PERFECTLY IMPERFECT  

Nick Vujicic is one of the best inspirations, and the book “life without limits” stand as the basic upon which this was coined.

    The bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, if this is so, why do we find it so hard to love ourselves just as we are? why is it so easy for us to get burdened with feelings that we are not beautiful enough, not tall enough, not thin enough or short enough for the girls who tell me they wished they were not so tall. Notice how these things afore mentioned are things that cannot be altered no matter how much we worry.

    We become vulnerable and fall into the victim’s mentality when we base how we feel about ourselves on other people’s opinions or compare ourselves with others. When you judge yourself harshly or put intense pressure on yourself, you become prone to depression. Loving and accepting yourself as God loves you opens the door to a much greater sense of peace and fulfillment. It’s like feeling as though there were a higher power above supporting your every decision and move.

     I realized that when I talk about self-love and self-acceptance, a lot of people tend to misunderstand what I mean, like this my friend here telling me she loves herself so much “in fact I want to date me”, well that’s not exactly what I mean, you see I’m not advocating for loving yourself in a self-absorbed, conceited way. The form of self-love I’m advocating is self-less, You give more than you take, you offer without being asked, you share even when you have little, you put yourself down to lift others up, you find happiness by making others smile, you love yourself because you are not all about yourself and you are happy with who you are because you make others happy to be around you. It’s really easy you see, I get excited when I talk to my friends about how excited and grateful I am to have them influence my life and have me influence theirs.

      I had the full attention of a very good friend when I chose to work on this topic and she asked “what if you can’t just love yourself because no one loves you?” well, that’s not possible, you see, you and I are Gods children, and each one of us can count on his unconditional love, his mercy and his forgiveness, we are all of value in his eyes, so we should love ourselves, be understanding of our imperfections, and forgiving of our mistakes because God does all that for us. What was the most important commandment Jesus stated in the bible? We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and right after was to love our neighbor as ourselves. So loving yourself is not about being selfish, self-satisfied or self-centered, it’s about accepting your life as a gift to be nurtured and shared as a blessing to others. So instead of dwelling on your imperfections, your failings or your mistakes focus on your blessings, they are so much I tell you, forget about the Iphone device you can’t afford and think about the good health you have that even Steve Jobs the co-founder of Apple couldn’t buy, think about the free oxygen you breathe daily and the constant blood that flows through your vain, do you have any idea how expensive those can get?, you have the ability to hear and see, that’s a blessing, And if ever you doubt, ask yourself if you would give away your good health for wealth or your limbs for that dream car or your ability to see for a private jet.

    The true blessing which sadly we overlook is a perfectly good health, every other is secondary. So think of the contribution you can make whether it’s a talent, knowledge, wisdom, creativity, hard-work or a nurturing soul. You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations except yours, you’re allowed to define your own version of perfection.

    I have a particular friend who is so comfortable with herself, so at peace and enthused about developing her gifts that she just seems to radiate good feelings, I value being around her, everyone loves being around her, why? Because she shines from within, she loves herself but not in the “you’re so vain” way, she accepts herself as blessed even when outcomes don’t go her way, even though she struggles just like you and I. I’m sure you know somebody who gives off that same comfortable vibe, just as you probably know the opposite sort of person whose bitterness and self-loathing drive everyone away.

      You got to learn to glow, if you don’t shine from within, it may be because you rely on others to validate you, to give you confidence, or make you feel appreciated, even though you might be blessed with a few people who can do that, that’s a sure road that leads to disappointment. The only important measure of your beauty and value as a person should be the one that comes from within. You’re probably thinking “easy to say, tough to do”, but I’m just trying to help you see how cruel life could be, people can be thoughtless or just plain mean, so you must be able to look inside for strength and when that strength fails you can always look above to God, the ultimate source of strength and love.

    Self-acceptance and self-love are important but often misunderstood concepts these days. As put by Nick Vujicic, you should love yourself as a reflection of God’s love and as someone put on this earth to make a unique contribution. Too many of our generation youth settle for a more superficial meaning when they buy into the extremes of narcissism and self-indulgence. This is due, in no little part, to the cult of beauty and celebrity promoted on reality shows, movies, podcasts and videos. When you watch those shows it’s easy to forget that life has greater purpose than looking good, living in luxury and “hooking-up”. No wonder more celebrities are in rehab than in church. Too many of them worship the false gods of vanity, pride and lust. I am going to sensor my words now but I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.

