23 Aug



Swimming in a sea of opinions, we live in a world where everyone has something to say about everything. Though many thoughts may remain unexpressed, there are always outspoken people who don’t wait to be asked before saying what they think. It’s a natural ability that we have as humans to form ideas and thoughts about things surrounding us. As a matter of fact, a person unable to relate to his/her environment in that manner is considered mentally unhealthy.

So, we’re all in this sea. And depending on our swimming skills, we either get carried away or we successfully swim our way through. The sad news is; most people get carried away.

Have you ever been for shopping and hesitated to buy an item because you thought ‘what will people, or this person think about it’? When you’re dressing up in the morning what comes to your mind first? Do you think of how people will appreciate your outfit or you think of how you like it yourself? Please consider these questions. Have you ever given up on a project or plan because someone disliked it? If your answer is yes, to any of these questions then you might consider joining the rest of us as we get ‘‘swimming’’ lessons. Lol.

Approval seeking is the disease that cripples people and stops them from “swimming’’. Approval seeking is when you uphold and esteem people’s opinion above yours. It’s when you sacrifice your ways and will to ‘please’ people. It could be as crude as choosing a life partner according to your parents’ taste or as subtle as choosing tea over coffee because of the people you are at table with. This disease makes you happy every time you are applauded and makes you mad when you receive the least criticism. Approval seeking is similar to some degree to hypocrisy because both entail a certain degree of pretense. You try your best to be, think and behave the way people would like you to. And you forget about what you really want. The problem here is, if you can’t swim, very soon you’ll drown. You’ll get yourself effaced as you get completely absorbed in trying to be ‘in line’. And that’ll be quite a sad life.😢

Let’s go to the root of it. The fact is, the desire to be accepted among our peers and by our society is something inherent. We all want to be loved and appreciated. The problem is, this desire sometimes gets out of proportion. This mostly happens with low self-esteem people. These are people who just don’t feel good about themselves. They feel they are not good enough, their thoughts, ideas and will aren’t good enough. They have difficulties accepting themselves, so they seek acceptance from others. They feel their opinions aren’t good enough, so they uphold others’ opinions above theirs. And that’s how they get carried away in that sea.

Unless you want to drown (which I know you don’t), I’ll advice you to get your swimsuit cause we’re diving straight into the lesson. 🏊🏾‍♀️

Swimming lesson number #1; Your will, opinions and desires are IMPORTANT. YOU are IMPORTANT. Unless you come to term with this truth you will keep bending to fit into people’s ways. Dear friend I’m concerned with your health and I want to avoid you back pain from excess bending; please stand straight! Learn to affirm yourself. Tell your colleague ‘Yeah! I know this gown isn’t trendy and may look pale, but I like it anyway’. Tell your friends ‘I know this idea seem too big and not ordinary but I’ll go for it anyway.’ This is not about proving your point, or winning arguments, it’s about you understanding that your opinions and ideas are as valid as that of every other person on this planet earth.

Now, I’m not saying you should completely ignore others. We all need one another. We all need counsel at one point or the other. But let not the desire to please and be accepted, suppress you as an individual with a will, opinion and emotions.

Okay, that was the first lesson. I believe if you apply this, you’ll have enough stamina to withstand the opposing currents and swim your way through the sea. And you’ll avoid back pain too. Lol.

Now before we go to the second lesson, I want you to know that one thing that strengthen your stamina and help you affirm yourself, is the conviction that you’re right. That you’re making the right decisions, the right choices. But the fact is, we are humans and are prone to mistakes. We may not be perfect. But there is someone who is. What if we could tune into His frequency…?

Swimming Lesson #2; Shape your ideas and opinions according to the perfect God. Nothing can give you stamina like this. The confidence you get from knowing you’re in tune with someone who cannot make mistakes is just amazing. But how do you do that? How do you tune with God?

Simply by being in a personal relationship with God. I say personal cause many people have this idea of God as a giant being in heaven who is far away and hard to access. But that’s not the case. God is closer to you than you can imagine and is ever ready to reveal Himself to whosoever will seek Him genuinely. Also, I say ‘personal’ cause no one opens up to strangers. I mean, you don’t just meet someone on the road and start telling your secrets, right? Well, that’s the same way God functions. He reveals himself to intimate people. People who get close to Him. The closer you get the more He teaches you his will. He does that through His Holy Spirit and through His Scriptures (Bible).

Getting to be close to God is not just about knowing his will and opinions, it’s also goes a long way boosting your self-esteem. Outside God, the evolution theory tells me that my great great greeeaaat grandparents were of the same family with King-Kong. When I go to God, he tells me He made me in His image and likeness. He tells me my father ain’t no chimpanzee, my father is the almighty God who made heaven and earth.

Many people may get their self-worth or self-esteem from their money, their job, skills and knowledge, from their social status etc., but all these are things which can change at any moment. When you see people with Alzheimer then you know your memory and skills are not eternal. When you see millionaires going bankrupt, then you understand what I mean. But the fact that you are an important and valuable person because you are from God’s lineage is settled forever. God is God forever, and you will forever be in His image. And you know what? getting your self-esteem in place is like giving a hard slap in the face of approval seeking!

I Don’t know about you but I’m enjoying this class. 😊. I think after this I’ll go for the Olympic games swimming competition. Lol.😉

Alright, we’re almost at the end. I have just one last tip for you. Now that you know about the perfect God, what place should His will and opinions take in your life?

Swimming Lesson #3; uphold God’s will and opinions above everything else. This is very important. The place God’s will and opinion have in your life will determine how you’ll react towards people’s opinions. When you get close to God, you’ll understand that His will for your life is to ‘prosper you and
give you a future’. This truth should make you disregard whatsoever opinion and desires which are contrary to His. I understand it may not always be easy to disregard and stand firm especially when the pressure is coming from people you esteem but you’ll need to make up your mind; whose opinion matters most to you? I want to believe it’s God’s. No one desires your good like Him. Not even your family, not your spouse nor your children. No one. His will for you is to prosper you. He thinks Good about you. He wants good for you.

So, when you tell your boyfriend you don’t want sex before marriage and he insist, don’t bend! Stand firm on God’s will which is “flee fornication”. When you tell your colleague at work that you won’t get involved into fraud, but they insist, don’t bend! Stand firm on God’s word that says “the Curse of the Lord is in house of the thief”. And when some people won’t believe in you and will minimize you, don’t accept their opinion! Stand firm on God’s opinion that says “you can do all things through Christ who strengthen you”.

I assure you this won’t just give you stamina, it’ll do more than that; it’ll give you a ship. And I ain’t talking about titanic here, it’s way stronger than that. This ship, will take you through the sea no matter the weather conditions, no matter the icebergs!

Perhaps you’re not among those for whom God’s opinion is paramount, know anyway that; you’re in His image, that He loves you and He has great plans for you. all that, regardless of your opinion about Him.

There you go! The class ends here and I know you’re now equipped to sail through the unending sea of opinions without being carried away. Wish you all the best captain!

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Manuela Tayo

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