The unwanted teacher we all must learn from: Our past

The past is a teacher, it can be good or bad but it’s still a teacher non the less. You know not to stick your hand in the fire because you will burn, how do you know that? You once got burned. You know not to do certain things or allow certain people in your life because history has proven them to be dangerous or unnecessary for you. That’s why the past is so important, through it we learn and become better. Given all that, the past can be a prison too. Too much focus on what happened years, months or days ago can stop a person from living.

We all have a past and some than others have experienced a traumatic past. Whether it was abuse, loss of a loved one or failed choices, all those experiences teach us something. Sometimes we might not want to face our past or we try to run from it, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are lessons we should’ve learned. In failure we learn to work harder and correct our mistakes, in grief we learn to appreciate our loved ones, live life to the fullest and take time into consideration. It’s not easy but in all that happens there are lessons to be learned.

Sometimes the lesson is unwanted or vague but it’s still a lesson non the less. That’s what the past is all about. It’s about facing ourselves and coming to terms with the decisions that we’ve made. Some people become prisoner to the past because they don’t want to face what happened to them and in doing so, they give power to the ghosts of the past. By ghosts of the past I mean a single mistake from the past can come back to haunt you in the future and ruin all that you’ve worked hard for simply because you couldn’t face it and forgive yourself.

Reflecting on the past gives us a chance to do better. Looking back at your life gives you the chance to reflect on all you have done, the good, the bad, the should’ve and and the could’ve. When you go back to the past it should be to see what you could’ve done better and then do it. It’s not to look at what you could’ve done better and start hating yourself and the world because you made some bad choices. In looking at the past, you look for direction. You know that the road you took back then lead to a thorny, sinking blackhole and now you take a different route.

When you take a different route and let the past teach you, you empower and free yourself. The past can’t hold you back. However if you keep making the same mistakes then you ultimately become a prisoner of that mistake, you don’t do better and keep running. When you run away from your past, you end up trapping yourself and risk losing important things and people in your life. It all depends on how you look at the past. It can either teach you or break you. How you look at it determines your way forward in life. I say choose to see it as a teacher.

We choose how we react to situations. We can’t control them but we choose how we react to them. That’s why we need to face the past head on and keep moving. Hiding skeletons can cause a lot more damage than we intend. That’s why we shouldn’t let secrets, bad memories, choices and circumstances we couldn’t control imprison us. We must learn from all that. Another thing to do is to also forgive ourselves for all that happened. forgive ourselves, make peace and then thank ourselves. Thank ourselves for mistakes that turned into lessons which made us better.

Moral of the post
We all have a past. We’ve all made mistakes and done things we are not proud of but that’s life. Life doesn’t come with a manual. There are no instructions on how to live a perfect life and no maps on which route to take to a blameless and mistake free life. We just wing it as we go along. That’s why we have the past to reflect on. The past teaches us and we must take the lesson as we go along. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it. We must face our past, learn from it and then forgive ourselves. We shouldn’t be hard on ourselves for things we’ve done when we didn’t know better. Instead we must forgive ourselves and be greatful for all we’ve been through and keep going forward.

Remember, live, love, learn and be happy.

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What your fear is doing to you

My teacher once asked me what my biggest fear in life was and I said failure. No, I didn’t mean failing tests or grades, I meant failure as in failure to be anything or achieve anything in life. Side note, my classmates looked at me like I was crazy because ‘normal’ people are scared of snakes, heights and all that is visible and rational. Oh yeah, back to the post: I carried this for a long time and looking back, I realise that fear of failure held me back. I know I’m not the only one with a fear people think is irrational and crazy but that’s what fear is: it’s irrational and crazy.

It’s sad because I let fear of failure stop me from doing anything in life. I don’t know how to swim and I’m scared I’ll fail at it so I don’t go near any swimming pool. I’m good with people and crowds but I didn’t engage with people because I was scared that I wouldn’t sound smart or wouldn’t fit in so I became a loner. Everything I didn’t do or had fear of doing, I didn’t do because I didn’t want to be bad at it or fail at it. Looking back now I realise that I let a lot of things pass me by and I didn’t live to the fullest because I was scared I wouldn’t be good at it. I locked myself up in a prison of fear.

