Pointing out obstacles is helpful but pointing out solutions is far better. Anyone can point out the boulder blocking the path but the true and humble heroes are those who roll up their sleeves, bend down, and keep pushing until the path is clear for all. But there is more to it…It’s about the processes and about doing everything right. Sometimes it involves much more than brute force. It may take a finer finesse and elegance to examine, explain, and educate. In other words, teams of leaders with good characters and diverse competencies must lead others so that they can think, learn, and do the right things and do things in the right ways.
We all remember our growing up years. A bunch of kids from varied backgrounds, full of boundless energy with the whole of life’s journeys ahead of them, yet to be explored. In this diverse group of people, the collective mattered a great deal for there was only one purpose in life, not school, not brilliance, not wealth, just fun. The diversity of the collective was such that there were clear indications, looking back, of those who would end up in what you may term Adult Psychological Sects as a result of their experiences. However, no one was looking that far ahead. As raving lunatics who brought down the neighbourhood for the heck of it, there were the rich kids who seemingly had everything including the latest bikes and went abroad every summer; there were the not-so-rich kids, who had some things and went abroad once in a while but did not get the latest updates in the bike-owning world and then there were the not-rich kids who may get to see the airport once in a blue moon and always waited on the kerb for a ride on someone’s bike. The poorer kids just did not stand a chance because they sat around, hoped, wished and waited. Someday their redemption would come.
Regardless of these diverse groupings, there remained the common goal of having as much fun as was legally possible whilst pushing the boundaries of what your parents could accept or afford. For many it did not matter who you were or what you had. The memories of such innocence remain today but with a slight shake of the head and a wry smile. Acceptance was important to all the kids in any group. It was a sign of a validation of who you were and what others thought of you. Remember the rich kids who kept insisting everyone gather at his or her house every time? Remember the smart kid who constantly offered to, and so ended up, do everyone’s homework? Remember the not-so-rich kid who always wanted to be at the frontline of the help queue and would readily offer help where none was required? The wittiest and funniest kid whom everyone loved to have around because he or she almost always made everyone’s day full of laughter and smiles? Then there were the pretty and good-looking ones whom the opposite sex just wanted to be within a risky radius of and bask in their glow? The not-so-pretty or good-looking ones would make sure they were always upfront and in your face, craving acknowledgement.
Well, I remember them all and my brother, Dr. Bimbo would be smiling as he reads this now. He has the memory of an elephant but he is not that old! Early decisions about who we would want to be when we grew up were made, sometimes unconsciously, during these times. Every kid used whatever their best contributions to the group could be to win over others. It was important to know you belonged. The psychological problems carried forward into adulthood were as a result of whether you succeeded in being accepted or not despite your efforts. Whatever spurs you on today is firmly rooted in our formative years and your experiences therein.
Further to the group issues were the effects of background and home. The main source of childhood stability was as important as the impressions we got regarding our acceptances or rejections in the groups we ‘belonged’ to. If there was instability or indeed stability, there was almost certainly going to be degrees of variation to our projections and the overall theory. A child who knows nothing but rejection shall almost certainly grow into one that rejects constantly or is constantly rejected as an adult. A child who grew up enveloped in love and acceptance will almost certainly always love and accept regardless of how he or she turns out. These are the basic rules of who we are today and it is transferable to the next generation and the next. Misery will always find company to cloud delusions borne out of denial.
There are adults who constantly seek admiration, acceptance and validation. There are adults who, however, do not have issues of self-loathing, insecurities and constantly reinforce their self-beliefs from within and with a smile each time. Life will bring challenges. That is not a Eureka moment but a fact. The hurdles before each one are not unique or special as the frequency of occurrence in everyone’s life proves. The real question is, are you grounded enough to handle it effectively without losing the essence of your being?
The rich kid may not have been the smartest so he or she grows up using wealth to buy his or her shortcomings. The poorer kid may not have had but has resolved to be rich at all cost to ‘payback’ those who did not accept him or her. The not-so-rich kid may not have been the most disliked of the lot but will today use whatever natural advantages to move forward through adulthood. The prettiest and best-looking may not have been rich or poor but will continue the battle for ‘acceptance’ way into old age. Whichever one grew up as and the capacity to handle hurdles today, in a way that speaks well of one’s background and upbringing, remains firmly rooted in background, upbringing and the psychological scales in between. When the world takes over, with its own rules and standards of measure, the pressure builds and the balanced and the imbalanced show their hands. In Nigeria we do not measure the psychological effects of anything in our lives hence we tend to see Mental Disorder only in the nakedness of the wandering, garbage-hauling person on the street.
Remember the one who slept around with everyone in the delusion that he or she was liked or that it would get others to do things for them? They are still standing under lampposts today waiting for someone to pay their way in life. Or the one who stole everything in sight to sell so that he or she could have money to spend and be admired for doing so by the group? May have turned out to be a politician, I am not sure. Remember the one who constantly gave out everything and shared his or her last food? Remember the one who constantly looked, green in the eyes, at what material things and ‘freedoms’ everyone seemingly had? Guess what they turned out to be today. Much of the same only physically larger.
‘Mummy, I want to be a mean bitchy nasty bastard BUT remembered when I grow up!’ said the little kid.
The little kid said, in a rambling but consistent show of early age insecurities,
‘Because THEY must accept me, think highly of me, show my face and name in every media platform available to humanity, clap for me and shout my name every time I show up, whisper about me with jealousy in their eyes, say that I am good-looking and nice, ask and beg me for help every day, while I get the opportunity to ‘payback’ for what anyone did or said to me as a kid! I will not respect any of them and I will do whatever it takes to make sure it happens!!!’ Mommy was aghast, in pretentious concern, and turned running and screaming into the living room ‘Daddy! What have you bred? Or was it me?’ but the room was either empty or Daddy simply smiled at her, proud of the result of their efforts.
If today as a full-grown adult we are craving acceptance and constantly offering rejection or indeed are accepted and constantly offering love and care without having to rely on money, houses, cars, designer clothes, invitations to social events, appearances in rag-tag media, awards from work and standing ovations, it is a function deeply rooted in what and who we are, and were, growing up. It is easily recognizable and will always show through.
Want everyone to know your name? Go open a bar called ‘Cheers’.
There are those, however, who turn such ‘disadvantages, growing up into positive and enjoyable lives. We are who we are but have the individual strengths to decide who we want to be while fighting the impact of what our experiences have instilled in us. If acceptance or rejection was not part of our growing up, not much will change whatever we do, unless we make a conscious effort to remedy the effects of that which remain transferable. In a nation of paranoid schizophrenic masked as happy, joyous, successful, pained, depressed and insecure adults, we must be careful what we transfer unto our children, if we have any, and the world around us. When we begin to understand this, then we can begin to understand why our neighbour is as is. Intellectual opinions welcomed as always, unless the side-effects of paranoia creep in.
Have a good weekend everyone!