Owning up to our realities

All there is to life is facing reality. You can’t escape the realities of life; you can only live through it (facing one reality after the other) and hope to grow through it. Nobody’s life is easier; we are all facing realities, but just differently.

Reality is always staring us in the face but we always try to look the other way. Many times, we truly just don’t want to face reality. Perhaps, it’s a much bitter pill to swallow; so, we keep trying to run away from it…forgetting that we may only be plunging ourselves into another reality in a different form.

If you think somebody’s life is rosier than yours, think again. If you think somebody’s relationship/marriage is better, happier and shinier than yours, think again. Accept yours as it is and invest in it. If you think those who are married are better and more fulfilled than you, think again, my dear. If you think those living in cosier houses, environment and own expensive cars are way much better and happier than you, think again. If you think those who are academically more accomplished than you are better than you, spare yourself a moment and think through again.

Perhaps, you also think those who have never experienced a relationship failure (“broken heart”) are better than you? Think again. Do you know what they might have lost in life? Well, maybe you might also be thinking those who married young are better than you who married late? Think again, for in this life, nothing is ever a sure guarantee.

No permutation is ever a sure bet in this life, trust me. We’ve seen young people die in their prime. We’ve seen young marriages collapse. We’ve seen far too many young people becoming widows and widowers. We’ve seen people’s fortunes turn upside down just overnight. We’ve seen and heard all the unthinkable happen! Why then do we place so much confidence in this life and worry ourselves to death, thinking we are perhaps the only ones experiencing the harsh realities of life, and trying to wish it away? You may be surprised that life is fucking everybody up!

It’s important you enjoy your own little life and be thankful for it, for the day you hear people’s full stories, you would wish you were never them. If life could be traded or exchanged, many will regret purchasing other people’s lives. People only show you what they want to show you, and trust me, there’s so much gabbage in people’s lives that you wouldn’t want to buy or even envy, if only you knew the full story. People are fighting hidden battles we are never privileged to see.

Sometimes, it is only when God opens our eyes to see what is going on in other people’s lives that we become thankful and accepting of our own realities. In such moments we realize after all, that our own lives and realities are perhaps better off than we thought or imagined.

We should make the best of our time here on earth for life in itself is not promised (guaranteed). Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the life we’re truly living. Grace is the only differentiator.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Cover image credit: https://instagram.com/museumofblackart?igshid=9r194jprooxh

Every man wants something in a woman

Know your man, then you’ll know his needs and how you fit in with meeting those needs.

Then, know yourself also, if you really are the one you think he really needs.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Cover Image Credit: https://instagram.com/alfred_darling_art_gallery?igshid=1mxpv9n1rmnv4

Stop lying to yourself

This new year, I hope that part of our resolutions would be to stop living a lie in our marriages and relationships just to keep or save face. If your marriage/relationship is not good or healthy, it’s just not good. Face that ‘shit’ and deal with it!

Stop all that “playing religious” just to hide the garbage in your marriage. It’s not good for your health. If you die in it, we’ll bury you anyways. There is so much to live for, and a whole lot not worth dying for. A lot of marriages only look good on the outside because we keep playing the game of religious pretense, deceiving our own selves.

I hope you do not realize too late to save yourself from a bad and toxic marriage or relationship this new year, before it kills you.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2021! 💪🏽

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Featured image credit: https://instagram.com/serwaaamihere?igshid=kyrilkeealxj

Public Opinions

Sometimes in life, when you seek too many opinions from people, you never get to make any bold decision! And most times too, when you need others’ opinion, you never get it until after a decision is made and then their “expert opinions” on your decision (actions) come flying in torrents. “Oh, you should have done it like this or that, or you should have gone this other way”, etc., will always be the feedback from your critics, who funny enough, just sit and wait to offer their criticism only after an action is taken.