     I’m particularly not one to get psyched over a celebrity of any sort, don’t you think this would be a better world if the paparazzi followed college graduates with advanced degrees or missionaries bringing medicine and hope to the poor and needy instead of stalking and paying a lot of money to go watch rehab dropouts with rap-sheets and needle scars? But all hope is not lost, I’ve seen huge number of people, young and old converting, just like I did, attending religious ceremonies and festivals of praise, seeking contentment by learning to love their neighbor and be selfless. I’ve watched teens and adults who spend their vacations building homes in third world countries and serving the needy in impoverished areas of Africa. You see not everyone is obsessed with plastic surgery, make-up-on-fleek, parties or Louis vuitton bags. When you get caught up in material things and surface beauty trying to get other people to value you, you give up too much of yourself and risk letting your blessings go to waste.

   Whenever I lose sight of who I am and let current situations weigh me down and make me question my life, I always fall back to the mirror, and I employ you to do same , when your spirit is tumbling because you’ve been hurt, stepped-on or disparaged, go to the mirror and find one feature you love about yourself, it doesn’t have to be a physical characteristic, it can be a talent, a trait, a skill or something else that makes you feel good about yourself, dwell on that special something for a while. Be grateful for it, and know that your beauty and value comes from the unique person you were made to be.

    I have a very playful 9month old dog, she takes meat illegally so I beat her sometimes which makes her scared of me, but whenever I’m seated in my room feeling downright moody or sober she comes around and tries to start up a fight or a rag-drag competition so timidly I can’t help but give her a rob on the back, so then I ask, how can a dog still love me regardless of how I beat her? She’s selfless you see. So if only you will love yourself as you are, for all your beauty inside and out, others will be drawn to you and they will see your beauty too. Oh and in case you’re wondering , I still beat her, she still steals but we still play so the circle just continues.​

     One day in my junior class of secondary school, I went to the restroom after having a “can’t solve the equation” moment with my teacher, like that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the pipe just beneath the faucet broke because I had my entire weight on it and water sprinkled on uhmm my private area, so it looked like I peed my pant. I tried to wipe it dry but it just kept spreading, immediately I came out the restroom it was as though these set of girls were waiting for me at the corridor, I couldn’t tell if they were talking about my wet pant but I was sure they were laughing at it, I was so embarrassed, I couldn’t wipe it off and couldn’t cover it either so I decided to make jokes off it myself before anyone could, I didn’t let anyone see it before I said something ridiculous about it, I became so paranoid that I walk up to random people and start explaining how it happened without them asking, when they noticed I was laughing at myself more than they were, they gradually retreated and got tired.

     Sometimes through our own doing we make little problems big by taking them too seriously. Having wet pants is not a big deal. We are all perfectly imperfect human beings, some of us may be more than others, but we all have our flaws and our short comings. It’s important not to take every little wart or wrinkle too seriously because one day you might be faced with something truly serious gone wrong, and then what will you do? So stand prepared to laugh at life’s little knocks on the head, bumps on the nose and well, water on your pants.

    I’ve been known to laugh excessively, even in serious situations, I don’t know, sometimes I think it’s a curse, but after I discovered that laughter has been shown to reduce stress by releasing endorphin hormones, the body’s natural relaxant, also boosting your immune system and improving your blood flow while also increasing oxygen flow to the brain. Not bad, eh? Studies have also shown that laughter makes you more attractive. A double bonus! Problem is, I over do mine, I always overdo it, and according to my own research it can kill, I always fall short of breath, my ribcage begin to hurt bad as well as my head then for a brief moment, I lose my full ability to stand, true story!