If you (whoever is reading this) would look at my blog record you’d see that I started this blog in 2015 but the amount of posts I have don’t show that and the reason is because I was scared no one would read my posts, no one would comment or I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was scared and writing this post now I realise that I held myself back. Truth is, had I faced my fears head on then I’d be better by now. I’d be a better writer, I’d have more followers and honestly I would’ve faced my fear a long time ago. I guess I had to see now, how this fear of failure paralysed me.

Fear, any fear is a prison. We lock ourselves up in fear of the unknown that we don’t reach our full potential and we stop living. This blog for me is just one foot out of that prison. If I didn’t fear failure maybe I would’ve achieved more than I know, maybe my life wouldn’t be the way it is and maybe a lot of things. I can’t know for sure because I gave into fear and I’m not the only one. Fear stops us from progress really, we get scared of falling in love, of having fun, of starting something because we are afraid it won’t work but the sad truth is that not doing anything is the worst form of punishment.

Fear feeds off itself. If you become too afraid to do anything then you are not going to do anything in life. You won’t know love, you won’t write anything, you won’t get to climb the highest mountain. Another thing about fear is that it leads to regrets. You end up living a life filled with bitterness and regret because you couldn’t master up the courage to just do it (I think I’m in love with the Nike slogan now more than ever). You end up resenting other people and being bitter about their success for doing what you should’ve done but didn’t because you were too afraid.

Moral of the post
We all have fears but that doesn’t mean we should let fear rule our lives. Fear stops us from living and reaching our full potential. It steals from us and if we continue to lock ourselves in the prison of fear then we stop ourselves from reaching our goals. We end up resenting others and being bitter because they are doing what we could do if we weren’t so scared. So we must find the courage to face our fears if we want to live lives without regret.

Remember live, love, learn and be happy

LESSONS FROM 2018

When the year ends we always focus on what could’ve been or what should’ve happened. We usually sum up the end of a year with all the bad things that happened to us and rarely look at the good too. I’m saying this because I’m also guilty of it. I found myself reflecting on 2018 as the worst year ever but in truth so was 2017,2016 and so on and so forth. The truth is every year has its challenges and that’s what life is, life is about challenges.

I found myself looking at all the people and things I lost, missed opportunities, things I could’ve done better and how I let myself down. I kept on beating myself up over all that and I know I’m not alone in this. Every year we make resolutions and have all these expectations but when things don’t go our way we sulk, give up and close the year off as the worst.

In truth no one can say they’ve had the best year, they just managed to make the best of the year and that’s what we should do. Take each day as it comes, live, learn and move on.

Yes 2018 was a tough year but it was also a good year in its own way. I learned a lot in 2018 and I’d like to share what I learned with you.

1. NOTHING LASTS FOREVER.

It can be pain, happiness, loss, change or whatever you are going through. It doesn’t last forever. Situations come and go, seasons change, we cry and we laugh, we lose and we gain. It’s all a part of life. It’s not permanent, so you must experience it, live it and and learn from it.

2. THERE IS A LESSON SOMEWHERE

When something bad happens we always cry and shut down but that shouldn’t always be the case. Sometimes there is a lesson in situations we go through and all we need to is open our eyes and try to find the lesson in whatever we are going through.

3. ITS OKAY TO FEEL BAD SOMETIMES

I bet even Batman feels lousy once in a while. Nobody is perfect and we need to understand that. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, emotional or any negative emotion out there. Life gets us down and it will get us down so it’s okay to feel bad. You can’t be jolly and full of smiles when you fail an exam or find out your puppy died. Feel whatever emotion you are going through and after all that pull yourself together.

4. SOMETIMES A LOSS ISN’T A LOSS

I know it doesn’t make sense but trust me, sometimes a loss is a gain. Losing bad friends is not a loss, letting go of toxic relationships and people in life is not a loss, losing anything that doesn’t benefit you is not a loss at all. It’s all good, you gained something. You might not feel like it but letting go of bad things will do you good.

