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Opening up is a scam ?!

“Guys don’t open up, it’s a scam!’

Well I guess that’s the old me talking, I might have changed just a bit and there were reasons why I didn’t open up but now I see the negative effects of not effectively expressing yourself.

Not opening up and *gulp*  expressing  feelings can be detrimental to one’s mental health. Let me make this clear. It doesn’t make you a bad guy for not speaking about certain things, it’s true you can’t just be saying anything to anyone just for the sake of it. However, suppressing everything isn’t healthy.

“Silence does not always mark wisdom.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

I’ve always thought what does talking to people about your problems and fears actually do for you? More time they can’t even help. I guess it is nice to have someone that listens to you, but sometimes you just cant get those words out

*Alexa play Roddy Ricch – Cant Express*

I think the main problem for people like myself who struggle to “open up” is having people / a person that you can wholeheartedly trust. You want to be confident that whatever you say will stay safe with them and they are not going judge you. I guess a lot of us have been closed off since having putting trust in the wrong people in the past but there are people that have genuine care for you and even sometimes they misunderstand you. Unfortunately our loved ones are not mind readers so you gotta speak up and express yourself if you are looking to be understood.

“If you never bother to say the words, why should anyone believe you ever felt them?” Richelle E. Goodrich,

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ― Shannon L. Alder

I’ve definitely been an opening up is a scam merchant in the past, and I know I definitely did have my reasons. But you know what I’m changing that, I don’t want to be screaming opening up is a scam as a grown man as you can’t allow one traumatic or bad experience to have a hold over you forever. For myself on this never ending walk with Christ I’m putting my faith and trust in Him as He will always be there so I can talk to Him at all times. I’m not writing this to tell you that you should start to tell everyone your business LOL believe me, I just know that suppressing everything isn’t healthy at all, hope we all find peace in the end.

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20/20 Vision 24/7?

Hello All and Happy New Year! I know I’m eleven days late LOL!

It’s the start of a new year and the start of a new decade some may say this may be the most defining one in our lives where we graduate, begin are careers, start our own families, etc.

I’d like to believe we all have goals we would like to achieve this year, I know I do! Whether it’s an educational goal, financial or even personal goal, like acquiring a driving license no goal is too big or too small. Your goals are about …YOU, these goals should scare you a little, I wouldn’t consider a goal something that can be easily achieved, hard work, and consistency is definitely involved in the process of achieving a goal.

A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.― Joe Vitale

The hardest thing about attaining a goal for a lot of people is remaining motivated throughout the process of attaining a goal. Sometimes we lose motivation and that hinders us and may even cause us to alter the goal originally set to something that can be easily achieved so we don’t get that sense of failure. Or sometimes we even just forget about the goal completely. In the end, we’re all human and there are times that we lack motivation and confidence to achieve goals we have set for ourselves. Myself for example; whenever I get close to a deadline I begin to get anxious and nervous, no matter how much work I know I have put in, I begin to doubt myself and the work I have produced.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”―Michael Jordan

A bit of advice from me is to remember why you chose this goal and what achieving this goal would bring to you so we regain that focus and drive. It is important not to lose sight and allow fear of failure to overcome us. Fear is not an option when we are pursuing our goals, we must endeavour to reach these goals we have set ourselves even if we end up failing, just like the cliché saying something along the lines of “doesn’t matter how many times you fall it’s about how many times you can get back up“. *Alexa play Meek Mill – Wins & Losses*.

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.— Robert F. Kennedy

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Some of the ways you can remain motivated:

  • As well as your large goals for the year, throughout the year set small measurable goals
  • Celebrate your small wins
  • Regular reflection
  • Read things like this – So important what we feed our minds with
  • Do not be too hard on yourself

In the end, we all want THAT feeling of reaching a goal. A feeling that really is unmatched. The relief and joy of finally reaching something you have worked so hard for and seeing others proud of you is just a GOAT feeling. God willing we all have this feeling throughout and especially at the end of the year!!

You’ve just got to persevere if you really want to achieve something. At the same time don’t put too much pressure on yourself, as it’s okay to take breaks. Working on something that means a lot to you all the time can sometimes feel overwhelming. Spend time relaxing, get your mind off it by doing something you love. Then when you are recharged… go again and repeat.

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible. —Orison Swett Marden

Good luck for the year.

David A

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Forgiveness Begins At Home

Hey guys,

Happy Easter!

