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The obstacle is the way

Recreate yourself

Where have I been…?

June 25, 2018

PHOTO CREDITS: Tofunmi Aworinde

Hey, what’s popping beloved…?

It’s been a minute since you last heard from me but what can I say? I didn’t really have anything productive to say and I’m not the type to keep flooding the internet with super trash blog posts just for the sake of maintaining and or increasing SEO rankings.

Look listen: when I started this project, I didn’t create the website for clout (popularity) or superficial and frivolous reasons. I created it so that we can help build each other up. To learn from each other. To share collective intelligence and to evolve together within our own rights.

Another reason was to teach certain individuals how to develop a strong character as well as the mental fortitude to overcome those tough times that are sure to come.

I also created this site for us to have some laughs on our journey of personal development, self-discovery and mastery.

“Mirror on the wall…”

where have i been?

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been somewhat considerate of others and I try to help them in the little ways that I can.

My earliest and most prominent memory of the first time I displayed this trait was when I was 11 years old when I rescued one of my classmate from some bullies.

This kid would get wailed on for no reason whatsoever!

On one of many occasions, I recall a time when we were standing in the corridors (hallway) and this kid was punched in the chest for no damn reason. He dropped to the floor and coughed violently because he was punched so hard! Needless to say that the attacks were totally unprovoked (as they usually are).

***

My mum would actually make such a big deal and compliment the shit out of me whenever I did something good for others- irrespective of how small the gesture was. She gave me my self-esteem and reinforced that I am a good person.

Unfortunately, as I grew older and became more aware of the unpleasant side of humanity, I allowed my ‘good side’ to become corrupted, for a lack of better word.

I became more cynical and would sometimes hesitate to help because of what I have come to learn and experience about the nature of human beings but the truth is, deep down, I am a good guy. (“Good guy” is not to be confused with “nice guy”-I’ll tell you the difference in another post).

My only problem was, over the years, while I haven’t completely transformed into an absolute heartless scumbag, (debatable depending on who you ask lol), I have cultivated a nasty habit of being excessively selective as to whom I decide to show kindness towards. My scepticism about helping other human beings would sometime prevent me from doing more than I can to assist my fellow man. Ultimately, this led me to suppress my natural tendencies.

where have i been? | Strength with substance

I was a kind and thoughtful person

I was the type to take up your problems and make them my own until we found a solution and resolved them. (I only showed this side of me to those who needed to see it. This pretty much adds to my point above that I would pick and choose who I thought was “worth the effort” before I can even consider investing my time and energy into them- this is wrong. Kind of).

While my early disposition was one of kindness, thoughtfulness and care, I had trained myself to behave in a certain way so that I’m not considered passive, weak or taken advantage of.

What I had unknowingly done was… I created a role for myself as a defence mechanism to make sure that I don’t get hurt in the big bad world and, I don’t even need a therapist to tell me this. Afterall, we all know how shitty human beings can be. For example: what I didn’t tell you in my brief illustration about the kid that got bullied was his behaviour towards me after I had helped him. To put it bluntly, he was a complete dick.

where have i been? | Strength with substance

Of course, I wouldn’t assign all the trust issues and cynicism I have today as a result of that ONE particular experience as an 11-year-old boy. Oh, no-I was innocent and oblivious but as I grew older, I was less ignorant and I started putting up my guard and started experiencing a mild form of emotional detachment from people after suffering a traumatic experience when I was around 14/15 years old.

Truth be told, this way of life served me quite well but after a while, I no longer needed this role that I had created for myself and this was when the problems started. There was a disconnect with who I was and the person I was pretending to be and I can safely say that I definitely suffered some form of identity issues.

I vividly remember being somewhat of a recluse during my first year of university.

I struggled to make friends because of my trust issues and even when I did, I failed to connect with them on a deeper level. I would often justify this by convincing myself that being “scarce” and unavailable was much cooler.