5. YOU ARE YOUR OWN HINDRANCE

I won’t get much into this because our situations are not the same but sometimes the end result is always the same. Sometimes you want to try something or go somewhere but you can’t because you have mixed feelings or you are not too sure or you are scared and you experience all those emotions that stop you from actually doing something. That’s you stopping yourself from living and possibly your breakthrough, stop self doubting and just go with it.

6. COMFORT IS DANGEROUS

Being too comfortable in any situation is dangerous because it can stop you from doing anything. You get so comfortable in a situation that you don’t see when it’s detrimental. Get out of your comfort zone and you will achieve many things. You can never lose anything because it’s all about learning.

7. MOVE ON

There is no point in focusing on the past and what should’ve or could’ve been. If it happened, it happened and if it didn’t then it didn’t so move on and stop holding on to ghosts of the past.

8. SET REALISTIC GOALS

It’s awesome to have goals, goals are why we get up in the morning. We aspire to be someone, we hope to achieve something, we want to amount to something and we can only do so with goals. Goals help us achieve our dreams, so that’s why they must be realistic. You can’t wake up in the morning and say your goal is to be a different race. That’s just insane. Set goals that you can and will achieve, set goals that are realistic and will get you to where you want to be in life.

9. IT’S OKAY TO BE SELFISH

I always say this to my friends, it’s okay to be selfish with yourself, time and emotion. Sometimes you need to invest in yourself, take time out just for you to focus on you. It’s okay to want to be alone and focus on your career or hobby or whatever really. You don’t have to please everyone.

10. LOVE YOURSELF TO INFINITY AND BEYOND.

I can’t stress this enough, LOVE YOURSELF. It doesn’t matter whether you are big or small, fat or thin, whether you have scars or not or whether you are rich or poor. Nobody is ever going to love you as much as you love yourself so you might as well do it and do it to the fullest.

Happy 2019.

Live, Love, Learn and be Happy.

Don’t let expectations hinder your progress

Its been a long time since I’ve done this, it feels strangely good to be honest. I thought I lost my will to write but it turns out all I needed to do was just write and it would come back to me. I know where I went wrong and I know why. The truth is we expect too much from ourselves and when we fall short , we break down and just give up. I did that. I had huge expectations of myself, my blog and writing experiences that when I didnt see all that happening the way I saw it in my head I got disappointed.

The truth is sometimes expectations can kill us. I mean we expect so much that during that process we only focus on what we expecting and we dont look at our achievements. We focus on one thing but while we are doing that, life happens. We meet challenges, we go in different directions, we fail, we succeed and overall we live.

In 2018 I realised that sometimes our expectations can hurt our progress. Dont get me wrong, I’m not saying that expectations are the devil, im just saying its good to also go with the flow, don’t expect too much and when we dont meet our expectations then it’s also okay. Life happens. As much as we can plan, scheme and try to control situations, life happens.

Happy 2019. To a year filled with love, laughter, lessons and less expectations.

Stuff it, I’m jumping without a parachute and I’m starting over.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and wondered how to start this post. So here goes: I began this blog back in varsity thinking I was a good writer and the world needed to hear what I had to say. I love writing and I’m passionate about it and in my eyes that qualified me as a good writer, boy was I wrong. The truth is I am not a good writer, I am learning to become a writer and if I become a good one then awesome and if I become a great one, even better. Honestly when I began this blog I had dreams of readers flocking to my site and reading the little nuggets of wisdom I had to offer. Isn’t that what we all want though, an audience. Someone to hear or read what we have to say, someone who trusts in what we say and believes in us. I also wanted that but I wasn’t patient enough and I was doing something very wrong.

