Allow me to share with you an interesting concept I came across during the path of self-realisation.
Growing up, I always wanted to be loved, to be accepted to be wanted. I always felt that I needed to be so much more. I wanted people to like me and when they didn’t accept me I would be devastated and very depressed, I thought my whole life revolved around others liking me. Because of that I did a lot of things to please other people. My dad was absent from my life for most of my years and whenever he was home from work, it was short-lived because we had to share him with a lot of other people in his life as well, who also missed him when he was away.
I grew up looking for love and acceptance from my friends, from my teachers and everyone around me. I stayed in wrong relationships (friendships included) just because I didn’t want to be alone, I didn’t want to feel unwanted, most of the time it really hurt and it was messy and very complicated but I stayed anyway. People treated me bad, took advantage of me and I tolerated it just to please them because I couldn’t afford to lose them because that would mean that I will be alone. I had a void in my heart that I wanted other people to fill. But in the end, I still lost friends, I lost lovers, and people have let me down just like everyone else. I couldn’t make people love me, I couldn’t make them stay and I couldn’t make anyone accept me.
That’s just the way it is, because when you think about it, it’s not their job to. And perhaps that’s why they say people will treat you the way you treat yourself. The Bible says “you shall love your neighbour as yourself”, so how do you love yourself enough to love me? You have to have before you can give love, you cannot say you can love another if you cannot love yourself. You cannot understand another if you cannot understand yourself.
The turnaround came when I discovered that I will always have ME. People will come and go but (ME) will always be here for me whenever I needed me. I know in our world this sounds selfish, but it taught me to love myself and give myself the love that I wanted other people to give me. It taught me to accept myself and make myself the person that I wanted to see. It is my duty to see to it that me is happy, and to make sure that me has the right thoughts. I discovered that people will do things to upset me but I have the power to remain angry or get angry. I had the power to allow other people’s negative comments to affect me or not. I have the power to filter what words I take note of in my mind and to flush out. My friend, everything that you need to live and be happy is within you, and the moment you realise this, you will discover true happiness. Build yourself up from within, work on yourself, study yourself. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what exactly are you good at, what do you love/enjoy the most. How do you look at yourself? Who are you? And then you find out what kind of personalities actually compliment your personality, are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Before you go out into the world you need to know what it is you have to offer, life is not just about receiving, it is about giving, what will your friends benefit from being around you? What can you bring to a relationship, only then can you really attract the right friendships/relationships because when you don’t know what it is you are looking for you will receive and accept anything, because you don’t know if it’s right for you or not. Be specific about what you want, what you need should be very clear to you before it can be clear to someone. You cannot give what you don’t have, so if you can’t even love yourself how will you know how to love another? I am very complicated, indecisive and confused about things most of the time, how can I expect someone to know what I want when I don’t even know it myself. That’s expecting too much, it’s like walking into KFC hoping that you might find spare rib on the menu. Compare that with going into a relationship without clear expectations about what you really want, some people enter into relationships because of physical appearance just to find themselves frustrated later when they discover that it is not beauty or looks that build a relationship. Other human beings are not perfect just like you, they are not guaranteed either and they are not a fixed asset, today they are here tomorrow they are not. You cannot determine what somebody does. Now if your happiness or your heart is with someone else, they will leave with it when they go, people are not guaranteed, but you are. Please do not build your life/ happiness on external things, be your own source, you have your own well within you and it will never run dry, it is and has been. You have been drinking water from other people’s wells, some waters are bitter, others are pure and sweet but they are not yours, so you can’t keep drinking from them. People can only give you so much but the rest is within you. I am not saying that you should throw away all your friends and everyone around you, and live like an island not needing anything from anybody NO! Let people give you what they can, but have the power to decide what you receive and what you don’t. Don’t burden others with the responsibility of giving you something that you can’t give yourself. IT STARTS WITH YOU.
Sesilia Nekwaya is a young economist at the Bank of Namibia whose dream is to make a difference in someone’s life, whether big or small. Writing this article, Nekwaya hopes this article speaks in greater volumes.