So this year for the first time ever I took part in lent, I decided to give up chocolate. If you know me you know I am a chocoholic, so it has been challenging. But when I think of Easter and really grasp the concept of salvation, and how God forgave me even before I did wrong I would give up chocolate another 40 days and it still would not be enough. God’s mercy is something we can’t quantify, let alone afford. Which leads me to the topic for today…

I am sure you have all heard the phrase “charity begins at home”, which simply means “a person’s first responsibility is for the needs of their own family and friends.” In my own words, you can only make an impact on your wider community once you have impacted your smaller circle, including yourself. I think this principle should apply to many aspects of our life, especially forgiveness.

START WITH YOU

I am someone who STRUGGLES with forgiveness and letting go. I wonder, what hope is there for me to forgive others when I do not forgive myself even though I know the deepest corners of my heart? It is even more difficult to forgive someone who you have no idea of their intentions, their level of remorse or whether they will offend or cause you pain again.

I have this habit of beating myself up for decisions I have made that have caused me some sort of pain. Years after a situation occurred I will still be so harsh on myself. Whether it is taking back a guy you should not have, doing something “ungodly”, not studying hard enough at school, or not biting your tongue when you could have; I am sure we all have regrets, big or small. What we all need to accept is that we do not have a time machine in this life and we can not change any of these incidents, unfortunately.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future”.

Harboring animosity towards yourself does not make you a better person. Hold yourself accountable without holding yourself hostage. Accept you have done wrong,  apologise if necessary, and then move on. I know, easier said than done! Come with a pure heart is the most you can do, leave the rest to God. Some things will be easier to ‘get over’ than others, dependent on the extent of the relationship and the extent of the offense. But ultimately, you can not expect someone to forgive you if you have not forgiven yourself. See yourself as worthy of forgiveness before you ask of it from another person.

How can I see myself as worthy of forgiveness?

1. Confession: Whether you are religious or not, there is a freedom that comes from accountability. This does not mean telling everyone what you have got up to in your darkest moments, but rather than running from your actions, facing them and accepting the only way to truly move forward is to acknowledge the past.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness [1 John 1:9]

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord [Acts 3:19]

 2. Surrender: This part for me is the hardest, I am able to accept when I have done myself or someone else wrong, the trouble is just letting go. Realising that punishing myself does no one any good.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! [2 Corinthians 5:17]

3. Acceptance: This is the part we move forward. If God has forgiven me, who am I to still hate myself?

Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.[Hebrews 10:17]

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; [Daniel 9:9]

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:13-14]

I am saying all of this because, if you have had trouble letting go and forgiving others, I think it is wise to take a look at yourself and see if you have had trouble forgiving yourself.

FORGIVING OTHERS

It is inevitable for people to offend you; Strangers, acquaintances or loved ones. I believe it is vital to hold the ones closest to us to the same new standard we hold ourselves. How can we forgive the stranger who steps on our foot on the morning commute, or the entitled middle-aged woman that just shoved you, or that one colleague who always makes ignorant comments? We have more room for forgiveness of trivial things when we have exercised our forgiveness on the DEEP issues we have faced. I always say, the people we love the most have the most leverage to hurt us. “But, some people in our lives have done things which are simply unforgivable!” But God can forgive ANYONE! As painful as it is, God can forgive a murder, a liar and a thief. Nothing is too much for God to forgive. If you are anything like me you’ll be saying “I am not God” or “Jesus is still working on me”, both of which are right. However, the main message I want to pass on is that we do not forgive others for their own good like God does, we forgive for OURSELVES. We forgive so we can love again. We forgive so we have peace. We forgive so God forgives us.

“…And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” [Mark 11:25]
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. [Ephesians 4:31-32]

 

Kind Regards,

Sis x

 

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A Tears to Laughter Story #2: Lydia Komolaffe

Hi Guys,

Hope you are all well!

I am someone who struggles with body confidence, and when I say struggle I mean there has been so many time where I have cried myself silly just due to those insecurities. From my weight to my uneven complexion, to my boobs (mum, don’t kill me), I feel like there is always something I am self-conscious about. Lately, my weight has been such a big issue. If you know me you’ll know I love the gym, and because of my schedule the last few months, it has been impossible. So I have gained a couple pounds if we are being nice. However, one person that has really made me realise my current problem is only temporary is Lydia.

Hear her story from her yourself…

THE INTERVIEW 

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

Hi, my name is Lydia, I’m 24 years old and I’m currently a student nurse studying in London. I think the 3 best words to describe myself are compassionate, funny (even when I’m not trying to be) and adaptable. I’m quite boring so I don’t really do much for fun, going to the gym is the most fun I have these days lol.

