Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Emotional Intelligence...Or the lack thereof of it

...in Nigerian households.

A few days ago I came across a few tweets (by @fantabender) that spoke about the lack of an emotional climate in Nigerian homes. He mentioned how the lack of it can screw you up in so many ways and we have to hold our parents accountable for how they treat us. "Nothing is gained from the mentality that they are beyond critique"

Now these tweets caught my interest because not too long ago I had tweeted something akin to that - well more about how Nigerian parents don't realize how much they contribute to our "fucked-upness" (because we all are in some way or the other) and I had also had a conversation with my cousin about it.

First off, Emotional Intelligence is defined as:

the ability of individuals to recognize their own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

For most Nigerian households, something you might find common is the motto "we just don't talk about it". It's amazing the number of unspoken topics that Naija parents just don't talk about, you are just supposed to know, deal and figure it out or pray it away. It's like important things crucial to growing up are taboo to talk about. We were told stuff much more than we were talked to. Let's not even talk about if a mental issue is involved.

A certain area as a woman I have always wondered about is in the case of marriage. Any Naija girl "of age" knows the pressure they receive to be married. We also know many a story of the generation before us and it's not always a pretty picture and most stayed due to not having options and no financial independence among many things but when it comes to their kids, it's like they just skip all the opportunities to pass down a lesson and keep pushing for marriage. Even when they do give advice sometimes it's head scratch worthy (e.g all men cheat, as long as he's not beating you it's fine etc) Talking about the guys, I remember some time when Naija guys were talking about how many of them had hugged their dad or said "I love you" to each other and they weren't many.

Now, don't get me wrong I don't 100% blame them for their actions because that's all they know and learned from their own parents. Just because they don't say it, doesn't mean they don't love you. Naija parents see providing you with the basics and some as love. Paying your school fees is love. Which is all well and good but some form of recognition of issues and actually communicating about them goes a long way.

The repercussions of repression, in any area of life is pretty long term. A lot of people form habits in their love lives and base some life doctrines on stuff they absorbed from their parents and adopted as normal because it is all they know and it's pretty damn hard to shake off a practice when you are older. I acknowledge that parenting is hard and I am sure they do try their best but I hope our generation tries to turn it around and make an effort to be aware of their children's behaviors, create a safe space where the kids feel comfortable talking to mom and dad and generally a healthy space that allows for full development.

P.S My worry for our generation is actually more in the area of empathy. We seem to be so selfish and don't know how to relate to people who have different experiences from what we know and I am hoping this isn't passed down because that's a gateway to intolerance but maybe I am overthinking it.

Ok so disclaimers:

  • My post does not apply to all Naija parents and to everyone and if it doesn't just read and thanks for reading
  • I think you can be close to your parents and still have areas where they were lacking in emotional intelligence. I was close to my mom but I can acknowledge there were just certain things that were no go areas and we just went right along with life.
  • Confess if you said "well, me I don't have fuckedupness o"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

PowerBall Mania

Did you play? Everytime I think about it, I am like that is a shit load of money, what do you even do with that much? How do we even know we aren't being 419'd? If you ever came into that amount of money do you have an idea what you would do with it? I'd like to know.

Have a good rest of the week.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year folks. Hope everyone had a good holiday and is ready to go back to the real world in the new year. If you are reading this then that means you made it into the year and that's something to be thankful for. I just got back from Nigeria yesterday. Man, no matter how many times I do it, that flight is such a long flight sha. I was so glad to be home.

People are usually so up in arms about people making New Year resolutions and such and I don't know why. There is a reason we have markers such as birthdays and anniversaries, if people choose to reset or be better in the New Year, I don't see what the problem is. I am still on the fence about New Year resolutions because if nothing else I have learned that life is what happens while making plans and you say you wanna do this and that and you get swept into something completely different but at the same time it doesn't hurt to have goals.

I don't want to say 2015 was a terrible year but it was more like it's low's were very low but I did do a lot of traveling (and finally made status on my airline. woohoo!!) and got to spend more time with my brother than I ever have which was good. Someone asked me on New Year's day how I felt about the New Year and I said "resigned". That's exactly how I feel. Every new year, I tend to feel hopeful and eventually get so crushed when the disappointments roll in so coming into this new year I had a good share of trepidation because who knows what comes with this new year? 

That being said one of the goals I have for myself this year is to build back hope in my life. As I currently stand, I don't think I possess much hope in me which I guess isn't a good thing. So, I will attempt to work on it and hope (hehe) it works its way somehow, back into my life.

I am also going to learn not to sweat the small stuff. Accept that people will always be people and it is not the end of the world. As we get faced with hurdles, we keep pushing on.

Happy New Year all. Stay blessed.