A New Journey!

Change they say is constant. However, it brings with it the surge of fear and knots in the belly. A journey to unknown territories is one that is quite difficult to make but once embarked on, brings fulfillment like never known before even with its challenges and difficulties.

Starting a blog has been a journey I’ve know I wanted to embark on but the claws of fear and the need for the right timing always seemed to hold me back. Today am facing that fear head long with a whole lot of knots in my belly with questions like “what if it isn’t successful?”. At least then I’ll know I did try.

This is a journey and like the rising sun, it gets brighter with each second that passes!

As a Chinese saying by  Laozi goes

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step”

This is my first step to greatness. Good luck to me!!!!

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Valentine’s Special: Start by Loving Yourself!

Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.

So today’s Valentine and there’s a whole lot of frenzy going on social media with different hash-tags and stories, status updates and comments. But here’s the irony, after a few hours, everyone returns to their normal lives.

Now I personally don’t have a problem with Valentine’s Day; however, why put so much pressure on your significant other to perform on one particular day when every other day, they show how much you mean to them and how much they cherish and adore you in various little gestures. If perhaps we were to live in a parallel universe where throughout 364 days, we didn’t speak to each other or get gifts for one another but then just that one day ( Valentine’s Day) everything changed, maybe the whole frenzy would be justified. Like I said, I really don’t have anything against Valentine’s Day. I believe every day should be Valentine’s just as everyday should be Christmas.

Anywho, it is always lovely to see the extra efforts being put in by people to make today extra special.

My focus on today’s post is loving yourself. It is the season of love and what better way to express love than to yourself. This is one aspect if we are truly honest about is lacking in our lives. Can you honestly say that you love yourself? Are you having a hard time being happy with yourself? It is easy to focus on your faults instead of the things about yourself that you are happy with. And sometimes, it could be focusing on others around you and not focusing on loving yourself.

Self-love doesn’t mean you’re selfish. It only means you care so much about yourself just the same way you care for others. It is often said, ” you cannot give what you don’t have“.

Self-love is one of the best gift you can give yourself this Valentine as it provides you with self-confidence, self-worth and it will generally help you feel more positive and enriched to love others. Today is a day you can love yourself totally with no expectations. If you are not willing to love yourself today, then you are not going to love yourself tomorrow. Because whatever the excuse that exists today, that excuse would still be in existence tomorrow. So in the spirit of Valentine, start showing yourself love by:

1. Having fun by yourself: Single or not, this can be a way to revitalize yourself. Take yourself out today, find you things to try. This would definitely be a start to loving yourself expressly.

2. Start telling yourself what you love about yourself: Quit bombarding yourself with negative talks. It is important you know how spectacular you are. You have to look at the mirror and be kind to yourself.

3. Focus less on winning the approval of others: Always remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Don’t wait around for someone else to give you permission to live.

4. Distance yourself from those who bring you down: Being in no relationship is better than being in a wrong one. Know your worth and don’t worry much about people who don’t worry about you. Your circle should be well-rounded and supportive. Quality over quantity is Key.

5. Focus on writing your story: Don’t put so much effort into reading, watching and hearing about everyone else’s story rather focus on creating the blockbuster story of your life.

6. Forgive yourself for your mistakes: If you can look back at some poor choices you’ve made and forgive yourself, you can start to move on. Learn to love yourself despite any mistakes you’ve made.

7. Give yourself credit where credit is due: Stop trying to be modest all the time. Celebrate your achievements. Tell others what you have done, share your experiences and be proud of what you have achieved.

8. Pursue new interests: It’s great to try something new that you’ve always wanted to try for a while or have been scared to do. You never know what you might enjoy until you have tried it.

These are just a few ways to get you started on your journey to Self-love. The truth is this: People will come and go, events will come and go; but true love for yourself will always remain with you if you nurture it.

Happy Valentine’s day lovelies….

Relationship Values: COMPASSION

Positive relationships brings lasting happiness and aid in long term well being. Compassion is a cornerstone for fulfilled love life and it is an important aspect of building positive relationships. When you are compassionate, you expand your perceptions by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Compassion is a combination of empathy, concern, kindness and consideration. It is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that pain relieved.

Compassion offers the possibility of responding to suffering and pain with understanding, patience and kindness rather than fear and repulsion. Compassion may lead to action – it wells up three things stunt instantaneously: We perceive the other person’s pain or need; we emotionally connect with that need; and we respond instinctively by wishing to see that situation relieved.

Being compassionate is surely difficult, but the rewards are insurmountable. Compassion come bring an element of trust into your relationship. Give may even increase our life span I’m good health. Now, compassion doesn’t mean that one needs to be full of soothing thoughts about someone all the time. It just means that whenever possible, you expand your worldview without any baggage of negative emotions over the past or the present.

Without compassion, a relationship can become harsher. When that happens, your interactions are less caring and you may start to build resentments which might make you feel unloved. Developing and expressing your compassion creates a safe zone for your love and other feelings or issues that may arise in your life. When you are sad, a compassionate gesture from your mate can make all the difference in your mood. Warm hugs and words of encouragement can take away a lot of discomfort.

Creating compassion is not so difficult, you will need desire and commitment. Here are eight ways you can practice being compassionate:

1. Attention: We all need to feel seen, heard and recognized. We need to know that we matter, so think about the ways in which you need and seek attention then consider how you might provide this need for attention for your partner.

2. Affection: Everyone needs some level of affection and it comes in various forms including a sincere smile, a kind gesture, a gentle touch, warm hugs or making love. You can also be affectionate in your speech by using soft tones and compliments.

3. Appreciation: We all have an innate need to feel valued and appreciated especially by those we love. Find ways to show your appreciation for your partner by being thoughtful about ordinary matters. Consider qualities and characteristics of your partner that you genuinely appreciate and share these things with them frequently. Also, remember that a simple word of appreciation goes a long way to show how much you care.

4. Acceptance: As individuals, we derive a sense of joy and purpose from being accepted by our partners and in our daily lives. It is easy to accept those aspects of our lives that are beautiful, happy and successful. The real challenge is accepting ourselves and other’s not-so-desirable qualities. The key is in accepting people for who they are and not who we wish them to become.

5. Be kind with your speech: Most times it’s not what we say but, rather how we say things. Take a moment to really consider what your partner is going through and speak to them with loving kindness.

6. Create a safe place for your partner to be themselves:

Create a safe environment for your partner to be vulnerable and share themselves fully and freely without judgement or shame. Let them know how much you care for them and make them understand that they are perfect just the way they are in all their imperfections.

7. Listen with intention: One way to be compassionate with your partner is to minimize distractions and be fully present with them when talking about issues. Try listening with your heart rather than your mind when they are expressing themselves.

8. Nurture your friendship and your relationship: Successful relationships all have a solid friendship at their core. Having mutual respect and enjoyment of each others company is a fundamental component. Learn to spend time having conversations about shared meaningful experiences on a regular basis.

Compassion is a positive emotion and once we let positive emotions take over us, our negative emotions of hatred can be leveraged into emotions of love, gratitude, compassion and empathy besides others.

Practice compassion as part of your daily living.

Relationship Values: COMPROMISE!

This is a world we are all too familiar but in truth how many of us actually practice it. Is it a value not just for relationships but for life.

Compromise is commonly understood as giving up something in order to reach a place of understanding with your partner. No two individuals are the same, you have different approaches to life and opinions so one will need to concede or the better alternative is to meet in the middle – compromise to achieve harmony in a relationship.

Compromise is a bridge that every relationship needs to cross. It can be as simple as what to eat for dinner to complex situations like taking a new job. However, being able to merge your perspectives to build a life together is a great skill of a thriving relationship that can easily be learnt. Now this is not to say that you should compromise on your own boundaries or identity for the sake of a relationship. Not at all, you should be your authentic self. Rather, find a mutual meeting ground to walk together.

“Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Compromise in relationships can be a tricky balancing act. However, it is a necessary evil. A good relationship is built on the strong foundation of trust, commitment and compromise. Compromise always exist regardless of how you feel. If you and your partner are able to always compromise on issues, trust and commitment will continue to stand strong and stable.

Compromising represents the act of selflessness as they would be times where you have to stomach your pride in order to come to a resolution during an argument because choosing not to compromise may cost you the relationship in the long run.

“Compromise is a sign that you relationship is more important than your ego” – Anon

Here is an outline on the essential skills of successful compromise –

1. Take the long view: Take steps away from the situation and ask yourself isthis issue will matter in the long run? Then put your problem into perspective.

2. Put on another pair of shoes: Honestly ask yourself what the situation looks like from your partner’s viewpoint. This is a chance to expand your emotional intelligence and capacity for empathy.

3. Third place wins: Your choice doesn’t need to be first place to win. The winning formula in compromise is to incorporate both if you needs and desires to create a new version(third place). With this new version, both party wins.

4. Yoga for the body and mind: Flexibility is Key. If you aren’t willing to change your position and stretch yourself, you and your relationship would remain stagnant. #A Flexible approach makes compromise a whole lot easier.

Compromise is not always easy. Sometimes you win a little and other times you lose a little. In the end, it is up to you to decide what you want to do. But to truly preserve your relationships, compromise can pave the road to contentment. As Jane Wells said, ” Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break”.

Keep an eye out for the next value!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

Nature is indeed beloved. It feeds us with so much love, joy, companion and gratitude!!! Taking a walk down the park or through nature itself is a breathtaking view that leaves you astonished.

The various undertones of the leaves, the birds chirping in the sky, the streams flowing and the waterfalls singing their sweet melody; you can only become endeared to the beloved beauty of nature!!!

How Knowing The Five Languages of Apology Can Save Your Relationship!

Have you ever tried to apologize to someone you’ve hurt only to be rebuffed and vice versa? Or perhaps you’ve “sincerely” apologized but the matter still lingers and you say to yourself, ” but I said I was sorry”. Sometimes just saying ‘I’m sorry’ might not be enough since individuals are different and the way they receive information is also different.

So does that mean all hopes are lost when saying I’m sorry isn’t enough? Of course not. Sincere apologies and precious gift, the impart a feeling to the receiver of being deeply valued. They also smooth the way to true forgiveness and reconciliation. For most people, an apology is not really an apology unless they hear the words ” I’m sorry” and for others, in order to truly forgive, they need to see that the person who has offended them knows exactly what he/she has done and not only takes responsibility but also shows regret for hurting their feelings.

We all seek happy and fulfilling relationships where we give and receive love but we often miss each other’s hearts in the process and end up frustrated and unfulfilled in our relationships. How many times do you hear about couples not feeling loved by their partners not only because they don’t speak their love languages but also their apology language.

Apology language? Yes, that’s it. Everyone has a primary apology language and often a secondary one and if an apology is not tendered in that language, most often than not, the process of restoring a relationship or conflict may seem futile. There is hope as the author of “The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman” has provided us with a roadmap to discovering and understanding not only our apology language but that of others.

According to Chapman and Thomas, the five languages of apology are:

1. Expressing regret ( I’m sorry): This language seeks to know if u understand how deeply your behaviour has hurt the significant other. You need to say you are sorry and most importantly what you are sorry for. You need to show remorse not just sorry you got caught.

2. Accepting responsibility( I was wrong): This language of apology wants you to accept responsibility for what you did or said and acknowledged that it was wrong. Here, your name your mistake and accept fault for it.

3. Genuinely repenting( I’ll try not to do it again): Here, the person wants to hear your desire and plan to change your behaviour otherwise, you have not truly apologized. Nothing else seems sincere. Repentance here literally means turning around 180 degrees without making excuses.

4. Making restitution( what can I do to make it right): This language seeks to know “do you still love me?”. I projects that your behaviour was so unloving that I wonder how you would love me and do that. What debt do you owe? What amends must be made? Are you going to help me get over this?

5. Requesting forgiveness( please forgive me): Here, the person whose language is requesting forgiveness wants to outrightly hear you say “please forgive me”. Requesting forgiveness is the way to touch their heart, it’s what feels sincere to them. It’s says patient with me, I may need some time or greater clarification as to why you did what you did.

When you’ve offended someone, you should act with urgency to repair the problem. Spell out what you have done wrong, how this has offended the other person, show concern for them and explain what will be different next time.

Sometimes a person can receive apology using different languages depending on what has been done to them. The most important thing is to know the person’s primary apology language and this can be easily achieved by asking those who are close to you what they most appreciate hearing in an apology. ( I’ve included an assessment profile pdf here that can easily be downloaded to help you with the process of discovering your apology language and that of your loved ones)

Knowing your apology language and that of your loved ones will help you give and receive targeted apologies that will hit their mark and show the full measure of your sincerity.

Don’t forget to get the book The Five Language of Apology by Dr. Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.

14 Ways to Improve your Personal Growth with a Bonus!!

So it is the beginning of the year and pressure to become and achieve all that we hope for is at it’s highest peak with so many goals to achieve, new year resolutions and everything in between.

With each passing year, all we are striving for with our goals and resolutions is to become a better person and achieve growth on a personal level. Hence, personal growth is the journey of exploring and developing who you truly are. Exploring identity, talents and potentials, as well as dreams and aspirations. Personal growth develops you physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually.

However the route you take to achieving personal growth, the key is to put yourself in situations that will trigger that exploration and development. Every journey is peculiar to every individual – that’s the personal part! It may just be an attitudinal change for someone or getting involved in trainings, up-skilling and travelling for another. The processes are numerous nothing is for sure, the gain of having achieved that growth is always priceless.

P.S – Remember, personal growth is not a destination but a journey, a process to be enjoyed. So here are a few ways you can get started on your own journey.

1. Know yourself – As cliche as it may sound, it is the very first step to embarking on the journey of personal growth. It is called personal for a reason. Now this isn’t about just knowing your likes and dislikes, or hobbies and those sort of things but a deeper reflection of who you truly are as a person. What makes you different, how you look at life, interact to people and what fires you up. This kind of knowledge is learnt by personal reflection, lots of alone time on situations outside your comfort zone. These situations are different for everyone. Most people think they know themselves, however they are relying on the version of themselves people say they are. To truly achieve personal growth, you have to detach yourself from the impressions of people and discover who you truly are outside of what they think by plunging into unfamiliar environments. For when you break through what you previously thought you were capable of, you’ll feel like you can achieve anything. And that is when you know your journey has begun.

2. Surround yourself with beautiful people – By beautiful, I am not talking about physical beauty but inner beauty. People with beautiful souls that make you see the world in a different light and in a whole new way. People that exude qualities you’d love to rub off on you. People that have a story to tell, gifts to share and lessons to teach. People that take stress off your life and show you the brighter side of life. Surround yourself with people who are filled with so much positive energy.

3. Rid yourself of people who bring you down – This one is a tough one especially if you’re a people-pleaser. And sometimes the person who brings you down is yourself (having negative thoughts). You have to shut out every negativity and the only person who can decide to do this and how best to get it done is YOU. Every situation is different and this is actually easier said than done but remember you are the CEO of your life and the journey of personal growth is entirely in your hands.

4. Stock up on the positive energy – Life is hard as it is and the pressure to become it ever so great. With everyone having a version of who they think you should become, it is only natural for the negative and depressing feelings to start rolling in. This is the time to stock up on some positive energy. It could be through meditation, gratitude journals or yoga. A good practice could be “Three good things”. Each day, you write down three good things that happened about your day or three things you are thankful for.

5. Avoid comparing yourself to what you see on social media – Social Media is a clipped, cropped, cultivated and possibly photoshop representation of ourselves. It is not who we truly are. We filter and post what we want people to see and honestly that’s ok. The key is to be mindful that this is what everyone is doing – EVERYONE. So when next you scroll through your feeds, remember that what you see has been carefully considered. So when we compare ourselves, you have a tendency to compare the worst of ourselves to the best of everyone else. This is not a healthy pastime and it only slows you down on your journey to personal growth.

6. Meet new people – Spending time with new people will broaden your horizon and open up different adventures and opportunities in your life. This will definitely take you a step closer to achieving your goals.

7. Read – This connects you with people that may have lived decades or even hundred of years before you were born. It gives you an insight into another world and perspective. And it grows you in the easiest and cheapest possible way from the comfort of your home.

8. Develop a light-hearted sense of humour – Don’t be so cranky and grumpy all the time. Learn to laugh an ease out tension. Embrace a lighthearted sense of humour plus a bonus is that it keeps you younger and eases off stress.

9. Make someone’s day – We are not created to live in a vacuum. The best way to move up the ladder of personal growth is to help someone. This brings a sense of fulfillment that crowns up the process and makes the journey worthwhile. Whether it’s for a stranger, friend or family, do something to brighten someone’s day. Seeing the effects of your kindness towards others will have a lasting impact on your personal growth.

10. Get better at a hobby – Hobbies are great ways to boost your personal growth. It is a creative outlet that offers introduces you to new people. When you are better as a hobby and passionate towards it, it becomes an achievement of something you always wanted.

11. Write

12. Declutter

13. Turn off the Tv

14. Get in touch with nature

For a bonus, how FUN each step of the way!!!

Start now!!!

You can think about your personal growth all you want but if you don’t start the journey, you’ll be in the same place only older. So if you are ready to start or develop your personal growth journey, try one of the above listed and the Journey would be an exciting one.

If you already have started, more grease to your elbows and always remember, personal growth is not a destination but a journey. Leave your comments below to inspire someone to start their own journey!!

Are Unrealistic Expectations Ruining Your Relationships?

We all have that fantasy guy or girl that lives in our head who is a perfect gentleman or a perfect woman. Who can absolutely do no wrong. To us, they are the ideal on they know exactly how we feel, when we feel it on what to do to make us feel better even without saying a word. And so, we expect our significant other to do the same.

Now I’m not saying having expectations are wrong but having unrealistic ones are and they are doing more damage do your relationship than you know it.

Proverbs 14: 1 says, ” A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands”

Individuals are different and they respond to things differently. As singles, we have stored up expectations of who we want to marry, how they should look, behave and even respond to us. Most of this we get from romantic movies we watch. But reality is this, a true relationship isn’t a movie. The boy doesn’t always get the girl and the husband doesn’t always know what to do or how to fix it and likewise the wife. She doesn’t always keep the home clean or get meals ready on time. Does this mean you’ve married the wrong person? Of course not, is only means sometimes our expectation radar could be pointing in the wrong direction sometimes.

For example, in the movies you see a career woman who is able to juggle between work, taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, making out time for the husband and still be able to prepare dinner on time. #all these without help! Now a young man on the other hand sees this and begins to expect his wife to do same when actually she is doing the best she can and receiving little or no appreciation for it because of an expectation sold through a movie.

The same is the case for a woman who watches a romantic movie and sees men in shining armour rescuing damsels in distress who are also at the beck and call of these women. Immediately, they begin to expect this from their husbands who can not meet up to these expectations. Slowly but surely, a ridge is being driven in between the marriage.

During courtship, people are often sure they’ve found the ‘gold mine’. Both spouses-to-be tend to get excited about this wonderful new relationship. The fireworks of romance helps them act kinder, more selflessly and more nurturing than they might be when the fire fades. We tend to fill in the gaps regarding the person we love. We assume during courtship that since he’s willing to sit and listen to our feelings about life, he’ll show same after marriage when we want to talk about our frustrations. When he doesn’t and that expectation is shattered, we assume we definitely have married the wrong person.

Marriage is not about trying to get your spouse to meet your needs or act in the way you’ve deemed correct in certain situations but instead, it is about Acceptance. Accepting with open arms and heart the entirety of who a spouse is and loving them regardless.

When you come to this realization, you can easy see the different ways your spouse or significant other is deeply showing love to you and you’ll no longer be so caught up in insisting that he could only love you in the way you deemed “correct”.

Remember, having expectations is not too bad a thing but the question should be, are my expectations realistic or not and is it bringing me closer to my spouse or tearing us apart?