The truth is I wasn’t being myself, I was trying to be a political analyst, a spokesperson and everything else but myself. I wasn’t using my voice. I was trying to be different, astute and I wanted to become something I was not. I realise now that by trying to be someone else I killed myself and my love for writing so I stopped blogging. After less than 10 posts I stopped blogging. I had to get back to the drawing board, I had to find myself and what I stood for. What I wanted to give to the world out there and that’s when I realised that I needed to resurrect my blog. I needed to start over as me.

I had to change my approach. I had to give birth to a blog that is mine. A blog that resembled me and what I stand for. I had to give it my voice, give it a new life.
It’s like having a baby in a way. You want that child to succeed, to be adored by the masses, to be understood, to be the best. You want that child to resemble you, to have your qualities. Your smile, your brown eyes because you identify yourself in that child and you want the world to see that that’s your baby. In the same way, I want my blog to have my personality, my mind, simplicity and yet be engaging. I just want people to read it and identify the realness. So I had to start over, better this time.

We all get that moment when we realise that we need to just stop and start over. To find ourselves first and our place in the universe before we can venture off into any project. The method in Hollywood movies it to take your napsack, run away from it all, find a secluded place (usually a village or a jungle, I don’t know why the jungle but hey it works for some), find others on the same journey as you, share stories of life and sing Kumbaya till the Sun rises but the truth is that doesn’t work for everyone. You don’t have to run away to find yourself. Sometimes you can just switch your phone off (hha and how will you read my blog?), I’m kidding, switch it off or not, be alone for sometime, stare at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself questions, be true to yourself, try to find who you are and just take that one step to a journey of self discovery and if need be, start over.

Don’t forget your past, there are some very valuable lessons there and some scary skeletons that you have to face but that’s the whole idea, face your past and you will face yourself. However saying that you should not forget your past doesn’t mean you should hang onto it and re-live it. The past is there to teach not to hold you back and hold you hostage in your future.
That’s the reason I didn’t remove my previous posts. They are a part of my journey into this cyber world. They serve as a teacher and a reminder that sometimes a formula that works for others might not work for you. What’s good for the goose might not be good for the gander.

I realise that starting over is not easy. There can be certain things holding you back on life. It can be fear of letting go of what you are used to or just fear of the unknown. We get held back by our circumstances, what will people say, what will I do now? We marry all negativity and harbour the ‘What if’ syndrome and we don’t realise that by doing so we hinder ourselves from living to our fullest potential. What if I’m not good enough, what if someone has already written about this, what if I don’t get an audience, what if, what if, what if? However here is the thing, what if I am good enough, what if I succeed and I become a better writer and grow as a human being. Sometimes the only thing standing in our way is the man in the mirror. We need to believe in ourselves so much that we are not afraid to start, to fail or to let go.

I won’t lie I’m scared of falling again or failing or even losing myself as I go along but that’s just the thing about starting a new journey, it be blogging or starting afresh as a single woman or even being a first time mother. Nothing is guaranteed and life doesn’t come with a manual but as we go along we learn. We stumble, we fall, we hurt, we let go, we fail or we achieve greatness, the idea is to just keep moving on and keep starting. We learn that in failure there are lessons, in success we gather the methods and structures of how to continue and when we fall we get back up and we believe ourselves to be stronger.

There is no manual on how to be the best writer, if there was trust me all bloggers would have the Pulitzer prize in writing. There is no manual on how to become the best there ever was. It’s the same way in life, there is no manual on how to be the perfect human being. There is the bible, the Qur’an, other religious books and self help books on how to be good and noble but there isn’t a proven method on how to be perfect. We would have no sinners at all , we would be perfect but the truth is we are all human and somewhere along the road we lose ourselves and we fall. It’s just the way life is. I fell and now I’m getting back up again.
This is my start and I might stumble or fall somewhere down the line or learn and become good at writing, the idea is to keep moving on.

So with my cold cup of coffee, as I stare at this screen and wonder if this is good enough to post, I hope someone somewhere will also say “stuff it, I’m jumping without a parachute and I’m starting over”. See a new day as a blank page and write your own story but for you to do that you have to start somewhere. So when I post this and venture again into this world with my eyes shut, I hope that you will also start something. Here goes everything…