 

2. What is something you have struggled with? 

I have struggled A LOT with confidence and only now trying to work on it. When I was younger I didn’t really have anyone to tell me to stop saying negative things about myself so I would say these things to myself as a way of making myself get used to horrible words others would say to me. I did not find myself conventionally beautiful, and would often punish myself by calling myself all sorts of names and in turn slipping into a state of depression. I would even go on social media and tweet whatever I was thinking at the particular time which would often be about my looks. Some people thought I was just attention seeking, but it was a way of me offloading some stress because bottling it in made me feel even more depressed. 

 

3. How did this make you feel? 

I remember I was as young as 9 when I started keeping a diary just to write horrible stuff about myself. My parents hardly knew about it as they are African and I guess they would not have understood why I felt such a way. I got so used to insulting myself that it followed me through secondary school, college and even university. I would hate to be around friends for too long because I felt singled out, my friends are beautiful and I felt like I was “ugly”. They would get a lot more attention than I did, which was understandable. My self-confidence was so bad that I did not want to make eye contact with guys, let alone talk to them. I did not even realise I had a problem till when a guy I liked in college rejected me because he said I had “low self-esteem”. I mean,  people had told me before that particular day that I needed to work on my confidence, but I never understood why they were so concerned. I would even get angry that they were trying to tell me I’m “beautiful”, thinking they were lying. Receiving compliments was a problem, I used to get so upset if someone said I was pretty because I felt like they were trying to patronise me. I just wish I had understood the concept of self-confidence from a young age because I feel I would have been a whole different person. 

 

4. What did you do to overcome this?

If I was to tell you that I have overcome this obstacle, I would be lying to you. However, I see a lot of changes in myself that I never thought I would see. I don’t argue with people when they compliment me, I am more sociable than I was before as I have tried to adopt this “I am beautiful, who can tell me otherwise” mentality and it has already shown it benefits. I don’t look around the room to find someone to compare myself with and I smile a lot more too.

My weight was one of the things holding me back from being great.  Last year I remember seeing a picture of a social media personality and she looked so good. I don’t know why that particular picture had a such a major effect on me because I have seen other beautiful pictures. This one picture really did something to me!  I started a low carb diet and started going to the gym 5-6 times a week. And after SEVERAL attempts to lose weight, I gradually started to see my body change and also my whole persona. I won’t lie and say the journey was easy, however, I feel like I completed it in a week, that’s how fast time has flown by. Just because of this I have been able to make more friends.  So now, I am just going to keep going and make sure I stay focused on my goal! 

1.Tell us a little about yourself. (Keep this brief and cute, let….jpeg

5. What advice would you give to someone who felt the way you did? 

Having low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can be very damaging and can mess up a lot of good things. I don’t know what the most appropriate advice would be for me to give but I want to be truthful and say I’d hate for anyone to feel the way I felt. I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy.

  • If you do ever feel low about yourself, talk to people around you. I wish I did because that way I wouldn’t have bottled so many things up as much as I did.
  • Something I do a lot more now is looking in the mirror and being proud of my achievements, telling myself that I am beautiful till I eventually believe it.
  • If you’re trying to lose weight, start following fitness accounts to stay motivated, keep a diary writing all your weekly achievements, don’t write anything negative.
  • Write about what you did right and write about how you will move forward to become and look better!

Like I said, I have not fully overcome it but I’m in a much better place now than I was the last 15 years of my life.

END OF INTERVIEW

I think an important message to take here is that everything you are going through is a journey, things CAN get better. These Tears to Laughter Stories are not meant to show you perfect people but REAL people. You might not be exactly where you want to be, but you do not have to be where you were. Appreciate the little accomplishments along the journey.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Kind Regards,

Sis & Lydia x

 

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A Tears to Laughter Story #1: Tomilola Awosika

Hey guys,

I was reading a book by Myles Monroe (May his soul rest in peace), and he was discussing how showing genuine interest and asking questions is one of the greatest ways to build relationships and in turn influence people. It is a powerful thing to be vulnerable and open with your life, especially if the lessons you have learned can aid someone. I have vowed to do just that, but I have not been through it all and I want you all to understand I am interested in YOU; I decided to start this series “A Tears to Laughter Story” so I get ask you questions and you hear from others, that indeed the storm does not last forever. You might not see the light at the end of the tunnel because you are the light, THE LIGHT IS IN YOU.

I am so delighted that the first person I get to do this series on is one of my dearest friends. I am so proud of her and all she has overcome. I remember feeling so down and forcing myself to meet up with her and my other princess (Audrey), and when Tomilola spoke about her journey I was SO inspired, I hope you will be too.

I am confident that she is in the process of becoming even greater, but I asked her a few questions so you can understand her journey so far.

THE INTERVIEW 

  1. Tell us a little about yourself

Hi, my name is Tomilola Awosika but also known as Tlow (by no choice of my own) I am 23 years of age. I believe the people closest to me would describe me as Clumsy, Dramatic, Sociable and stubborn. However, I would describe myself as uniquely coordinated, Creative, Selectively social and Determined. I have a degree in psychology but I currently work as a financial resource consultant and I am also the executive director of a production company called Eternal Ages.

 

  1. Tell us about a challenging time in your life.
  • This question is one I have come across a few times, typically in an interview setting.  I find it difficult to answer a lot of the time not because I am afraid of being open but more so because 2015 – 2016 was one of the most trying times of life and there were a plethora of experiences that really challenged me, physically, mentally and spiritually.  So, I never really know what experience I should single out and talk about. Anyways, I call this period ‘MY SEASON OF LOSS’.
  • So where do I start? So for as long as I can remember my mother has suffered from an incurable disorder called retinitis pigmentosa which is a rare genetic disorder that involves the disintegration of eyesight & hearing. The sufferer rapidly loses cells majority of the tiny cells within the retina. Now, my mother is an extremely hard working and defiant woman, so she did not ever let this condition stop her from doing what she needed to. However in 2015 that changed and her RP had become so bad that she was registered as partially blind and unfit to work, it also began to affect her ability to complete mundane tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. As a single mother who has always upheld her household and children, she became dependant on her two daughters. As an away university student I quickly felt responsible and equally helpless, I now had the juggle my degree along with the physical, emotional and financial support of my mother.
  • Following from that in January 2016 (During my final year of university) I was admitted into the hospital where I found out that I had developed Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).  I was told that if I had come to the hospital 48 hours later the blood clots may have traveled to heart and could have resulted in me losing my life completely.  Later on, in March 2016, I traveled to Nigeria to visit my dad after developing DVT in order to see him during this period. Whilst there I got into a serious car crash on the Third Mainland bridge, so bad that the car was completely written off. Because I was the front seat passenger I went head-on into the windscreen, whilst being on blood thinners (which is extremely dangerous).
  • My flight back from Nigeria was also delayed and I missed the physical submission for my dissertation and this resulted in me being told I could not graduate that summer.
  • Following on from all this as many girls have experienced, In November 2016 I went through a very disheartening and difficult break up which at the time I was not sure I would recover from.

 

  1. How did this affect you / make you feel?

This is where I talk about my feelings right? Wow okay so…..

One of the best things my mother ever introduced to me was Jesus, and although I was born into a great church and I have a relationship with God, I am not perfect and I do not know it all. From a very young age, I was taught that in the Midst of a trial- you ‘send Judah up’ in other words you give praise to God.

So when my mum stopped working although it devastated me I immersed myself in prayer and worship. I became so dependant on God and I honestly did not doubt that he would just sustain my family through it all. So I did not feel defeated for very long ( or so I thought). However, developing DVT was a near-death experience and the side effects of the medication I was put on afterward really took a toll on my physical appearance: my weight and skin changed drastically and I was constantly physically weak. I began to really question God and I began to feel like my time on earth was limited. I know it may sound dramatic, but I honestly just felt like I was disintegrating, I lost my personality, lost my desire to be around people or really do any of the things I loved.

The car crash I think was the turning point for me; at that point, I convinced myself that everything was working against me and I was supposed to die. Instead of being thankful that I survived I instead I became very down. For someone who was/is very bubbly, never ever cried or was down; I found myself crying at least once a day.  I was experiencing frequent panic attacks, I became anxious around large amounts of people (at church, in lectures etc). I just became someone I had never once been. I was very much depressed at the time, although, I was not aware at the time, nor did I understand what really depression was.

After being told I could not graduate and as result having Graduate role offers retracted from me I began to feel like anything good in my life would be and should be taken from me. I resented anyone or anything positive in my life and began to jeopardize opportunities and relationships because I had convinced myself I would lose it eventually anyway.

 

  1. Are you in a better space now? How did you overcome your challenges?

I mean talking about this is crazy because I am nowhere near the person I was then.

I am in a much better space.  After my breakup, I was just so devastated and I could not recognise myself. I felt so empty and I also was struggling to understand what I was living for. Although, I was never really suicidal I was not really sure of my purpose anymore and what the point of me living was, the best way to describe it is I was really just fed up.