The spirit of unhealthy criticism seems to have gotten into many of us, and all we know and do lately, is turn ourselves into “social commentators” who just sit and talk (commenting) all day on other people’s life choices, especially all over the media platforms. Whenever news gets into our ears or our social media feeds, of people around us who are striving in life and daily putting themselves out there to make ends meet – often on the back of many critical personal decisions – we quickly zoom into our default criticism mode and make unwholesome comments about them. If only we are putting in the works ourselves, that could be cool, but no, we always forget we have so many decisions to make about our own lives that we ourselves are not even courageous enough to make. Sadly, instead of lifting people up with inspiring opinions, we instead specialize only in pointing out other’s faults, denigrating them or hating on them. This is becoming the growing trend with this new generation of ours, especially on social media platforms.

This unwholesome trend is making social media no longer fun for a lot of people. It is no longer a place for the faint hearted, but those who can grow the toughest skin to all manner of criticism, abuse or cyber bully. It is now a place where even a post with the most innocent of intentions can place you in deep waters of cyber bully which can cripple your very existence.

Funny enough, most of the people we always find expedient to criticize for making what to us are ‘wrong choices’, as if that is our paid job, are the ones not just sitting down like us, trying to act all clean and angelic. Rather, they are at least doing something with their life, they are the ones putting their hands to the plow and trying out what works or will not work for them, learning valuable lessons and making future improvements. One day, they are the ones that will grow to become resilient influencers and world game changers. On the contrary, it is we, the critics, who now call ourselves “social media commentators”, who will remain at the same place with apparently nothing better to do with our lives, other than offering vitriolic criticism.

Perhaps, the most talked about people are always people who are doing something and trying to get somewhere. Critics will always remain to talk down achievers, but may themselves not be achievers. Very few achievers seem to waste time talking down others.

Well, criticism in itself is not a bad thing, but it must be constructive. Otherwise, it is only damaging and never builds a person up. People struggle to turn out good when they constantly hear negative words thrown at them. Try that on your child or spouse and see how they turn out. Words carry power and our words must always be measured, even if we want to criticize. Negative environments are just so caustic, and we must do all that we can to avoid them – at least, for our own mental health.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | @adina_thembi

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Witnessed a mix of good and bad fatherhood

Our fathers are great (not all though), but we do not want to be like them when we become fathers…we want to be better. Yes, better than they are or were! Come on fathers, a charge to keep we have…!

A charge to keep…🤔

My view of fatherhood has been a balanced one because of my personal experiences. Even though I focus most on the good, I appreciate the ‘bad’ as well.

Ultimately, dad has been a great dad, but he had his good times and bad times with parenting. I had a fairly balanced experience of fatherhood growing up. I grew up to witness at first hand, both the good and the bad. Dad had largely been a great dad; but at a point, he admittedly became a bad dad and neglected his responsibilities towards us. I wouldn’t say he is fully to blame for my parents’ divorce and our bitter experiences of growing up in a broken home, but he obviously contributed. Mum single handedly shouldered a lot of responsibilities until her untimely demise. But I’ve been blessed to also see Dad acknowledge his shortcomings openly to us following mum’s death and trying his best to make amends. I have seen a beautiful lesson of a Dad pick himself up and try to be better.

Even though it had to take the shock of mum’s death to perhaps bring our Dad back to his senses, I guess he really did his best to reunite with his children. Ten years on, after mum’s demise, he’s still trying his best to be there for us in every capacity as a Dad, obviously having learned his lessons. On our part as his children, I wouldn’t say there’s still any bitterness towards him for the way things went (trust me, words can’t describe how really broken our relationship with Dad was), except that we do sometimes wish mum hadn’t gone that early.

But we also do know that there are no guarantees in this life and that our story or experiences is obviously still better than many people who had to go through worse. Whether we like it or not, the obvious truth is that, there are families much more devastated by divorce and failings of parents. It is therefore important to have that balanced thought and always be reminded that, no matter what we are going through or facing today, our story is still better than millions out there.

So, on every Father’s Day going forward, we just feel blessed that things turned around for us and our Dad, when we never even imagined it would. And then, we also remind ourselves of our resolve to do better and be better.