    I’ve learned to laugh about my problems and the strange responses they provoke, but there is an even better method for overcoming doubts about your self-worth or your inability to love yourself as you are. Instead of dwelling on that pain within, reach out to someone else’s pain. I promise you there are people who have it worse than you think you do, go on the streets and see people living like they ready to die, with raggedy clothes on and no shoes and have no idea where they are going to get their next meal from aside that dumpster around the corner. So I’m pleading with you, stop thinking you have it bad, go give something to the homeless man on the street or go to an orphanage, reach out to ease someone else’s pain, put your focus on someone else in need and I promise, you will feel some sort of self-satisfaction. 

   You have to keep striving, keep growing, keep giving all you have to give, so that in the end you can look back and say, “I gave it my best shot”. Look in the mirror and say “this is who I am, and I accept the challenge of becoming the best I can be. You are beautiful because God created you for his purpose in his image. Your challenge however is to find that purpose, fill it with hope and drive it on faith and put your uniqueness to the highest possible use.

     I had a temporal move to my grandma’s home in south central Benin city and I met this great guy named Mr. Abaka, he wasn’t the richest or most accomplished man in the block, matter-fact he was just a Grass-cutter, but Mr. Abaka is one of those people who glowed from within, He was at peace with himself, so comfortable in his coveralls that everyone respected him and enjoyed being around him, when he starts talking to you about his ideas and forthcomings you’ll be super thrilled, he could always keep a good and positive conversation going. I have a lot of well to do friends from around the world but only few possess this unique ability. 

   We are so quick to share our imperfections, we need to share the beautiful gifts we’ve been given, look inside, there is a light inside you just waiting to shine. Loving and accepting yourself is the only surefire cure for self pity and victimhood. Drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity offer temporary relief and eventually they end up bringing more pain, depression and problems. You see when I came to really accept myself as a child of God and a part of his plan, my life was forever changed. You may not be a believer in Christ but you can darn right believe in your value and purpose on this planet.

   “I thought life was unfair until somebody told me life is fair because it is unfair to everybody”                                                                                by unknown…

BUILDING THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE!! 

                                                                      

        I was surfing the net one time and I came across this seminar on ‘relationships’ that was practically attended by mainly successful business men and women who had devoted their life completely to their careers and companies, and in their drive for success they had totally neglected their relationships one after the other, now they’ve reached the top, they’ve made a lot of money and even fame but they have no one to share it with. Thing is, most of them thought they had it all, until they realized it meant nothing without someone to enjoy it with.

     But the truth of the matter is, if you approach relationships with an attitude of “I don’t have time for anybody else” one day you’ll probably look up and find that you’re all alone and wondering where all of your friends went. Personally, I found that the most powerful tool for building a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship is a “service attitude”, I mean a relationship where your main drive is to impact and add value to the other person’s life, your ultimate goal should be to add to the quality of the lives of those people who have trusted you with their friendship.

    I found that when I meet somebody anew since I learnt to abide these principles I’ve had better relationships, strong and lasting bonds through the quality of conversations we have, I always seek and pick out three basics from new conversations that help me decide whether or not to retain or restrain from that relationship:

1. How positive minded they speak- do they see good and positive in even negative situations, do they see a bright and shiny day filled with joy every morning or they see another hectic Monday packed with excess work and stressful activities.

2. Humor- humor is everything to me, if somebody can contribute a laugh to my life every day, that’s seven times a week, multiplied by the amount of friends I have, then again multiplied by two if they keep it going and maybe three if they are on a role, you might end up having over 10,000 laughs a year, that’s more than enough to keep you happy for the whole year.

3. Ideas- having ideas doesn’t necessarily mean you have the potential to carry them out “just yet”, but when you talk about them it just goes to show that you have a very beautiful and productive mind with interest in developing the world or increasing the standards of living, dreamers are most respected here, you do know that dreamers are thinkers and thinkers end up becoming great innovators, so I always appreciate a good conversation with a dreamer with strong zeal towards realizing goals.

