Today is my birthday!
Yes today I celebrate another year. When I look back I see so many things I am not proud of. So many I would change if I could BUT much more so many things I am grateful for.
The past thirty something years have been characterized by pain, tears, fears, regrets, hopes, dreams, joy, laughter… un peu de tous!
As I reflect over these past years my heart overflows with so much gratitude, I want to share with you five things I have learnt.
I have learnt it is important to know where you come from.
“A person has no identity apart from his relationship with someone else or something else.” Dr Shawn Smith (Jesus Christ plus Nothing =Every thing.)
Identity is the greatest problem humanity is facing today. All the practices we attach ourselves to are a means of finding our who we really are. Most of us try to define ourselves by our race, culture, colour, religion, location, education, friends, appearance…
As long as we hold on to externalities we will continue living false versions of ourselves. The best way to determine your true identity is to know to whom you belong.
Ever herd the adage of the manufacturer and His manual?
Man with his present level of development had invented highly intelligent and efficient products that can accomplish tremendous things.
Alongside every manufacturer’s product is a little book containing vital information for the effective use of their products. This is usually referred to as the manufacturer’s manual or the operational instructions. This consists of the basic operational guide, rules to be followed in order to avoid damages, and if there are major malfunctions, you are requested to consult the manufacturers. And this is because the manufacturer knows the product more than the proposed user. And quite often when these instructions are carefully followed the best performance are usually obtained.
Thus we can say: Every product is at its best performance when put fully into its original use intended by the manufacturer.
That man is a product of the Divine (God) is not an overstatement. One of the fundamental laws of life says life produces after its kind e.g. goat beget goats and monkey begets monkey. This is the Truth! His nature is in us because he begot us. This nature is what animates our being. He is the essence of our existence and when we realise and acknowledge that what animates the Divine is in us because He calls us His sons, His laws written on our hearts begin to guide us and lead us. Knowledge of you as a son of God is your identity unveiled to you.
I have learnt it is important to know who you are.
Who am I? This is one of the most researched question on planet earth. Every man is designed with an inner desire and quest for acceptance, a sense of belonging. Many have taken on diverse forms of identity as a response to this question.
Discovering and defining who we really are has proven to be one of the most daunting challenge one can ever face in life. As we advance in life, everything we do consciously or unconsciously contribute to either discover who we are or define who we are in the eyes of others. We usually face difficulties in our workplaces, with our spouses, parents, children…, because we are yet to harmonize our being, so as to communicate an authentic message on who we are, why we are and what we stand for. It can be very frustrating when your intentions don’t translate accurately when implemented or executed, be it by word or action.
During a seminar titled Theocentric Psychology with Dr Smith I learnt about our four selves.
The public self; It is the you that God knows, that you know and you want everyone to know.
The Private self;This is the you, that God knows and the you that you know but it is the you that nobody else knows.
The Unknown self;This is the you that God knows, that others know but you don’t know.
The True Self;This is the you that God knows, that you don’t know, and no one else knows. The only way we can know this self, is through a relationship with the one who knows that self.
I have learnt that this journey of discovering one’s true self can be very daunting because it requires diligence, patience, dedication and discipline.
I have learnt it is important to know and live your Purpose.
We were all created UNIQUE.
For every one of the over 7 billion people on the face of the earth, no two people have the same finger print. That is the greatest proof of your uniqueness. You don’t have to be like everyone else to feel good about yourself. God gave each of us unique and particular traits that correspond perfectly with what He has destined us to be. Knowledge of your uniqueness, identity and worth can only be found when you encounter the love of Christ. The more you learn to know Him, the more you get to know yourself and the more you know yourself, the more confident you will become.
As Steve Jobs noted in his speech at a Stanford University graduation commencement:
“Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Truth is God does not need you to be anything else more than what He has called you to be.
So keep FOCUS on what you are here for and love it.
When know the purpose for which I am created, I am able to FOCUS on it without distractions from what others are doing that they are here for.
I have learnt that it is important to live by Conviction.
Anything should not just go for you. Stand for something or you fall for everything. And those who fall for everything never succeed in life. When I have values I uphold which agree with the TRUTH, I am able to live by CONVICTION and form decisions that can translate into PRODUCTIVE PLANS and ACTIONS.
Convictions come as a result of persuasion. Persuasion is a fruit of understanding. There is no way we can live a life of convictions if we fall for anything presented to us. I have learnt to base my life on the convictions I have based on the understanding of truths I have received. I have had to make choices in my life which ordinarily will seem absurd but from a perspective of my persuasions, I knew it was the right thing to do. Years on and I can look back and say I am grateful I was able to make those choices.
I have learnt that it is important to love and appreciate the body you have.
You are not too tall, too short, too fat, too slim, too fair, too dark, too incapable, too dull or whatever; you are just on POINT! Anyone who thinks otherwise is the person who needs a change of mindset.
In today’s world, we have put so much of the focus on constantly being aware of our body and how to perfect it or what it’s doing. If we believe our body is an ornament that exists for the sole purpose of being there to be looked at and admired by others, nothing in our life will be fulfilling or joyous to ourselves. If we realize our bodies are an instrument for living a life though, a whole new world opens up. This is the path to achieving self-acceptance, a positive body image and self-worth no matter what our bodies look like. It’s also the only path to real health and true self-care.
In simple terms, body image is:
“…the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception.” (National Eating Disorders Collaboration)
Our body image is multi-dimensional and covers how we see our bodies, how we feel about our bodies, what we believe about our bodies and how we behave towards our bodies.
I have learnt it is affected by stereotypes and beliefs, those of the people around you as well as your own. Having a positive body image does not mean that you think everything about your body is perfect. It is accepting your body for what it is, celebrating your natural shape and size, and how your body performs.
These are a few major lessons I have learnt during these past year (excerpts taken from a draft of my book) I will conclude by saying, Success begins for you the day you realize how much you are loved and how you derive love for yourself from this Divine love. It is not how people love or do not love you, it is how you love yourself. The love of people for us does not determine our destiny, God’s love does.
Cheers to your success and happy birthday to me!