Indeed, a charge to keep we have and a God to glorify! Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing fathers out there! Keep giving fatherhood your best shot, God being our help! 🙏🏾

Been grateful for this one thing…all my life 😊😁

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Always remember; never forget

Here are some things to always remember…and one thing to never forget.

Your presence is a present to the world.
You’re unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days just one at a time.

Count your blessings, not your troubles.
You’ll make it through whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.

Don’t put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal, and your prize.

Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
The longer one carries a problem, the heavier it gets.
Don’t take things too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes a long way.
Remember that a lot . . . goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment.
Life’s treasures are people . . . together.

Realize that it’s never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health and hope and happiness.
Take the time to wish upon a star.

And don’t ever forget . . .
For even a day . . .
How very special you are.

Watch your associations

Some people don’t want us to become better than them so they always find a way to discourage you or create doubts in your mind about your plans.

It’s important that you never become comfortable with your associations or where you have reached in life. Sometimes your vision is bigger than that of your associates and you need to always realize that so you don’t settle with their mediocrity.

One of my favorite quotes is by Steve Maraboli. He says:

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. When you change for the better, the people around you will be inspired to change also….but only after doing their best to make you stop. Live your truth and don’t ever stop.

You must get to a point in life when you can tell yourself you’ve got no time for negative energies. Life is too short to entertain, court or waste time on negative judgmental assumptions of people or the attitude of people who constantly try to make you feel bad or doubt yourself.

This year, resolve to live your best life and be your best self.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Accommodate people’s personal choices 

Tell me why you feel my life choices offend you or are wrong to you?“. This is the question I mostly ask “nosy, know it all people” who enjoy prying into my personal life. And on a countless number of times, I realize they don’t always have any good reason for their disapprovals; it’s just something they themselves are uncomfortable with, their own fears, their self-created rules (dos and don’ts) for life.

In the end, those who are wise enough realize one simple truth: their fears do not have to be my fears; their life choices do not have to be my life choices. Their mission in life is completely different from mine!

The kind of man we will become in the future is entirely based on our life choices. So, sometimes you have to allow us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. We just need to know that we are answerable to our own choices. You need to allow us room to be men; to own up our choices and accept responsibility for the outcome…whether good or bad.

So, as difficult as it is, can we try this new year not to be quick to judge people? When you fear for someone’s personal choices, just pray for them that their choices, no matter how uncomfortable you are with them, turns out good for them.

It’s true we have to learn from other people’s mistakes and take caution every now and then. But it’s also true that what killed my mother is not necessarily what will kill your mother.

Simply, let’s make room to accommodate other people’s life choices. There’s a reason why God made us all different in the same human skin.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2020

Quit the blame game

There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.

The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you and you can’t afford to keep blaming people forever!!

The day you realize that you are in charge of how you approach problems in your life, and that things will turn out better or worse because of YOU and nobody else, only from then on that you would be a happier and healthier person and truly build a life that matters.

I beseech you…PLEASE QUIT THE BLAME GAME NOW AND MAKE THE BEST OUT OF YOUR TODAY!

Positive declarations and prayer

Today, I feel led to speak LIFE over you:
I command every dead thing in your life to come back to life.
May your business, finances, marriage, relationship, education, etc witness a glorious facelift.
I declare that your joy is returning and out of your belly shall flow springs of living waters.
I see God writing your story anew and I see the windows of heaven open over you.
You shall not die before your time but you shall live to be celebrated.
I silence every voice of accusation against you.
You are delivered from the grave!
The hand of the devil is lifted off your business, marriage, family, children, etc!
From today onwards, your destiny is secured and God’s pillar of fire is separating your camp and that of your enemies.
No evil shall befall you and no plague shall come near your dwelling.
You are blessed, an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord.
Many shall come to enjoy your fruits, to drink of your waters.
You are victorious in life and nothing can change that;
For He that has promised is faithful and He shall perform it!!!
Amen and Amen!!

It’s a prayer to be claimed…so if you believe it, shout a big AMEN to receive it.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple)