life lessons

Life Lessons

Life is indeed a ‘bad-ass’ teacher. It teaches you practical lessons using one ever-green teaching aid-TIME. It has taught me so many lessons and one of them is this:

LESSON 1- Life teaches with Precision

When you try to impact a lesson on someone and they reject it, leave it for life. Life teaches better using time. They will get the message so clearly with time- clearer than you could have taught them. All you need do if you really care is to pray for them that by the time the message comes clear to them, they still have the chance to correct themselves and much damage is not done. This is the first lesson that life has taught me. I had a different mindset about certain things while growing up but now that I have walked on those paths in life, I understand better than to make hasty judgment about people or situations.

LESSON 2- That People’s life does not match your expectations does not always mean something is wrong with them. Something might be wrong with your expectation

When I was a young spinster, I had certain funny expectations from newly-weds and when I don’t see it manifest, I began to think there was a problem somewhere. “They’ve been married for over several months now and he still looks as slim as he was before marriage. I think he even looks thinner. Something must be wrong. He doesn’t look happy. I think he doesn’t have peace of mind in the marriage.” “I think his wife is not taking good care of him. She’s even getting fatter while he still looks the same. Maybe she’s draining him.” “Look at Mr. and Mrs. ‘Lagbaja’ that got married just last month. See how chubby they look already.” Jeez! Now that I remember how I use to think then, I just seriously laugh at myself and my ignorance. How backward! I didn’t see it as a backward way of thinking then. I thought I cared. Now I see it as being nosy. 

For crying out loud, people are not the same. Their bodies are not built to work the same way and it is very disrespectful to address them like something is wrong with them. That their life doesn’t meet your expectation doesn’t always mean something is wrong with them. Something might be wrong and absolutely nothing might be wrong. You don’t know. So you might as well just mind your business. If you care so much and you are close to them enough to ask questions, please do so with all sense of respect. Don’t try to make them feel bad about something they can’t help; something that they probably even love. I am willowy and I love it. I thought marriage will immediately tamper with it. Remember how I used to expect such from people when I was single. Life has taught me that this is not a rule. Your expectations from people is not always a standard for judgment because those expectations might be faulty.

LESSON 3- Pity only those that desire your pity

This is in line with lesson 2. I have been married for a while now and I have barely changed in stature. I didn’t care at first but I began to worry about it with the growing concerns I get from loved ones. I especially became worried when I noticed that people were jokingly suggesting it had something to do with my husband. “How can he be adding weight when his wife isn’t?” They jokingly made comments like “You are eating all the food alone.” Is he supposed to stop eating for me to get fat? For heaven’s sakes, there is nothing this man won’t do to make me alright. His life is not supposed to be paused after marriage simply because his wife has not added weight yet, right?  Initially, I began to wonder if something was truly wrong. I had to go to the hospital for checkup just to be sure. When I shared my worries with the doctor, I specifically tried to teach him his job. I told him to run tests to find out what exactly was the problem. Why am I not fat yet? He just laughed at me and explained that everything was fine. Maybe I will get fat later, but it’s wrong to try to make anyone feel bad about something they are cool with.

When a lady comes off age and is yet to marry, trust me, she thinks about it sometimes and feels concerned. But if she has grown mature enough to understand that she has a whole life ahead of her to take care of while hoping for marriage, then you should respect that. It’s okay to feel concerned but it is absurd when you overdo it. If she never cried to you about it, made no post suggesting that she’s grieving over it, then there is no need for an unsolicited pity party to be brought before her face every time you have a conversation with her? Fine, there are people that want to be pitied, they may be knocked out with pity. But please, don’t rub it on optimistic people. It feels like forcing them to think like you or forcing them to feel bad.

It applies to so many other aspects of life. I once read a post by a survivor of a plane crash who suffered major burns on her face and parts of her body. She had moved past the initial pain and depression of the tragic event and had taken a positive attitude towards life; grateful for her survival. The scars were there. She wrote about how people always gave her that pitiful look and offer unsolicited words of consolation anytime they had the chance and how she laughed at them because she didn’t need it.

Check for the meaning of pity; it means you feel sorry for someone because you think they are unfortunate. Whether they are yet to get married, yet to have children, yet to add weight, anything people have chosen to be at peace with; please don’t make them feel unfortunate for it. Take it easy with the prayer and advice you always shower on them every time you meet them. I understand you care but you might just be causing more harm; making them give room to depressing thoughts that could harm their health. They begin to wonder ‘Is it really this bad?’ ‘Am I so unfortunate?’ What good have you done to them if you push them to such state?