     We undermine the meaning of “friendship” nowadays, people believe that so long as they engage in daily conversations, or attend same classes or probably they are friends of friends or are on the same football or basketball team automatically makes them friends, I think the term for that is “acquaintances” that’s all that is, not friends because being friends goes beyond just engaging in regular conversations you know, when you’re truly friends with someone it means you aren’t afraid to stand up for them when others are putting them down or when they’ve fallen out of favor with the rest of the world. It means that you focus on the best that is in them and try to help them express it even when they aren’t focusing on the best in themselves. If you’re able to approach your relationships with this orientation/attitude you’ll always find shelter in the friendship and trust of others. But if you haven’t put substantial effort into developing strong relationships then you should not be surprised to find yourself dealing with loneliness, rejection and or even isolation. 
   I was conversing with a very good friend of mine on this topic and she said “well Dez I don’t put this much effort you talk about but I still got a lot of friends” true, but are they real/true friends? The key word here is “true”, will they go the extra mile for you? And if yes well you should ask yourself why, but let me tell you why, it’s simply because there is something in you that they want or are benefiting from, and soon as it’s gone they’ll abandon you like an old sack of potato. 

      Try to play this quick image in your head, say for example you got a lot of money or your parents are pretty rich, bring those people you feel are your true friends, now take out your money and parents wealth, do you still see them flocking around you? Or they done took themselves out?

   Let’s take one final bazaar example, say you’re a very pretty young lady with all the right curves, and you were involved in a ghastly motor crash and got badly injured, burnt across the face and maybe permanently inclined to the use of crutches, will these guys still flock around you? Maybe even your girls won’t be caught dead around you because you’ve lost what they were really after, I bet my A-List will still be there for me. So if after all these, your head still reflects somebody that will still be there for you then be happy because that’s your true friend. I rebuke any form of motor crash in your life.
                  BUILD YOUR A-LIST

Keith Harrell said, the people you allow embrace your life ultimately have the greatest impact on your attitude.
        Your A-list should comprise of people you can count on regardless the situation, people that will be with you through thick and thin, support you and give you the necessary motivation and words you require to get up and move on, non critics or seasonal friends. You know some people are seasonal friends, they only show up when it’s convenient for them, like they talk to you every day when you’re in school but soon as you go home its over “no airtime” to call you, so you see I can’t overemphasize the importance of building a strong reliable A-list. It’s critical and important especially during those times when you’re looking for guidance and a shoulder to lean on. You know, when you engage in a conversation with another person you give them the ability to impact you, to slip stuff into you, that’s why when you make friends with someone you best make sure it’s what you want, you best make sure you know who you’re spending time with because you may not always realize what you’re getting out of the relationship until it has already been deposited and start growing in you, it’s sort of like crabgrass, you don’t know it’s there until it’s all grown up you see. 

          I can count on my A-list to help me keep my attitude positive. They also help me see with a wider range of vision, at every major turning point of my life, there has been someone there to help me find the learning point of my life. I hope it has been same for you, and even though you might not have giving much thought or enough credit to your support team it will be relevant for you to take a time out and review your life till this point and think of those people who have made a difference in it. Go a step further today and create a list of those on your A-list to remind yourself of all the people who have supported you and helped you when your circumstances or attitude took a turn for the worse. Then, the next time you’re tempted to think you’re alone, rid yourself of that negative thought by visualizing all the people who support, motivate and believe in you or just pick up your telephone and call them.

   So if ever you find yourself with a lackadaisical attitude, bogged down, unmotivated and looking to get off your “if only’s”,” what if’s” and “what now’s”, I recommend again you put into consideration the effort others have invested in your life and try this self affirmation that was also stated in my previous post on “THE IDEAL FAITH” I can’t let down the people who believe in me and worked for me, it’s time I started believing in me and helping myself. 

    So whenever I’m alone and on the road or whenever I’m feeling a little lonely or down, lacking motivation to go on or push through I immediately get in touch with one or two, or depending on the depth of my mood, three or four people on my A-list. I call them or start up a chat. I try to catch up on their lives and see how they are doing, I find that’s all I need, just to remind myself that I’m not alone. Of course they call me too, I want them to do that, every time if possible, because I want to contribute to their happiness and security too.

    Relationships are built on a two-way-street you see, they have to be mutually beneficial, each side has to bring something of value to the table, otherwise they will not endure. Friendship is more or has got to be more than having a good time when you’re together chilling as it’s called. It’s about time you started weighing the substance of your friendships, examine the things you’re getting in exchange for your time.

It’s time to cut off all unproductive relationships and concentrate on the ones that improve your very being. May God give us wisdom to make the right dedecisions.