NYE was my turning point, I went to the crossover service at Worship Tabernacle and I can’t really explain what it was about the atmosphere but I remember leaving feeling restored. Pastor Tai spoke on ‘returning to your natural habitat and thriving’, in summary saying we could only inherit the promises and blessings of God if we remained in his presence.  At that point, I realised how much I had run from God and I was so desperate for joy again that I promised myself I would return home (To God).

I decided from that day I would throw myself into the things of God, I decided to start attending bible study at my church, attending my church youth outreach more, I would start my mornings with Gospel and just read my bible more. I also decided that I would honor God with my finances so when I was at church I would always give offering or tithe.

I had also secluded myself from some of my closest friends especially those who would speak wisdom and life into me. Particularly my best friend Samantha Jayne. So I made a conscious effort to speak to and spend more time with my friends who were strong in Christ and or had gone through similar situations to me. In spending time in positive environments and around positive people I learned to focus on what was still good which motivated me to make things better for myself.

The last thing I decided to do was be completely single for a year and not date, in order to really understand myself and become the best version of me before I give of my time energy or spirit to someone else. Especially because my relationship with God became a priority, and I did not want to jeopardise that.

 

  1. What good came from your challenging period?

What I had forgotten is,  God is a God of restoration and his time is always best. For the first time, I learned how to study my bible and not just read it. I found that there are a lot of events that happened in the bible with good tangible tools on how to really cope and overcome circumstances. So yes a lot of good came from that period:

So firstly, My mum has always been amazing at planning parties and events. So she found herself an assistant to help with mundane tasks and at the end of 2016, she established herself as an Event Planner.

Although I lost graduate offers in July I was offered a role as a Credit Management Consultant although the salary was not what I had wanted the job itself was still great. In Jan after committing myself back to God, I was given a pay rise. This salary exceeded the offer of the initial role that I was devastated about losing.

In December, I was told I could graduate and did not have to retake the year on a part-time basis.

Finally, and most importantly, in January 2017 I went to dinner with my friend Stephanie and really spoke about what I had been through and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. It was almost like a 5-hour therapy session.  In that dinner we came up with the concept of Eternal Ages since myself and my sister had written a few scripts for fun it just all made sense. I then decided to use a few of the bible stories that were helping me overcome my mental state as the basis of a storyline for the play about Mental Health. Low and behold 9 months later we sold out an entire musical production to an audience of 500+ a cast of 30 and a team of 21. All self-funded. I found my purpose and I also witnessed team and cast members give their life to Christ. This has been my biggest achievement to date and I was resilient enough to see it through due to the things I had experienced the year before and the inspiration for the script and storyline came from my misfortune.

So yes it is true “All things do work together for Good for those who love God”

 

  1. What advice would you give to someone currently going through a difficult time?
  • Be honest and open about what you are going through the first step to healing is speaking about it.
  • Look at your surroundings, are there any contributing factors? Control what you can, distance yourself from things and people that are counterproductive or threaten your wellbeing.
  • READ READ READ (or listen to audio-books) Christian or not the bible honestly has some great tools and coping mechanism for trauma and pain. Read the scripture listen to sermons, praise worship and pray.
  • Stay with people who love you and are wiser than or have experienced more than you have. Do not seclude yourself it’s okay to have alone time but humans were made for companionship.
  • LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE

Pastors sermons I would recommend watching:

  • TD Jakes
  • Sarah Jakes Roberts
  • Toure Roberts
  • Joyce Meyer
  • Andrew Wommack
  • John Gray
  • Heather Lindsey
  • Derwin Gray
  • Michael Todd

Churches in London  I’d recommend attending:

  • Praise Christian Centre
  • Jesus House
  • Worship Tabernacle

Books I’d recommend reading:

  • Lost and Found
  • Hollywood Commandments
  • Dusty Crowns
  • The Power of a Woman
  • The Purpose room

Things I’d recommend doing:

  • Go on regular walks
  • Work out regularly with another person
  • Eat out once a quarter at the minimum
  • Go to the cinema /Theatre do not always watch things at home
  • Travel
  • Go to networking events
  • Attend seminars and lectures around your respective field

END OF INTERVIEW 

This message is to also teach you, not to look at others in envy, because you were not there to endure the pain and fight the battles they fought to get their victory. It is important that we understand that, joy, success and laughter; it is all a process that varies vastly for each one of us. Your life may not turn around in just a year like Tomilola’s did, but trust and believe, you will look back at the moments you can’t seem to see past right now.

Your tears WILL become laughter!

Kind Regards,

Sis & Tlow x