Don’t get me wrong, I was able to function and I could socialise with anyone on a basic level, but when they tried to get too close, I would push them away and I often found myself questioning their motives and agenda. Although this was great for social proof (it made me seem a little “mysterious” and all of that other cringy shit that could remotely seem attractive to some girls) it wasn’t useful when it came to establishing a solid network of friends.

At times, I would even shut down my own emotions out of fear for the people that I actually liked because I didn’t understand how to process those types of emotions. I would justify it by concluding that it’s far easier to keep a distance than to open up and risk getting hurt or, to open up to someone and let them know that I was dealing with these types issues.

Ha!

Your fear has a fear and it’s called change!

First of all, there’s no shame in admitting that you need help. We all need help in certain areas of our lives from time to time.

Secondly, I am sharing my story because I know for a fact that some of you guys can relate to some if not all of what I’ve said so far. If you can’t, well lah-dih-freaking-dah! Good for you Mr Bossman lol.

Jokes aside, it’s great if you can’t relate but chances are, you probably know someone whom your gut is telling you needs some help in this department but you simply don’t know how to help them. Send them my way or share this or some of my other blog posts with them.

And for those of you who can relate, trust me when I say that I truly understand the level of comfort and safety net provided by living a somewhat secluded life. Afterall, you wouldn’t have to deal with too many human beings and their baggage or even risk revealing your own but I can tell you for free right now that this isn’t all the way healthy.

Soon enough, you will find yourself unhappy, lost and very much confused for a very long time and when the roles you have subconsciously created for yourself are no longer applicable, you could end up in an identity crisis, left feeling frustrated with a sense of hopelessness.

Before you know it, you’ll be searching the internet for symptoms of severe depression and anxiety where in reality, you just needed to learn how to process your emotions a little bit better.

Look listen:

You need to understand that by in large, our habits, conduct and the way we interact with others are learned behaviours which means we can unlearn those behaviours that may be holding us back.

I’m not in the business of changing people because quite frankly, this is your responsibility. Not to mention the fact that it’s impossible. However, I do believe that I can provide some tools to help:-

My fear of the unknown recently resurfaced in my employment and I’m not the biggest fan of change. I was quite comfortable in my role and soon enough, I found myself thrust into a completely new territory where I have little experience and my natural reaction was to bail!

So trust me, I completely understand how scary it can be to completely let go of what you’re already accustomed so, I’m NOT going to tell you to do that. Instead, I want you to recognise that this will be a gradual process and it would be foolish to think the issue can be fixed overnight so how about we start by taking small steps today?

Start by challenging some of your beliefs about yourself. “Good” or “bad”. Pick a belief, scrutinise it and get to the bottom of why you hold it as a value. Does it make sense to have this belief or is it more profitable to discard it and create a new one? One that’s improved and more empowering?

I say all that to say this

The truth is, at some point, we all put on a metaphorical social mask as a coping mechanism because it is quite daunting to throw our true selves out there than to risk rejection or getting hurt.

I was also made to understand that at some point in our lives, we will have to stop being a pussy and just experience some pain. This is an inevitable part of the human experience/process and there’s no cheat code around it. Oh, and through pain, there’s growth. (I’ll be completely honest mate, I don’t particularly like the sound of that message but my fear of remaining stagnant outweighs my fear of the unknown, change, or the pain (and embarrassment) I may have to face to level up).

The bottom line is this:

Human beings will certainly let us down, but this shouldn’t be a reason why we should disengage or shorten our hands at the opportunity to go some good. Our attitude is to give without expecting anything in return. Our job is not to worry about the behaviour of the recipient but rather, we should play our own part and let the big man upstairs take care of the rest.

As cliche as it sounds, no man is an island of his own, therefore, physical, mental and emotional isolation is certainly not a life hack.

Whatever it is that you’re fearful of has its own fear and it’s called change.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that in this life of mine, I have only two choices: evolve or freaking die. If I’m stagnant, I’m dead. Period.

As always, don’t forget where you found this article. Remember to like, comment and share it! #BeSafeTho

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Timi

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Timi Awolola

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