God saves us from until we experience it). So I went with someone. We had passed the round about which I was afraid of. I was feeling like a bad girl. Few minutes after the round about, I met with a long commercial bus. The bus was trying to enter to road, so I stopped for it. As it entered the road fully, I lifted my leg from the brake about to move, only for the bus to stop abruptly. At this time, what was left for me to do was to forcefully press my brakes. Unfortunately, my leg was on the accelerator and I accelerated with full force and crashed into the bus. I didn’t know what to do, where to start from. People came out saying it was the fault of the driver. I was not even thinking of that one, all that was in my mind was “my father is going to kill me”. I had to park somewhere. I called my mum who said she was going to come with the panel beater. I started thinking of my life-what will my father do?. I did not even think of the fact that I was perfectly fine. My mum came with the panel beater and we went home. I was in a great shock.

When things settled with my father, my real fear came to view. I started thinking of accidents. Any little opportunity I had alone, I was thinking of the person that was not yet back to the house and what might have happened. I only became calm when everyone was back home. I found it hard to sit at the front seat of cars. During that period, my sister was to come back to lagos. throughout our journey to the airport to pick her, I had different thought running through my mind. What If the plane has crashed?, what if the pilot lost control?. I just couldn’t wait for the plane to land. To make things worse, the flight was a little bit delayed. I couldn’t keep calm. It only got better when she landed. This went on for days. One day, I went on my knnes and said to God “Lord, I can’t do this again. I am tired of being afraid. Please, I need your help” And that was it. I was able to live with myself once again.

Sometimes we just need to sincerely cry out to God. After that prayer, my next prayer was “thank you Lord for saving me from fear”.

I tell the story today with smiles, but it was not funny that time.

The devil is always willing and ready to put us down, to keep us under his control, but we have a choice to turn to the greater one and receive help. I used to think that for serious issues, we have to pray for days, weeks or even months before anything can happen. But this experience taught me that God is always willing to help us if we believe He can. There are sometimes we have to consistently pray for something, some other times, a simple prayer is all that is needed.

The summary of all this-trust God to save you no matter how hard, simple or weird the situation is. He is your father for this reason

The end of the story is that I waited one year to be bold to drive again and of course, it was my mum that gingered me. She deserves some accolades. And now, I think I drive like a pro(no need for pride here, I am humble😁)

THANKFUL

Have you realized that you never get to appreciate the things you have until you lose it. I know we have heard that saying before and we totally agree with it, but then, experience hurts more than mer e words.

I am going to tell you a story and you are going to think I am weird in this write up but we all have our weird moments so permit me😁. When I was young(even recent times), I used to picture myself falling ill, having accidents or even fainting(yep, it was that bad). My aim was to think of how much and how many people would react. I wanted to calculate the amount of love and pity I was going to receive. But I recently discovered that all of those can not cover up the pain, discomfort i feel during the sickness or times on drugs and in hospitals.

I just recovered from a little illness. I was happy about not going to work. I thought I was going to eat a lot, watch movies and just have fun at home. But deception is real people!!!. I came back home that evening with a banging head, running temperature and cold. I even had to leave the office early. I managed to sleep that night. I woke up the next morning with a lot of expectations, but nothing had changed. That was when I realized that “I hate being sick”.(why I did not realize thay since is what I still don’t know). I couldn’t eat properly. Watching movies was a struggle. The only thing I could do was lie down which I got tired of. I was so sad. Most people didn’t even know I wasn’t feeling fine, so I didn’t get to receive the love and pity I craved for initially and believe me, I so did not care, I just wanted to be well. My room started smelling of drugs, my mouth had the annoying taste of drugs which I strongly believe is one of the promoters of how bad I felt(I hate drugs with a passion- especially the taste and smell of it)

So, I am here writing this and thinking to myself”I really don’t think I want to experience being sick again”😂. I love being well!!!.

Every little stage of my improvement, I thanked God because my previous state told me I had every reason to. This also made me care and think more of those that experienced what I went through. I knew how it felt, so it made me care more.

Moral of the story :We don’t have to wait for something bad to remind us of Gods faithfulness. Let’s be consistently thankful.. He deserves it a lot. And let us appreciate what we have now, even if it is not perfect, someone some where needs that thing badly.

This is my after-sickness-happy-face.

The Hard Times

When I was young and without problems, I often thought to myself “how I wish I had something to worry about”. Till this day, I regret saying that. This is one perfect example of the scripture that says “don’t tell the angel that it was a mistake”. I look at myself now, and I am like”but who sent you”. I have had a lot to think to the extent that I am worn out. But the truth is this:prayer or no prayer, all of us will still have our hard times. What we should now focus on is what we do during those hard times and how much effort we put in trying to get the lesson out of those hard times. We had a program in school some years back in which Mrs Love Oyedepo-Ogah was one of the guests. One of the profound things she said was this”when you go through trials, try to learn what God is teaching you”(paraphrased). This was very profound for me because the only things i heard when people preached about trials were”speak your way out of those trials”,”have faith and don’t doubt”. All these are very good, but I think the lessons are also important, because what happens after the trials? You still have your life, don’t you?the devil is still there, isn’t he?. My brother and sister, there is always a round two and it is what you learnt in the round one that will help you face the round two. In every trial, God teaches us something. The devil will always try to make you focus on the challenges instead of the lessons.

The hard times are when you get to know God for yourself. I call God a lot of names-comforter, healer, protector, way-maker, etc. But it was during my trials that I really got to know the importance and meaning of those names to me. Like I will always say-Spirituality is Personal. For a season, I called Him my Agbanilabatan which means my deliverer. Another season, He was my comforter, another season, He was my helper. During those hard times, at first, I allowed the devil shift my focus and I became depressed. As I got back to God, He walked me through the times and showed me Himself with His name. Now I dont just call those names, but I call them with the experiences in mind which makes me appreciate it more.

I know we do not want to go into those seasons of hard times where it feels like everything is against you and when it feels like you are not worthy to live. But it is in that place that you come close to your maker. It is in that place that you experience a deeper level of Love. It is in that place that you learn what only Him can teach you. It is in that place that your convictions get stronger.

The hard times are not exciting, they are rewarding. As much as we want to take the option of running away from them, let’s settle for running with Him through them. Let’s focus on the benefits than the costs.