Back then as a young girl, when I see someone who had just lost a loved one like yesterday laughing over anything today, I felt something was wrong. “How can they find anything funny at such a time as this?” Just imagine that way of thinking. They must not think like you. You might mourn for a year if you were in their shoes. In their case however, they are trying to move on, so just let them be. We should not impose your mindset on others, especially if it takes them back to a state they are supposed to pass. When you impose pity on people, you are not fixing them, you are breaking them and that is not what you should be doing to someone you claim to care about. If you feel so emotional for them, you can cry on your own. Pray for them too. But when you appear before them, be as strong as you can for their sake and help them feel positive. There is time for everything. There is a time for pity and there is a time to stay strong for people. When you cannot do anything about a situation, it’s best you become positive about it.

LESSON 4- People find their level for the sake of understanding, not always pride

I grew up believing that most people become proud as soon as they become rich. They no longer want to associate with people that they once related with. Now I have realized it’s not always true. Pride may be the case for some but for many, it’s not true. People that have learnt the principles of cash flow think differently from those with a mindset of poverty. The problem with poor people is that when you try to make them understand that their mindset is the reason for their poverty, they pick offense and label you a proud person. They are stuck with small ideas and always make you look like you overdo things. That is why you cannot continue to put up with them. You don’t operate at the same frequency so misunderstandings are bound to come up. Their level of thinking will often get you upset and yours will upset them too. This is why the rich will have to move away from small minds and associate with people that understand them.

The ideas of poor people about how money should be spent or how things should be done often conflicts with that of the rich. Poverty mindset expects that if one person in the family is rich, everybody should be rich. In reality however, if only one person is rich among ten persons, we likely have ten poor people because that one rich person will be drained by the remaining nine if he does not create a distance. Poor people have a mindset of entitlement over other people’s lives. They get angry when you try to be prudent over financial decisions. “Is he not my brother? ‘Do you know what I have done for her?’ ‘Why should he think twice before doing this little thing for me?’ It is this demand of entitlement from the other nine people that will bring that one rich man to ruin if he doesn’t find his level. Then when he does, he is labelled a proud man.

I once read this quote somewhere: “Poor people spend time to save money while rich people spend money to save time.” Read it again. I hope you understand. The rich can spend extra 10,000 naira to buy 1 hour for themselves. They value time because they know it’s an asset that can make more money for them. That 1 hour might yield 100,000 naira for them. But a poor man can spend 10 hours just to retain that 10,000 naira in his pocket, nothing more. So if the rich man tells the poor man “Let’s pay the 10,000 naira to save time”, the poor man looks at him like he’s crazy. “Where am I rushing to? I have time to spare” Now the rich guy has three options.

  1. Leave him behind and look like a proud man
  2. Stay with him as a loyal friend and lost hundreds of thousands of money
  3. Pay extra for you both to save your time

Option 3 seems best but repetitions of such occurrences will eventually drain our rich guy and he soon becomes like his poor friend. And the worst part is these poor people will never believe you are broke until they have wrecked you to the point of you going to ask for their help.

Do you now understand why rich people need to create a distance? It’s not always pride. It’s for peace to reign, for their mental health and for financial security reasons.

LESSON 5- Things are not always as they seem

This is a continuation from lesson 4. I used to consider relatives that are abroad or that are perceived to be wealthy as stingy or wicked people for not helping their family to become like them. That one has cars and live in a mansion is not a guarantee that they are always financially buoyant. Their money may be held up in investments that are yet to mature and yield profits. They will not explain their challenges to you. As you make demands from them, bear in mind that so many others are doing likewise. They have a lot of personal challenges before them as well that demand money. When you make requests that they cannot meet it comes with a pain of its own in their heart that you probably have no idea about. They are pained that they cannot render the help they wish to. They are also pained about how you would judge them because you won’t understand. So take it easy on them before concluding they are stingy. I have been there. I know the look on the faces of people having high expectations from you. I understand the expression in their sarcasms. I choose to ignore and simply talk to God about it. ‘God, your people think I don’t know the right thing to do but you know I do. Help me fix things up, please.’

You don’t know what people go through. All you see is the smiles and good appearances. Be careful how you judge them. Things are not always as they seem.

Life is filled with lessons. As we live, let’s learn the lessons and use them positively.

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Until next time, live and let live.

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